The open road

You may or not believe me when I tell you this, but 32 years ago as I was lying in traction with 4 fractured vertebrae, 3 broken ribs and a nurse picking gravel out of my ass, that I was dreaming of my next motorcycle (and of course about the hot chick I was going to see when I crashed). I had to dream of the next bike because the one that I had just crashed was a mere pile of twisted metal.

People were amazed that even during my recovery I still loved the notion of the motorcycle. I was unfazed by my injuries, the lure of the open road always called to me since my boyhood days of clutching to my father’s waist as we roared around on his bike. I was barely 17 when I got my first one and only 23 when I had my crash.

I stayed away from the call of the road through my late 20’s and by 30 I was married with no expendable income and a wife that never entertained the notion even if I could afford one. She was amazed that after what I had been through I wanted another and just a bit fearful of me making her a widow. For the time being I had to be satisfied with daydreaming and slobbering over every bike that I saw go by. I craved the wind in my face and driving as if I were a very part of the road itself. I romanticized it to say the least.

Not needing the approval of anyone, I bought one last fall. Once I started her for the first time this Spring, I knew that I hadn’t romanticized it enough. It shook as if it were the heavy breaths of the mighty steed. It required taming and finesse. We name our steel steeds after a woman, because it’s a thing of beauty and at the same time, the moment we lose respect for her it will buck you off. I named mine Bella.

Bella and I have spent a lot of time together and have earned a mutual respect. We have learned to ride the bumps and hang the curves in unison. We are enjoying our trips and are experiencing an unexpected bonus. We are both celebrities and members of a very exclusive club.

Celebrity status comes in the form of strangers asking me at gas stations and stores what year she is and commenting on how pretty she is. In the form of people seeing the helmet and saying “Oh, I’m jealous.” Bored husbands in minivans teeming with screaming rugrats looking at me at stoplights with pure envy.

The exclusive club is other bikers. Apparently, it is courtesy and custom to wave at passing bikes as we zoom by each other on highways and side roads. We all do it. Harleys to Hondas, we’re all in the same wonderful club. And we watch out for each other, should a car mess with a bike it’s a lot like when a hockey player knocks over a goalie. Shit hits the fan as the protectors come off the bench.

I can’t tell you how much joy I have already gotten from Bella. She’s made a routine commute a religious experience. A ride to and from dialysis a complete and meaningful experience. It has become an escape, a way to become one with nature and a way to make an ordinary day one for the books.

I suppose one additional perk is that it is one giant FUCK YOU to those who say that someone in my position shouldn’t be doing it. I’ve had cancer twice, 2 near fatal accidents, 2 near fatal staph infections, a kidney transplant and I’m still going. Nothing has killed me yet, I’ll be damned if I’ll take the “safer” road for my own benefit. I want to die having lived, with a giant goddamn smile on my face.

Now if you’ll excuse me, the sun is out and Bella is beckoning to me to ride her…

Something big between my legs… Part 3

To bring you up to speed, you can catch up here and here.

I had just been asked, nay, commanded by my captivating temptress to meet her at a destination some 25 miles away for a steamy rendezvous. Having absolutely no control over which head was doing the thinking, I jumped on my motorcycle and rolled out of my driveway on my way to what was certain to be another afternoon of memorable debauchery.

The route I needed to take was largely highway followed by a series of back roads that seemed slow and endless, as if designed to discourage the impatient from traveling them, therefore preserving the quaint little towns they rolled through. I hated highway riding on the motorcycle but looked forward to the side roads. And of course the destination.

Massachusetts drivers are notoriously rude and aggressive and bikes often become victim to overzealous tailgaters and lane-changers. Despite the hormones raging through my body, I maintained a safe speed on the 2-lane highway for the entire 18-mile stretch. Speed wasn’t my thing. I rode to experience, to savor, to be a part of the road and everything around it. This made me a major burden and obstacle to other drivers. As expected I was passed as if sitting still several times and I was cut off more than my fair share of times. I wasn’t angry, I took great satisfaction knowing that my destination likely held way more fun in store than theirs.

As I got closer, the soaring seagulls above me and the salty taste of the air stinging my face teased my sense of urgency. I would be pulling off of the highway soon. Before I knew it I was at my exit and I pulled off. The treacherous part of my journey was over and the scenic part was upon me. I downshifted, felt my steed angrily and loudly object and began the last leg of my journey.

The road was one of those roads that you can lose yourself in. With few stop signs, an abundance of woodland briefly interrupted by the occasional beautiful home on each side, it is a road that you could “zone out” and not remember riding it but know you loved it. I was coasting along, leaning into the winding corners when I noticed in my left mirror a car coming up on me very quickly. I tensed up a bit, I wasn’t the most experienced rider and tailgaters made me very anxious. He got on my rear wheel pretty close and I knew I had to let him by me, but where? There were no houses in sight and the shoulder was soft and loose. After one very anxious and angry mile, I spotted a pull off. I could see from a distance that it was a scenic spot that many people used to pull off and enjoy the view (the sand dunes were visible at this point). I could see that it was all dirt and rocks so I signaled and slowed in preparation to turn off.

As I shifted down to pull onto the shoulder the driver behind me accelerated. Underestimating my speed he hit my left leg and foot rest. My bike and I sharply shot to the right and plunged into a section of deep sand. My bike stopped. I didn’t. I was thrown from the bike and my last recollection was of slamming into a old, rusty guardrail. I hit it and rolled down an embankment where I vividly recall frantically gasping for air futiley three times, realized that breathing wasn’t possible, thinking to myself “I’m dead” and then blacking out.

to be continued…