One month ago, here in the midwest, we jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire of a summer inferno with triple digit temps. It was the weekend of the Fourth of July and our air conditioner units began their seemingly 24-7 constant hummmmmm….
Perfect weekend to get out on the open road straddling a two-wheeled death-trap right?!?!
Absolutely It Was.
This post begins a series that I wish to build on, which points out some quite obvious and completely un-discussed topics that everyone encounters as we choose our moves and learn how to play this game of life.
Back to the Ride…
A weekend away with Lindsay was the goal. Up until 3 or 4 days prior to the exit-strategy from our regular routine, we had no plan. Suddenly, the thought of turning our weekend road-trip into a weekend bike-trip, materialized. I was excited and a little nervous that Lindsay was so open to this idea. I have been riding road-going motorcycles since age 18 and still had never gone on a whole weekend ride. She has ridden very little and was uber-optimistic; I was hoping: not tooooo optimistic about how fun it would be in 100 degree weather!
Anyway, embark we did. A loose plan to hit the Grandparents place in Bella Vista, AR, then Branson, then home… In a car, no biggie: on a bike? Lots more variables, lots of miles with only one of us to drive 🙂 but I was excited anyway.
Initially, the ride inside of a blow-torch flame at 70mph, south through the plains of Kansas, wilted my spirits for our days ahead. But all that started to change, once we passed through the corner of Oklahoma and then turned south again into the backroads of Missouri headed toward the Arkansas line…
In the span of a few miles, the searing-hot winds of Kansas, gave way to the cooling shadows of tree-lined ribbons of Ozark road.
My previously exhausting, straight-line, wide-open piloting transitioned to exhilaration as we ball-room danced into the sweeping curves, gentle valleys and quick-rise hills. This riding, the type that firmly pulls the corners of your mouth up and into a big cheesy grin, is the reason we came down to this neck of the woods…
Don’t forget that; we don’t forget that; this is a Dangerous Activity. An 1100cc v-twin motor, with rodeo-bull-strength torque, stampedes you down a 20-grit track of flesh-shredding tarmac. Luckily, you’ve got two air-filled balloons of soft rubber that keep you and your very-pretty partner from finding out the abrasion resistance properties of a 100% cotton, 10 year old sleeveless tee-shirt as you lean into the sharp, bumpy corner of a road less traveled. With all the things that could go wrong in a scenario like this, it’s no wonder that not everyone rides a motorcycle.
As we were flying ’round one of those corners – my grin a mile wide, I had a thought…
THIS MOMENT, THIS THRILLING EXPERIENCE, SHARED WITH THE WOMAN I LOVE, IS EXACTLY WHAT GOD WANTS ME TO BE DOING RIGHT NOW!!
(in my helmet it sounded about like that 🙂
It’s So True! Actually, when you take a step back and look at the big picture, the perceived risk starts to drop, fact-by-fact, and the truth is that living a completely risk-free life starts to grow less and less appealing. Being 100% safe at any time is a total myth, and anyway, it’s not what we’ve been intended here to do. This is one big exquisite ride on the merry-go-round and it’s our own fault if we don’t enjoy it!
Case in point. I have at least 24 years of experience in the operation of the manual clutch and foot shifting it takes to move a motor-bike forward. I have 14 years experience in the leaning-to-steer operation of various two-wheeled roadbikes. We did choose to wear protective devices on the body part that we use to think with 🙂 no jokes please!! And we chose roads and situations to drive in, that reduced the amount of traffic, which reduced the amount of eyes that may or may not be watching out for you. Plus, with Lindsay on the back, my normal enhanced biker-focus was even more laser-sharp and on a swivel as I valued bringing her back home to her very large family in one piece 🙂
When you combine all these factors, the gut-level anxiety of flying around the twisties just melted into euphoria. We seized the moment, fully present in that space and time, working in alignment with the Universe, and concocting a recipe of pure light and joy. Certainly Not, fear, distress, worry or tension.
So, what does God want us to be doing? I believe it’s stuff like this. A beautiful, amazing, fantastic world has been crafted all around us. When we can proactively harness moments like this to thrill each one of our senses simultaneously, it’s a practice of praise to the creation. This is real health food for the soul! A whole body electrification that leaves you fuller in spirit for your effort!
Our couple’s weekend of riding a motorcycle, that I now proudly own but at a cost of a tragic loss of my uncle Steve Nichols, combined with rich family time at the home of my grandparents, Carol and Bill Smell, was something that I will always cherish. As the miles went on and on, we became not two people and a machine, but one entity that enjoyed harmonious communication and flawless performance, even in the face of the risks at hand. THAT, my friends, is Livin!
At one point, on our last day out, we trailed a group of cages, (a biker slang term for cars) that were slowly tip toeing around these same beautiful sweeping bends in the highway. For maybe an hour, I looked at their taillights as they smartly tapped their brakes, drove the exact speed limit and stayed well within the rigid, boring boundaries of safety…
I didn’t mind that our trip was slowed. At least I could still smell the fresh air, feel the wind and the occasional grip of a behind-hug from Lindsay. I was doing just fine 🙂
I had to wonder though? Is that version of safety, security, and risk management, worth the price? Now maybe these guys and gals have already done all their living? Maybe, they had a former glory of hell-on-wheels and now take comfort in the strict adhesion to the law. But, I hope that somewhere along their trip, they take the time to get a little out of line, to get a little weird, maybe let the kids color outside the lines and make their own creation 😉
Gratitude and Love flooded my mind through every risk-filled mile of that trip. I mentioned earlier that this post will be the beginning of a series. You see; the societal stereotype of motorcycle riding still has an edge of recklessness attached. Part of this is earned, part is not, and from one weekend-warrior-motorycle-rider out to the rest of the world, I want to say this: What are the activities that you, I and those we know; are involved in, that don’t carry a societal stereotype of recklessness, yet absolutely are.
There’s a long list, and today I’ll give you a teaser, but we’ll explore them in an ongoing conversation. I would love to get your feedback 🙂
Things that carry risk, or are absolutely harmful to your health and well being, and have a high probability of killing you, that we all have done at some time… and no, it’s not just drugs, alcohol, or motorcycle riding 🙂
- Tele Vision
- Lacka Readin’
- Financial Undereducation
- Finding problems in others, instead of solutions within ourselves
- Spiritual Neglect
- this list will go on… 🙂
I believe that 550 miles of winding roads can bring you closer to God, closer to your true self and yes; much closer to the beautiful brunette sitting just inches behind you. So get out there in the world and enjoy every breath! When you don’t have any more of those, then get started on your worrying about all the reasons not to love the life you’ve got!
Thank you God, for a blessed safe trip, and blessed risky weirdforgood life 🙂