Cruisin’

It seems like I’ve always lived my life Iike I was on a mission. Doesn’t matter what I’m doing, I feel the driving urge to get it done as fast as possible so I can move on to the next “mission.” A sickness? Maybe. Crazy? Certainly. Annoying? Absolutely. You wouldn’t think a person should have to learn to relax, but sometimes I think I need a lesson  in letting go of all the meaningless, irrelevant, time -strapped pursits that I engage in. 

I sometimes wonder if that’s why I tend to ride motorcyles on the aggressive side. I’ve never been one to lope along at the speed limit, while stopping to enjoy the sights. “Oh look Jamie, the Grand Canyon!” “Yeah, yeah, its a big hole, looks cool, no time to stop, we’ve got miles to ride!” Sounds silly, but its pretty accurate. I will never be accused of being the rider holding up a long string of traffic. Cruising to me is something I did when I was 17 while making laps in my car around the courthouse square. And I’ve never even owned an actual cruiser bike in my life.

Well, that’s not 100% accurate. The first bike I ever took a trip on was a Suzuki LS550, a very cruiser-like machine. Of course, I made it as touring friendly as possible by adding a Vetter Quicksilver fairing and Bagman soft luggage. My first wife and I rode it two up through the Smokey Mountains for a week. It rained every day. We didn’t care. We slept in a tent, rode in cheap plastic rain gear and meandered along the mountain roads. Probably the only time you will ever hear me say I “meandered” anywhere!

Yesterday morning I was debating what sort of mood I was in before mounting up for a 4th of July ride. The Duke would have been my obvious choice, but it’s still at the shop getting that performance enhancement I was telling you about. It is done, but Chad, Commonwealth’s miracle worker of a mechanic, decided to torment me by calling me 9 minutes before the shop closed for the weekend to tell me the bike was ready to go. I was 120 miles away. I did the math anyway…nope, not going to make it! Thanks Chad…you probably saved me a speeding ticket. Or at least, delayed it.

I’ve got new street rubber on the Vstrom, so I thought about breaking those shoes in. The Street Triple always puts a smile on my face, but there is no relaxing on that bike for sure. I was feeling pretty shot physically yesterday. I had spent all day Friday doing something I have not had to do in 3 years; mow grass and swing a weed eater. My wife and I spent about 13+ years mowing the 11 acres my Dad and Mom decided to call their “yard.” It reminded me of how much I enjoy living in a condo! I determined my energy level for the day was much more suited to backroad rambling than tightrope waliking and mile eating, so the Scrambler got the nod. 

 It’s not that you can’t ride the Scrambler aggresively, but it does lend itself to a relaxing ride if you will let it. And I did. With no destination in mind, I just pointed it down a country road, navigating in no particular manner, with no concern for where I ended up or when I got there. I enjoyed it very much, thank you. No pressure to attack a corner, no voice saying, “If you keep going you can be in Tennessee in another hour.” Just a relaxing ride. I know for me that is an anomaly, but I hope when retirement comes and time takes on a different meaning, that I can learn to do this more often. I’m planning a coast to coast in the near future, but I don’t want to make it a 50 cc (coast to coast in 50 hours); no, I want to take about a month and soak in all the unique people, places and things along the way. I wonder if my boss will let me take 4 weeks vacation at once? Uh, no.

Well, getting ready to climb on the Vstrom or the Street Triple for today’s ride. Wonder how fast I can make the Virginia line and back?

Later,

Shep

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