It’s been a busy summer. Since April I’ve been to Minneapolis (twice), Seattle, Chicago, Salt Lake City, and Milwaukee. All were business trips and none of them was by motorcycle. But I went to South Dakota by motorcycle. Sadly, not Sturgis this year, but still an important trip.
If you’re familiar with previous posts on this blog, you know I’ve had troubles with my handlebars the past few years and just got them replaced over the winter. After being confined to in-town trips only because of them you’d think I’d be rarin’ to hit the highway finally.
What the past couple of years with those handlebars have taught me is that riding isn’t fun. That’s the truth of it. It’s scary and painful and a whole bunch of suffering. And to be perfectly honest, it’s all that all of the time; but before it had been worth it. It had been fun. It had been an adventure. It had been an exciting challenge. But it became something just short of drudgery.
Blasphemy, I know.
So I had talked (again) about riding out to Salt Lake City for the Nerdtacular event over the 4th of July. It’s likely a 3-4 day trip there and the same back. Now that I’m freelancing full time, that’s totally do-able. But as it turned out, I had a Seattle trip immediately before it and no time to get home and ride out. Plus the airfare for a two-city loop only cost an extra $50 or so over a single round-trip. Much cheaper than gas money I’d be spending. So no riding to Nerdtacular this year for me.
However, my two podcast co-hosts had a great idea. (You did know I hosted the SciFi Tech Talk podcast, didn’t you?) Jeff, who lives near Toronto, was riding his own motorcycle out to Nerdtacular and would be passing through South Dakota on his way home. Mike actually lives in South Dakota so it seemed like the perfect, and perhaps only, way for us to all meet in person. I’d met both individually before, but I don’t think they’d met each other. So I flew home from Salt Lake on the Sunday after the 4th and on Tuesday afternoon, I headed south on the Interstate to get to Mike’s place. It’s about 175 miles and only two right turns away from me.
It was a beautiful day for a ride. There was a bit of a crosswind, but isn’t there always? I will admit a bit of trepidation as my fuel light is on constantly, a consequence of the handlebar work that I’ll get sorted out next winter. Plus there was also a recent trip across town one night where my – I dunno what it’s called; it’s like the oil tank, but it’s on the other side – came loose and was just hanging by the hinge. I had to stop and bang it back into place, but it looks like maybe it needs a screw to hold it on? I dunno. Someone teach me about bike maintenance some day. Anyway, that was in the back of my mind, so I didn’t have 100% trust in the bike. I wouldn’t call me worried, but I wasn’t totally at ease either.
That said, I-29 is an easy, easy ride. With only two turns to memorize the only thing I had on my mind was to watch the odometer and fill up before running out of gas. It took probably 125 miles before I finally relaxed and started settling in to the groove.
GOD I MISSED THAT!!!
I had a lovely evening with my friends. I should also add that Mike’s wife and Pierre, who was on the trip with Jeff, were also a part of the evening, and between biker and nerd talk, we had some great discussions! The time went so fast!
The next morning we were up early to hit the road. Jeff and Pierre were trying to get to Chicago and I had to get home in time to take my mom to a Dr. appt. It was a glorious morning that was quiet, calm, and a little bit hazy. The two lane road to get to the Interstate – well, I could have rode that all day. Jeff and Pierre turned south and I needed to go north so we said goodbye. As it was I had to stop at the McDonald’s in Watertown to take advantage of their wi-fi for an hour or so anyway. After that it was back up the Interstate to beat the clock for that appointment. (Yes, I made it in time.)
I have to admit that at one point on the way home I had the thought “I am completely broke, with only enough money for the gas to get home, but I’m not in a damn cubicle. And on a gorgeous Wednesday, summer morning I’m riding my motorcycle down the highway.”
Live to Ride. Ride to Live.
Odometer: 13,583 miles