It was gorgeous out today. Again. And the best part was, I brought the Harley home.
We have had an absolutely unbelievably mild winter this year. Never seen anything like it. Had snow for about 3 weeks. And it never really did get cold; just hung around freezing most of the winter. I saw other motorcycles out on the road every month. And not daredevils, just folks just out enjoying the nice days.
The weather this past week has been record-setting. Last week the forecast looked good enough, so I called the dealership and asked how soon they could bring the bike back into town. As always, they were pleasant enough and said they’d get it going and give me a call. That was last Monday.
I spent the weekend chipping ice out of the driveway so I could pull the bike into the garage if necessary and got sunburned just a bit in the process. Yeah, you heard right. Me. In short sleeves. Outside. In March. Long enough to get sunburned. The apocalypse is imminent.
Today is Tuesday and I still hadn’t heard from the service folks. I had to come home early for some appointments, so I was riding the bus home at midday. And watching bikes left and right on the road. As much as that makes me happy, it also frustrated me that I wasn’t out there with them. (And I’ve had just about enough of bus riding for now.) So I actually called the shop from the bus. “Rick, when are you going to release me from house arrest?” “Dropped it off in town last night. Is that what you wanted to hear?” FRAKKIN’ YES!!!!
So after the errand and appointments were taken care of, my youngest son and I drove to the pick-up point. Almost forgot where it was. Certainly forgot which door and the code to get in. Luckily it was still during business hours and a nice guy, who didn’t have to, helped me figure it out. And of course it was parked way in the back. The gentleman had to move one other bike so I could get mine out. And there were a couple of boxes of old parts that I needed to get out of there too.
I have to admit, it felt weird. Unfamiliar. I’d forgotten the routine. And I was looking at a muddy gravel lot. And the engine wanted to cut out on me. All the gas had drained out when it was on its side, and they hadn’t added any over the winter. Luckily there was a gas station just a couple of blocks away.
Driving through the lot and pulling on to the road did not feel smooth. Not subconscious. Not natural. But it really is like riding a bike, it didn’t take long for it to come back. By the time I’d gotten to the gas station, fighting to keep it running the whole way, it was all coming back again. Still not subconscious, but increasingly familiar. I managed the gas-up routine with no flubs and remembered to reset the trip odometers – both of them. I use the A trip odometer for each tank of gas. But I use the B trip odometer to track the mileage of a season. And a new season had begun.
All this was taking place right at the start of rush hour and in one of the busier parts of town. For a first ride, this is not where I wanted to be. So I headed about a mile east and stopped at Starbucks to sit the traffic out. God it felt good to be at Starbucks. I waited about 45 minutes for the traffic to clear and then headed out. It was rather windy (gusts about 35 mph), so I opted to go through town instead of taking the Interstate. Gave me a chance to check out the roads along the way. I knew one (Main Avenue) would be horrible, so I was prepared for that. Had an uneventful trip home, other than seeing a bunch of folks on their bikes too.
I debated on where to park the bike when I got home. I somewhat planned on putting it in the driveway, but changed my mind. The streets are still a little messy with grass and grit from the winter, but I chose that instead to make it easier to get out again in the morning.
I can’t wait to ride to work tomorrow. Sounds stupid unless your life’s been dictated by a bus schedule for months. No room for error there. Being able to leave 3 minutes later, or 10 minutes earlier, is just huge. And my 6:30 p.m. curfew is no more. It really has felt like house arrest for the past six months. Get out for a work release and then head right back where you came from.
I can already feel my spirits lift. They have been black lately. Dark and ugly. The freedom of having wheels — well just ask any teenager. And when those wheels are a Harley? Enough said.
Let’s get this season rolling.
Odometer: 10, 130 miles