Dropping Anchor in San Diego Bay

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If there is one thing I truly enjoy, it would be meeting new people. Recently while flying to San Diego California for a motorcycle dealer show (my first trip to California), I sat next to a gentleman who, quite obviously was traveling for business as well, wearing a suit jacket and slacks. In my line of work, business casual is just that – minus the business. Blue jeans, tennis shoes and a work shirt are sufficient and from the untrained eye it would appear I was just an average guy on a plane. Who am I kidding, I’m just average no matter how you dress me. As the flight took off from DFW we sat mostly silent in our seats. During the first few minutes of the flight we could over-hear two random passengers talking about airplanes, their history, books they’ve read and some museums they both have been to. What luck, I thought, that two guys from different corners of this country could find each other and have so much in common and be seated that close for the next couple of hours. I made the comment “sounds like they were made for each other” and my friend next to me said “yes, and it is very interesting to listen to.” I agreed, and now the ice was broken and our own conversation took off.

 And as we talked, I realized that we too, are from different corners of this country and in some random strategy that only the airlines can come up with, placed us right next to each other. He is from Atlanta and just recently moved there with his work. I am from a small town in Kansas with the apparent boat anchor tied to my ankle.

We talked about the usual – where are you headed, what do you do and where are you from – mixed with some smaller details of family, life and business. And as we talked, I realized that we too, are from different corners of this country and in some random strategy that only the airlines can come up with, placed us right next to each other. He is from Atlanta and just recently moved there with his work. I am from a small town in Kansas with the apparent boat anchor tied to my ankle. He oversees a national sales force with about 140 employees selling medical devices and I sell motorcycles to those who I hope will never need such medical devices. A common thread being my daughter Kelly has had the Harrington rods placed in her back from Scoliosis. He asked how, after all these years, she was doing with them, and I thought back to the days of when she was going through that. He talked of the challenges he has with his line of work, and I could fully relate.

As most conversations do, it turned to politics and family, social media and the likes, and how this world is changing right before our eyes. He spoke of his ten-year old son, Jackson, who has a great relationship with his grandmother, wants to have a little more responsibility at home, and how his two children and wife are why he does what he does. Losing time with family at home to travel to a meeting in San Diego is a sacrifice, but right now it’s what he needs to do. Work hard, and enjoy the moments you have when you get home. Originally from Texas, he said that having family nearby was great, and they still get there once a month or so to visit. I, on the other hand, have my folks right down the street and most of my family is close enough that it really isn’t that big of a deal.

A lot in common? Sure. Different? Not in a bad way. For a couple of hours I had a great conversation with someone who I could relate to. So often we sit and not say a word, when the individual sitting right next to us is so much like us, or better yet, so different from us that it will be interesting either way. The plane landed and we shook hands. I wished him well and safe travels as I would any of my closest friends, and he was gone. I would like to think in this great big world, that I left an impression on him. We often move about our day and don’t realize the impact we might have on someone, and he had an impact on me. I learned something about the business he is in and I would like to think he got off the plane and thought the same about me. I wonder if he noticed the mark around my ankle where the boat anchor used to be.

Are Your Jeans Dry?

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Just like the wash hanging on the clothesline snapping and flapping in the breeze, a biker gets restless waiting to jump on the bike and go. Straining against those small wooden clothes pins just waiting for them to give way and set that pair of your favorite, faded old jeans free from what’s holding them back, dry or not, they’re gone. Whether it’s a weekend ride or a week-long trip, the closer it gets, the harder it is to contain the excitement. Who needs dry jeans anyway? Lets go! And “go” we do. Near and far – wherever the wind blows us. This time of year when the weather is a little more predictable, we gas up the old bike and load it down with whatever we think is necessary, just to feel that road through the seat of our pants.

Where do we go when that day comes to ride? I know we all have dreams of where we want to go, and for some of us those dreams will come true when we hit the road. For others, we settle for that ride to somewhere, or anywhere that gets us out of here. It doesn’t take much to make any biker happy, but just knowing there is a possibility of some road-time in my future starts the motor running inside of me. The closer I get to leaving, the higher that motor revs as anticipation is a powerful thing. That leads to the bigger question here – Is it the ride or the anticipation of the ride that cranks you up? I enjoy that anticipation as much as anyone but once I get on the road I realize that the ride is what it’s all about. When the day comes to leave there isn’t enough clothes pins to hold me back, even though the days leading up to my departure had me feeling like I was being held against my will; those jeans are finally dry!

We all have our reasons for when we leave and where we go, and in the end it doesn’t matter to the masses what those reasons are, as long as your laundry is done. Get excited this year and ride somewhere you’ve never been on your motorcycle. Go where you’ve always dreamed of going and don’t let anything hold you back. Those little things that hold you back are usually no bigger than a clothes pin anyway, so just go. You’ll be glad you did.