Stretching the Truth

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 But one truth that is hard to stretch, let alone find the words for – is the natural beauty as the day begins and ends.

A small break in the winter weather found me riding my bike the last couple of days. Yeah, it’s cold in the mornings but the ride home was generally a nice one and it also helps not only physically, but mentally that the sun is hanging around a little longer to see me home. But the mornings have always been one of my favorite times to ride, and even though the temperatures keep you honest this time of year, it is when the road is mostly mine.
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The last couple of days have had me thinking about the serious side of life. There are a certain amount of expectations required by any responsible adult and I would consider myself somewhat responsible. The fact that some people may think by me riding a motorcycle I smell like exhaust and alcohol, I’m wearing the same clothes since the last beer-drinking-bonfire-slash-rally and I’m itching to pick a fight if you look at me sideways. Well I do smell like exhaust a good portion of the time but aside from that I’m just a normal guy. And I have a clean shirt on.

If there is one thing about a motorcycle blog, it gives you plenty of time to write about the sunrise and sunsets on a regular basis. Since most days start and end in this manner it almost seems redundant to mention, but I do anyway. Mostly because they are just that beautiful. Throw in a couple of local landmarks into the shot and anyone who grew up here and around White City can take it in as well. Although we all share the same sunrise and sunsets, we don’t always have the time to take it all in.

It’s hard to think about those long hot summer days when a morning ride might start out in the 30’s here in February, but they’re coming. Soon, these cold morning rides will be another memory and when they get shared to a fellow rider, I might even embellish how cold it really was. But one truth that is hard to stretch, let alone find the words for – is the natural beauty as the day begins and ends.

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Long Way Home

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I travel the same roads almost every day but it’s always in the same direction. As the seasons, colors and temperatures change things can look a little different but it’s the landscape and landmarks that we relate to. Some are only a few miles from home while others take us back home.

It’s the long way home. Some days it’s just required to take a different route – one taking us away from the well-worn path we’ve created between point A and B. Remember, it’s the regularity that keeps the grass down. We don’t always have time for a detour, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need. Just a few extra minutes to see some different scenery – you know, stuff you haven’t seen for a few months or years – to clear your head. We don’t do it enough and when we do, we’re always glad we did.

 

I travel the same roads almost every day but it’s always in the same direction. As the seasons, colors and temperatures change things can look a little different but it’s the landscape and landmarks that we relate to. Some are only a few miles from home while others take us back home. An abandoned house, an old bridge or a valley that has always made you look – and smile, are always there for us whenever we need them. As a motorcyclist, it can be hard to find a day in January where the long way home can happen, but it always seems to. Sometimes you have to just do it even if there is an internal struggle to follow the same old habit of taking the usual way home.

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Why is this so important? It gives us a few minutes for ourselves. It can be just what we need to see our small little world that surrounds us and give us a different perspective on the day. It’s no different from taking a minute from our busy day to watch the sunset, or turning around on your way home to take a picture of something that catches your eye. It can be on a road we have traveled before, but for whatever reason we overlooked it every time. Maybe it’s the time of day that gives us a different light on the same old scenery. We win either way.

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I’m lucky to be surrounded by familiarity and memories. For those who know me also know of the area around me. You are familiar with my landscape and landmarks as you know them as well. Take the long way home – not every day, but someday. Pull over and take it all in and let the scenery take you home.

 

 

Motorcycle Crossing

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I love riding this time of year. Early fall, cool in the mornings, and perfect when you ride home. This morning’s ride to work was just that. I had my leather jacket on, knowing that at 49 degrees on the ride in, it would not be needed this afternoon on the way home. About six miles from home the road drops into a valley where the small community of Skiddy resides, and of course where the temperature drops what seems to be about 10 degrees. It’s also a known hangout for deer. You cross two bridges over the same creek with trees lining the banks, so I guess from a deer’s perspective it makes a great place to jump from the ditches and scare us folks on motorcycles.

Every day you swing a leg over the seat of a motorcycle, you take a chance. There isn’t a day goes by that a car doesn’t pull out in front of me without the driver looking my way – it’s going to happen, so I fully expect it. Deer on the other hand, have an element of surprise that humans posses but rarely use. Deer usually come to work semi-camouflaged to their surroundings, aren’t going to have a cell phone up to their head and they do their best work anywhere but in an intersection. Humans are usually confined to pavement and as long as your head is on a swivel, they are predictable.

This morning as the sun was coming up but yet to crest the horizon, I dropped into the valley crossing the first bridge. After the bridge there is a gradual curve to the left that can be taken without slowing down and this morning wasn’t going to be any different. Once I was committed into the curve, out of the corner of my good eye I realized a doe was ignoring the Motorcycle Crossing sign. She was stepping up onto the road from the ditch to my left wearing a stunning brown fur coat (like I said, the temperature feels about 10 degrees cooler when you drop down through Skiddy, so a coat was expected). Traveling at about 50 miles per hour and well into to the curve, I had only a split-second to react to the situation as it presented itself. My history with deer indicates an unpredictable jump out of the ditch onto the road or they are already standing there, statuesque, on the road staring directly into my headlight. This doe was just casually stepping onto the road as if waiting on a school bus, and as I rounded the curve our eyes met – hers big and brown, mine wide open. Her head moved, following me and watching to see what I was going to do next, mine doing the same thing, waiting for the inevitable to happen. Had I reached out with my left hand I felt like I could have touched her, but I’m sure she was a littler further away than that. Too close for me either way.

I accept the risk of riding motorcycles, and in a split-second this situation could have gone from a close call to call an ambulance. Remaining composed, I didn’t slow down or panic, but rather accepted whatever decision this deer was going to make. It’s amazing how fast you can think when faced with a situation involving many different factors, hoping for the best, and the only control you have is your own actions. I don’t know what the doe was thinking, but I’m sure she was just as surprised as I was.

Just like that it was over with. It all ended well and I made it to work without a scratch. As a daily occurrence, a car pulled off the exit ramp of I-70, didn’t stop at the stop sign or look my way – barely a close call but I knew it was going to happen so there were no surprises. At least the deer saw me.

Places We Need To Be

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A bridge can be quite the silent structure. It’s there every day to make sure you get to where you’re going and doesn’t ask for anything in return. We take these strong, silent structures for granted and we assume that they will always be there, waiting for us to cross. Think about what happens to our daily routine when a bridge is out, or there is a detour because of construction or high water – it’s aggravating!

But we cross those bridges each and every day of our lives. We have expectations that every day will go smoothly and without interruption, and as we get comfortable with those expectations, the next thing you know there is a bridge out or a detour in front of us. Even though we can see where we need to be, there is a chasm in our way and without the bridge to get us there we feel that this short distance we need to travel might as well be a million miles. Sometimes those bridges can take us places we’ve never been before or bring us back to places we need to be. If there is one thing that stays the same, it would be old bridges.

What makes a bridge what it is? Sure, location is important because it is allowing us to get over something we normally would not be able to get over without it. Strength, to get us and our heavy loads across without fail is also important, so we don’t have to worry about what might happen. Classic scenery doesn’t hurt either with a nice slow-moving creek below it. I like scenery.

We all have friends in our lives that over time have become our bridges. Some strong, some silent but always there when we need help getting across that difficult point in our lives that we couldn’t get across alone. They are able to carry the weight of our burdens so we have nothing to worry about when that time comes. They also take us places we have never been before and remind us of where we came from, no matter their location and without asking anything in return.

Remember that those bridges in our lives that have been there over the years are there for a reason; some we have yet to cross and others we are afraid to cross for fear of the unknown. Many of these bridges we cross daily without a hitch and life goes on, but don’t be afraid to go places you have never been before, after all it will always bring you back to a place you need to be.