Destinations Unknown

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The kind of road that feels like walking through the house you grew up in. When you can walk through the house in complete darkness and not bump into anything, you have become one with it.

How can you write about motorcycles and not talk about the many roads we travel. Bikes and roads go together like the whole peanut butter and jelly thing, only we get more out of getting lost on a back road than getting lost going to the kitchen. Just as these highways we ride take us to destinations unknown, they will also take us to places so familiar that we can see them with our eyes closed. The kind of road that feels like walking through the house you grew up in. When you can walk through the house in complete darkness and not bump into anything, you have become one with it.

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Have you taken a road you know you’ve never been on only to be convinced you’ve ridden it before? The scenery is vaguely familiar, the signs jump out at you as though its something you’ve already read, but you know deep down you haven’t been here. A classic case of deja vu perhaps? Maybe. It’s more likely a case of Biker’s Perspective. If you ride far enough you will eventually see how the landscape is put together. Rolling hills and green valleys with barns and silos dotting the scenery will eventually take you to either mountains, with their pine trees and elevation changes, or south to a drier climate with the road stretching out as far as you can see. Almost as if we are on a Hot Wheels track randomly snapped together to take us to the best places on earth. Just as long as the road doesn’t do a loop, we’ll be okay.

Black Rubber Hose

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Every year when we roll the clocks back an hour I always have two thoughts. One is by rolling the clock back one hour does that mean for 60 minutes I will experience Deja vu? And the other is how can we roll back the clock years, instead of minutes. I know what you’re thinking; why would you want to roll back time in such a large amount? For me it’s all about a simpler time of life. You know, where you cooked stuff on the stove, hung clothes out on the line and where your windows were open and the screen door had the “hook” you put through the “eye” to lock it. Remember when cars were less technical and you actually had to put out an effort to roll the window down? And shopping carts would be the one receiving damage if they rolled into your fender in the parking lot. Wait, that didn’t happen because someone from the store would carry your groceries out to your car for you, and shopping carts didn’t have to be corralled. Good times.

Back in those days you had one radio station and it was AM, while at night you could pick up stations from all over the place. It took a long time for someone to come up with the idea to play records in your car – and when they did they called them compact discs. The only vinyl you had in the car was your seats. Picture a hot day, windows rolled up, and your car in the grocery store’s parking lot –  you come out with the store manager carrying your groceries while you unlock one door at a time with the “other” key (not the ignition key) and then you unlock the trunk. The heat would roll out of the car while he loaded the groceries in the back, and then you slide in…literally. The sweat between you and the seat acted like a lubricant to help you in and out. Turn on the air conditioning? If you had it. Even if you had it, we were so unfamiliar with it, you might even leave it off because you believed it used to much gas, or something crazy like that. You knew when someone just got out of their car in the summertime by the sweat-soaked shirt in the shape of the car seat on their back. So sweat we did.

How about someone coming out and pumping your gas and checking your oil while you waited? Sitting in the car as a kid and watching the service station attendant washing your windshield was cool but I was more concerned how driving over a black rubber hose could possibly ring a bell inside the gas station. Oh, technology in those days…

But I don’t have a problem with that at all. We rode our bicycles, got a suntan and waved when someone drove by. As the dust billowed up behind their car and followed them into town, we breathed it in all the while that dirt stuck to us in places even we didn’t know dust could go. We wiped our forehead on our shirtsleeve when it needed it, and we didn’t care what was left behind – and neither did anyone else – because their sleeve looked the same. When did we become so self-conscious? Maybe air conditioning is to blame.

We have so many more things to worry about than we did back then. We do more now in the same amount of daylight as we had back then, so how do we get it all done? We ask ourselves “where does the time go?” when in reality we are just too busy to see time flying by. Yes, I’m sure there are things from the “good old days” that we don’t miss at all, but I challenge you to name a few. Well, vinyl seats might be one.