Have you ever been driving down the road in your two-ton car/truck/SUV,
etc., and break into an uncontrollable grin just for the shear pleasure
of being in a car? No? Me neither….but I have, many times, while
riding my motorcycle. Thirty years ago, I was riding an old Triumph
south on Hwy 1, the Pacific Ocean following me on my right side
and I could just hear the exploding breakers as they crashed on
the rocks below. The noonday sun made the water below look like
a carpet of diamonds, and I was in the groove. Then all of a sudden,
I got it again….my face broke out in a big ol’ grin.
Last year, it was about 7 in the morning, just south of White Sulfur
Springs, MT and the sun was just coming over the mountains, bathing
the surrounding landscape in a buttercup gold of sun and shadows.
The only sound was the deep-throated growl of the boxer's engine
and my face felt cool in the early morning air. No one was there,
just the Beemer and me and all of a sudden, I felt it again….my
face broke out in a big ol’ grin.
It's hard to explain, but when I'm cruising through California's
"Avenue of the Giants," riding deep between redwood trees
that tower 250 feet to the sky above, and the trunks of these giants
march by me, like sentinels guarding my ride, it's at that point
that I can easily slip into another time and space. If you too have
the obsession, then you know it's an experience that sets us apart
from those who don't ride.
Have you been to Glacier National Park yet? It's one of my favorite
places. This summer I was riding the "Road to the Sun"
highway, looking down into a canyon 1,000 feet below, with only
a foot high rock wall between me and eternity, and ice-cold water
from the melting snow went down my neck at the "weeping"
wall, and I knew at that moment, I had never seen anything more
beautiful in my life. And then, without warning, it happened again….my
face broke out in a big ol’ grin…. uncontrollable, heartfelt, wonderful.
My present motorcycle is truly a "Golden Wing." It has
taken my wife and I from the Grand Canyon to the Montana Rockies,
from the Pacific coast to the Colorado plains, comfortably, safely,
and quietly. On those special roads, that Wing has the power to
lift me up and make me think of nothing but the wind, the sun, and
the power of 118 horsepower taking me to wherever the sirens beckon.
When I find that high-speed mountain road, the bike and I are as
two dancers, leaning back and forth, swaying to and fro, in the
ballet of the motorcycle ride. And when I die, I will know that
I have already tasted a bit of heaven. That's why I ride.
Oh, oh, it's happening again….