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Searching for the Normal with a Triumph Tiger

See this girl?

She’s pretty happy to be sitting on her Tiger and getting ready to roll into the evening. She… is me.

Wednesday night’s ride on the Tiger was the first one in about 6 weeks. The minute that I swung my leg over it and pressed the start button, I settled into a place that felt like home. There was a sense of normality in the greeting of it’s unmistakable engine note. I didn’t realize just how much I’d been starving for it.

At the risk of bumming you out, I’ve got to say that I’ve been feeling anything but normal. The recent loss of my dad has left an un-fillable hole in my heart. While I’m working towards returning to the me that my dad was proud of ~ I’m wrapped up in feelings of sadness, grief and a sense of guilt. It is a guilt for doing selfish things, for daring to want to be happy. Even though I know that is the very thing he’d want me to be.

When I clicked the bike in to gear and  pulled away I swear that I could hear my dad’s voice rattling around in my helmet, “Hey, Rach!” I guess that is my brain’s way of letting me know that he is still here with me.

I feel like a kook saying it  but it seems like I see signs of him in everything. He was in the unseasonably cool breeze that swirled around me as I stood alone in the parking lot this morning. He was in the lightning that traveled through the clouds as I worked my way through my evening run. He is returned to the Earth and he seems to be everywhere.

While I cut down the road – the Tiger felt so good, so tight, so right. The seat felt firm, the bars were in just the right place. The power stood waiting at the ready and the ease and confidence with which it tipped around corners … normal. THAT was the feeling I’ve been looking for.

With the passage of each mile I unconsciously gave myself permission to just be in that moment. I enjoyed my ride and I felt happy. All of the noise in my head went to sleep. That is one of the most beautiful aspects of riding a motorcycle for me – the moment when it allows you slip into the truest, most open form of yourself.

Motorcycles – they’re good for you.

Cheers to feeling normal, if just for a little while.

Dear Dad – I Love You. Thank You for Loving Me.

Hi Dad,

No matter how many hours you spend listening to the air moving through a breathing machine, how much you stare at the peaks and valleys that roll across a hospital monitor, how long someone has been sick – you never really believe that one whoosh of air through the tubes will be the last. I know it has been a long and difficult battle and I know that you were tired. But I just can’t believe that you’re gone.

You always smiled sweetly when you told me the story of how I was just a wee girl and you bought me a beach bucket and shovel. When you gave it to me I looked up at you with stars in my eyes and said, “Oh, Daddy! You’re the best daddy I ever had.” Never has that been more true than today.

In just a few hours an irreparable hole has been torn in the fabric of my life. Though I’ve tried to steel myself to eventually face this day, the truth is – you can never really be prepared for this type of finality. I miss knowing you are here in the world. It tears me apart that I will never again hear you say, “boy, am I glad to see you,” and I’ll never again say, “I’m always glad to see you,” in return. You know, the way we always did.

When you last held my hand and touched my cheek, you asked me to say a prayer for you. Well, I want you to know that I did. I prayed for you to have peace, to be without fear, without pain. But I can’t help but be afraid. I’m afraid that I’ll forget what your voice sounds like or that I won’t be able to hear your laugh anymore when I think about you.

Mom told me today that you still carry my kindergarten picture in your wallet. After 35 years in there it has long since faded but she said you still loved it. Even though you’ve always told me that you love me and that you are proud of me, it’s the little things like that make me feel like a million bucks. Underneath that tough, brave, unapologetic exterior you have always been a softy. Thank you for always loving me, no matter what.

I’m really sad that we never did get to take a ride in the Ural together. I know how much you were looking forward to that. If it’s okay with mom, I’d like to ride you to the place where we will spread your ashes. Never in a million years did I think our ride together would turn out this way, but it is all I can do.

“Don’t you let those boys see you cry.” Do you remember when you said that to me? Well, I’m trying, Dad. I’m trying.

I love you. Always.

-Rach

The Return of the Night Rider

The summer solstice came floating in on the breeze Friday night. The weather was cool. So much so that I wished I had a sweatshirt with me as my daughter Chloe and I watched the late sunset tiptoe over the water and on past the edge of the tree line.

Following the longest day of the year came summer, all at once. We moved from sweatshirt-cool in the evening to hot and humid with the ever-present threat of a  rainstorm. Big blocky thunderheads have muscled their way into the skies in the late afternoons but haven’t done much other than look threatening.

On Monday evening the air was sticky. As the hour hand swept closer to the 9 on the clock, a light breeze finally began to blow. With the sun tucked in for the night and the air finally starting to cool it seemed the perfect time for a night ride.

I don’t pleasure ride after dark very often. They’re usually just around-town affairs or point to point trips. But sometimes? Sometimes you just need a little something to get a fix. With the heat of summer here to stay, so too comes the return of the night rider.

As short as my night rides often are, they are awfully sweet. There is a sense of stillness and solitude that I don’t often find during the day when the world is in the grips of it’s hustle and bustle.

Familiar places look different out of the burn of the sun. Shadows and soft light cover everything. And the Ural? It sure makes it easy to slow things down, to relax and savor the night sky.

Summer night riding… <3

I Spy: Long Haul Trucking – A Guy Doin’ it Right

Yesterday when I was in the car, I spotted what I thought was a wheel peeking out from behind the cab of a big rig. Sure enough, as I got closer, I saw this tucked in:

You sir, are doin’ it right!

If you simply have to work and your job takes you over the road to far away places, places that tug at your motorcycle heartstrings – bringing the bike with you has to be a nice option.

I don’t recall ever seeing another trucker bringing his bike along this way. Have you?

Achievement Unlocked: Slacking Motorcycle Blogger!

Greetings from the land of absentee bloggers! I thought it was about time I brushed some of the cobwebs away and put up an update.

You missed me, didn’t you? ;)
Just go along with it even if you didn’t. It’s good for my battered self esteem.

In the couple of weeks since I last posted, I’ve actually ridden my motorcycle quite a lot. For some reason, I just haven’t taken the time to write about it.  That really goes against the whole premise of being a blogger, doesn’t it? I told you I like to live on the edge.

So, What’s New?

The Ural

Things on the Ural front are status quo. The 3-wheeled smile machine is still happily chugging along bringing sunshine to the masses. No problems with it, since some folks have asked. ::knocks wood:: 

I get it – but it always bugs me when people ask if anything has gone wrong with it. It’s just a little douchey. If something craps out on it, you guys will be the first to know.

I am still in awe with just how people react to the big orange girl. It is always met with a smile. And that… makes me happy.

The Tiger

My sick Tiger was all fixed up a few weeks ago.

Remember how the “thingy” had been wonky by the ignition? Well it turned out a wire inside had broken loose. Why? Who knows? And really, I don’t care. All I know is the Tiger and I were reunited and it feels so good.

That should cover your Peaches and Herb quota for the month.

The Berkshire Big Adventure

It’s almost time for the 2013 Berkshire Big Adventure ride – my favorite ride of the year. This year it is a two-day event so I’m all sorts of excited about that.

Berkshire Big Adventure
AMA National 2 Day Adventure Ride
May 18-19, 2013

Seeing as how I haven’t ridden my Husky offroad in months, I am expecting to be really rusty. Being rusty when you already suck at something… well, that should bring about some interesting results. Ah, what the hell. I’m hoping for the best!

You can find some old posts about the BBA here:

And our video from 2011 that I just love to recycle because it was so much fun:

 

The Minuteman 1000

I’ve had to withdraw from doing the Minuteman Rally because I still haven’t mastered being in 3 places at once. Oh well, whaddayagonnado?

Equinox to Equinox Rally

I’m still riding around taking pictures of things for the E2E Rally.

I’ve been trying to get off of the Island to pick up some points and leave the local stuff for when I have less time to get out.

The downside of this plan is that I fucking hate the Long Island Expressway at this point and am sick of making the hour long slog to get off this island. Cue violins. But, that’s the price I have to pay for living in paradise! Oh. Right. :P

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So – that’s what happening around here.

How About You?

Trips, events, rallies – what are you up to?