Winter into Spring: Transitions and Preparations; Divine Providence; Road Whispering.

I think we’ve reached the last of the cold mornings. When I took off to ride to my job the other day at 7 am it was 42 degrees (5 degrees Celsius) and when I returned it was 80 degrees (26 Celsius). It’s as if winter hasn’t wanted to let go, that it’s shouting “put up your dukes” to Spring. They fight it out with rain and tornadoes, swollen rivers, blustery winds, and thunderstorms. It’s as if winter has no memory of all the seasons before, despite the shouting blooming all around trying to get its attention. There are the dogwood trees, and red buds, cherry trees, magnolias, and azaleas. How can winter not notice the garlands of purple wisteria draped among the trees? The yellow buttercups in the field with the romping chestnut roan and the leaning shack with the bright red door?

Winter is a slow learner, like me. I ride the same stretch of Interstate 75 for twenty miles to work and keep forgetting the pothole in the right of the middle lane near Resaca. Bam! I always think I’ve probably blown a tire or damaged my rim. Other times, I forget to charge my heated gloves for the morning ride.

I’m excited now and counting down the days (May 12th) until I head off on my cross-country trip to LA. Researching possible places to stop along the way, where I might stay in LA, has my head spinning. I think Big Red (my 2004 Harley Road King), and I will just leave it up to Divine Providence – The Tao. I’ll do some road whispering while I ride. And, thinking of the hot days ahead of me, the heat lines rising off the baking roads in Texas, I’ll probably miss winter.

Senior, Bachelor Gentleman, Biker Blues

My 1973 BMW R60/5 is parked right now at a Panera Restaurant and I am lamenting the fact that it’s raining outside, and I forgot to bring my rain jacket. Forgetfulness is a common characteristic of the senior biker. Mindfulness helps. Before I leave, I say to myself: “Okay, what am I missing?” However, along with my raincoat, I forgot mindfulness too this morning.

I was married for 23 years before we divorced. Suddenly, I was thrown out into the dating world (seven years ago now) and it was a shock. I really didn’t know how to do it. The rules I had used years earlier, which weren’t that good even then, were clearly outdated. Still, in the last few I managed to meet and date a few women who I somehow inexplicably charmed even with my anachronistic ways. Maybe it was pity for me. I’m not too proud. I can take pity.

Being a teacher, I don’t work in the summer, and given that my children live in distant places I tend to travel, especially on my motorcycle. My daughter lives in LA and I live in Georgia, so I like to take cross country trips on my motorcycle to see her. I’m getting excited because she is due to have her first child in a little over a month. I’m planning on riding out there.

Since my divorce, two of the women I dated dumped me because of travel and distance. One, for some reason, didn’t like it when I announced that I was heading out on the bike for a couple of months. We discussed it but I still got a text from her breaking it off, at a Love’s Travel Stop somewhere west of Santa Claus, Illinois. Another woman, who contacted me through Facebook, I met four times after I just happened to be driving by Peoria, Illinois. After all, it’s only 650 miles from here.  (Okay, I admit it – nobody just happens to be driving by Peoria). Our relationship played out well there but didn’t when we tried to take it on the road. After a few months she cancelled any further performances. So, I’ve been wary since.

I’ve met a few lovely women since, and I enjoy their friendship immensely. But I always know that at some point I’m going to hit the road once more and I don’t want to go through all that heartache again, riding and obsessing over whether I have another text waiting for me, maybe this time outside Eureka, Nevada on US Route 50. I’ve been down that road before.

Such are some of the laments of the senior, gentleman bachelor, biker.

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