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A LITTLE LATER WITH SOME PERSPECTIVE

A friend and I talked the other day. She was having troubles with her car and her former BF and needed to vent. I have always liked her and wondered what it would be like to spend a minute with her. But mostly, I just wanted to help her through a shitty moment.

I listened to what she had to say and sympathized. I tried to ease her down the road to Recovery(?), because that was the roll she needed me to play. After a time she invited me to her birthday celebration. Knowing it was a good ride away and might cause some family strife, I said sure and we would iron out the details when we got to Blue Ridge, GA. The Runtyun and I packed up the bike and set out for the 3 hour trek.

The Grinner, this is what I call my Motorcycle for those who do not know already, only gets 80 to 90 miles on a tank of gas. This translates to about 33mpg. The truth is this works out pretty well for this old guy. About the time the bike runs out of gas, I need to walk around to Un-kink my weary old back.

Our first stop, though not for gas, was at Smokey Mountain Steel Horse. The Grinner needs new plugs and the shop is right off the highway. They are an independent shop now selling new Indians and Victory Bikes. To my knowledge, they are the only dealer that does that in the region. I wish them luck. 

Having said that, their parts department could use a little work. It took them 20 minutes to figure out what spark plug The Grinner needed and then they even gave me the wrong ones, a miss matched set. I had planned on putting the new plugs in after we had gotten to Jennifer's. No such luck.

The rest of the ride was OK though almost all highway miles. The Runtyun never complained, however she let me know when she needed to get off and stretch out. It is rather tiring to ride for a long distance. For those who have not had the opportunity to do it you would be surprised. Even the kid said something like, "Who would have thought it could be so tiring?"

Needless to say, the final ride up to the place was on a newly pebbled road that was (How do I relate) FUN to ride. Can you say gravelly and not very well travelled?Finally, we arrived at the house for the stay-over and walked into a house of tension. 

There were dogs to defuse antipathy and kids for the Runtyun to be with. My friend still has this smile and twinkle in her eye that lights up a room, so I enjoyed the moment for seeing a friend.

We talked about nothing in particular and ate BBQ for supper, then watched some TV, the kids wallowed in the hot-tub. One of them, who was 7 years old seemed to live for time in the hot tube. The girl was 10, and the sweetest thing.

My friend and I talked a little, it seemed like superficial topics, but nothing important. As the evening moved along I began to feel a little abandoned. Every time I looked at my friend, she was looking somewhere else. I wondered at one point if she understood what it took for me to get over to her so she could have a friend nearby.

Finally, my friend said she was going to bed, and I took that lead and announced my intention to do the same. I dragged the Runtyun to our assigned room. And tried to sleep. It is a little difficult to sleep when channel surfing. Finally, I turned the off the TV and rolled over, almost falling off the skinny twin bed.

The next morning finally dawned, and I rolled out of bed, on purpose this time.

I enjoyed the incredible view the porch offered, regretting the screening making decent pictures impossible. Yet looking out over the woods leading to Blue Ridge Lake, the clouds were white and gray and broken by mountain tops. As the sun rose it moved along warming the day so the morning ground covering mist undulated revealing glimpses of mountain forests and wisps of the lake…

"Neil, Would you mind going to the store and getting some eggs for our pancakes?" Actually, I wanted to get some writing in.

She saw my hesitation and misunderstanding my pause and said I could take her car. I said, “What can I get for ya'?"

I got the bike started and rolled down the dirt-gravel road and started out on this part of the adventure. The Grinner fishtailed and spluttered with the old plugs all the way up the rain drenched road. I got the groceries and turned around to the cabin stewing in my brain.

A little bit into this part of the journey, I started to think about my friend in the cabin and how she always seems to find the bright side of everything. I knew I had to get out of this dark place I found myself in.

I let the engine of the Grinner fill me and relax my shoulders a little. The engine, seemingly of it own will growled a little lower and louder, the tires rolled a little faster. The curves got a little steeper and a slight grin spread across my frowning maw.

The turn to the dirt road came too soon for me, but the Grinner turned obediently in and we started up the gravely road. It seemed to me the Grinner felt the same about the road as I did, because it groaned and moaned all the way up. It spluttered and choked and began to fowl. I had to rev a little to clear its throat, again that smile as the thunder filled the air around us.

Bacon, pancakes and sausage where on the table in no time. Maple syrup and fake butter filled our tummy's. When we sated our hunger, I pulled and gapped the Grinners plug's. After cleaning them, they went back in and she fired up! She sounded throaty and powerful and ready to leave this beautiful place.

About that time Humphrey needed to go out and do his thing. He is the Boston Terrier of the animal menagerie and the coolest of the lot. Across the road, incredibly enough, were two other Boston Terriers. Who could imagine that! Well, the three guys had to show each other who was who. I am not sure who won that confrontation. All I got out of it was a lot of growling, screeching and running black and white little beasties. Again a little smile slipped across my face.

I spent a minute packing the bike and said our good byes. The bike merely needed me to pay a little attention to it, because she started up and grumbled and roared her happy relief to be rolling again. I wish people could be so easily gratified. We said our goodbyes and put it all behind us.

The ride back was more of the same, long roads at highway speeds. We found ourselves in the Nantahala Gorge and a little hungry. No luck there though, so we rode on down to Bryson City and a pizza place. The Runtyun said she was not really hungry, so I had an antipasto salad and water. I changed my mind though and ordered a Peach Sangria. 

The salad was OK, but the Sangria finally nudged me into my happy place. Nothing had really changed, but I found my smile. I had my kid, the bike was running well, the sky was blue and I was able to put all of my concerns aside and focus on the road ahead. 

It never ceases to amaze me the ability of a ride to clear one's head of all the Bullshit we let fill it. I felt the wind and heard the engine. My little girl was holding on and trusting her father to take care of her. I felt good about life.

Nothing much else happened for the rest of the ride except the Grinner amazed me and went nearly 100 miles on the last tank. We went to reserve  at some point and I wondered if we could make it home.

We did make it! I have to say, I was relieved. After filling the tank with 3.25 gallons of gas, (its capacity is 3.3 gallons) I realized there were merely ounces left in the tank. She held out for us in that run to home.

So that was our adventure of the Labor Day weekend. I hope every one else had one that was as full as ours.



olc

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