And the road goes on forever...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Loss of an Old Friend

I’ve always maintained that RV’s are like a magic carpet—whisking you away to whatever new realm you choose to occupy, far beyond mere trucks and cars. A sister ship has surely been our Goldwing motorcycle. We rode on her back above and beyond time, traversing avenues we never dreamed existed. Weather was a constant since you feel every nuance when you are exposed—totally unlike riding in an enclosed vehicle or as motorcyclists call it “a cage”.

Memories gained on her back are sharper and more cutting than other types of travel. You taste the air as you suck it in, breathe it and smell what is there every foot of the way. Passing fragrances heighten the experience as you marvel at the shadow dancing alongside. Sometimes it’s you; sometimes it’s something else as the tree shadows pass your vision like light flickering on an old nickelodeon. The world seems much larger from the seat of a two-wheeler. Well, it is. After all, you have the entire sky dancing overhead.

The power of takeoff rumbles in the seat of your pants and in your chest as gravity throws you back and the exhilaration is unleashed. With 1800 cubic inches of engine between your legs, it is little more than a hop, skip and you are well ahead of any car traffic on your tail, doing 100 mph in what seems like split seconds. Merging onto the freeway any kind of chore? Ha! Catch us if you can! You are one with the air. You lean to the curves and become the machine as she tips so low to the ground it’s a fight to maintain control against centrifugal force. But that power is alluring…and sucks you in to become even more daring, racing through the curves.

We all know it’s a dance with death. One little mistake, one second’s lapse of attention, and she will sail like a lead weight off in a straight line into a ditch or off a cliff. Although I am not a risk-taker, that allure even captured me for a time. Despite my fear, I climbed aboard and went for the gusto. I became a little different person that year.

I stand in front of her now; this trusty steed we are selling to a new joy rider and wonder how I will miss her. I find it funny, looking back, that the last best year of our lives was in 2006—the year we put over 12,000 miles on her just roaming the highways and byways of Wisconsin on weekends. We made her pull a trailer so we could camp; we covered her in her blanket when we had to be away for a few hours. We met terrific fellow riders and felt we fit in. I was terrified at some near misses—cars passing mere inches away and not paying attention; foul weather like rain and sleet on the freeway or winds that had us leaning against them at a 30 degree angle. But beyond and in spite of it all I knew I was living. That’s what being on the edge does to you. And we were happy. I remember being supremely happy. There was always a new adventure waiting for us—just twist the key and go.

The world has changed since then. She is an asset we can no longer afford. Future dreams of any escape on her back have long gone by the wayside although at one time we had many long, cross country trips planned. We will miss out on those forever. We feel like crying at the parting of this old friend who represents so much of what we used to be that recent life has taken from us.

Her name is Road Gnome. Go Road Gnome, and find a new home with someone who will ride you as exhilaratingly as we once did. You are ours no longer—but you were born to run. Much like Camelot we can never return, but we will always have the pictures and memories of those few exquisite years of daring. Man, I can’t tell you how this hurts….a chapter of life closing that you know you will never have again.