Sunday, July 31, 2011

Final Drive: Much ado about nothing

No, this article is not about Shakespeare, nor is it about nuptials either. In fact it's more like Seinfeld, in that it's not about anything in particular.  So instead of a show about nothing, it's a column about nothing or much ado about nothing.

I usually have an article idea days or even weeks before I write. For some reason, I couldn't come up with any ideas this time around. Like a student frantically trying to remember the answer to a test question, the harder I tried, the more elusive it became. May be it's because I may have pissed someone off with my last column, or may be I may have run out of ideas. Lord knows I don't want to piss anyone off, but it is one of the few things I am good at.

That said, on this Sunday morning, I decided to write about nothing. Well, not exactly nothing, but with no plan or should I say no destination in general, other than getting it done. Right now my thoughts are on a trip I am planning to go on in three weeks time. In fact, in three weeks, I should be in Oregon at this time. On the Friday before, I will have left home with a friend, Tom, AKA TRosco, on a trip to the Rally in the Redwoods. Tom and I used to be owners of Kawasaki Vulcan Nomads and members of KawaNOW or Kawasaki Nomad Owners World-wide. We still participate in discussions on the KawaNOW forums even though I have moved on to a BMW and Tom has moved on to a Gold Wing. This trip has been in the planning for some time, my having made reservations months ago, but it hasn't hit home until now. Last weekend I did some preventive maintenance on my R1200RT, changing the oil, transmission gear oil and final drive gear oil. The only thing left is to decide if I need to replace the tires now or later. With 4000 miles on the bike, the tires are not nearly done, but could be sometime during the trip as we will be riding 4-5000 miles in nine days. After looking at the tires, I think I will be ok. If worse comes to worse, I can stop in Salt Lake City on the way back or Medford Oregon to have the tires replaced. BMW dealers are pretty good at servicing motorcyclists on the road.

Devils Tower
Still, I have apprehensions about the trip. My longest motorcycle journey before this one was a ride out to the black hills a couple years ago. That was 665 miles each way, doable in one day. This will be a real test of my motorcycle and myself. Tom and I want to make Rawlins Wyoming on the first day. That is about 750 miles. The conventional wisdom here is that it will make the rest of the trip shorter for each day, with the last day being less than 300 miles. Can I do it? Then there are the groups rides for three days. I may take a day out to visit a friend in Arcata and then there is the ride back. I have my doubts about the bike and myself. While BMWs have a storied history of reliability and have their own motto of "Unstoppable", I've also read about other people's trips that didn't quite turn out that way. Then there is my own history with that Custer trip. My ass hurt for a week after that. I am wondering if I am in for quadruple the pain. All I remember is upon arriving home, I sat in my comfy chair and it felt like I was still riding the bike. For quite some time.

So, instead of focusing on the negative, for which I have a special talent, I really should look at the upside. I will have nine days to really hash things over in my mind, allowing for a continuous autodidact of my current situation and decide on what's next. I am the type of person that needs time and space to reflect on things in order to make a good decision. It's not that I cannot make good snap decisions, I can in emergencies, but with my current opportunities I need a little more time, clarity and focus. This trip will provide me with those opportunities. I also hope to meet new people, make new friends and some connections too, as I understand that representatives from Kawasaki will be there. It really is an opportunity on so many levels, with the common theme of proving myself, if for no one else but myself. If there's one thing I can tell you about reaching middle age, it's that there is a frustration where the fire burns inside and the desire to say "I am" burns strong, yet the body isn't as willing and the mind isn't as confident. It's not so much a crisis of age per se, but one brought about by the realization that there are fewer days ahead than before and upon examination, things haven't gone as well as we planned. In my own case, couple this with some health issues (cervical disk issues) that have to be addressed soon and have had an impact on my strength. As a physical person who not that long ago felt immortal and unbeatable, I suddenly feel vulnerable. In spite of this, the fire IS still there. Some may say the heart is the last to die, when at that point, acceptance is the only way short of a self-imposed post-life experience facilitation. Lets hope we pick door number one.

So, here I am on a Sunday evening, wondering what to write about, where I am going, and what I will do. Much ado about nothing? Not really, but at least I know I did write, I will go and that I will do something. Things are always better on a motorcycle anyway, no? I think so.

Thank you for reading this blog.


I welcome and wish good luck to Eurosport of Asheville, which is opening this week. They are a new BMW dealer in North Carolina. Good luck Justin and Thomas.

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