Thursday, September 15, 2011
Born to Ride
To my friend Rick
The horses were standing still and probably asleep when he started brewing the coffee. As he approached the stable, bringing them feed, his cigar smoke brought them back to the here and now. They snorted before one of them, Ibanez most likely, neighed and kicked the door expectantly. It was almost 3:00AM.
I do flock with strange company but such are my friends. Admittedly, I only have a handful of them but Rick and I go back a long way. He is after all my best friend. In all the years we've known each other our bond has been mainly one of sharing the hard and the easy times. We went on without setting eye on each other for 11 years but when we met at last it seemed as if our farewell had been only yesterday.
We left Ward, Arkansas with the break of dawn and rode over the next 36 hours through the hot and muggy American South for 700 miles (+1200 km). Riding nonstop for 6 hours a stretch, save for fuel and piss stops, the beasts beneath us writhed in the scorching heat then waded in the pouring rain. We only have coffee for food when we ride and won't touch a bite till we break the day. We stopped at Sarah's and Ron's for the night and Ron fixed us the best damn steaks I've ever had this side of the Mississippi, or on the other. When we left the next morning, the Jack Daniel's bottles were sitting empty on the kitchen table. I look forward seeing you again dear friends. Thank you both for the good times.
The black and silver Dyna SuperGlide took the road with an easy stride. She roared with delight and defiance with every spin of the wheels. She's Betty's mare, you know, the Harley I ride in America, and I have to tell her how honored I am that she entrusts me with her pride and joy. Thank you Betty, we have to find a way to ride together one day.
The fog hovered then reluctantly lifted off the fields and rolling hills. A deer stood motionless in the middle of the road. The rushing Harleys braked then banked and darted on the very edge. The startled animal wondered if it died and went to heaven. It was its lucky day, I guess, and ours. Images from the past flared with the dashing stripes of yellow paint on the two-way highway. Chimeras from the future giggled in my head as I droned on and on and on not too far behind my riding buddy. He slowed down and I caught up with him. “Is everything alright?”, he asked. Exhausted, consumed and worn-out, I nodded, “It couldn't get any better than this."