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."


Gabriela said…
I think that's the true and real friendship: meet the other one and greet at them as if the last farewell had been only yesterday.
You both had a great time indeed!
Abufares said…
I make one friend every 10 years or so and then keep him/her forever. No wonder I only have a handful of them. Time loses substance when we get together and is strangled within the eternal bond. A bottle of Jack Daniel's also helps of course in screwing up any concept of time :-)
Joseph said…
Where's the helmet, Abufares? lol And the riding gear!
I am so very envious. There is nothing like being with a deer friend/s. Faithfully, is a beautiful song... Perhaps, as well, you'd want to share with us the growls of that roaring beast you were riding.

Have a great weekend my friend.
Chet said…
Beautiful friends, beautiful bikes and beautiful country sides. That brought back memories of my younger days when I lived and traveled in the South. Thank you for the video.
Abufares said…
I knew someone was going to hit me with the helmet (or the absence of it) but I didn't know who. Oh well! In the State of Arkansas wearing a helmet is not mandatory. The video footage was shot mostly during a local morning ride (local as in within 50 miles of the home base). But trust me we were properly dressed from boots up to helmets on our long trip. A good biker (driver, pilot, whatever) is one who doesn't leave anything to chance.
I love this song and it means a lot to me personally.
The wind screeching noise picked by my camera's tiny microphone made it almost impossible to hear the music of the Harley Davidson engine. Glad to see you here my friend.
Abufares said…
I think I already told you that I like the people and the land of every single state I've been to but I'm really fond of the South. That's where I lived and where I have memories and friends.
On my latest trip to the US and on my way from Southern California to Arkansas I had a chance to visit New Mexico and was fascinated by the history and the landscape. I met a couple of very good friends there too ;-)
Thank you Chet for dropping by.
Isobel said…
Hi Abufares. Another great video! How thrilling! Well, there you are living the story I wrote about when I saw those Harley drivers. :) Beautiful countryside down south...and gorgeous machines! Glad you had a good time!
Abufares said…
I had a wonderful time.
At a red light somewhere along the road I pulled up next to my friend. Over the roar of the engines, he asked me shouting: "Do you ever enter into a droning mode on these long trips? Does your mind wander near and far?"
"Of course," I said, as in that particular moment of time I was droning and your Harley story was running on a big screen in my mind. She got it right, I thought, she should really be riding.
KJ said…
Such a lively bunch! Good on you old man! You certainly are enjoying life and that's something to look up to!

That said, I do believe a large part in the joys of riding is the scenery — and from the video I can't but feel envious :) in a good way.
Abufares said…
Hey Birthday Boy!!!
The scenery is the same whether you are in a car or on a bike. The difference, however, young man, is akin to wearing a condom (in a car) or bareback (on a Hot Harley).
Anonymous said…
Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I am reading your blog, but also I am super busy! I have my first solo exhibition ever on October 13th... it seems like a bad luck date, but that's what they offered me. I am presenting Ceramics and Acrylic Paintings. The ceramics are done, the painting not yet!

Anyway, it seems you had a wonderful time riding with Rick, and I am so happy for you. I have often wonder if Rick is your Pilot friend from back then when you started your flying lessons...

I will see your video later on.
Abufares said…
Best of luck with your exhibition. I know you will make a lasting impression and achieve overwhelming success.
Rick is indeed my "pilot" friend. We first met when he gave me my advanced pilot instrument instruction then we became colleagues and worked and played together as flight instructors and friends.
We've been friends for life since. That's almost 28 years Hebé!!! :-)

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