I don't do rain on a motorcycle. I told Tim a year ago if I saw green globs on the radar I was cashing it in.
In 2004 I rode from Wyoming to G-Burg in the rain. Crazy, but I did. It was not fun. I should have just got a motel room and camped out till it cleared up but I was already on the road and wanted to get home. In an oft-told story I was hunkered down under a viaduct watching the rain fall and wondering what I should do. After about 30 or 40 minutes I heard the faint, torqued, and easily identified rumble of some sport bike approaching in the rain on the interstate highway. I moved outside, just in time, to get a glimpse of three crotch rockets zooming by in the rain, seemingly unafraid of the danger. That seemed to give me enough courage to get back on the rain and I drove all day in the stuff. A Herculean feat by most standards. Driving in the rain all the way out of Wyoming, into Iowa and by day's end, Illinois. It wasn't a constant heavy rain, often it was. Sometimes it would modulate enough to give you hope it was quitting, but then dash your hopes by the steady fall of water that soaked my boots, my bags and its contents and jacket. It was a miserable experience that sucked all fun out of riding - battered by the suction of trucks on the road and the falling rain from above. After that experience I vowed never to do it again.
Fast forward to September 3rd, two Saturdays ago. My bags all packed and loaded for our long-awaited South Dakota trip. I got a call informing me of a forecast saying rain on the following Thursday and Friday, our travel days to return. A cold sweat starts to form. I quickly check The Weather Channel forecasting and they are calling for 60% rain, possibly heavy for the following Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. I text Neighbor Tim. I tell him I am itchy - perhaps we should look at other options.
We meet at McDonald's at sun-up on Sunday. We look at the radar app on our phones and see a lot of green. I should also interject at this point that I needed to be home on Friday. That would allow 2 days to get there, two days to sight-see and 2 days to get back. There was no margin for a day off for rain, or 2 days, or three. Tim had no such limitations. He had to be back to work a week from Tuesday, so while I had six days, he had nine. Plenty of time to ride out the weather.
Somewhere from the phone call on my flight instinct grabbed hold of me and wouldn't let go. I bailed on the trip. I bailed on a friend. I bailed on an adventure. I fear I have lost a friend. I fear I have lost my nerve. I fear I have lost myself.
I offer no excuses - I can't. Because surely the fear wasn't such as to abandon a friend? If so, then what does a guy have to hold onto? Having been consumed by guilt all week I shall ask Neighbor Tim for an audience this week and throw myself on his good graces. He is an utter gentleman so I am certain of his forgiveness. But how do I forgive myself. Short of that I have nothing I can say or do until September of next year when I hope he will plan another trip and give me the opportunity to tag along. I will make no other plans - I will offer unlimited time. And if he allows me to I shall tackle the weather and my fears. It is my only hope for absolution.
Apparently being older doesn't guarantee wisdom. Again, I offer no excuses, I am, even a week away from it all still confounded at whatever was going on. My self-flagellation will continue, but this week's posts will not. For the first time since I initiated this site, I am taking another week off. For those of you who count on this with your morning coffee, I apologize to you as well. Somehow, today, it just doesn't seem to be a priority. This is a week for contemplation and reflection.
There was an old commercial on TV years ago. An older CEO type is talking to a room of employees. He talks about how business has slowed, maybe because they have all been on autopilot. At the end he starts handing out airplane tickets for his people to re-establish themselves with old accounts. Someone asks him where he is going and he replies that he is going to go talk to an old friend. I am too.