Excerpt 20160914.7

“… to change the world, of course!” I said.

“Windmills!” he replied. “Don f-ing Quixote!”

I laughed it off, knowing that he was mostly right. Yet also knowing that I couldn’t NOT try. ”Isn’t that what we are all about anyway? Obstacles… Ob – stack – culls… Those that impose their might on us, defer our dreams, impede our motions toward happiness… we’re here, mud crafted from the ether, to overcome, to rise above, to … ‘windmills….’ Hahaha”.

“But the core of the sentiment really is true, I believe,” I continued. “We strive to hold to our values, and exhibit them in our behavior every moment of every day. We fail, and sometime miserably. But the human spirit, or better yet, the spirit within our human, lives to see those values, those ideals of truth come to some form of fruition… to be the process in attaining the fruits of our labor… to be the catalyst for ignition. Obviously we need to find our satisfaction in the realization that we did overcome, that we stood free and honest, that our iron will, humility, courage, and compassion made a difference… that there somewhere amongst the timbers of our life, stands the cabin or the cathedral, as testament to what we strive to aspire to…

“So, Hell yeah! Change the f-ing world, damnit! Windmills, my ass! After all, Don Quixote’s initials are DQ… Wanna get some ice cream man?”

“Sure thing windmill boy.”

The Physics of Aging

It calls,
I refuse,
but the rest of me follows…
into the grey with pock marked skin,
wrinkles defining a last bastion of defiance.

I win so many,
those little battles…
losing weight,
gaining strength,
outwitting the youngers,

but then it calls me…
pulls me along a path that I can neither define, nor resist…
strange aches at dawn,
gasps of pain that I’ve never felt there before…
sits my healthy ass down with a plop,
gives me a cane to rise again,
jeers at me…

knowledge overcomes the fear;
studious adaptations,
modified living,
physical therapy…
I win again.

It’s waiting for my confidence to build,
for my testosterone driven libido to stand just a bit too proudly…
then it will call me.

I know this game,
now.

Newton had it right…
“a body in motion remains in motion
until it is acted upon by an external force”.

Aging…

the physics of it entertain,
yet annoy,
try my patience and courage,
shake my confidence
yet stir iron will from my soul.

I heard someone say once,
“aging isn’t for the faint of heart”,
or maybe it was something like,
“only the courageous grow old”…
either way, they’re both right.

It calls,
I‘m forced to listen,
forced to learn…

Remembering the Pier

leary2

“Not quite the same,” I said sarcastically.

She laughed, “It was on fire last time!”

“Yup…”

“But it was such a beautiful night. You with roses.”

“Just trying to get into your pants.”

She giggled. “What happened to little Bobby? He make it through? We never saw him.”

“Yeah,” I replied, “I found him at the old bagel shop. Married now.”

“No way!” she laughed, “Bobby? Married?”

“The mean girl from the bakery.”

“Didn’t see that coming!” she chuckled. “Maybe he didn’t survive the pier fire after all!” she burst out laughing.

“Yeah, we’re dead. He’s still playing with fire!”

Written for Friday Fictioneers, prompted by the image above. 100 words maximum, and quite a challenge. Lots of fun, tho’!
https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/
photo courtesy of http://erinlearywrites.com/

Colorado, Gettysburg, Savannah loop – days 13 and 14 – the end

5-June –
Aaahhhh – Bliss!

The morning opened to what looked like potentially bad weather, but the awesome raisin bran and yogurt at the motel managed to rearrange my perspective, as usual. I realized that the bad weather in view was that which I was working so hard to avoid. And sure enough, the “mother it” was hanging over northern Oklahoma and Kansas, destined to kick Missouri’s butt! To the west, toward Amarillo, I could see the beginnings of a beautiful sunny June day. Ahhhh, the path before me looked awesome.

The air was already warm and I took off in t-shirt and jeans. The sun slowly burned its way through the receding overcast sky and began to warm the day perfectly. The only negative side effect was the cross wind. It started out at about 10mph from the south, then gave up for a bit, then picked up to about 20mph from the north. Psychotic air! Blowing, sucking, blowing… tidal flows of wind! It all worked out, of course, as first my left ear took the brunt and went near deaf at first, then later my right ear… all’s fair!

When I made Amarillo I cruised the old US-66 strip that my dad used to drive when we travelled between California and Indiana, before the interstate system. Yes – I am that old! Odd tho’, old Amarillo looked beat up and tired. Not much to cling on to from a memory perspective. Anyway, I made my way to Tripp’s Harley Davidson shop. One last chance for one more t-shirt. But hey! I bought a white one for a change! Out of the ordinary, I do believe.

From Amarillo it was US-287 north where the southerly diving wind hit me head on. So no more ear issues just reduced gas mileage. Not bad.

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t bitch a little about Oklahoma. In the sum total of interstate 40, there were 2 rest stops, and one was closed. The roadways, no matter if primary or secondary, were pathetic. The highway guys simply can’t build level roads, and the patch jobs are even worse. On a motorcycle, the constant “thumpity-thump” over bad road seams will drive you out of your mind, and you begin to worry that the bike is just going to fall apart. Worse yet, I had to enter and leave Oklahoma twice, as I had to cross the dang pan handle too.

As I entered Colorado, I stopped Miss Mae by the “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” road sign, got off, turned back to face the “sooner” state and flipped off Oklahoma and told it to go “F” itself. Felt good to be done with it.

So, now I’m in Lamar Colorado waiting for the evening’s severe storms to play out. Then up and out early tomorrow ahead of the afternoon storm building activity. I should be in Fort Collins by about 1pm. Ahhhh Bliss!

6-June
D-Day – June 6th is the anniversary of the Normandy Invasion during WWII. 70 years to the day.

Since I will likely not write about my last leg of the journey, as I will be home in the arms of love and falling off of a bar stool with my wife… I’ll take a gander at how it will play out.

It will be slightly overcast in the morning and looking like it might rain. But over a reheated pre-fab omelet, I’ll see that it looks like a pretty normal Colorado June morning. I’ll prep Miss Mae for the worst and not have to engage the rubber man suit at all.

I’ll be ahead of storms that will brew in the afternoon, and will be behind those from the previous night. The air will be crisp and warm, clear and dry. I‘ll work on my tan and slide north to Fort Collins without much concern at all.

Or – I could be re-inacting the landings on Normandy by fighting my way through torrential rain, lightening, high winds and hail… unlikely.

But, the road is my guide, and the weather my keeper. Either way, my journey comes to an end on Friday.

This has truly been a memorable experience and one I will relish all of my days. It will rank highest among all of the other summer wanderings I have ventured on. I count my blessing and am quite thankful to have had this opportunity, and to have been blessed by good fortune along the way. Many nice folks and caring people out there. Many smiles shared.

That’s it!
Jay

Colorado, Gettysburg, Savannah loop – days 11 and 12

3-June
What is this TOR-CON system all about?

Well, I woke this morning to the weather channel explaining how the Midwest was going to get clobbered with severe weather and tornados. Tor-con values were at 7 in Nebraska, and down to a 4 in Missouri and Kansas. This really wouldn’t be much of a problem for me today, as I would be primarily in Tennessee and Kentucky. However, the forecast showed severe weather concerns for western Kentucky (i.e. Paducah where I intended to land for the night) and then more of the same through Missouri and Kansas during the days that follow, which again was centered over my planned path home. Humph!

My intended route was supposed to take me through middle Missouri and Kansas through Friday morning… Now I was concerned that I may not be able to effectively move across these regions, or at least well enough, to make my plan of getting home to Fort Collins Colorado by Friday afternoon a reality.

So – I decided I would take my best shot with the looming darkness in Blue Ridge Georgia and try the roads through Tennessee and Kentucky. Then, I’d probably skirt to the south, toward Memphis, once I hit Bowling Green Kentucky.

So after another wonderfully flavorful motel free breakfast… I packed it up and was off.

The ride out of Georgia and into Tennessee was under looming skies, but these quickly cleared up. The road was absolutely incredible. Just what I was hoping and waiting for. Miles of winding country roads, mountain roads, beautiful vistas, lakes, streams, etc. Wow! What a beautiful ride.

It took the better portion of the morning to finally get far enough north into Tennessee to start considering my path westward and then into Kentucky. But when I got to the vantage point of Crossville, TN, I saw the dreaded “it” hovering dark and foreboding over the border. Crap!! That f-ing “it”!

Given all of the weather news that was showing impending severe storms for my route, and given that I really didn’t want to spend a day traipsing along the Tennessee / Kentucky border in the human condom… I decided I would simply aim toward the southern escape route; that being through Nashville, Memphis and into Arkansas. I’ve taken this escape route before, and it has managed to keep me away from the severe storms, and usually puts me into hot southern sun and riding bliss.

So, off I went… intent on finding heat. Intent on working on my tan.

The road through Nashville and into Memphis was long, and it had its usual summer time construction delays and such, but it turned into a really beautiful day, filled with sun, sunscreen, and a beautiful highway trimmed with pines, and much in the way of awesome scenery.

By the end of the day I found myself in Forest City Arkansas, deeply tanned if not a bit burned, and tired, yet exhilarated by the day’s ride.

The change of plan has now allowed me the opportunity to poke through the Ozark Mountains, which I will do tomorrow. This is the side perk of the escape route. I love riding the Ozarks. This will be my third pass, yet on another unique route.

Anyway – it’s been a great day! And while Nebraska and the upper Midwest clings on for fear of being blown away, I will sleep easy and dream of tomorrow’s road. Good luck Nebraska! Iowa too!

4-June –
The longest day –

Today started out as planned, and with a beautiful summer sky. After another stunning motel breakfast, and a quick study of the weather, I followed through with the notion that I would transverse north and then west across the state, only to return south to the interstate 40 corridor.

The idea was to get as much out of the Ozark Mountains as possible, without drifting into Kansas and the rotten weather making a stand up there. Seemed like a great idea! The net would be a 210 mile route through the mountains, over a 4 ½ hour period, in place of a 134 mile, 2 hour trek down the interstate.

It was a great ride and the Ozarks never fail to please, but by this time in the two week journey, I began to question just why I thought I needed to do this. This feeling was especially prevalent toward the end of the mountain loop. The bottom line is that I really enjoyed it, but I’m obviously ready to get back to home.

So, once I rejoined the interstate 40 west crowd, I felt obligated to press toward Oklahoma City, OK before night fall. The Akransas and Oklahoma day was incredibly hot, humid, and seemingly endless. This day has certainly changed my skin tone by a few notches. Who needs a tanning bed when you have a motorcycle in summer!

I finally made it to El Reno OK before giving up. 540 miles in total today. Looks like one more solid day to Lamar Colorado, and then a half day to get back into the Fort (Fort Collins that is).

Stay tuned. The weather is scheduled to capture me before I get done with this thing… one more time.

Colorado, Gettysburg, Savannah loop – days 7 through 10

30-May, 31-May and 1-June
A good ride to Georgia

Not a lot to say about the journey, other than the weather cooperated, and it didn’t take long at all to get to my daughter’s house.

Once there, it was southern bliss, Georgia style. I can’t recall when I’ve had such a good time with my daughter Jami and her husband Jay. My sister and her husband came up from Florida for the weekend too. What a real pleasure.

Too many stories to enumerate here, but the bottom line is that this weekend made the entire trip, the “it”, and all of the hours and miles more than worth it.

2-June
Time to point my nose to the west

It was a beautiful morning in Georgia. My daughter and I had coffee with the sunrise overlooking one of the ponds near her house. Great way to greet the day.

The weather was pretty much perfect when I pulled away with the last tearful goodbyes. Nothing like the road and some good riding to put your mind into the future.

My first target was Toccoa Georgia. It is there that the WWII paratroopers initially trained. It is also there that my dad trained as well as part of the 517th PRCT. His uniform hangs in the Toccoa train station, renovated as a WWII museum. The ride was quite beautiful and rather long. Many miles on secondary winding Georgia roads, dribbling through small towns and such. An incredibly relaxing and beautiful ride.

I found the museum as expected. Spent some time with the 517th exhibit and Dad’s items placed there.
Subsequently, I went out to the field where the base used to be. It was decommissioned in 1944 and there is really not much there now. However, the ground now belongs to the museum and some building is going on to bring back some of the old barracks and such. Always good to see the area quietly placed at the bottom of Mount Currahee.

I didn’t spend too long, and began my journey to Blue Ridge Georgia which is where I hoped to land for the night.

Here again, the ride was a real pleasure as the road wound its way through the Blue Ridge Mountains and Northern Georgia. The sky was a brilliant blue and the temps were just about right. Truly a perfect day of riding with Miss Mae.

So I’m now in Blue Ridge contemplating the weather forecasts and my plans to get to southern Kentucky without running into any severe weather. Plans are never cast in concrete on the road… So we’ll just have to wait and see what the morning brings…

More to come.

Colorado, Gettysburg, Savannah loop – day six

29-May – When is rain not really rain?

I awoke to a wet Gettysburg and a local forecast of rain and continuing rain. Breakfast didn’t buy any time for the weather to change its mind, and so I set Miss Mae up for rain. This means putting the food and water and Gatorade in the side bags where I can access them, and sealing up the Saddleman to protect my various belongings (clothes, computer, camera, …).

As for myself, I hotly debated whether to put the dang human condom on, or just go with leathers… I figured I could jump into the rain suit in about 45 seconds, so long as everything else about the bike was pre-set for stormy weather. With that, I opted for the leathers, but did add a sweatshirt layer as it was only 53 degrees. Dang cold front! And off I went.

Started out simply enough, but the air was heavy with mist, or maybe a drizzle. It was odd, as when I stopped for a traffic light, there was no rain coming down, but everything was wet and getting wetter. I was beginning to think that maybe I should have put the rubber man suit on anyway…

It didn’t take long to get convinced. When you ride without rain protection, there is a puddle of water that begins to pool in the seat, in your crotch. Well, needless to say that the 53 degree morning air had “the boys” crying out or some consideration. Crap… I had to give in. So off to the berm of the road in the middle of commuter traffic heading into Maryland and DC and the surrounding areas, on US 15.

It was about 45 seconds and I was ready to go again… aaaahhh… sweet dryness. “the boys” were happy. The air held thick with no rain but incredible amounts of moisture for the better part of the day. Good move.

The road was confounded some when I found myself in a one lane country road traffic jam that ran for nearly 10 miles. Moving along at 2 to 5 mph really allows one to get a full gander of the beautiful Maryland, or was it Virginia?, countryside. Breathtaking scenery, and all of it with such an old world feel. After this had gone on for a while and I managed to get out of it, I stopped for some coffee and realized that I had spent 2 hours gaining ground over about 75 miles. WTF!!!!???

I could see myself explaining to everyone that I was eternally stuck in Virginia on US15 south and calculated that I might get home in time to carve a pumpkin. I had to make an adjustment. As stated before, nothing is as it seems on the road. Nothing can be cast in concrete and adaptation is the key to sanity, and probably progress too. So I found a diagonal route to I-95 south and made my way there.

I really don’t relish riding the interstate, but in this case it was warranted as I needed to make some progress… today. The interstate was actually really nice. The road remained about 50% dry, and I stayed about 50% wet. Where is that line when hanging moisture, or drizzle, is considered to be in enough volume to be counted as rain? I think there’s a theorem in there that needs to be extrapolated from somebody’s previous measurements on humidity, dew point, and all that! I worked on it for a while as I rode, but only came up with “it’s wet”.

The day actually went fairly well and the scenery was beautiful.

The odd experience of the day was when I entered North Carolina and I started seeing billboards for JR. Now I buy my cigars from JR cigars out of North Carolina, but these billboards also talked about cosmetics, cowboy hats, boots, and an assorted number of things. Could this be the same JR company?

Well, it was, and I did stop long enough to take my picture in front of the giant warehouse in Raleigh, and change out of the wet suit as it was now hot, and the clouds were lifting. I wanted to go find the owner, talk to him in a heavy Brooklyn accent and explain that I had travelled across hells half-acre to beg for a free cigar… But the photo was good enough, and I continued to make jokes to myself, in a heavy Brooklyn accent, about how the boys at the bowling alley would be pretty envious of my experience.

Of course, in doing so I tempted the road gods again, by giving them time enough to brew a storm, and offering myself up unprepared. And as luck would have it, I ran into the “it” again… Forced again to put that dang rubber sweat box on one more time, I faced the inevitability of a good soaking. Fortunately for me, the rain started only about 5 miles before my day’s end destination in Lumberton, NC. I think we (the road and the ride) squared up even for the day, when all was said and done.

So now I’m only about 250 miles from Savannah and my daughter Jami and her husband Jay. Looking for a change in the weather, but have no clue what I’ll awake to.

More to come – good night.