Thursday, July 16, 2009

Back in the Saddle

It had been almost two years since I felt the rumble of my motorcycle, "the orange crush", as it's been nicknamed by friends. Some people call it the creamsicle, but there is actually a bike in town that has a creamsicle painted on the tank! So, mine became the orange crush. I think I last rode my motorcycle in September of 2007. I'm sure we rode in the Riverdazzle parade the Friday after Thanksgiving in 2007, but I think we were both on Cliff's bike. Then winter came, and when spring arrived I was pregnant. It's now July 2009 and It's been over a year and a half since I've been out on my bike. I missed the old girl!

Our big debut was just a couple of weeks ago. We were heading into town for a little meeting and quick bite to eat at our favorite bar & grill, The Main Streeter. The Main Streeter is like home to us. We used to enjoy dinner there two or three nights a week sometimes and the owners and staff have become friends. We obviously spend less time there now that we have a little one at home, but we still get out and about once in a while!

So last Thursday we got the bikes out and we rode into town to the Main Streeter. I was worried that I had forgotten how to ride my motorcycle. I had to think when I first got on it, about what to do to get it started and go. I had to think for a split second about where the choke was, about the order in which to do things... turn the key in the ignition, pull out the choke, check to make sure it's in neutral, open the throttle to prime it, turn the on/off switch to run, squeeze the hand brake just in case it isn't in neutral, hit the start button. Yes! I remembered what to do. I was sure I was going to either kill the engine or wipe out once I got the bike in gear. Do you know what? Within a mile, it was just like... getting on a bicycle! It felt comfortable, familiar. I had no worries. I was, of course, careful as always, but we sure enjoyed the ride. After our little meeting in town, we look the scenic route home, stopping to pick up ice cream from Dairy Queen on the way!

Getting the feel of the bike for the first time in almost two years!

We went out on the bikes again on Friday night, riding into Hudson for Booster Days and the Fourth of July Fireworks show. I wasn't sure I wanted to deal with weaving through the crowds of people on foot and in their cars, finding a place to park, and then riding home again after dark, along with everyone else who was also leaving Lakefront Park after the fireworks. My sister hopped on the back of Cliff's bike and went with us and we had a great time. We parked just a block from the park, under an alley stairway (thank goodness for motorcycles that fit into tiny spaces). We met up with my brother and his family and some of their neighbors. We enjoyed cheese curds, corn dogs, and lemonade before staking our claim on a front-row seat of the fireworks. We sat just a few feet from the river, spread out our blankets, and leaned back against the cement retaining wall to soak in the sight and sounds of those wonderful Independence Day fireworks. We oohed and aahed and enjoyed every minute of it. And afterward, we rode home, with the images of the fireworks still dancing in our heads. When we got home, we were treated to deliciously refreshing Mojitos, courtesy of Liane.
Liane making us Mojitos after the fireworks

The following Monday was our seventh wedding anniversary and we didn't have too much planned. Gavin would be at daycare and Cliff and I took the day off to do something fun together, to reconnect. We took out the bikes and headed south until we came across a spot for breakfast, Angel's Hwy 63 Diner - it was just the greasy spoon we were looking for. I had fried eggs, sausage, & toast and an awesome cup of coffee. The coffee cups were an amusing addition to our yummy breakfast. Cliff's cup had a rooster on it and he asked if mine did too. I looked at mine and realized it was a hen. How cute. Angel (of Angel's Hwy 63 Diner) noticed us looking at our mugs and asked if we were laughing at her mugs! We assured her that we were appreciating them! What an amusing little detail... did all the boys get rooster mugs and all the girls get hen mugs? Seems I should have had a bit more coffee than what I had, because it was only moments after breakfast that did one of the dumber things I've done in a long time. (this is where my Mom should stop reading). I apparently wasn't paying close enough attention to what I was doing (and hadn't had enough coffee) and I dumped my bike over in the gravel. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. My bike suffered minor damage and I had to throw out the shirt I was wearing because it was now only a partial shirt, but all in all, we fared well. Of course, I was wearing long pants, gloves, and my helmet. If I had been wearing my leather jacket too, I probably wouldn't even have suffered a scratch. As it is, the road rash on my arm is almost all healed up already! As Cliff put it, if that was my crash (since everyone dumps their bike eventualy), it was a very graceful one! What is it they say about horses? If you fall off the saddle, get right back on again? After picking up the bike, assessing the damage, and realizing I was just fine aside from some minor road rash, we checked my bike to ensure it was mechanically unharmed. The clutch lever was broken off, but I could still squeeze the stub of it with two fingers, so I got back in the saddle and we continued our journey.

(Mom can start reading again) We rode southwest along one of our favorite country roads, winding along the discreetly flowing river flanked by old farm buildings and small fields tucked down in the valley. The winding rustic road brought us out to highway 35 at the mighty Mississippi River. We hugged the Mississippi for the last leg of our journey to Stockholm, one of our favorite tiny little river towns. While in Stockholm, we meandered through a couple of antique stores, the Abode art gallery, a pottery place, another art & jewelry place, the amish furniture store, had a beer at Gelly's pub, and pie & ice cream at the Stockholm Pie Shop. It's amazing how much time you can spend in a town that takes up only a single intersection. What a perfect afternoon... although I was disappointed to see that two of my favorite shops there were no longer in business and had been replaced by new shops and the pottery store where I normally buy a souvenir was only open on the weekends. Another fun shop that I always enjoy visiting is also closing soon. I guess that's a sign of the toll this economy is taking! After visiting quite literally every business in Stockholm, we headed back up along the Mississippi toward home, stopping for a couple of pictures at one of the wayside rests overlooking the mighty Mississippi. We ended our anniversary celebration with dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, reflecting back on our 7 years of marriage and our total of 15 years together! What a fun ride down memory lane!

What an enjoyable time back in the saddle! I missed that bike and I'm sure glad the 'old girl' and I have reconnected! : )


Big Sis said...

I have seen those coffee cups and really wanted to buy them! It sounds like a wonderful way to spend the day. It sounds like you really enjoyed it and it looks good on both of you!

Dreams and Designs said...

Glad you are OK!!! Great pictures, I had no idea you had and RIDE a motorcycle. Wow, learn something new everyday! We got 2 teeth at our house these past two weeks. Yikes! It was rough going for awhile but things are back to happy! :)