Well, my wife and I stole ourselves away for a weekend in the big city….Atlanta. While there I had two life-changing experiences…

The first, and by far the most important. I have always regretted the fact that life has gotten so complicated. Me with work. My wife with our daughter, her mother, and her volunteer work. While I do not regret the relationships in our lives, especially the one with our child, the complications that all of our concern for others creates along with our various responsibilities, require a great deal of time. Time that, when we were first married, some 27 years ago, was filled with just us. Sometimes, we did nothing, that required leaving home. Other times, we went off on adventure. Picking a direction and proceeding just to see what was over the next hill. Those days are mostly gone. But, it is nice to know that when we are left alone, left to our own devices, we fall together again to frolic just like in days of old. Like many of you, I know too many couples who no longer frolic, heck they barely look at one another, speak, or acknowledge any remaining affection. Fortunately, for us that is not the case. Although I do believe that my daughter wishes it were more the case. She has constantly reminded us that we “did” have a couple of days alone, and now we “need” to talk to her….not just each other. Eh, what does she know??? Oh yeah, the life-changing part, well, maybe it didn’t change my life…merely reinforced what I thought to begin with…. Our relationship is the axle upon which these lives revolve. Without a solid axle the whole machine stops running. Too often couples allow other things to weaken their relationship, never realizing the fact that the erosion of that relationship endangers everything…..

Ah yes, the second experience. I have ridden a bunch of motorcycles over the years. Many of them were scary. Some were fun. Heck, some were even mine. In all of these years I had never ridden anything with a Harley-Davidson engine. But, like many others I had read the derisive remarks of the magazines, websites, and fellow riders. But, also like many of you I have been intrigued by the devotion of the Harley faithful. And, since Buell has recently begun to produce Harley-powered sportsbikes I thought I’d give one a try. So, while we were in Atlanta, we went to Stone Mountain Harley-Davidson, just to give one a try. I had read with great interest about the Buell Blast. So, that is what I chose. I figured it wasn’t that much larger than my Ninja 250 and shouldn’t scare the crap out of me.

When I asked could I ride one the sales lady quickly agreed. I was surprised how easy that was. Most Japanese motorcycle dealers won’t let you test ride anything. So, I put on my gear….she was surprised that I had all of my stuff….body armor and all. It was 28F outside, but I was toasty warm. While I was donning my gear, she readied the bike. I was so excited. She reassured me that I would be fine. I attempted to start off…killed it. Killed it again. Killed it again. Killed it yet again…..aaaarrrrgghhh. What a touchy clutch. Finally, I got going. Had to stop and check my fillings. OMG, this thing almost rattled the boys loose….eeeeegggggaaaaaddddd. I have ridden thumpers before, but this was crazy. It never seemed to get better. I hated the riding position. I hated the vibration. It was slow. It had no power. It was terrible. My 250 is much faster, much sharper, and has more usable power. Sorry Eric, the Blast is a bust.

While I was getting ready to ride the Blast, the saleslady suggested that I try a Sportster. I really didn’t want to. I knew about Harleys. I figured it wouldn’t be any fun. I am such a left-brained guy that I am almost never surprised. I research things to the point of adnaseum. I spend hours and hours on each little detail. So, I knew about Harleys. But, I figured why not??? So, she got a Sportster ready too.

After I vibrated my self away from the Blast, I went inside to regroup and tell my wife how much I hated that thing. Then, I went out to the white Sportster sitting quietly outside. It fired right up…very little vibration. Then I eased away….I mean literally eased away. No problem. I gave a bit of a twist…off we went. I rode around and around and around…..and…..and….and….well, you get the picture. Yes, there was some vibration, but it was nice. What a smooth motorcycle. I had a Yamaha 650 Maxim, years ago with an inline-4, that was smooth, but nothing like this. No, it wasn’t overpowering….just smooth. What great brakes. Hey, wait a minute…this is a Harley…isn’t it???? Have I been wrong?? Maybe this is why….maybe this is the mystique. I am shocked. I don’t have words to express how I feel…other than I really want one. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the Ninja, but this was different. I have never had a machine induced life-changing event, but I think I just did. I have been concerned lately that if my daughter goes off to grad school my bike might not be the best choice for the interstate between here and there….so, I have been looking for something a bit bigger. I think I found it…in the most unlikely place of all. Now, I think I understand why they are selling as many as they can make…wow.

So, what do I take from this weekend….I need to get my wife on the back of that Harley. We’ll go adventuring. I know we’ll frolic.

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I’m not sure exactly when it happened…but, it is here. I’m not sure how it got so bad, but it is. I’m not really sure exactly when or how I gave over to it, but I did…..

It was a rainy Thursday around here, as it was in much of the SE U.S. It was also a bit cool for this area….some 28 degrees F. I TOOK THE TRUCK TO WORK….there I said it. I am ashamed, but I said it. I felt walled in. I felt…..caged…..a sheep on the road of life surrounded by other sheep. Waaaaa, er baaaaa????

My Ninjette was at home….I was alone. No motorcycle. No wind. No helmet…..I did think about wearing it in the truck with the windows down, but I didn’t want to hear that kind of laughter from my wife and child, I’ve heard it too often. I thought about racing home during my planning period and riding it back, but I had grading to do…drat.

When the freezing rain, sleet, and just plain cold rain ended late that night I could feel life coming back to my heart and mind. Yes. Yes. Yes. Friday!!! The cover would come off the Ninjette and I would ride again……couldn’t wait.

That is, of course, until Friday came. Sure, I rode away from home gleeful and thankful. Until, I came upon the sight seers. What is going on??? The speed limit on the road I take is 45-55mph, why are they DOING 25-30mph with their foot on the brakes and no where to turn or stop?????? I just don’t understand. AARP should cancel their membership…they are too old. If you are too scared to get out and go…..DON’T GO.

I am normally a patient soul. I have been known to hand-feed box turtles, but this is just rediculous. LOOK IN YOUR MIRRORS…when you see a long line of traffic building up behind you….ITS YOU!!! YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. In addition, the small town I work in has very limited access and between the sight-seers, trains, etc., it gets congested real quick…DON’T BE THE CONGESTION….BE THE COUGH. Clear it up. Get it out. This is happening too often.

Between the trains, sight-seers, and the white women trying to cover up their faces with goo (using their   mirrors no less), it is a wonder any of us make it to work without having a coronary incident. I mean you have the right to be so ugly that you need to wear a chemical mask, but have the decency to put the mask on…..AT HOME. Not where you are endangering my life…..aaaaaaa.

Oh yeah, I guess I didn’t notice it when headsets for cell phones got to be so expensive. They must be, for I see so few people using them. How hard is this??? Yeah, talking to Gramma about her pathetic little dog is far more important than….SAFETY. Thanks a lot. But, what the heck, lets add it a smoke, some coffee, and a nice read while we’re at it. You people amaze me.

Over the past year or so I have ridden a bicycle and a motorcycle to work. I love the freedom and the fresh air. And, since I have been out of motorcycling for so long, until recently, I forgot how much I hate cagers. Stupid, stupid, stupid people. Probably the same morons who yell and scream at their kids about their driving too. AAAAArrrrggggghhh, where do you think they learn how to drive so badly, HUH?????

Yes, I am an addict. Two wheels. NOT FOUR. Fresh air. Not scurrying desperately trying to reach the car from the house without dropping the phone. While my addiction is my own problem, I would like to arrive to work and home…….ALIVE…QUIT CUTTING ME OFF, QUIT TAILGATING, QUIT SMOKING, QUIT TALKING, QUIT PLAYING, and drive like a human…not just a humanoid.