Last week I had a short workday and decided to call my mother to see if she was up for some company; which, lucky for me, she was. “I’ll put the coffee on”, she said. My parents live in the shadow of the Pocono Mountains in southeastern Pennsylvania. There are a dozen ways to get there from my house. I can take a highway and get there in 20 minutes or take the back roads I grew up on and take an hour.
I love rides when I have no destination in mind, where I can find new roads and explore a bit; but it’s also nice to know where you’re headed, to let someone know you’re coming, especially someone you love. I left home relatively late in the day, since my run-in with a Pennsylvania white tail deer a couple years ago, I shy away from riding after dark, so I left mom’s place for home at around 7:30pm.
I rode home at dusk as the air was cooling to the point where I could feel it settling on my skin. The sun was setting, but putting up a good fight, still back-lighting the clouds in front of me with its fading glory. I headed home down my favorite section of back road through Jacobsburg State Park. I hit a twisty section that I’ve ridden a hundred times, but it never felt quite like that. Maybe it was the hour, maybe the weather, maybe the visit with mom that had improved my outlook, I’m not sure, but for whatever reason I found myself thinking “no one’s ever seen this before, not like this, this is all for me”.
At the risk of sounding overly emotional (which I have a tendency to do) I thought about the movie The Truman Show, a favorite of mine. It was so perfect that I imagined it had to have been staged just for me. That, if I’d rounded a curve a few seconds before I was expected, I’d have seen the stage hands hiding the ladders they’d used to hang the clouds just so.
If anyone ever asks me what one thing I am thankful for that motorcycling has given me, I’ll say this: Motorcycling, with all its speed, sound, and complexity, has enabled me to stop dead in my tracks, notice the splendor I’m blessed with, and be thankful. I find that many of my rides embody that sentiment, whether I set out to create it, or discover it along the way doesn’t matter, it’s there either way.