Today marks the end of yet another era. I am sad. I started this era back in 1995 when I spied a gleaming chrome and golden icon on the roadside near our house in Utah. I drove home, put Dave in the truck and drove back to where two shining Goldwings with For Sale signs on the windscreens were parked in the afternoon sun. His face said the same as mine, pure joy and envy.
We had to have it! That original gold Goldwing we bought that afternoon started a stage in our lives that has grown and flourished and persisted for decades. We could not even ride it home, neither of us had ever ridden before but we both knew we had to have it.
We took classes, learned the basics, and thought we could “share” this metal beast with a heart of gold, alternating days. That lasted a week. Dave found a black one for himself and I laid full claim to my temper-metal first child. That wing went places. All over the West. But mostly he saw the interiors of many a Motel 6, particularly on cool and misty mountain nights as he really, really did not like a chill and would stubbornly refuse to start.
So our job was to find suitable housing each night. This meant a motel with ground floor access, double sliding glass doors, and a scrap piece of wood to be fashioned into a ramp. Under the cover of darkness we would run him into the room, rearrange the beds to make a space for him and all three sleep soundly with and air freshener of gas and oil that was, in truth, more appetizing than most roadside motel odors.
As we approached our 4th year of riding we were planning our first cross-continent ride. Love our old sludge buckets as we did, new, more reliable ones were in order for a 10,000 mile journey. And thus the pair of brand new Wings were added, one white, one black…you figure out whose was whose. They, too, served us well, save for mine being somewhat temperamental…again…or as Dave would say, “Like father….Like Bike”, but more on idiosyncratic bikes later.
The third iteration of Wings arrived, as we did, with Oregon. Mine was the culmination of everything orange and flashy and chrome, hence the name “Bling”. But while Dave has taken to the road with arenewed fervor and enthusiasm, I have chosen another route altogether and while not exactly sure what and where that road is as yet, I know it does not involve riding anymore.
And so today I am sad.
Sad for the endings of life which, at our age, are coming more frequently than beginnings. Sad for the sense of loss I feel for an old friend, this “riding”, this identity, this feeling. Yet I know it is time. My passion for it is gone and therefore I am unsafe at any speed…with a nod to Ralph Nader. I should not be on top of these machines if I am not committed to the art and craft of riding.
And so I pass Bling along to his next home. They are already planning their first excursion to the Humboldt Redwoods this summer, a place Bling knows well. He will relish the journey. They will enjoy him immensely. And while I know I will have a twinge every time I see him out and about town, I also know it is his time to ride now, and mine has past.