Friday, June 25, 2010

The Sounds of Motorcycles In the Summer Make Me Nostalgic
It's a strange fact that as you get older, more and more things tend to link back to things you've done in your past and then bingo!  Something will remind you of your past without warning... 
So we all eventually get to be that old coot on the porch, you know, the one that says -->  'I remember that when I was young, we used to....'.  
When you start finding yourself saying something along those lines, you just know you are getting old!
My latest reminder of this sad fact is the advent of spring moving into early summer...  Ah the dulcet sounds of motorcycles gunning their engines as they roar along the highways!
It sometimes reminds me of the late eighties when I had a motorcycle and I was touring all over British Columbia...
My ex-husband and I were avid motorcyclists, it was something that we both loved and we used all of our vacations to travel as far as we could around Canada, seeing the sights.  And British Columbia was a beautiful province to investigate on motorcycles...
 In fact, in the late spring/early summer of 1986 I decided that I was tired of being a passenger on the back of the motorcycle and I wanted my own bike.  So I learned how to ride and got my motorcycle license just in time to take my used Kawasaki 440 across Canada myself.  It was a nice shiny new license, I'd had it all of two weeks and there I was long distance touring!
You know what they say about jumping in where angels fear to tread?  Well, it wasn't that bad! two days of twelve to fourteen hour a day highway riding, I'd worked out a lot of my newbie traits and I was pretty confident on that bike...
It took us eight days from Kamloops, British Columbia to make it to Chatham, New Brunswick.  Considering that poor little bike didn't have much of a gas tank, the stops were very frequent!  Needless to say, the days ended up being quite long to make up for the lost time, but I loved the seemingly endless riding!  If really is quite different seeing the world on a motorcycle, you don't have all that metal surrounding you as you trail on down the road. You feel very close to the outdoors when you travel on a bike.
Initially, I had a windscreen and it was all clear plexigas even though it did have the right shape to keep the worst of the wind and rain off of me while increasing my speed potential by making my profile more aeriodynamic.  Unfortunately, I had a bit of a scrape in Alberta on the trip out and it broke so I had to deal with riding without one, which meant that I had the wind holding me up for most of the trip.  Needless to say, it slowed me down a bit, although it was often quite refreshing!  Unless it was raining, of course...  Which it did for six out of the eight days on the way eastwards...  But it was still fun!  Unfortunately, due to the wind effects, in order to pass transport trucks in Quebec, I literally had to lean forward on the tank in order to get up to a high enough speed to get by them.
The funniest thing that happened on the trip occurred on the way back, and unfortunately, I wasn't in the habit of carrying a camera around in those days, so I didn't get any physical record of it.  Probably the memory is much better anyway!
We were riding back towards Kamloops and had come to a section of the TransCanada that was being redone.  They'd ripped up the top layer of asphalt, ribbed what was left and were laying down miles and miles of a very fine oil preparatory to installing new layers of road.  So there we were riding our bikes through that in ninety degree weather...  And after many miles of driving through fresh oil, since I had no windscreen, I was literally coated with a thick tarlike layer of oil...  Of course the lineups were long, with lots of vehicles backed up and hanging around...  So I had quite a nice sized audience for what happened after that...
I was hot, tired, and sticky... So guess what did happen next?  Murphy's Law decided to kick in! 

I hit a bird with my front tire.

You'll never guess what happens when you hit a bird at fifteen mph if it's small enough...
It shreds.  And when it shreds, the mass travels upwards following the windstream and whoomph! 
Tarred and feathered! was it for me...  I pulled off the side of the road, leaning over my bike laughing my head off...  I had a lineup of cars going by me honking for dear life, and some of them even stopped to take pictures of me!
It's not everyday you get to see a biker lady covered in blood and feathers sitting by the side of the road...

By the time my ex noticed that I was no longer behind him, it was a good fifteen minutes later and I had collected my wits and was pretty calm (I thought!).
So when he roared back to where I was and calmly parked his Yamaha 750 Virago on the side of the road, I thought nothing of it... Until he walked up to me, brightly reached over and plucked a feather off my nose and said 'What's the matter dear?'...  That was it, I lost it again...  I'm afraid that as well as laughing, I just had to see if I could nail him with my helmet as a high speed toss after that one!
I'm sure the tourists had a pretty good laugh on that day.

Images by Teresa Young:
1. Unnamed surreal from early nineties,  2. Kawasaki 440 with surreal sun digital photo,  3. Closeup of New Brunswick Farm - 1985,  4. The Trickster - Feb.2009,  5. Force One - Jul.2001.
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Darlene said...

Great post Teresa! This must of been hard to get the oil out of your leathers? I do hope you did enjoy your trip though? Ever funny post.

Dalifan said...

Thanks Dar! No, the oil was fine, it was the blood and feathers that were a bit of a challenge;-) Yuck! LOL!