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I bought the big bottle of Stabil earlier today becauseit's likely to be my last ride of the year. I'll pour some in when I finish the ride and top up the tank. It's 46 degrees and broken clouds, but a massive cold front is coming laterin theweek and the tips of the mountains are already a brilliant white. "We're gonna get a ski season after all," I mutter, asI zip up my Widder vest, pull on my riding jacket and pants, drop the Stabil into a sidecase, and fire up the ST......

I'm doing one of my iconic, ever-favorite rides, the familiar 55 miles from Ellensburg to Cle Elum and back alongside the Yakima River. The road is smooth, full of curves, and lightly traveled.... but even so, the drivers of the few cars and trucks I pass stare out at me like Iam a being just arrived from another planet. I guess people aren't supposed to ride motorcycles in December, at least not up here in Evergreen country..... ah well... to each their own.

Within minutes the vest is warmbeneath my jacket, and the ST enters into the back and forth swinging rushofsweeping curves, theback and forth swinging rushthat is the bike's absolute element, and my heart begins to swell, my eyes tear at the corners, and the old songs of my soldier past play barely heard in the cold rush of air against my visor......

The odometer reads 3500 plus, not bad since I've had the bike only since September. A short year owing to the accident, but a good one..... a year in which I wrecked one bike and bought two, a year in which my wife and I survived the wreck, a year in which our love for each other deepened even more, a year in which I watched my son earn a Master's in Architecture from Washington State University, a year in which I actually lost my mother -- even though she still breathes, and a year in which I lost two friends that were hard woven into the richmemories of my youth.... a year of love and joy and heartache and pain and loss, a year fully lived, a year filled with the dark, Faustian bargain of conscious living... to be aware is to knowboth joy and sorrow.

The clouds in the mountain valleys are darker now, the air noticeably colder, I tuck deeper into my clothing -- and the bike steadily and inexorably picks up speed. "Hum on, old son," I mutter to nothing. "Damn, but you're a good bike, a lovely, responsive, thrumming and throbbing machine that causes my heart to soar and my soul to sing; I will ride you now and forever, as long as the fire beats in your cylinders and my blood in my heart! You'll sleep soon, for awhile, but the spring will come, the snow will melt, the blues skies willopen -- and we will ride like this again! Goddamn! But it's good to be alive!"

Ahead me the road stretches like a grey line, both known and unknown, a line that I must and want to travel until it's very end, an end I both love and hate, but a way and an end that Iaccept.......
 

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Thank you CJ....enjoy your posts.....
 

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You know too well my friend that time flys so quickly for us. Before you know it, you will be out hitting the starter again, asking where did the snow go?

Maybe we would better be dullards, sitting at home doing nothing and thinking how slow life goes by.

Not a chance in h*ll!!!
 

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Well I know you talk a lot about skiing, so no doubt you will be doing that as well. And you will be here a lot. You going to do anything to it while it is resting, the bike that is. :)

And of course I'll be telling you how nice it is to keep riding:action:
 

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CousinJack- I truly hope you write some of those beautiful words for your wife? My heart did a pitty pat as I read... thanks for sharing!
Susan
 

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Come to Knoxville CJ and ride with me all winter. I know you love your snow and mountains though, and actually enjoy your time on the skis. Spring will come soon enough; you will trade the skis for two wheels and will be one with the road again.

I have been wanting a BMW 800cc bike I have seen in the latest bake mags. The one capable of both highway and unimproved road use. It looks to be a great all around bike that is bullet proof. I don't know how I can manage it though.

Bernie
 

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Mel, I'm glad you got your "last ride" of the season in. I sort of got cheated out of mine by being in Tulsa. Yeah, I got my 152 miles in, and a week later I put 90 on her going to Grand Island and back for a funeral, but still...I didn't get that "Sleep well my fine steed" ride in that I normally do.

Oh well, guess she gets 2 next year, eh? :)
 

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Yeah, guys.... I hate to put the bikes up, but I love to see the seasons change, and I usually get one or two rides a month during the winter, when the temperatures rise a little and the roads clear......

sometimes I think I'd like to go south, go where I can ride year round..... Red and I both love the South, have always felt at home down there..... but Red's from a big, close-knit family who's been in the Kittitas Valley of Central Washington state for over a hundred years... she ain't leaving, and I ain't leaving her! She also still works at a job she loves, and my brilliant solution to the health insurance issue after my retirement was to be married to a much younger, still working woman! Smart, ain't I?

:cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1:

And I do have the skis, and my mountain Corpsman belt, and a mission of sorts, bringing down broken skier kids..... "baggin' and draggin'" them, as we say!

I am the most fortunate of men... Thank You, God.......I am humble (sort of!) and grateful in Your Presense.....!
 

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Bernie, before you shell out the hard green for that BMW 800, check out the Suzuki V-strom 650! Same purpose, same market share...... most people I know that have them (2!) absolutely love the bike! And I've never read anything bad about them, which isn't so with the recent Beemer offerings......... just my 2 cents anyway......

:action:

and you can buy two of the Suzukes for one Beemer!
 

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Thanks Mel! I will look into the Zuk!

Bernie
 
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