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A surreal tribute ride


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While talking to a very good friend last weekend as he milled parts for his lathe in his garage, he made a statement on a topic that he and I had not discussed for some time. He stopped, stepped back and seriously looked at me and said "part of the reason that you and I have always been good friends is that I live my life vicariously through you. You operate from a no fear standpoint and milk every last drop of life out of every day. I only wish that I could do that." On Wednesday morning I received a call from his son telling me that Tom had collapsed and died that morning. Spending most of that day in disbelief I was finally comforted by the thought of Tom and his dad and Tom's story of building a wooden speedboat in the garage in the seventies and their lifelong bond from that project.


Yesterday I took off on a head clearing ride to contemplate this friendship and the loss of it. As I headed out to Yakima to visit my daughter the weather was cold and gray as was my mood. Seeking a change of altitude in order to try and get above the gloom, I turned south on 97 thinking maybe I could get above the cloud cover in the valley. As I headed up Satus Pass it started to spit snow and the visibility worsened. I started to agree with my mother's assessment that I was not the sharpest tool in the pouch when I turned off at Goldendale and headed through the fog to Bickleton. By now it was getting dark and my thoughts were far away from the loss of a friend and much like a cat outdoors my focus was immediate. With visibility at around 200 feet and road rats around every corner I was traveling at 35 mph and still finding myself outdriving the stock lighting on the 1100 rt and by now it was raining and just flat cold even with the Gerbings on high. My problems were compounded by the fact that they had been sanding the road hard this winter and there were ball bearings on every corner. It took me almost two hours to get back down the hill hitting the divided highway at Grandview for a quick, although very wet and cold trip back to the garage. As I stood shivering in the garage taking off my gear, my thoughts again returned to Tom and our friendship of the last 25 years. He listened intensely to all of my tales of rides and I could see him shaking his head as I told him about this one.


Bon voyage, Tom. You and your dad now have time for a bigger project. I see a large wooden cruiser in your future.



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A good friend indeed.

A blessing to have both the memory and the opportunity to cherish the relationship.

I started a thread years ago about our "friends" and did our riding friends overlap into our work/dail interaction friends.

Sounds like you two were closer than some riding buddies even though all his saddle time was symbiotic.

Best wishes.

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i mourn with you. had a great, great friend pass a few years ago. we were bike/moto blood brothers. i think of him every time i ride. as time goes on you'll talk him during a ride or in a moment of reflection. he'll hear you.

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Sorry to hear of the loss of your friend.

With each passing day we are all getting closer to our last and I'm reminded we don't get any do overs..It's good that you guys were friends..The only thing that really matters much is relationships..All else is vanity..Be safe..

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Very nice. Sorry for the loss of your friend. You have memories to last a lifetime so he will continue to live on. We all should be so lucky.

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Larry, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear friend. Twenty five years is a lot of time to know someone and to have to go on without him will be hard. My condolences to you and his family.

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