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Part 2 of "You never know who your friends are gonna be"


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Four a.m. and public radio announces that it’s time to get up. Four a.m. and my body says NO WAY! I made it though, finished loading the ride, told Kimberly bye.

I love pressing that little green button at the beginning of a new ride. The official start button, the green flag. Clunk, green light off, flashing red lights go off and I’m under way. I had a leisurely twelve-mile ride into town. “Was I really doing this?” Ten till five I roll onto the square. There was my partner in crime finishing his strappings on.

I had hoped to listen to some Etta James on the way to Memphis, nice relaxing music to compliment the sunrise. Nix that idea five miles out when somehow my walkman crashed to its death at 70mph. Oh well, so it’ll be a traditional ride with just the wind and whirr of that perfectly capable boxer engine we’ve all grown to love and admire.

We hit Memphis city limits in just about an hour. Now, up to this point we haven’t really discussed each other’s riding style or preferences so this was a good time to pull over and synchronize our thoughts a bit. We also needed to figure out which road to take. We both knew there were several ways to get to Aspen from Memphis, we just needed to compare notes and figure out the prettiest rout. And I needed coffee.

So it’s final, we’ll take I40 west till we see a more interesting path heading in the same general direction and if we see or hear of a better way we’ll take that way. I know what your thinking but I40 has the bridge that gets us over the Miss. River you see. Fourteen hundred mile trip and that’s our plan? Good plan huh? I didn’t talk to Steven for another two hours until a McDonalds sign caught our attention. He was in no hurry and I was just along for the ride so I stopped when he stopped. Besides I needed more coffee.

Sitting in McDonalds I learned a little more about the man I was traveling with. I think up till this point we hadn’t accumulated more than an hour of total talk time since we first met. From here to Oklahoma City we got to know each other twenty minutes at a time. Stopping for fuel and power bars. Interesting thing though. Steven wanted to know why my gas bill was always less than his. We got exactly the same mileage. He was running super on a 2000 and I ran mid-grade on a 98. Sometimes I get the really clear expensive stuff from Amoco so I can watch the little red balls swirl around inside the nozzle. Simple pleasures for simple minds I guess.

In Oklahoma City we discussed when we might want to stop for the day. We decided it would be Amarillo, TX. I being the cheap one suggested we break out the Anonymous book and hook up with someone who might want to join us for dinner and treat us to a warm place to sleep. I left a couple of messages on answering machines telling of our trip and provided my cell # to contact me. At the next fuel stop I checked my messages to find that both people had returned my call. The first had told me that there was a wedding in the family and that they were uncomfortably overbooked already but wished us luck and said that if we couldn’t find anyone else we were welcome to camp out in the back yard. The next message was quite promising it said “Hey can’t wait to meet you guys, our son is at a slumber party so we have two empty beds, motor on!” Yee Haaa, Free room! That was cool. My first time using the book and it already looked like it was gonna pay off.

If any of you have ridden 40 across Oklahoma you know about the wind. I was really worried that I was going to have to replace my tires just because they were worn so badly on the left side. It must have been 200 miles (a little exaggeration?) of leaning really hard into the wind. Wow! At one of the fuel stops the wind caught me off guard and blew me over while just sitting there. My first dump and Molly’s first scratch and I wasn’t even moving!

An interesting thing happened to Steven on the next leg. Sometime during that exhaustingly boring stretch of road across Oklahoma he decided to see what it felt like to ride in excess of 100mph. Now that’s my kind of riding! Hundreds of miles and I hadn’t broken 100mph yet, certainly not normal for me. I was all over that. I guess he decided that 110 felt close enough to 80 that it should be legal. We blazed right through Amarillo and way ahead of schedule so on we rode. Yes, I did called our gracious hosts to be to inform them we would be passing through and onward. I may be cheap but not rude. I also needed to call my clients for the next day to tell them I was out of town and wouldn’t be back till whenever.

We did finally stop for the night but I don’t remember where. I didn’t care, it was late, I was cold and I needed some good hot food. Of course we stopped at a La Quinta Inn (my favorite) so we could use our BMWMOA membership card for a 10% discount. Yea I know! But Steven and I laid on the charm really thick and the really cute girl behind the counter didn’t have a clue. Thank you La Quinta for dinner on that seemingly endless night. I slept like my cat that night.

Sometime early the next morning we found ourselves sitting at a Mcdonalds again, trying to swallow that stuff they give you when you order coffee. Across the restaurant were six or eight sheriffs and troopers. Steven being the more open and friendly charmer of the group was voted to go find out where the speed traps were and to find out how much over the speed limit we could go before getting the blue lights. Guess what! Compiling all the information they gave us we decided that there were no state troopers on the highway cause they were all sitting right there farting around. We made a point of leaving before they did.

Before we knew it we were in Pueblo, CO. There we found the last BMW dealership before going over the continental divide. Actually it was the first dealership we passed. Steven’s Widder wasn’t working and I hadn’t yet purchased any good pants so we pulled in. I saw some Road Gear pants I liked but they didn’t have the right size so I asked about ordering some. The parts guy told me to hold on just a sec and made a phone call. “Yea hey this is XXX from XXX I’ve got a customer here who needs some pants can I send him over?” You see the man who owns Road Gear lived about a mile away in the neighborhood just behind the dealership. It’s a home-based business you know. Yea, so Aric picked up some sweet pants and no shipping costs either. I discussed Mansoor’s plans to hire sales reps since he didn’t have any.(more on that later) I wanted to be one. Think about it. Ride everyday, going to dealerships all over the place, talking bikes and bike stuff, cheap or free clothing! I could even write off everything including one of those new little trailers. We planed to talk on my way back through sometime in the near future. Obviously I didn’t know when cause I didn’t even know where I was going.

The ride over the mountains was beautiful. I borrowed Stevens vest to get me through the snowstorm. OK it wasn’t a storm but it was snowing. Look at the picture with me standing by my bike with that completely naive grin on my face. See those clouds? Thems mountins in them there clouds and biguns too! That photo was taken just before entering the mountains. Its also where my buddy had parked his suburban and trailer. You should’ve seen me trying to take left handed photos while driving in the twisties. I think that’s what passengers are for. My fingers got cold and I wasn’t going to try taking right handed photos in the twisties and throttling left handed. Sometimes when I get bored in the car I’ll watch the road through the camera lens. I think it quadruples your speed. I was probably only going 15mph through that part of the trip.

I’m no author and I’m sure as heck no poet but the view was spectacular. Riding over independence pass in October when all the deciduous trees were in their prime fall fashions was certainly the best part of the trip. That last hour going over and down the mountain pass was worth the whole trip. Did you know that all the aspen trees in a group are actually connected? They apparently have the same root structure. It was as though there were yellow rivers flowing through all the little valleys down into the large valley. I took lots of photos but no justice was served by trying to capture it on film.

Finally we arrived at Stevens home and I met his family had dinner and all. For a week I stayed there taking small country roads trying to get lost. I explored Aspen, it was cool and all but I never did see Demi Moor naked so who cares. Great time to call my clients for the next two weeks and reschedule. I’m now on vacation and Napa Valley is sounding really really enticing.

I have to say this about Steven and his lovely wife and three children. I’ve never met more gracious people. Hearts of gold all of them and very devout Christians, the kind that practice what they preach. One day I asked how they managed to all get along so well. I don’t remember the details but Steven and his wife had children from previous marriages so there was mixed blood with the children if you know what I mean. Half siblings, full etc. They told me one day that it hadn’t always been that way. They used to fight all the time. One night they all sat together and took personality tests. They learned so much about each other. They learned each other’s learning styles, discipline needs, love and affection needs, quiet time needs, play needs, etc. Then they all discussed it openly. This way boy 1 didn’t get jealous over a different kind of attention from boy 2 etc. because they understood the different needs of the other and learned to react with each other differently. I guess it worked. In a week of staying with them not a single argument or cross word was to be heard. These kids were ages 7 to 16. Definitely something to learn from this.


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You may not be an author or a poet, my foot. Thanks for the

trip. I just woke up & read your story & enjoyed it immensely. Just another reason to keep this site on the daily must read.

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Yeah, what Kent said. Maybe I'll keep coming back to this site daily! It's funny how my own experience with the site started primarily at the Main Board, and then migrated to Ride Together, Ride Tales, Ride Well.


Great read, Aric. I admire that level of spontaneity, but it scares me, too. I always struggle with finding the line between that and irresponsibility. Here I am worrying about your job and your clients.


Fascinating story, man.

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Great story Aric. Made me wish I was doing the same.


So,is your girlfriend taking care of the homestead? Did you call?


Ride on!

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Sooo, What kind of cut did Celeste get? What did the girlfriend say/do? Did any of your clients pitch a fit? I'm enjoying your trip. Keep writing, but you know you've got to tells us about Celeste's cut. tongue.gif I'm glad that Steven turn out to not be homicidal. Have fun and thanks for taking us along. I wish I could just go like that. cool.gif

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In reply to:

Nix that idea five miles out when somehow my walkman crashed to its death at 70mph.

Oh yeah, boyee, what a visual!! "I can't hold her!!.... She's breaking up!!! She's breaking up!!"

In reply to:

I wasn’t going to try taking right handed photos in the twisties and throttling left handed.

Yet another zinger!! Can't wait to try this after I paint my scratched mirrors. laugh.giflaugh.giflaugh.gif

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