This story comes from one of our local friends and avid rider, Steve Johnson
DON'T FLIRT AND RIDE!
It’s a lazy Saturday morning which could have been full of household projects or chores that needed to be done a week ago. I’ve found that my bike makes me more comfortable putting those projects off if I can find just the right excuse to get out for a while. That day, I thought I might cruse down 395 to pick up an overpriced bag of particularly good smoked beef jerky. Sure it’s a few hours down and at least a few hours back but what I don’t get done today I’ll just as easily get done tomorrow.
With this new determination I set out. There is no greater joy than leaving behind all of my other life just to get away for a while. As the road speeds away under me I can feel that part of my life sloughing off of me and slowly retreating only to be found upon coming back home. Just before I got out of town I caught sight of her. She was road tripping with at least a few of her friends and they smiled and waved as I rode by.
I left them behind me with little more than a nod but the energy in their smiles really drew me back. By that I mean for the first time that I can remember I cut off the second exit not far enough outside of town for no other reason than to check and make sure no incredibly important work calls came in in last thirty minutes. Now, this is always a long shot move as there is no guarantee of the girls destination or even journey to getting there. Unfortunately, as long shot moves go, this one just didn’t pay off.
That is, it didn’t pay off until I found myself creeping through one of the bustling metros of 395 S. I am always just a little more careful when the limit is 25 and the cages go 40. In any case one of those cages that happened to pass me was the girls with their smiley attitudes and overly bubbly demeanors. Again the passenger waved and just as they passed they even honked. It was the perfect way to start my weekend and a better way to ride.
I followed them until a passing zone on a slow upward climb and as I passed I grinned to myself. I let myself daydream a bit over the next hour before I stopped in a great rest stop just before Mammoth. It’s always a quiet little stop in the trees while the rest of the ride is dominated by sage and open valleys where you can see most of the world before you. I took it all in for a few minutes and ate a snack I’d packed for the road. It couldn’t have been a better time or place to just unwind for a few minutes.
Unfortunately a few families on their way in or out of town came in and the silence and peace of it was shattered with boys fighting, parents arguing and a couple of folks shuffling in and out. I set back out ready for a lunch already but just glad of where the road was taking me.
Just as I was pulling out of the rest stop the girls were pulling in and as I throttled up and sped away they honked, smiled and waved. I barely heard the horn calling out behind me as I sped away. The laughter and smiles played on repeat in my head for the next hour until I finally sat down to enjoy a sandwich in my favorite spot.
Perfectly smoked steak played on my tongue. The sandwich couldn’t have been better unless that perfect place I found was several more hours out of the way. Something about getting a sandwich this far from home appeals to me in a way you could only understand having made a similar journey yourself. I finished my sandwich and wiped BBQ sauce from my chin before setting out back home.
I looked up toward my bike and found the girls standing outside of their car and next to my bike. It was too much of a coincidence and to good to be true. One of the girls caught sight of me and waved and smiled.
It was then that I realized just who the girls were. My best friends daughter and her loyal band of friends. Surely they like me were out just to enjoy the weekend and get away from home, work and chores. I’d guess from their merriment that they were indeed enjoying the trip. My realization of who they were only served to embarrass me a bit and I felt my cheeks glow red as my friends daughter introduced us. Soon enough I was on my way home and I didn’t stop at a single store, rest area or dive until I got there. But what a weekend trip and what a great story it’s become.
Next weekend, I’m riding north to a new sandwich shop in a new town and maybe I’ll find new girls there. Ideally the type that aren’t as good as blood related.
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