Jeff’s Latest Blog: Riding With Gene When I’m Not Riding With Gene

I couldn’t ride with Gene on our second annual cross-country journey. I had a first grandbaby due in May, an illness forming, and my usual means of fundraising had fallen short.
Gene allowed me to help plan his trip and the rough draft seemed straight forward: a) ride two lane roads from Georgia to b) Sturgis then LAX c) following the Mississippi River north to Iowa, turn left to Sturgis, maybe travel by Mt. Rushmore, head to Los Angeles to see Hannah, his daughter.
But he was a little vague on the details so I pressed him. The answers I received were even vaguer. “Are you going to ride a road that runs parallel to the Mississippi?”
“Well, which road? What side of the river?”
“I haven’t decided yet. I’ll wait and see what feels right when I get there. Besides it don’t matter what side of the river as long as it runs along the river!”
“Don’t you think you should identify the road you want to be on so you don’t go crossing the river several times and maybe get lost?”
He stared at me out of one eye. “I never get lost. Least ways not accidentally. I won’t get lost crossing over the river unless I want too.” (For the record Gene actually crossed the Mississippi River 5 times on the way over. But no, he doesn’t get lost.)
“Are you going to camp out or stay in cheap hotels?”
“I’m going to camp out mostly. Just pitch a tent somewhere out under the stars.”
So, our planning his trip with me helping didn’t last very long. He apparently had his own “non -plan plan” in mind.
Gene wrote a blog about crossing from California into Arizona during his return from LAX. Within an hour he ran into the fiercest crosswinds he’d ever encountered. A sandstorm quickly joined the windstorm hitting Gene and Big Red like God’s own sandblaster. I could only imagine half of Big Red stripped to its naked polished steel and half of Gene shredded to the bone, a howling silent scream shrieking through his nasty half face. I later asked him what he did and he advised that he hunkered down on top of Big Red with a jacket shielding him from a wild, avenging dust spirit. In my techni-colored mind I imagined Gene and Big Red hobbling behind a shutdown pre fifties roadhouse, Gene unpacking his sleeping bag to protect them as he also fired up a premeditative crooked cigar.
In my heart I rode with Gene across the country and back. I saw things a bit different than he did but we do have separate eyeballs and brains to process memories with. When we ride with freedom, gratitude, and an open heart we are bound to ride roads made of bliss.

Motorcycle Haikus/Poems, Nearly 5000 Views of Our Website with Visitors from 66 Countries. Visit Here and Push us Over 5000!

By way of explanation a Haiku is a 17-syllable verse form consisting of three metrical units (lines) of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. It’s a popular form of short verse and has its origin in Japan. The challenge, of course, is trying to write a meaningful poem with these restrictions on syllables. For some reason, the other day parts of verse started to come to me. So here are three:

Leaning with the bike
Feeling one with everything
Unknown curves ahead

Battered by cold winds
I slalom through twisty roads
Grateful for this journey

Below is an old biker saying I fashioned into a haiku.

Most bike accidents
Involve the nut connecting
Handlebars to seat

Jeff and I have nearly reached our modest goal of 5000 views. Also, in the last 10 months alone our viewers have come from 66 different countries (as opposed to 66 of the same countries!). So that’s great! We hope you have enjoyed our exploits and reflection. We’ll keep riding, reflecting and writing for as long as we can. Thanks for riding with us! Kickstands up.

Hula girl is Back! Pure Consciousness, Shifty Shifter Shafts and Coffee.

Hula girl

Hula girl

My buddy Jeff “El Jefe” picked me up yesterday and we drove to the Harley dealer to pick up Big Red. As we rode down the highway in his police interceptor we had one of our usual manly conversations. This time it was about pure consciousness,the “luminous” quality of the mind, how it’s like a mirror that merely reflects thoughts but is not those thoughts, about how attitudes of gratitude and lovingkindness can crowd out negative emotions. The usual Harley talk.
When we got to the dealer the bike was ready and it had been awarded the prize of an astoundingly high repair bill. Even though the mechanic explained everything he had done to that bike I still didn’t understand. If he had explained it in terms of pure consciousness I might have had a chance. Instead he talked about the cams, the cam chain and a whole lot about the shifter. I recall a bit of the conversation.
“So,” I said, “Let me get this straight: You had to replace the shifter shaft seal, fix the stripped shifter shaft lever and the stripped shifter shaft?”
“You got it.”
I laughed. “I don’t even know what in the hell I’m talking about!”
Essentially, in terms that even I could understand, Jeff explained that everything below the engine had been repaired or upgraded. The bill easily reflected that. But Big Red does have 56,000 miles on her. She has safely ferried me across the country twice. She deserves a bit of pampering. And it made a difference. On the 30 minute ride back to Rome I noticed she had more torque, idled lower, gears shifted with less clunking, she rode more smoothly and there weren’t any rattles. Certainly ran more smoothly then I walk!
So I took her out again today. The temperature has soared and right now is knocking on 65 degrees. I had fun on the back roads, a few twisties, slaloming in the curves. I stopped at K Mart to buy a new hula girl to put on my bike. (I’ve written in a previous blog about how a Harley mechanic broke her off at the legs. The poor thing.) I rode out to the Oostanaula river and parked the bike and attached the new hula girl. That completed my trinity of tokens. I have a Yin Yang medal on the bike to remind me to stay balanced and in the here and now. I have a St Columbanus medal, the patron saint of motorcyclists, to remind me to be reverent and I’ve got hula girl to remind me to be silly and not take myself too seriously. I’m ready for anything now!
I found a spot by the river to sit and think about things like shifter shafts and pure consciousness. (Realizing ironically of course that if I’m thinking about pure consciousness then I’m not dwelling in it. But that’s okay.)
I mainly felt gratitude. Thankfulness for this moment. I dwelled in that zone for a spell.
I hopped on the bike again and went for another ride and stopped at a spot near the river. There I ran into a friend that for some reason I keep running into. A few minutes ago she took off for a walk and we’re going for coffee when she gets back. So right now I’m sitting by the river, writing, listening to the geese honking, watching the river flow.