Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Rainy, Dark Highway That Brought Me Back

Yeah, I'm still around. Life has a way of finding its own priorities for you, and so I dealt with them. I never did stop riding though.

I felt like it was time to get back in the blogging saddle after an adventure in riding that I had last night. Sometimes you need a little nudge to get you moving in the right direction...

My family and I rolled out of town on sunny Wednesday to spend a few days on the beach at Kalaloch, about 100 miles from our doorstep. Since I was in need of a long ride, I loaded up the Big Ruckus and enjoyed the hot August putt to our yearly camping destination. Being that the weather usually doesn't play by the rules in a rainforest region, I packed my raingear just in case. Lately I've taken to wearing my Fieldsheer touring jacket with body armor. I totally abandonded the old school "mod" staple fishtail parka in favor of some serious new school ride-wear technology. I also wear an orange safety vest now too. Like my boss says, "Better to be seen, then flat."

My rainpants are basic fisherman's heavy duty pants, and I keep a light weight hooded hikers rain jacket in my tour pack for when the need arises. Well, the need arose at about 6:00 p.m. yesterday.

After having a real nice dinner, the mist off the Pacific Ocean started getting a little heavy. Not wanting to pull the rug out from anyone's good time, I was hesitant about pushing the issue of maybe bailing out and heading for home a day or two early. Then it started really getting wet.

I tossed the idea about pulling up stakes (literally) to my wife, and she agreed that the fun factor was pretty much gone. In an attempt to keep the trip alive, I went out to build a fire, and the rain said no. I was done. I asked my wife if she would help take the tent down, and in record time, we were packed. I ducked for cover to strip out of my wet clothes and change into dry duds and my raingear, and after pulling the cover off the scoot and saddling up, we were off. It was now 7:45 p.m.

Full-on darkness is about 9:00 p.m., and my goal was to be at Lake Crescent at dark. A bit like a cowboy's trust in his horse, I now feel like I have a riders relationship with my scooter. I trusted my steed to get me home. With my wife in the family mini-van with dozing kids in back, I lead us out of the campground, and headed toward home.

I think we rolled all the way to Forks, (approx. 40 miles) with no traffic behind us. I hung out at around 60 mph in the straight stretches, and backed off a bit in the sweepers. We made Forks in good time, and I stopped to check for any concerns from my wife. She asked why she couldn't see my brake light on the road. I told her that I wasn't using it. I tapped it so she could see that it does work. Now it was my mission to make the lake by dark.

There are sections of highway that run straight and long between Forks and Lake Crescent, and when the rain wasn't drumming down, I was able to roll at around 68 mph. The one thing that I wasn't prepared for though, was the moths and flying bugs made out of glue that live on this stretch. I remembered the saying that I used to use at the service station when washing the bug collection off tourist's windshields, "It won't have the guts to do that again." The whole front of the scooter, the windshield, my helmet and goggles, everything, was covered in a layer of bug guts. I started wishing for the hard rain again to wash some of this stuff off. Soon enough, we had made it to the lake.

Lake Crescent is a beautiful lake that resides in the Olympic National Park, and Highway 101 winds for 21 miles in a twisty path around its shores. It was now dark, and the drenching rains had returned. "Huh... visibility sucks," I thought to myself. I found a wide pull-off at around the halfway point, and stopped to let some traffic go by. I asked my bride to wipe off my goggles for me. I was having a hard time seeing through the water, guts and road grime that covered the lenses. My vision is bad as it is, I needed to see for the home stretch.

I wicked it up and headed for the ranch. The last few miles flew by in familiar territory, and I was thinking as we wound down our quick trip, that I really enjoyed this ride. I was tested in conditions that I don't usually ride in any more, and I did it off-the-cuff. No planning, no worrying, no nothing. I saddled up and rode the way I used to so many years ago. I was happy riding in the rain and darkness. My wife asked if I was stressed out at all. I told her that I was "far from stressed." "I was having a good time out there." It was this thought that compelled me to sit back down at this keyboard.

I've been working my rear-end off to achieve the highest levels of success in so many areas of my life, and having to be "on" so much of the time. Happiness is achieved and cherished, but I have to work for it as well. I didn't expect to gain so much joy in tearing a soggy camp down and hauling balls for home in the rain and darkness, but I did. Absolute flippin' joy. And I got to share it with my wife and kids. That made it even better.

I don't think I would have been back here anytime soon had I not had this experience, but I think I need to do this now. It feels right again...

Have fun,


Blogger BBC said...

I got so sick and tired of working and trying to make other people happy and be what others think is success and dropped out of that rat race.

But I've become a very successful bum, I'm just gifted that way.

Love camping but like to do it a with bit of style comfort these days. Load up the small camper on the truck, and hook up the old tent trailer I was given and tore the material out of to haul all my camping gear in.

Extra tents, tarps, a table cover, even made a camp fireplace. It can rain all it wants, I don't care, I'm sitting under a tarp enjoying a fire and it beats the rat race hands down.

Cher is coming over from Victoria next week and she is going camping at Hobuck Beach with me for the great spiritual gathering.

And sitting at a beach during a winter storm is cool also, as long as I'm in a nice warm camper.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Conchscooter said...

I love riding in the rain when I'm dressed for it.

6:12 PM  
Blogger John McClane said...

I love the feeling when you come back from a ride you didn't do before and think, done that, been there, it wasn't so bad, I can do it again.

I can do the Kaş road in 40 minutes now. The Jandarma are waving at me to slow down. In April I used to think, if anybody asks me why I'm going so slow, I'll just tell them it's a new scooter and I'm running it in.

@bbc 18th. September. One year to the day since I sent all my stuff to the dump and took two suitcases and five boxes to someone's garage in Yorkshire. Since then I've been doing 7/7 what I used to do at weekends only. But now I have a scooter.

@ Conchscooter. Rain starts again here in September. I'm dreading it. But then again, I shall be dancing naked in the street.

11:33 PM  
Blogger BBC said...

Yeah, happy naked pagan dancing.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Bill Sommers said...

Billy B.
Making people happy is full time work, and then some. Funny how my view of success, and theirs is usually different. That is where the extra effort comes in. The rats are winning...

A gifted, successful bum. I like that.

You know, I tried to have all my bets covered as far as tarps, tablecover, tents and whatnot, but when that heavy Pacific rain rolls in, all bets are off. It made for a fun ride adventure.

Hope you have a blast at Hobuck. It might even be hot for a few days.

When I'm dressed for it, it rules. Sometimes when I get caught on a putt around town, its not too bad.

Welcome to my digs! I saw that you have me on your blogroll. I'm honored.

If anyone asks why you are going so slow, tell them that when you're cool, you don't need to be in a hurry.

Have fun,

5:38 PM  
Blogger Bill Sommers said...

Billy B.
You make me wonder which one of you is commenting here.

For anyone other than Mr. Cook that is reading this reply, once again I have refused to publish one of his name-calling, personally insulting comments.

There is the civil tounged fellow that commented above, then there is the side of his personality that can't behave, that needs to try to push my buttons. So he follows up a "normal" comment, with what I consider to be pure crap. If anyone wants to get a taste, feel free to go check out the guy that thinks he's the "spirt." There, Billy. You got a free plug.

The bottom line here Billy B. Cook, is that I respect the visitors to this site. I know that in any of the incarnations of your various blogs, that you curse, insult, belittle, and basically come across as what you refer to me as...a "dilbert monkey." Whatever that is.

Go have fun in this world dude. I always thought that you were a pretty cool and interesting guy. Man, is it your mission to prove otherwise?

Heres a bit of advise for someone that thinks he is tuned into the Universe. "If you think joyous thoughts, you will be tuning into a frequency that attracts, and brings joy back to you." The Universe provides. "If you are tuned into negativity, you will attract negativity back to you."
The Universe provides.

I am not in the same league as you in what message that I want to send out to folks that I care about. I don't want to be. Simple as that.

Be cool, dude.

Have fun,

7:58 PM  
Blogger irondad said...

Did you see the movie "The Bucket List"?

There's a scene in the Pyramids. They tell of how, when an Egyptian was getting to enter the Afterlife, they were asked two questions.

Did you find joy in life?

Did you bring joy to others?

Sounds like you're doing both. Good for you.

I, too, don't much care for folks who dwell on the bottom side of life and then excuse it by saying "only enlightened people get me". Baloney. I appreciate your comments.

6:57 AM  
Blogger Bill Sommers said...

My wife and I did see "The Bucket List." It was the first movie that we have seen in a movie house in years. It was the perfect film for me because I got the message.

I've since read Rhonda Byrne's book "The Secret." I suggest that if you haven't read the book or seen the movie/dvd, to check it out. Powerful, positive stuff.

I choose the "good" rather than negative. I use the word "joy" rather frequently now, and am sincere when I say it. Every now and then someone comes along to challenge my beliefs, but I know that my half-full glass is fuller than their half-empty glass of whatever.

I had you in mind when I said that I respect the visitors to this site. Thanks for your words.

Have fun,

5:39 PM  
Blogger irondad said...

I'm deeply honored. Thank you.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Heinz N Frenchie said...

Hanging Out at 60 mph? How fast does the big Ruckus go? How many scooters do you have? Think we remember reading about a Vespa Gran Tourismo...

3:11 PM  

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