This Life So Far

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I’m on the right, grey shirt, pink lettering. Don’t hate!

This one’s for any fellow riders out there.

I’ve thought a lot about my Bucket List lately, for some reason, and it occurs to me just how many things I’ve managed to do already.   

This picture was taken in September 2009, at Windy Point–halfway up Mount Lemmon–just east of Tucson, AZ.  The guy I’m standing next to–Luc Peterson–is one of the two or three people I really consider to be a best friend from my time in Tucson.  We still talk regularly (well, regularly for us, anyway), and I’m proud to have met him.  I had a ’96 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500; he and Judy (the beautiful lady next to him) rode a Harley Softail variant.  We had a combination of cruisers and crotch-rockets in this crowd.  We were all coworkers at Bombardier’s facility at Tucson International Airport, specializing in the maintenance of corporate and commercial jets.  A lot of talent, in this photo.  Luc was the lead-man on the crew I was moved to, but eventually we became friends outside of (actually, despite) work.  

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My bike (Victoria the Vulcan) was the red girl in front.

The ride up Mt. Lemmon was one of sheer beauty…Windy Point was a little scenic stop along the 25-mile, uber-winding trail up to the top.  It was (is) a common trip for many in the Tucson area to make during the summer; at nearly 9,200 feet, it’s usually at least 25 degrees cooler up there.  At the top of Mount Lemmon, there’s even a town–appropriately called Summerhaven–which has a couple of small shops where you can get pizza, chili, hot chocolate, or enormous cookies while you enjoy the scenery.

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That’s me in the grey shirt again…notice the “Relay For Life” moniker.   See?  “I Love Boobies!” had a perfectly wonderful cause!

I rode several solid, eight-hour rides with a handful of this crew, and I’ll tell you what:  I don’t miss living there (the desert isn’t really my thing, being from the midwest), but the riding is unbelievable–sunshine 300 days a year was letting us do great rides in January.  I really do pine after another motorcycle, even though here in DC the riding is great maybe a few months a year.

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This is a pretty accurate photo. Stunning scenery.

I learned when I started riding that I genuinely love it.  I love the feelings of freedom and (calculated) risk, all at once.  I love the wind in my face (until it starts to rain), and I love the intimate control you have over the machine, via the manual transmission.  That bike doesn’t do anything unless you tell it to.  It becomes an extension of you.  It also takes a pretty enormous amount of trust to ride 2X2 next to someone else, but it also cements a friendship further when you learn that you can.  It’s an unspoken thing, but it’s there, and both of you know it.

Anyway, I’m glad you took the time to read some of my stories here.  If you ever get out to Tucson, the trip up to Mount Lemmon is worth it.  I bet Luc would be happy to show you the tour!

Tell me about some of your greatest rides.  I know they’re out there!

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    • Greg
    • February 22nd, 2013

    One of my all time favorite rides was when; in honor of my brothers upcoming wedding, I rented a fatboy for him to ride, since he was coming in from out of town. I was worried the weather woudnt hold, but it ended up being a beautiful day and a great ride. We rode out to savana Illinois to a bar called poopies and then up to galena (I think, it’s been so long ago now) and back. Deffinately a great rise that took alot of work and phone calls to make happen and everything actually came together they way it was supposed to. And it was a great ride with my bro! Now that I think of it, it was the ONLY ride I’ve ever had with my bro…

    • @DonJuan, believe me, it isn’t about if I “feel” like making the trip…I’d do it in a heartbeat if we could afford it right now. It’s so damned expensive to live out here that it’s frustrating that we haven’t gotten to see much of the East Coast yet. Once I hit some targets of stability (in the next year, I hope), I can start looking at taking trips and stuff. I’m just a little stuck at the moment.

      I remember when your wedding came around, Greg….I wanted so badly to return the favor and have an epic trip through AZ, but the weather didn’t cooperate at all that weekend, and we lived too far apart to get it rescheduled. I haven’t forgotten it, though. Once I get another couple of houses sold, I plan on getting another bike, and we’ll be able to take some great trips together. That ride with the Fatboy was really phenominal–had no idea how badly my Vulcan needed even a 5th gear, and that 6th OD gear was smooth as butter. I didn’t know there was so much scenery in northern IL, away from the City and the burbs. I’ve had my eyes on planning another ride in the next year or two–a good, solid, week or two for us–but, of course, I have to get a bike first. I still have that TShirt I got up there–“I got sh*tty at the poophole” or something–though Alli forbids me to wear it in public.

      It sucks that we haven’t gotten to ride together much. I really do miss that day. It’s on my list of goals to work toward doing more often. Let’s try to get at least one good one in this summer, shall we?

    • Don
    • February 22nd, 2013

    Riding really is the best form of freedom. If you feel like making the trip, come on up and we’ll ride together. (I have a bike you can use.)
    – Don Juan

    • Greg
    • February 23rd, 2013

    For sure but that was definately one of my favorite rides. And you should wear that shirt with pride!

  1. April 4th, 2013
  2. May 24th, 2013

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