Riding gives me a chance to get away from the pressures of the office and think about something else besides work and responsibilities. When I commuted in a car, I still thought and worried about work. I can't do that on the scooter because I have to pay a lot more attention to traffic and other potential hazards.
Persig says that through a car window, everything you see is just more TV. On a 2 wheeled vehicle, you are in the scene, not watching it. That is one of my favorite lines from his book, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", which I just finished reading for the first time.
It's funny how I have been on a similar route to work for so many years whether in a car or on the scooter. But I have noticed so much more of the surroundings on the scooter.
The smell of the bakery at the intersection of Central and Oliver streets is something I didn't use to notice in a car. The smell can really permeate the intersection, especially noticeable If you have to stop at the light there. I recall how crisp and clear the air looks and feels like on a 20 degree bright sunshiny morning. It is not near as apparent from inside a car. Sure, it is cold, but also incredibly invigorating. When I arrive at work on those cold crisp days, I am awake and ready to tackle the day.
There was one day when storm clouds threatened late one afternoon. I actually left work a little early that day so I could get the scooter home and put it in the garage before it began to storm. As I rode home I noticed it raining off to the east of my location. The sun peeked out from behind some clouds behind me and a glorious rainbow appeared in front of me. A minute later there was a fainter second rainbow paralleling the first one. Yeah, I would have noticed it in a car as well. But I wouldn't have noticed the smell of the moisture in the air nor tasted how clean the air was after the rain had passed through. The guy in the car next to me at a stoplight looked at me like I was crazy when I took a picture of the rainbow with my blackberry. He just didn't get it.
Then there was the day while I was riding out in the county on a hot day just before the wheat harvest was to begin. The wind was blowing the tops of the wheat into waving swirls. It was a simple but beautiful sight. Would have maybe noticed in a car, but wouldn't have appreciated it as much.
This last weekend I took a Sunday afternoon ride to a local county road known as "Thunder Road". It's a road with a reputation for hot rodding and is only about 25 miles in length, but even for Kansas, has a few twisties to it.
I missed the main turn off to the road and in backtracking my steps, I got stopped at a train crossing with a very slow moving coal train. I patiently shut off the engine and waited. A few moments later a lady on a Harley rode up and stopped as well. We struck up a conversation while we waited for the train. I asked her for directions to Thunder Road and she said she was going that way anyway, and If I wanted to, I could follow her. I did, and If I don't mind saying so, my little scooter kept right up with her very well. There is a very enjoyable camraderie among 2 wheeled riders. I enjoy it immensely.
I am also very proud of my cohort in crime, Max, the scooter. He has never failed me. He starts right up every day no matter whether it is 10 degrees or 100. When he sees me come into the garage in the morning, watches me put my belongings in the topcase, gets the key in the ignition, it's like he looks up at me and says:
Come on, Hop on, Let's Go!!
On July 17 I took a couple of pictures as I turned over 4,000 miles.
I have been very impressed with my scooter. When I first purchased it I worried that it might be temperamental and require repairs now and then. I have done nothing to it other than the normal maintenance. It is very versatile in urban driving with very adequate power and maneuverability. While it is not meant for highway cruising, it can reach 75 mph so an out of town trip is very possible.
But I bought Max primarily for the purpose of the commute. He has kept up his end of the bargain very well. In fact he has far exceeded all of my expectations. He's not real fancy, very few electronic bells and whistles and gizmos, just very solid basic transportation.
One of the best decisions I ever made in my life.
The best decision I ever made was to marry Jayna. Thanks to her my life has been very wonderful for these past 31 years.
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