Saturday, June 21, 2014

Mile 2,193: A Good Time Was Had By All

The rides there and back again yesterday and today only had one thing in common: the motorcycle. Even this faithful writer was different today than yesterday. And how could it be otherwise?

The long road to Yoakum I mentioned yesterday was filled with adventure and memorable moments. As I rode south out of Houston on 59, I got to El Campo before I felt a few drops of rain. Not bad rain. More like a heavy mist that takes the ninety degree sunshine and replaces it with a refreshing cool down. When you are flying down the road, overtaking cars, and leaning into the turns, the concentration requires a certain physical attention that after a couple of hundred miles begins to feel like a workout. So any kind of cool down on a summer ride is actually welcomed.

When I turned up a little country road called 111 in Edna, the roads were drenched with puddles and fresh rain. It was not raining, but I could see the cell up ahead of me moving north. And since it looked like it just stopped, my guess is that I would catch it. I'm a good guesser. I caught it.

Unlike my ride over Memorial Day, however, yours truly brought his rain suit this time. (Go back to Mile 1,438 if you haven't already read about my worst ride to date.) And why, pray tell, would I bring a rain suit on a summer day when the rain chance for all of the Texas Coastal Plains was only 10%? Simple answer: Because weather forecasters are about as dependable as tarot card readers. Fool me once... So I pulled over on the shoulder just as I caught up to the cloud, donned my rain gear, and got right back on the horse.

I felt kind of arrogant as I rode up the lonely country road, mainly because I was pushing through some pretty heavy rain without a care in the world. The bike had new shoes, and I had rain gear. No worries. Then by the time I left the museum in Gonzales, all the rain had stopped, and it was dry all the way to Seguin where I would spend the evening with my Gypsy Motorcycle Club.

When we woke up this morning, it was with great memories of being together the night before. And this is where my earlier statement comes into play about being different today than I was yesterday.

My Gypsy brother, J2, lost his leg in a severe accident a year-and-a-half ago. He was completely out of it for a few months, and we were not sure he would live. The healing was painfully slow for him, but after countless surgeries, he showed up last night at the run for his first Gypsy event since the accident. By the time he got there with my Whataburger order I was starving. So as I sat there eating while hordes of people surrounded him with love, I think I probably would have been more emotional if I weren't so dang hungry. But it was a priceless moment I will not soon forget.

Add to that mix two of my other chapter brothers, Bill the Cat and Mouthpiece, and let's just say as my brother, Mouthpiece, would say: A good time was had by all.

Moreover, as we all visited there in the city park where we camped for the night, one of my favorite visits was the time I spent with Jester talking about motorcycles. Imagine that. Two guys in a motorcycle club talking about motorcycles.

And that brings us to this morning's ride back to Houston.

Mouthpiece and I grabbed some late breakfast at a Mexican dive that was out of this world good. I got my usual breakfast tacos, and Mouthpiece got a chile relleno (yes, for breakfast) and a huge bowl of Menudo. I swear watching my brother eat breakfast is a performance.

It was precisely these "good times had by all" that shaped me today differently than yesterday. Those times you spend with your brothers solidify a bond all over again, a bond that's already there, but can always be strengthened a bit more. I am grateful for my friendships.

Once we finally finished eating--(and by "we" I mean Mouthpiece)--we loaded up, and jumped on I-10 to burn home, a crowded nowhere filled with cars and trucks that all want the same thing: To be somewhere else.

I had to fight that urge on the ride home today, to want to be somewhere else. After all, I was on my bike. The weather was perfect, not unbearably hot but the 85-90 degrees that I prefer. So why would I want to be anywhere else at that moment? Mouthpiece was on my right, the bikes were holding happily steady at 80, and other than a couple of gentle rain clouds to cool us off, it was smooth sailing.

By the way, Rocinante seemed happy today with her new tires, kind of like a little boy gets excited about new shoes that he's convinced will make him run faster.

Mouthpiece and I parted company at our usual spot in Katy just west of Houston, I rolled the rest of the way home alone, came in, took a shower to wash off the 400 miles, and then sat down to write this entry.

And that's all I have to say about that.

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