20 February, 2006 Temperature: 11 degrees F (-12°C)
Spring is coming. I can smell it on the breeze. I can see it in the sunrise, which comes earlier every morning. Another month, maybe, and I will be riding my KLR to work. Or will I?
That’s a tough decision. Fifty miles-per-gallon versus eighty? A responsible man would choose the scooter. I try to be responsible, but it seems that every gene in my euro-mutt constitution cries out against such drudgery. I miss the power, the ground clearance, and the sheer tactical audacity of my urban guerrilla motorbike, otherwise known by the descriptive sobriquet: “Frogwing”.
I knew bringing another motorbike into the family would mean trouble.
But that’s a dilemma for another day. This morning, as the Baron and I took off, the sky was clear and the stars sparkled like diamonds. Compared to Friday’s frigid ordeal, this was like a holiday cruise. We left in darkness, but the first hints of dawn colored the eastern horizon. We were in no hurry. Monday would be at work, waiting for us, no matter what time we arrived.
The Baron was enjoying his respite from the sub-zero torment of last week. All systems were functioning smoothly, and he sounded eager to get on down the road.
Traffic was especially light this morning. I realized that it was President’s Day, and all the government and school workers were sleeping in today. I think the river roads are especially popular with the university crowd, because the beautiful parkways were deserted this morning. We enjoyed an effortless cruise all the way to the Lake Street Bridge.
Then, as always, it was decision time. Do we stop for coffee, or not?
Last night, I suffered from a recurring malady which my wife Amy calls “Sunday-itis”. When I have a challenging project waiting for me at work, I usually start thinking about it on Sunday afternoon, and it invades my sleep on Sunday night. Last night was bad. I slept about four hours, and then it was lights-on and a Mickey Spillane pulp novel until the alarm went off at five a.m.
The sexy blonde did it. I figured her for the job in the second chapter. At least I didn’t think about work.
But I did need some more caffeine, if I was going to avoid nodding and drooling on my keyboard today. So the Baron and I stopped in at Dunn Brother’s.
I’m not a latte guy. Just a plain old cup of joe for me. Black, as dark a roast as they have, suits me fine. I like espresso too, but those fancy little cups put me off. I paid for my 12-ounce mug of French Roast, and sat down at one of the PCs they have for paying customers.
Dan Bateman, aka “Irondad”, had posted a harrowing account of his weekend ride, and I just had to respond. By the time I was done typing, my coffee was cool enough to drink. This I did, and then it was time to go. Outside, the sun had come up, and we had some nice golden light to illuminate a photograph.
Having made the shot, I put the camera away under the seat, on a cushion of rags, and donned my riding mitts. Traffic was finally stirring on West River Road. Not much, just enough to make me pay attention.
We made it to work with no drama at all. The Baron managed almost 60 mph on Highway 55 this morning. I wanted to test that variator, to confirm that it was just the cold that slowed us down on Friday. It was. What a relief.
Tonight, we rode all the way home without stopping. I was out of gas, physically and mentally speaking. Just plain tired. There was no aggression, controlled or otherwise, in our riding tonight. Just a go-along, get-along kind of flow. I saved my energy for cautious riding; looking where I was supposed to look, and staying out of trouble. It wasn’t so bad, really.
I’m going to bed early tonight, and I expect a good night’s sleep. The things I worried about last night are well within my capabilities. I just have to focus and do the job I know how to do. Maybe we’ll stop for coffee again tomorrow. That was nice. Or maybe I’ll just park the Baron and walk out onto the bridge to watch the sunrise.
Tell me, does anyone driving a cage to work ever consider doing that?