Saturday, October 24, 2015

Enjoy the Ride

I'm a card carrying, Lifetime Member of the PTA.
I'm the church lady who's called to make a pot of soup when someone has a life crisis.
I'm that person you see in the grocery store who gets out of the express line when she realizes she has 16 items instead of 15.
I haven't changed my hair style or color since I was 20.
I wear clear nail polish and colorless lip gloss and the same 1/2" silver hoop earrings every dang day.
I drive the speed limit, park between lines, lock the doors at night, and look both ways - at least twice - before I cross the street.
I'm a Gramma, for pity's sake. (Line simply added so I could toss in a pic of this 13-month old cutie...)!
Precious Tess. (Don't miss the almost faded-into-the-upholstery pigtails!)
There is absolutely nothing about me that screams ADVENTURE. Nothing.

Except the guy I married.

He flies experimental aircraft, loves a speedy boat, a sporty car, and a silver rocket that he straddles every day to conquer the boredom of a long commute to work. He calls the rocket Stella. She's a big ol' Honda motorcycle. And, oh man, the hubs loves his Stella Time. I suppose his enthusiasm for riding (or maybe because I'm a little jealous of Stella...I mean, couldn't he have named the thing Steve?), nudged me to spend a year+ trying to get over my unadulterated terror of a ride-along. I was determined to share this fun, and to prove (mostly to myself) that I was not too old to try something a little crazy.

So I proposed a trip...gave myself a deadline.


Last weekend was my hour to shine.  The days I'd said I'd be ready for arrived: A Friday - Monday ride up and down a 300-mile stretch of the beautiful California coastline between Mendocino and Carmel...

On this pretty beast:

We rented her from Eagle Rider in San Francisco and named her Big Red.

Sitting behind this handsome one:

Confession: I worried that even if I didn't freak totally out in the first half hour, I'd get deliriously tired of riding after one or two full days of braiding the hair, pulling on the helmet, zipping up the jacket, tucking in the scarf, bracing against the wind, and holding all screeching-danger commentary inside my head (as opposed to broadcasting it through the helmet headsets-not cool).

Surprise: I discovered you really cannot get tired of the scent in the air, the wind in your face, the pace of the ride, or this wild view of the world whizzing by (only a biker, they say, knows why a dog sticks his head out a car window)...

The roads...

The Pacific...

The Redwoods...

The sunsets...

The pumpkins (and the flowers growing in the field behind)...

The waves...

The sky... far as the eye can see...

I am not going to lie. There were a couple of hours I didn't enjoy...hours during which I felt like any move I made would result in our instant death. During those miles (rainy roads/high winds) my view was a lot more like this:

And the looping, inside-my-head commentary went something like this:pleasegodpleasegod.

But all hail and honor to the pilot of our rocketship who planned a beautiful ride, equipped us with everything we needed for safety and fun, drove very carefully around every curve, made sure our stops each day were 5-star luxury, and encouraged - without pushing - the budding of a little adventure inside me.

Heck. I feel like I earned bragging rights with my old lady friends just by being able to say I threw my leg over the back of that thing five or six times a day without embarrassing myself.

Beyond that is this: Never is a word best reserved for sentences with things like eat liver tacked onto the end. If it's the possibility of a shared adventure with someone you love, keep a maybe on the table, at least.

And that advice is from the least adventuresome person you know.

Life is short. Enjoy the ride.