Saturday, January 21, 2017

DesTination NoWhere! - Looking Back!

Alf's V-Max and My Virago
Somehwere in the West of Ireland
I am afraid to admit that most of my mileage has been commuting to and from work with not nearly as much of it earned on the open road heading towards nowhere in particular. The moment I do seem to have a free moment I inevitably opt to spend time with my wife and children instead of riding off into the unknown and rightfully so really! I love my wife and children but I also cannot deny that sometimes the road does call to me! It's not that I have a yearning to go some place in particular. Rather, it's just the desire to be on the bike riding to nowhere in particular! When I owned my Virago back in Ireland I often would wake up in the morning, meet my buddy Alf, a giant of a Norweigian man who also lived in Eire for a short time and owned a V-Max and we would set off. No itinerary. No expectations. No worry about the weather. Come rain, hail or frost you can bet your ass that if we were together that day we were probably off exploring the countryside of the West Coast of Ireland. T-Junctions usually mean't a brief stop whilst we play rock, paper, scissors as to which way to go. We had no idea of course which direction would bring us to what or where? That was the point. We didn't care. We just rode for the love of riding. The fact that the West Coast of Ireland is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and most scenic motorcycling countries you can hope for was just a bonus really.

Alf, Jennifer and I  -
The Goofy looking Fella ecstatic
to be next to the lovely Jennifer.
There were no membership dues. No fees to pay 'the man' so to speak. No club politics and certainly no excuses not to ride. I would like to think I live life pretty much the same way. Once upon a time one such trip found me riding two up with a friend of mine, a very beautiful Zimbabwean woman by the name of Jennifer. Alf and I decided to treat her to one of our never ending trips and found ourselves in Bantry, Co. Cork. The day started off warm enough but being Ireland, it soon began to rain... no, that doesn't do it justice. Imagine a down pour so severe you could literally drown if you looked up into the sky! Worried that Jennifer would possibly consider this her first and last real motorcycle excursion we pulled into the town center in Bantry and went for lunch in hopes that the rain would subside somewhat. There were no itineraries so no stress about having to be somewhere at a specific time. Just good company and loads of tea for Jennifer, coffee for Alf and well, coca-cola for me. I couldn't tell you what we talked about, it didn't matter. We were soaked to the bone, but happy as could be!

Round 2
Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland
When it was time to leave the rain had only subsided a little bit and there was a constant drizzle in the air. The sea was slapping the sides of the bay area furiously and despite the fact that we were still quite a way from home, without hesitation or complaint Jennifer threw on her helmet and jacket and was ready to go for another bout against the Irish weather. Sure enough it wasn't long before we found ourselves in another torrential downpour. With Alf leading the way we inevitably made our way to Jennifer's aunt and uncle who took pity on their niece (and probably thought ill of both Alf and I) and allowed us in to dry our clothes and take warm showers... albeit, not together of course! A few cups of tea later and both Alf and I were amazed when Jennifer was ready to get going again. Her aunt lent her a neon yellow rain jacket and pants (hilarious really) and black garbage bags for Alf and I! (Even Funnier) Uncertain of her niece's sanity I could see Jennifer's aunt and uncle waving nervously good-bye from my rear view mirror as we drove into the rain storm again. By this point it had gotten so bad that we could not even ride past 30 miles an hour as traffic was building up and the roads were too slippery. The whole time I found myself constantly asking Jennifer if she was OK. I was worried that she may never actually speak to me again despite her apaprent bravery at facing the weather conditions on a motorcycle.

Alf & I
Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland
What would normally take an hour so to get home inevitably took most of the evening. When we finally pulled into Jennifer's driveway she hoped off smiling as if she had just taken a trip down to the sunny coast of California instead of the rainy shores of Ireland. I found myself really enamoured with her so seeing that she didn't harbour any ill feelings towards Alf or especially myself for an otherwise soaking wet day, made me feel really giddy (yes, men can feel giddy too) and happy. This is despite the fact that I was pretty much frozen at this point and could barely feel my fingers anymore. She waved at us from her doorway as Alf and I drove off to our own homes. The next few days afterwards and Alf turned around to me and said: "She is pretty incredible you know." I agreed. "You should marry her!" he said. Less than a year later I did just that and have been smiling ever since!

1987 Yamaha Virago 700cc
aka 'Baby'
The open road brings unsuspecting surprises and even better stories. There would be many more miles shared between Alf and I and even Jennifer too (some in dry weather, if you can believe it!). As Alf inevitably moved back to Norway and Jennifer and I had a family, our little impromptu group went from three to one and I have been riding solo ever since. Despite my pleas to put a watsonian side-car on the motorcycle, Jennifer is remaining firm about when the boys can start accompanying me on road trips. I guess I can understand. Still, now that I am back home in Canada you can rest assured that some major trips will be taken. When they do happen you can also be certain that I will have nothing more than an empty bladder, a full tank of petrol, and a coin - to help me decide which way to start. After all, the best trips are the one's that often take you nowhere!

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