Packing a helmet, gloves, riding gear, boots, insurance, excitement and money … off we go to pick up the 2008 GL1800 Gold Wing! It’s going to be about a 60 mile ride there and 60 miles back on the GW. I just got my permit … so yeah, I’m ready to rumble!
Sue, my wife, is going with me to follow me home. Let me say that at this time Sue is a bit reluctant about the entire motorcycle midlife crises adventure. Yep, she okayed the purchase and the idea of riding a street motorcycle, but, she still was not exactly overjoyed. You know, people get hurt riding motorcycles, it’s dangerous, this is a midlife crises thing and you’ll be over this in a few months, bla, bla, bla (hope she doesn’t read this!). Onward we go!
In about an hour we arrive at the home where the GW rests. We park the car, climb up the drive way and James meets us in the back of the house. The GW is there and James. James’ mother walks out to greet us with a smile … her name is Sally.
Sally and her son James are sweet people. Instantly, we formed a bond that was more than just transaction in nature. You know that feeling when you meet someone and it’s like you’ve known them for years? That’s the feeling Sue and I both had. Really good people.
We walked in the house and sat at the kitchen table to “do business”. We counted the money and reviewed all the paper work. She gave us the keys, “mechanic’s manual”, pink slip, all receipts for the bike since new. Now that the business was done Sally walked us through her house showing the new tile flooring that James had laid down … it was beautiful. This kid can do wonderful work!
And now the rest of the story.
For whatever reason it’s easy for me to ask personal questions of people … not being disrespectful or judgmental … I just think everyone has a story and I enjoy hearing people’s story. The “story” is usually something that happened that changed the course of one’s life or was a significant event that is a constant memory. Thankfully, most everyone I ask of their “story” have shared.
Dave: “Sally, James shared that your husband passed away a few years ago; how did your husband pass away?”
Sally: “My husband died in a motorcycle accident three years ago.”
This took both Sue and I by … not surprise, but, was overwhelmed with a since of empathy, compassion … not sure.
She continued telling us the story. He was riding more of a sportier motorcycle to work about 80 miles away. While riding on a two-lane highway he went to pass a big rig … the big rig did not see him and turned left at the exact same time he was passing on the left … he hit the truck and died at the scene.
At this time both Sue and I have tears in our eyes as if it had just happened. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to receive the phone call at about 10:30am on a sunny day. Sally’s husband was in his mid 50s, had been riding motorcycles since he was 13. Sally said that he had over a million miles riding throughout his life. He was certainly an expert rider …
We spent about another 30 minutes with James and Sally and it was time to ride the bike home.
The back of the house was elevated about 30 feet from the street below. I told James he would have to get the bike down to the street. He drove down this long steep “dirt” drive way and parked the bike next to the curb.
As he handed over the keys to me he said this:
“My Dad was one best motorcycle riders in the world …. he had a horrible accident … ride like you are invisible to everyone else and you will be fine.”
With that I mounted the bike …..
With no experience, a new permit … I mount this bike and I’m going to ride it home … look out!