8.19.2006,6:17 PM
Oh Well, Gotta Ride.
Foregoing a group ride today to catch up on work at home, I geared up for a short trip into town to pick up needed items and a hair cut. Shortly after I pulled out on the road I knew, smiling, this was not going to be a 'short trip' into town. I took the Long Way in; ohhhhh, about 40 miles out of my way.
I get the urge for going, and I just have to go.

The warm wind washing my face, Whee purring like a big cat, we rode over the tall prairies. It pained me to see how dry the ground is; I can almost feel its thirst. Color is almost absent; only the blue of the sky, gray road and brown to tan earth. The flora succumbs to this unrelenting heat, dieing or going dormant, waiting for moisture to coax life from the soil and its inhabitants.

All the cattle and horses bunch together in any shade they can find, under trees, next to buildings, anywhere out of the beating hot sun. Birds fly from pond to pond, looking for water. And we drive by oblivious to the stress around us. Yet this area of the country meanders through cycles of wet and dry spells. The earth here is no stranger to heat and absence of moisture. Yet it still hurts to see it all suffer each time.

My smile returned riding over the lake, as if something magical infuses me when near to water. And there was that old pull, wanting to immerse myself in it, feeling the warm wetness envelope my skin. I miss my swims in the lakes; the wetness, smells, moist air and sounds of water slapping against rocks. Sometimes I feel as if I'm a fish out of water; maybe I still have some gills hidden inside somewhere.

I was soaked with sweat by the time I reached town, taking respite in air conditioning as I traveled from building to building completing my errands. Checking and filling my tires with air, my chores were topped off with a relaxing stop at Starbucks. The woman behind the counter had an iced mocha started for me by the time I shed my soaked mesh jacket. She smiled, saying she saw me ride in and remembered what I typically order. I was grateful for her considerate assumption.

An hour or so later I was refreshed enough to ride home. Gearing up again, my sweat-soaked jacket now cool against my skin, I decided to take the Long Way Home. And I did, down my favorite bumpy, winding road. I practiced tips I read in the recent issue of Ride on cornering, finding them quite helpful. And grinning the entire way home.

After cooling off again, I installed my new sidecases on Whee. I'm pleased that I now have more storage. Slowly but surely, preparations for the trip to Moab continue.

After being plumber, cleaner, rider, mechanic and now writer, I don't feel too remorseful that I missed the group ride today. Rather, I needed a 'Me' Day, and it was a good day.
And I even had a ride.
posted by Macrobe
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