Thursday, April 22, 2004

A Little Night Mission

Mid-April. Sundown. I'm out on the front porch enjoying the warm dusk air, about to enjoy my first beer of the evening. Ahhh... Here it comes... Wait. What's that sound? That rumble?

Curt! I'd know that v-twin Aprilia engine anywhere! 20 seconds later I'm suited up and into my pre-flight check. Turns out Curt had promised his girl a ride, and decided to stop and see if I wanted to roll along. Are you kidding? Flightcheck concluded, and everthing in order, I was mouted up, and off we went. Tonights mission would take us on the same loop as our previous ride, but from the opposite direction, one I'd honestly never taken before.

Once again I lead the way out the twisty neighborhood roads down to Don Knotts blvd. Pathetic huh? This road runs right through town, and takes us through campus so we can admire.... the scenery. Traffic is stop and go through campus but finally we reach the spot where the road stretches to 4 lanes. I had had enough. When you have a bike like mine you don't have to bother dropping gears. You just twist your wrist. Lean hard left and hold the throttle up the inclined road and into a tasty little 4 lane S curve. I suddenly found myself at a stoplight with a shitty grin on my face. Curt rolled up next to me and gave me a, "whatever" look.

We followed this road out of town across the Monogahela River and north up to highway 7. 7 is a well used road and we found ourselves in traffic behind a fatguy on a Harley. Nothing pisses a fatguy on a Harley off like a sportbike behind him. He'll kill himself to prove to you that he's fast, and all the while that's happening, you never even have to put your bike in the powerband to keep up. It's embarrassing, but they do it anyway. We weren't in the mood to hurt anyone's feelin's tonight so we let him be. Besides, it was time to turn off 7 and hit the real country roads we came for.

Turning on a motorcycle is what it's all about. In a car you move your arms. On a bike you move your whole body. It's dancing. It's fighting. It's rock and roll. The first stretch of country road is fairly straight, and this where we say hello to 9500 rpms for the first time of the night. The sun's gone now and it's dark. I've got my visor open and clear glasses on. The wind in my face is unbelievable. Trees and open farmland fly by. You can smell spring everywhere. God's nearby tonight. Up ahead I see a 35mph right-hand turn. No biggy on this bike. Squeeze the clutch, and left foot *click* *click* *click* drop three gears. Let out the clutch and let the engine scrub off a little speed. Wait for it... now lean hard and slam the bike to the right. Jerk the throttle open and all the power in the world pulls the bike straight up and out of the turn, hurtling forward like a .30 caliber bullet with bad intentions.

Wait a sec. I know this hill. Shit. Off the throttle, there is a farm up here at the top. There is always gravel at the apex. No good. WHOA! There's a flash of something black in the road and the rear tire goes... slides out sideways. Don't panic. Don't adjust. Let the bike save itself. There we go. Note to self, oil in the road. Whew. That was fun. Now over the hill... Now it's smooth sailing to the big sweeper 90 that is banked like it was built for Daytona. Up ahead I can see Curt ripping through it, and I laugh out loud as rabbits are bailing out from the road in all directions infront of him!

The next 25 minutes are filled with the joys of burning fossil fuels, hot rubber, the cool night air, good friends, and God everywhere.

To soon I find myself facing that same stoplight I talked about previously. Except this time its not the gate to Heaven. I've already been there, and now I'm coming back. That's ok though. That may be my most favorite stoplight in all the world.

Not long after that jaunt through town it's time to park the bike, hug the boy, kiss the girl, and oh yeah... Where's that beer?

It just doesn't get better kids.

No comments: