Here I am, sitting on my garage floor, gearing up for Friday’s big trip. I am in a place as I sit here, that all bikers figuratively and literally love to be. It’s a great place not just in my garage but in my mind. I’m going through my luggage in anticipation of the next big biker adventure. Of course, there is a pint of Guinness parked next to me! After all, I’ve got 30 hours before departure, so what are a couple of pints going to do but wet the whistle. My next destination: Nova Scotia. I don’t know much about the place, but I’m pretty sure Sara Palen has never been there. I’m also reasonably sure that I will consume my own weight is smoked salmon and dark lagers in the first 24 hours. If they have Guinness, I may never be seen again.
I have talked about doing a return trip to Nova Scotia for years. I rode there once with an old girlfriend (decades ago) who will go nameless. This was in the early 80’s. We rode from New York on my CB 750 with a high back sissy bar and ape hanger handlebars. Carved the Maine coast and ate lobster three meals a day. I even got the bike stuck in the mud at the shore near Cape North, Nova Scotia. The only thing that saved us, was that super human strength you hear about brought on by trauma. In my case it was the sight of several dog like beasts heading down the beach towards us just at dusk, heads hunkered low like hungry prowling carnivores. Could have been dogs, could have been wolves, wasn’t sticking around to ask. That was in 1983. I was 165 pounds, a freshman at “St. John’s University” in New York City, had long perm (girl friend’s idea) and did not bring a leather jacket, but did have a “Members Only” jacket that stated so on the front left chest pocket!! Remember those? I can’t say I wore them on the bike, but I’m pretty sure I stashed my Capezios somewhere in the luggage, just in case a light up disco floor appeared in the wilderness. It never did. Thank God I met my wife, Yvonne, in the 90’s and she promptly snapped me out of the 80’s.
This trip 30 years hence will be a tad different. 2,000 miles and we’re going straight through. Six of us. All on BMW and KTM adventure touring bikes. GPS, Blue Tooth, Antilock, Gore Tex, XM, heated seats, grips, etc…. It’s a whole new world out there. Three decades changes things. It changes the ease by which thousands of miles are covered worry free, or at least wrench free. I’ve done vintage rallies and overcoming mechanical obstacles can be rewarding and fun, but when miles count and wolves are indigenous, a modern bike wins every time. I do remember sitting up nights before bike trips of yesteryear in the same eager anticipation that I feel now. I would wax rain gear (remember that stuff?). I’d roll wool sleeping bags, adjust ‘points,’ check pressure in bias ply tires, and put clothes in a canvass duffle to then stuff in a garbage bag. So was the rain protection of the day.
One thing never changes: the anticipation of a great trip the night before departure. All the possibilities, the giddy thoughts of great curves, unknown destinations, highway challenges, awesome food, cold beers and new people. It stirs from the same portion of the brain that would not let you sleep on Christmas Eve when you were 7. It is the only thing that harkens me back to that age. That night before excitement. Life is way too complicated now. Too busy. Just not enough time for a guy to sit on his garage floor, drink a cold one and pack the bike.
Well, signing off for now. Ride strong, ride safe and in the end, make sure you ride home.