Thursday, March 29, 2012


THERE’S A BROTHERHOOD of riders (closed circuit to “Fishy” and “Demenshea:” make that “sisterhood” or “personhood”) who ride in the rain – stronger than the bond between those of us who simply ride. Here’s proof: On a sunny day, the wave you afford any oncoming rider may be met with a wave in return. But, then again, it may not. On a rainy day, we’re all too eager to greet one another. Suddenly, we’re all in this together, battling the same elements.

MOM’S BEEN IN AND OUT of the hospital as of late for various ailments natural to one who is looking at ninety. Three weeks ago, the late night punches she received in her chest, followed by the hot pain radiating down her left arm would signal anyone that something cardiac was going on. Mom, of late in an independent living home, looked at the illuminated digital clock next to her bed and seeing it was well past 11:00, decided to wait until morning to pull the cord for help. A mid-morning call the next day precipitated two or three 100-mile trips up and back for me without complaint. She needed her son.

Yesterday she complained she was “hallucinogenating,” her word, not mine. Concern was that it might be a result of the medications from the earlier ordeal. Or, it could be a result of her sad and on-going macular degeneration. Those eliminated, a test was ordered to see if there may be some sort of lower GI infection.

I SCOOTED NORTH on the BMW, clothed for fifty-five to sixty degree temps. My timing was such that if I went straight to “the home,” I’d find myself crashing lunch. I’ll do anything to avoid “crashing lunch” at “the home”, so I waylaid myself at my favorite Chico area greasy spoon – the Kalico Kitchen – with an omelet, coffee and a chat with Chris, the waitress who talks much younger than I suspect she is.

Departing the Kitchen, I noted that a screw and nut holding the crash bar to the frame on my GSA had fallen off. Lunch was still probably underway at “the home,” so I ventured over to Ozzie’s BMW to see about finding a replacement. “A part fell off my bike,” I announced to the young man at the counter. “Uh-oh,” he said. “Yeah,” I continued. “I felt like I was on a British bike.” Laughs (undeserved, by the way) all around. Ozzie, the Dean of BMW shop owners in the entire country, I again suspect, entered. He helped his help find the part and waved off any payment for either the part or the installation.

I arrived at “the home” just as lunch was winding down – a statement that assumes anything ever winds up enough to ever have to wind down at “the home.” My good and reliable in-town brother was already on scene. He was ready to cart Mom off to the lab for the tests, and since Mom never has owned a motorcycle helmet or leathers, after a few phone calls to clarify the situation, confirm next steps and resolve one of those inevitable snafus, I was rocketing south toward home.  Brother told me he "had" this one.

BY THIS TIME, a rather warm and gentle rain began to fall. Acting on a tip I learned from the kind folks at Santa Rosa BMW, I slipped my REI Gore-Tex layer underneath my BMW Santiago three-quarter length (My Goodness! That is a wonderful jacket!) and headed south on State Routes 99, 149 and 70. A fellow on some bad looking American Iron, waiting in the suicide lane for a chance to turn left raised a hand as I passed. Two riders on KLRs waved a bit further on. I’m assuming the rider on the GSX-R north of Marysville was young, but he offered a low five. All in all, on my hundred mile return journey in the rain, I may have passed a dozen or more folks foolish as myself to be riding in the rain. None denied me a greeting. None.

I try to plan one or two rainy trips in the winter months just to practice for those conditions when I’m out on a road trip. I hadn’t done so yet this year – the weather’s been too nice (Damn!). Tomorrow, a continuation of today’s storm is forecast.

I won’t be here at the computer. I might be "scootin'" up north, checking on Mom.


Ozzie’s BMW Center (Chico, CA) –

Santa Rosa BMW –

© 2012
Church of the Open Road Press


  1. Greeting;

    One of the pictures is captioned "Any wonder why California's State colors are blue and gold?"

    When was green changed for blue? When I grew up on the Central Coast the colors were Green and Gold!


  2. Ate lunch at "the home" today: "roasted" chicken thighs (not enjoyable, but not bad), sour cream "potatoes" (topped with stale cornflakes) and "glazed" carrots (very edible). I felt feeling that if I lived there I would go up to my room and cry. They need a new chef.