Narratives about motorcycling on Northern California's back roads; Reflections on the history and geography of the North State; Memoirs and early recollections of youthful visits to towns and forests and mountaintops.
Also middle-of-the-road takes on current issues in politics and education. Middle of the road? Isn't that dangerous?
Friday, July 27, 2012
CROSSING MONARCH PASS
…from the great Colorado auto tour of 2012…
Not my choice
The Harley roared up from the west
and wheeled into the vast asphalt expanse.We’d arrived only moments before, exiting our rented Lincoln
MKX (not my choice) and were setting up a posed shot at a sign marking the
continental divide.An upslope
wind sliced through our garb and if wind has thought, this one thought, “I’ve
reached the summit. What do I do now?”At 11,000 plus feet in elevation, teeth chattered.
The rider dismounted his Harley, removed some heavy riding
gloves and motioned to me and my little Panasonic camera.I handed it to him.
“Vhere?” he asked, tipping the visor on his Schuberth
I pointed to the chrome button that controlled the shutter.
“Gud,” he said.
Monarch Pass - a "high point" of the trip
We, my wife, myself, and the couple traveling with us,
posed.The photo(s) were snapped.
“Where are you riding from?” was asked.
He pointed west on US 50.
“Where you headed?”
He pointed east.
Rapid fire, more questions ensued.We all know the ones.
Finally, he waved his hand, removed the Schuberth and said,
“I can undahstand you vhen you speak schowly.Not mit that machine gun style you use.”
He looked me directly in the eye.
His accent was thickly Germanic.White, close-cropped hair covered his head, but his beard
appeared to have months of growth. His road-worn FL-something-er-other was
beautiful and clearly lovingly maintained.
“The Harley,” my buddy asked, “Why?”
“I’ve had it for twenty-five years,” he said.“I shipped it here from home for this
journey.Wouldn’t ride anything
Motioning to my pal, I said: “He just bought himself a
The German rider looked at me, then at my compadre.Then he said: “German.Italian,” raising one, then another
finger: “Vun. Two.”He paused.
We waited a long moment, and then he said, “Shit,” as a big
grin broke over his face – a universal sign that, as motorcyclists, we were all
brothers whether we hailed from Berkeley, Bainbridge Island, Boston or Bonn.
I chose, however, not to admit I had one each German and
Italian in my garage at home.
Little chance his kin will access the blog
“Can I get a picture for you?” I
asked, changing the topic and speaking slowly, per his request.I reached for the huge Canon he’d
pulled from nowhere.
replied as if with some degree of urgency.“No pictures of my face.”He stroked his beard.“I vant it to be a bit of a surprise for them vhen I return home.”