Friday, July 27, 2012


…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 Helmet.
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 else.”
Motioning to my pal, I said: “He just bought himself a Guzzi.”
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.
“No!  No!” he 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.”

© 2012
Church of the Open Road Press

1 comment:

  1. Your German accent is perfect, it's like I could hear him talking :) Fun story.