Saturday, August 1, 2015


People You Meet on the Road:
Ukiah, California edition

10:00 AM today:  Backing the Moto Guzzi into a space in front of Mendocino Book Company – one of the closer independent booksellers to our new digs – I noticed a gentleman, about my age, pausing before getting into the newish Grand Cherokee in a neighboring slot.  The Jeep had some random building materials tied to its roof rack.

“Man, that’s a beautiful bike,” he said as I killed the engine.  His eyes flashed like those of one anticipating a fine stretch of curves on a perfect summer day.

I gave my pat response: “Better than I deserve.”

He moved closer, staring at the gleaming chrome and polished black paint on my Breva.  “I had a V-65 Lario.  Thing was bulletproof.  Compared to a Ducati?”  He buzzed his lips and shook his head.  “Loved that Guzzi.  Sold it 20 years ago.  Haven’t ridden since.”

I nodded knowingly, though I knew nothing about a ’65 Lario or most any other vintage Guzzis.  “Haven’t ridden since?”  I asked.  “Why?”

“Bought a house.”

[The reader will note that folks who ride (or rode) often speak in phrases, or at best, very short sentences.]

 “Well, we should get you back in the saddle.”  I handed him a Church of the Open Road calling card.

He glanced at the card then returned the bike.  “Love to, but can’t.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“Fixin’ the house,” he said gesturing toward the lumber on top of his Cherokee.

“You been fixin’ your house for twenty years?”

His gaze lowered to the paint stripe separating our vehicles.  “Yep.”  His now-crestfallen voice was nary a whisper.

Eventually, he looked up and, together, we laughed. 

He climbed into the Jeep, backed out and, as he drove off, said, “Some day…”

 © 2015
Church of the Open Road Press


  1. Poor misinformed man. we bought houses. we fixed up houses - living proof you can also ride a motorcycle

    1. RB: My bet is that its simply an excuse. Along with that, I think with just a little bit of massaging, this guy would find himself astride another ride in very short order...

  2. Nine years later we are still fixing up our house and own 4 motorcycles.........just sayin'.

  3. We all make our choices. Thanks for sharing, quite thought provoking.

  4. We all make our choices. Thanks for sharing, quite thought provoking.