Gary Gardner (grgardner) wrote,
Gary Gardner


A good friend of mine took a turn at a somewhat fictional version of the trip and me and gave me permission to post it here.  I'm very flattered by it and the description of me.   If this is how people view me I'm indeed a lucky man.   Enjoy.

                                  Tate Owen Has a Mission

Tate Owen is an impressive man standing about 5’ 9”’ about 220 lbs and all muscle. In fact he is built like a linebacker. He has a commanding voice and is comfortable in the world of public speaking. When he wears full leather on his Harley he looks like no one in their right mind would take him on. Lately Tate has been going to the gym 3 times a week where he works out; especially on his core body and upper arms. The effort has paid off and he has trimmed down. He knows he had to lose the weight that came with his job, eating out and, grabbing a bite when he could.  Then there were those donuts in endless meetings.

Forever phone calls, more meetings more lunches more dinners out. All in the name of getting what he wanted. Tate is a lobbyist and a good one at that. He makes a lot of money and it pays for his life style. He has a beautiful home that he just remodeled, added a garage for his Harleys. He drives a big yellow honker, a Hummer that no one but he appreciates. Sometimes he gets nasty notes left on the windshield or the special plates are missing. It hurts Tate that people are so nasty. Not only that, he is that he getting sick of all the political fighting when the legislature is in session... It used to be that art of negotiation was the game. Now it is ugly and not so much fun being a top lobbyist. Being down in the capitol for the legislative sessions is beginning to annoy him; better yet he knows it is stress and it  is getting too him. The long drive home on week ends and then back is tiresome. When he is home or out on his Harley the phone calls are demanding. The big boys who pay him to represent their interests expect him to be available anytime day or night. Even thought he knows that is the way is and has been he finds it more and more annoying.

Tate is partnered with Joe who is a handsome man with a responsible position. He is quite talented and has a charming way about him. He is tall, well built and attracts both women and men because of his looks and easy going personality. He too has a Harley. Joe rides a gorgeous and big blue bike and it makes him look like a tough cop on off duty. The two of them ride together and go off on long rides in the country. Between them they have logged a lot of miles and they are comfortable riding. Joe has had to be away on business and lately they don’t see much of each other. Tate finds that he is feeling more and unhappy about that. Joe is younger than Tate who is close to his late forties.  Tate thinks that what he really wants is too live a quit life, stay home when he wants to, ski when he wants to, ride across country with Joe on their Harleys and just be let alone and away from the incessant phone calls and all the work they entail.. Tate knows that it is not in the cards right now and he needs to get his thoughts in order.

These uneasy feelings are bothering Tate and he knows about this restlessness. He has had them before and calls him to get away; alone. Alone so he can get a new perspective, sort out his feelings and become grounded again.

He bought a new Harley, his third one. It is the first one off the assembly line and he is ecstatic that he was able to snag it. No on else seems to share his enthusiasm; even Joe dose not seem thrilled. Why did he need another Harley? Tate doesn’t know what made him buy another bike. It‘s just that he wanted it. He wonders what else he wants because for a time he felt that he had it all.

Tate wanted to show off his new bike and he and Joe were going on a short ride. Two houses up the street are two older women that just returned from a winter in Palm Springs. Tate has always enjoyed having coffee with them during the summer when they are home. These women have been together longer than Joe has been alive. They both had successful careers. Were independent thinkers and did what they wanted to do.
They have driven all kinds of RV’s, owned a boat, bought a motel on the coast and traveled a lot. Tate finds their stories interesting. They lived together before Stonewall; remember the murder of Harvey Milk and the near riots in San Francisco where they lived during those times. Their lives seem exciting and most interesting is that they both had successfully changed careers at mid life. Sometimes Tate wonders why he doesn’t change careers. What would he do? Where would he have to live? What would he give up?

Joe and Tate roared down the long driveway; their bikes sounding just right with that long low rumbling sound of a Harley. Naturally Ann and Lucille came out to greet them. Tate was proud of his new machine. It was different and the kind where he sat low and back from the bars. His arms outstretched and up higher than the usual. He legs sitting out straight.  It gave him a different more carefree look. More like those outlaw types that one sees. They wear a leather vest and no shirt and they usually have a long pony tail tied with a black band. Tate thinks those guys look cool but he was disappointed when Lucille said “the look” didn’t seem to fit his personality. She liked him on his big bike. Even Joe did not really think that Tate needed a new bike but Tate didn’t care. He was going to do some of the things that he wanted to do

Lucille and Ann like Tate and his partner but know Tate much better. They like him coming over and it gives them an interesting break from their daily routines. They discuss politics, history, breaking news and all kinds of interesting subjects. They find Tate to be sensitive to others cares strongly about issues and is always helpful. He expresses himself well and he makes people feel comfortable. They sense his attitudes by observing his body language and can often tell when he is distracted from his work. It did not surprise them when Tate announced that he was going to Las Vegas for a meeting and that he was going to ride across the back country by himself... He planned to stay off the freeways and cruise those long open spaces where he would see few people. He said will stop off in small towns, eat at the local cafes and stay in old 50’s type motels. He might find motels with a history and towns that may not have changed much. He could talk to just good hard working people. He has always found freedom in the open road where he can gaze at the mountains and open fields. He can think without been distracted and breathe in pure air; reminisce about anything he wants, shout, sing or enjoy the silence.

Joe does not think he should ride alone but he can not leave his job at the moment. Lucille wonders if Tate will be safe but quietly wonders if she would do the same things when she was younger. What if his bike breaks down or he takes a spill. He assures them that he can take care of himself but he knows they are not convinced. He has resolved that he is going anyway, his way, his time and it is his life. In fact some of the other men who are attending the same meeting are also riding their Harleys to Vegas and they want Tate to ride with them. Tate is determined to go it alone but he knows their route if he changes his mind along the way

The last month had been hectic. Tate has written his annual reports and sent them off to those who write his paychecks. He answered what seemed like hundreds of phone calls, attended how many lunches, meetings and the like. Tate was tired and ready for his new adventure. He had planned his route carefully, adjusted his timing and figured out where he might stop at night. He could make to the meeting in Las Vegas and he knew he would feel free and rested. In fact he thought he might even go further. Why should he come home when he could ride over the mountains or off through the back roads toward New Mexico? Maybe even go up through the mountains to his old home in Utah.

He worried a little about Joe being unhappy about this trip but there was nothing he could do. He had to go and the day had come. He loaded up his big Harley and carefully stowed his computer in one of the strapped on bags. Of course he did want to keep in touch with Joe and he carried his cell phone but he knew the computer would be a life saver when he needed to write. He often wrote about his feelings when he was by himself. It seemed to help him focus on important things that were on his mind. Still, he knew he would miss Joe and he hoped that Joe did understand that he needed to go off on his own for a while. For some reason, he did not want Joe to be there when he left on the trip and now Tate was ready. Tate quickly zipped up his leather jacket, put on his helmet and in one quick move fired up the Harley. It seemed to roar to life and he felt good. Giving it the gun he drove up the driveway. He did not look back. He was going forward and for the first time in a long while he felt relaxed...

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