So, another year is winding down. It's already December. Hard to believe the year has flown by. I'd hoped 2009 would have been better than 2008, and in some respects it was, but in many ways it was worse. However the month started off on a good note with one of those rare dry and clear Winter days we occasionally get here in the Northwest -- with a sky so blue and clear its almost painful. It wasn't too cold either which meant a day out on the bike -- the first one in almost a month.
My buddy and colleague Rich Busch and I were going to get a third friend of his and go for a ride/business meeting to discuss some client issues (that way we can write it off -- and don't snicker, it's just like going golfing. If the client golfs, you golf -- if the client rides a Harley, well all the better!) However the other guy bailed at the last minute, leaving Rich and myself to spend the afternoon riding out in the Snoqualmie Valley. I met Rich at Carilon Point in Kirkland, and waited for a bit on the drive near the marina until I heard his Harley rumble up. Rich had to stop at his office to get the mail, and after that we struck out East.
I decided to ride the Rocker to show it off to Rich and the prospect. It's the first time I've had it out on the road for a long ride since getting it back from the shop. Rich drooled over it for a bit and we headed out towards Redmond and over Novelty Hill and down into the Snoqualmie Valley where we found that the valley was filled to the brim with cold gray fog. It was just one of those weather oddities where the temperature dropped and the fog stuck in under some sort of inversion and we about froze to death despite heated gear. After a few miles I suggested stopping at a Starbucks in Duvall, but Rich wanted to keep going to a tavern in Monroe - another 9 cold miles up WA-202. He had a windshield so was somewhat protected.
We pulled into this little dive biker tavern and grabbed a table by the fire where we had a chance to sit and catch up and BS. Rich said he's been loving my column in QuickThrottle www.quickthrottle.com/Editions/NW/2009/dec09/roadsigns.html
and asked the waitress if she recognized the mean-ass guy in the picture (I'm really beginning to dislike that picture). She said, "you mean this sweetheart here", pointing to me. See, that picture don't scare nobody! We ordered some food and spent an hour catching up on life and business. Rich also went through a rather painful divorce two years ago, and he, like me, said the first year was very rough. I can't say I disagree. The holidays make it more so -- I went over to Tony's tonite and he'd decorated -- it was very hard seeing all of "our" old decorations we'd purchased over a dozen years up -- it made me sad and miss even more what we had.
Along about 3pm we realized that we had better hit the road and head home otherwise we'd be riding in the dark -- what with the sun going down at the ungodly hour of 430pm these days. So we bundled back up and headed off down WA-202 in the fog. We said our goodbye's at the Shell station in Carnation as Rich would be turning off when we got to Issaquah to head home. As soon as we topped Tolt Hill Road we were back in the clear, riding into a spectacular sunset over the far-off Olympic mountains to the West Naturally my camera phone was under three zipped up layers of clothes and unreachable. Shortly after Rich turned off and I continued on towards home, the road took a turn to the East and right into a glorious full moon rising over the Cascades at 4:15pm. I just had to pull off and dig to find the camera.
I jumped on I-90 West and headed home, a little chilly, and after 100 miles on the Rocker, with a sore back and ass (this bike is definitely not one for long rides!). So the final month of the year has started -- and on the bike which is a good thing. It's also the end of the first year of being single and as Rich said, the hardest. I'm hoping so. I'm hoping so.