Gary Gardner (grgardner) wrote,
Gary Gardner

Rolling over 50K - C2CB2B And Back

In October of 2005 when this picture was taken I bought this brand new Harley-Davidson FXDBI "Street Bob" motorcycle from Destination Harley-Davidson in Silverdale, Washington.  It's painted "Denim Black", with a hint of chrome, and was my second new motorcycle.  I'd wanted it ever since I saw it in the Harley catalog that year.  Since then that bike and I have traveled many a long and lonesome highway together.  It's just as pretty and nice as the day I bought it, although I've added and changed some of the accessories.
This past weekend while on a short overnighter to the Tri-Cities the bike rolled over the 50,000 mile mark.  Somewhere in Eastern Washington, along SR-240 near milepost 23 the odometer rolled up to 50K.  It was about 5:57pm on 7/23/11.  I'd been watching the miles rack up for most of the day and knew I'd hit the mark somewhere on that trip.  Unlike when I rolled over 40,000 back in 2009 on the way home from Sturgis somewhere in Western Montana along the Clark Fork River in a windy canyon with no place to pull over, this time I was able to stop and take a picture and enjoy all those 0's and reflect on where we've been together.
It's a bit of a coincidence that in the year that I will turn 50, this bike, which has become a metaphysical if not actual part of me, turns over 50K as well.  With that many miles, the bike is in a sense an extension of my body – seemingly effortlessly responding to my touch. I twist my wrist and she goes faster. I press left and she glides that direction.  Stretch out on the highway pegs and breathe the cool mountain air and we both want to keep going forever.

Lately she’s been my only traveling companion when the road stretched out in front of me for miles.  She’s been the table where I’ve dined on t-bone steak and cheap red wine.  Her tank is the desk where I’ve made notes, or written postcards back home, and spread out a roadmap looking for a back road from here to anywhere.  Her backrest has been the pillow where I’ve rested from a day on the road.  Her bags have carried my clothes and belongings from town to town as I’ve traveled. She’s listened to me cry over my late father as I drove through central Utah, and been there as I think of the ones I love and miss as the miles rolled away beneath us. Her handlebars have framed the Islands of the Florida Keys, the Mackinac bridge between Lake Huron and Michigan, the Grand Tetons, Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon, the Columbia River, Mount Rainier, the shore of the Pacific, big cities, small towns, wheat fields, corn fields, dusty desert, lush forests,  and more than 50,000 miles of road.  Together we've been Coast to Coast and Border to Border and back again -- and her license plate is just that C2CB2B.
Yes, we've been on some rather epic trips together.  This year however I've yet to be able to take that long bike trip and I'm missing it.   Back in 2008 when Tony and I were still together, one of the last things we did was take the most epic trip of all -- our "Corner to Corner" ride, from Key West, Florida all the way to Cape Flattery, Washington.  Tony mentioned to me the other day that it was this time of year back in '08 that we were on that ride and he'd been re-reading the blog we kept. One day those blog posts will be the basis for a book I plan on writing.   I've been re-reading that blog too -- it's nice to remember and relive, and at the same time has me missing being on the road this year.
It's hard to believe though that this bike and I have rolled 50,000 plus miles together.   I'm going to bet all but 20-30 or so were by me.   That's a lot of miles and a lot of memories.  I must confess I have a wandering soul I suppose. I always have, and I attribute some of that to my parents who were thoughtful enough as I was growing up to take us someplace in the car or the camper nearly every week. This is one of the greatest gifts they gave me – to not be afraid to see what’s up around the next bend and to love travel. And I suppose as well that it could be considered a curse.   Only a few people understand the allure of the road and the siren call that drives me and others like me to see what's around the next bend in the road.  It frustrates friends and loved ones when I load up the bag and toss it on the bike and head out with no plan, and where I end up is where I end up, and I come back when I'm ready to come back.
Age 50 is half-way, or so they say.  I know friends with well over 100K miles on their bikes, and my Grandmother just turned 96, and so I'm hoping this 50K and my 50 years this year are just the half-way point on those journeys as well.

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