Motorcycle Dreaming: Riding the Beauty Way Backward in Time Across America

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We flew to my folks home in California and bought a used Yamaha 1100 Midnight Special    in Nevada City.  It was late  April,  a bit early for such an ambitious trip but it was the only block of time we could get, so we took it.  Waving goodbye to Mom and Dad we took to State Hwy 49, one of our favorite routes of all time.  49 is an old stagecoach road, named for the famous/infamous Forty-niners of gold rush fame.  This is the very road along which the precious stuff was discovered.

Because we’d both spent our childhoods being driven at a relentless pace from pillar to post as our fathers transferred from one army base to another, we resolved to read every historical marker along the way and stop at every, reptile farm, dinosaur display and petting zoo we came too.  The sideshows quickly palled but we kept reading the markers.  The stories fascinated us, adding poignant details to place names we recognized from long-ago history lessons.  Since we were travelling east, the dates kept getting earlier.  Pretty soon we felt like the bike was  a time machine, whizzing us backwards through history.

Strangely enough, the further we rode the more we seemed to shed our own recent history. The intimacy of close physical contact for hours at a time took us back to the early days of our marriage when constant touching was the norm.

The trip became a turning point in our marriage.  We didn’t process it all at once- our minds had some catching up to do first.  But the physicality of that trip and the experience of being outside all day every day allowed our bodies and souls to learn what we needed to know.  Best of all, we remembered how to laugh at/with/for each other and ourselves.

Ballad of the Dew Drop Inn 

Dead to the world
we were snoring as one
snug in our cheap rented bed,
when bumpity-bump
in machine-gun staccato
the wall, not an inch from my head,
turned into a sounding board
true to one note, a drum
knowing only one beat,
a steady bang, bang
sent sweet slumber flying,
unhampered by pillow or sheet.
What to do? What to do?
When a noise so persistent
so base, so prolonged, so abrupt
has the effrontery
to startle dark night,
break the peace,
murder sleep, interrupt!
Poking our fingers
in each other’s ears
we started a game of our own.
Still retaining the digits
now blocking those thumps
could we possibly wriggle and moan
our way to a climax
concurrent with theirs
freeing both parties
to dream without cares?
Good plan, but it backfired
as lust often does
and our scheme
went unhappily awry.
I’m afraid the bed broke,
I shrieked as I came
and John howled up at the sky!
The people next door
woke the manager up
and he called the cops
so we fled.
The moral is this:
don’t stay in cheap rooms
and always wear earplugs to bed.

 © 1992 Christine Irving


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