Sunday, March 29, 2009

Getting Acquainted

The morning is a bit gray when I awake on Friday morning. It’s my vacation day and I want to take Blaze out, just the two of us. I do some early morning chores and wait. I’m rewarded with parting clouds that skitter across the sky with darting rays of sun teasing them like playful children in a game of hide and seek. I roll Blaze out and down the ramp and look her over. Then in what has become a ritual, we stand silent for a moment, facing the statue that once belonged to my aunt and send our request to the heavens for a safe journey. I throw a leg over the saddle and slip and slide my way across the mud and muck out to pavement. We are off.

My first stop is to see Andy at the water plant. He takes a hose and washes the mud from Blaze for her debut with friends. I make my way to Nashua where we find ourselves in the stop and go traffic that is typical of cities. At a stop light, I feel as if eyes are upon me. I’m always thinking “cop” but I’m behaving nicely. I look around, and the trucker in the next lane over is craning his neck to see what I’m riding. He makes it obvious he is looking the length and breadth of Blaze, then smiles at me and mouths “NICE” in a way even a seasoned lip reader can’t miss. I give him my best grin and mouth “THANKS” in reply. He inspects me for the next few lights, and then we part ways.

At my first stop, I show Blaze off to Lee and Bill. They understand all too well, Jade’s limitations when on our Western Ride. Bill nods approval, but he is soon chilled and steps back into work. Lee has his jacket. He admires Blaze and checks her out from stem to stern. Soon his is riding her around the expansive parking lot testing her agility. He gives her the nod of approval. We spend a few more moments discussing accessories, engine guards, luggage rack and general biker bling. Then I’m off again.

I take all the quiet back roads in a leisurely ride to visit my sister Fran in Manchester. The gently twists and turns are nothing for Blaze. Unlike Jade, whose pipes are loud and commanding, Blaze purrs along. She is as gentle and smooth as a kitten, yielding agreeably to each command or gentle touch of my hand. My affection for her grows. I reach my sister later than I promised, but she is not upset at my lateness. We visit for a bit, and make tentative plans to ride this season.

My next stop is the cemetery, where I spend some time talking to Mom. Uncle is not far away, and I step over to have a chat with him as well. When I depart, I remember the difficulty getting out of this place. I need to take a left from here, and the blind curve to the right always has vehicles arriving around the bend without much notice. I take my time here, and Blaze zips left without hesitation, with plenty of time between oncoming cars.

Next, I take Blaze to the highway. We merge into Friday afternoon traffic with its drivers hell bent on getting home for the weekend. Blaze is not fazed one bit. She can out run the best of them, and still has plenty of power to stretch out if need be. The rushing wind is exhilarating and I make my way back to Milford. I stop at the gym before heading home. I want to stay fit and healthy to enjoy this riding season. Blaze waits patiently in the lot until I return. Then we meander on home with the evening breeze cooling my heated flesh, the smell of spring in the air heady. I roll Blaze up the ramp, pat her fondly and step down the ramp. I pause facing the statue and send up a prayer of thanksgiving for my safe return. As vacation days go, this is definitely a ten!

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