Rochester to Niagara Falls, short ride many moments.

August 8, 2010

Saying goodbye. Always tough. Linda and I hugged about 20 times… tears and all. I remember the minute I saw her at the counter at Jim’s Service. My first thought was “ I am in good hands” She feels like a sister to me. My new soul sister.

I left the house on Lake Ontario around 10 AM I think. I stopped for an espresso before a planned stop at the Garage to say goodbye to everyone.

More hugs, good wishes, goodbyes. It’s hard to leave this crew there. Then Jim says : Oh we did not do the ligther… Jim wanted to put a lighter socket thingy so I could have the GPS plugged in at all time. I had never done it because I knew my electrical system was not so great but he assured me that with the repairs we did it could take charging a GPS unit.

This lighter thing came up before, this is in in fact the third time it comes up. Last night I Had a thought that maybe I should listen to this hint that keeps coming up like this… So I said OK, even if it meant cutting a hole on on the bikes cowling…

Well this thing was supposed to take no time but it did not go that way. It got done around 3 PM… yeah… sometimes things don’t work out the way that you plan.

But that delay allowed me to meet this girl, and damn me I can’t remember her name now. Pretty girl, spririted, bright, a New Yorker girl. She rides a Harley and told us about crashing fairly recently… she was racing someone in town and doesn’t know how but she ended on the pavement her bike doing flip flops… She showed me her scars. She told me her friends thought she was dead but she got up and yelled at them asking to take her bike off the road before the cops got there… The toughest chick around.

Jim finished on the bike and just before I left, we were all outside in the garage front parking lot : Linda, Jim, this girl and the guy who was with her. As I was looking at her bike she grabbed this black piece of fabric she had on her bike, like a shawl. Filmy, pretty thing in a biker kind of way. She had it hung on her handlebars, it would float in the wind like a wing…

She took it off urgently, looked at me and said :
“You have to have this…”

I was about to protest that I could not take anymore stuff on my bike….

“No, no, take it, you can put it anywhere you want…”

I was about to say something again and she looked at me in the eyes and said:
“you have to have it, you might save someone’s life…” as she said that she wrapped it quickly and with force around my arm and tightened it like a tourniquet,
…”to stop blood from pouring”…

It froze me in my tracks, my throat tightened.

Now I had to take this thing no matter what.

Then she took it off my arm and put it over her shoulders and she said : “and if you put it over your shoulders when you ride it is like having wings…

I had tears in my eyes.

She came to my bike and wrapped it just under and around the instrument panel, it was perfect.

She was so pure in that moment the universe disappeared somewhat for a micro second. People can be so beautiful they take your breath away.

Then it was the hugs again, Linda, Jim, this girl… we both started our machines, the percussive low end of the Harley and the throaty Suzuki. Jim started his gigantic pick up, an orange and black mean Harley designed machine, Linda started her Yukon and we all took off together, they went East. I went West. Down the 104. I passed the spot where I had broken down and that was a tiny little victory. I went up North and then West on route 18.

Small towns, fruit stands, ice cream places…. I got a burger at a place that had all the tourist trappings, kids play farm, ice cream stand, souvenirs, homemade preserves and burgers and fries.

The kid at the grill told me my voice was the sweetest thing he’d ever heard, probably the French accent. I had a burger and took off again.

I feel like I have softened over the last week of no riding. Got to get back in the groove, in the pocket. My head is swimming in all the events of the last week. Give me a few days I’ll be right back in the rhythm of things.

I stopped again about an hour later. I saw the ice cream stand and thought “what the heck”.

There I met Tom. He was about 60 something. He bought his first motorcycle last year. Now he has a Harley. We get to talk.

Where are you from? And there it goes. I tell him about the trip and all…

He tells me he went on a ride today as him and his wife had just spent a bunch of time in the hospitals lately, tests and dialysis. I can tell it’s serious, I can tell there is inevitability there even if he does not say much. The ride helps him clear his head & heart, plus, he would normally come here with her and have ice cream on the week end. Then he says :

“ I always wanted to do what you are doing… If something happens, I will do it. Go to Texas or something…

Oh life can really blow… I see this sweet man contemplating the un-contemplatable, the inevitable. Life… we come, we go. We love, we lose. We keep going.

All I can do is to envelop him in good vibrations. Nothing can really be said.

We chatted a bit longer, and two people who were sitting at a pic-nic table next to us came up to talk to me. the lady said: I just want to wish you good luck and to be safe. I really admire what you are doing” She must have been in her 70’s she was with her husband. Jeanette was her name. She went on talking about all the things they wished to do in their lives and never got to do. “there’s always something”… Then they left.

Tom and me chatted a little longer, it was nice. The sun was gentle, there was a breeze, everything has that ripe early august glow. It’s beautiful.

We then geared up, he straddled his Harley, I straddled my Suzuki and he went East and I went West.

Next stop : Niagara falls. The US side is, as Tom told me, run down, rough. I crossed over to the Canadian side and it looks like Disneyland… I’m not sure what to think… I sit in heavy traffic across the bridge, get to the border crossing. The guard was asking me all the usual questions of where you comin’ from where you goin’ are you bringin’ in anything, then he asked if my back was sore from riding this bike that far. No, I said no back issues! And he set me on my way.

I turned towards the Falls. I was excited, wow, this looks good, there are throngs of people everywhere, everything is shiny, a band plays over here, a horse carriage over there, the spray from the falls is high in the air and we can feel drops falling. I pulled in for parking. $14 to park. I said : “Are you kidding me!?!”

I turned around. There is nowhere else to park. It’s a trap. I don’t like that stuff… I tried to go back maybe I can find another way but now I am in another traffic jam. OK that’s it. I just U-turned and headed away. Disappointed… Maybe I’ll come back tomorrow… but it will be the same…

I turn Westward again. It’s getting pretty dark by now. First motel : full

Second motel : I turn in the parking lot. Get off the bike, get to the door : No vacancy. Hmm… Ok I’ll keep going I thought… A guy from the balcony calls out :
“where are you from?”

“BC”

“you rode all the way here ?”

“yes”

We chatted a bit, he is with a group of riders. They have rooms, maybe they have doubles and I could share… I laughed.

“you have ladies with your group?” I asked

“nope, just a bunch of guys. You wanna beer? “

“No if I am going to ride out of here to find a place to stay, I can’t drink and ride”.

We talk a bit longer… more guys show up, he tells them about the 9500 mile trip. They are impressed. This goes on for a while.

At one point the lady who owns the Motel shows up. He tells her about me, she said she can figure something out and to give her 40 minutes or so. Wow… thank you! I got a place to stay.

We started to talk. She was shinning in an amazing sort of way. I was taken by that light in her eyes. the goodness in her…

The guys invited me for steak and beer and now that I had a place to crash I took up the invitation. They were set up on the second floor, a little terrace, I think there was 12 or 15 of them. They were pretty curious about my journey. We laughed, Mack lent me his knife to cut the steak, I had Crystal beer which is, I am told, “biker’s beer”

I sat with them for a while. Took pictures, then Mark said that Sarah, the motel owner wanted to see me. I went to the motel’s office. Her husband Jolly was there, on the phone speaking in Hindu. He passed the phone to Sarah and he spoke to me.

He is a writer. He showed me a video of a song he wrote and this Indian Singer is performing it. It’s really beautiful, it’s really well crafted. In a few seconds I am in another universe completely. We chat. Sarah comes in. We chat some more. They are curious about my website, they look and she said : who did your website?

“I did”

“Oh! I am going to keep you here! I have to do mine and I am so busy with the motel I have no time!”

We talked for a while. She radiates a calm beauty. I cannot stop drinking that. Then it cames to the business of the moment which is where will I spend the night.

Now, check this. What she is offering me is … her room in her own house….

!

So right now I am sitting writing this from the bedroom of the motel owner who has invited me in the heart of her home. Unreal. Again.

I met her son Gary who loves music and who wants to play guitar. He showed me a song from the school of rock movie on his PSP. We share earbuds.

I feel once more as if the strings of my destiny are being pulled, I am on this road and I get little taps from life, go this way, go that way, and my life unrolls in ways I would have never been able to guess or imagine. I know this is not random. I feel it’s the hand of the Gods, the angels, or whatever you want to call it. There is purpose. My job is to open my heart. Trust. Fly.

What a day.

here is the Motel : Niagara Parkway Court Motel. 3708 Main st. Niagara Falls Ontario
Come here. They are good people…

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2 Responses to “Rochester to Niagara Falls, short ride many moments.”

  1. Alan Says:

    “In a few seconds I am in another universe completely”

    Haha, almost exactly the words I use to describe the Frolic.

    When / if you ever swing by Hollywood / L.A. again, you’ll have to be escorted to another fun universe, the (world infamous) Frolic Room dive bar. Drag Duane with you (he’s been there).

    It’s my local ‘Cheers’ bar getaway, and it’s major real-time theater, never ever know what to expect. The place can morph quite quickly, from being totally dead to totally packed……every level of society wafts in, from the very lowest to the very highest (which is how an elderly guy with a young blonde hanging on his arm phrased it….he said the best bars in the world (he’d been to every major city on the planet) are those next to major Theatres, in this case the Pantages.

    My alternate universe, if you will.

    Best wishes Danielle ! ~

    Alan


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