Bye love.

December 14, 2010

We left the house at 11 AM. Ozzy deftly drives the sleek black Cadillac down the 210, we glide on the tarmac speedily. It’s a glorious day. The fall colors are bright, the air is crisp, we are expecting temperatures to go above 80 today.

I am sitting in the back seat wearing my motorcycle gear, my helmet next to me. I also took Leo with us today. The reason for this trip is not just to go out and have a Sunday stroll. Our ultimate destination is Lancaster for a meeting but I decided to multi-task and go pick up IO, my Suzuki at the mechanic’s shop and bring it to Steve’s shop in Lancaster where it will get to rest in the company of 4 other bikes.

I am heading out for the last ride.

Interesting how today we take the reverse course we did over a month ago. Reverse in a lot of ways. We are now heading West, it is daytime, the sun shines, I am going to pick up the bike. Back then it was night time, dark, cold, I had just dropped the bike to get healed after a massive electrical failure near Joshua Tree.

I remember Melanie and Ozzy picking me up on that night on the street corner, I was standing there on foot in my motorcycle gear with my saddle bags and luggage, dirty, tired and disoriented by this separation anxiety I always felt when I was spliced from my bike.

Today we are picking it up, but we are picking up a condemned IO.

“…a time bomb waiting to happen…”

We get to Glendale, to the shop, I see it right away. By the side of the shop, seat off, with a battery charger hooked on to it, like life support. It’s dirty. It looks lonely but still proud. We chat for a while. Darren, one of the mechanics there, also an artist is working on a sign for a restaurant in Huston. Metal and fiberglass, Melanie is enthralled by the model and the process. I love how she gets excited.

I get back to IO. Don tells me a more, more of all of what is wrong with the bike. The more he talks the more I wonder how I actually rode 16 thousand miles on it. monkeyed wiring, silicone in the engine, oil not getting where it should… It is astounding.

I try to start it and if I had any hopes of a miraculous resuscitation and perfect miraculous health they were dashed right then and there. It sounds rough, black smoke comes out the exhaust, the sound is a flat sort of throaty burrr that is not quite right. I sit on it.



My bike, my home. This bike had become my home. Was home. All around the continent it was all I had, everything I needed. I feel comforted and immediately saddened because it’s the end. The last hurrah. The last ride.

I roll down the alley, then up Fletcher on the freeway. I ply it into the curve.. Oh. Yeah. You. You and me. We could go anywhere… we were a team.

But as we go up the 2 I know it’s not all good. I can feel the weakness. It’s heart wants but can’t. I decided to stay on the freeways to get to Lancaster. If something happens I would be easier to find then up in the mountains somewhere.

I get onto the 5. A little ways passed Burbank it happened for the first time. Bwaaaa …aaa…aaa… 5000, 4000, 3000 RPMs, frrrrr…. I pull hurriedly to the side of the road. It feels like all power went off… is it the electrical?


Wow, that was about 5 miles… I get my helmet off and call Ozzy.
“I broke down”
“Where are you”
“Passed Burbank on the 5 heading north… some storage place…”
“We’re on our way.”

I sit there for a minute. I guess that is the end and it’s sadder than sad. For the heck of it I try starting it. It roars back to life… I call Ozzy again.

“It started. I will continue. I will let you know”
“we’ll wait for you”

It revs up. I take a look over my shoulder. Lets go.

Don had said : “Go easy” so I will. So I am. I keep it around 4500 RPMs in fifth gear. I sense this deep light grinding in there that has never been there before. Poor baby. As I approach the 14 the RPMs start to climb down again… Uh oh… there is nowhere to go, no shoulder, it is a wall of cement blocks and there is only two lanes. I put my right turn signal, motion people to go around me and crawl up the road at about 25 MPH, the traffic wells behind me. I am a public danger here… I finally reach a place where there is a shoulder. Pull over, turn it off.

Maybe it will be the same as in Burbank. I give it a couple of minutes. Start it again. It roars to life.

“All right baby. Thank you. We’re going to take it real easy and we’re going to make it to Lancaster and you’ll get to finally rest. Hang in there baby. Hang in there.”

I roll forward, up the hill, towards the high desert. IO runs. Soon after I see the black Cadillac onto the on ramp from the 210. I wave. Melanie and Ozzy are right behind me, 4 way flashers on. Gee… I’m not alone. I gotta say, it feels very comforting. Not alone.

As we climb up, I look around. I feel the air, the sound, I guess each bike has it’s own way of cutting through the air and buffeting the wind so each bike has it’s own environment. I am sitting there and I can see in my mind pictures from all over. I can feel joy and immense freedom, a kind of beingness, the kind that gave me my life back. On this bike it’s instantaneous. I am the wind, I am the air, I am flying, I am untethered, free… Tears roll down my face.

My heart’s truth is that I don’t want to let it go. The world’s truth is that I can’t keep it going, it could kill us both. Literally. Don said the engine could blow out, oil on the road, on my leg, us going down, traffic behind… not a pretty picture. Another scenario is that it could catch on fire. So no. It has to stop now for any chance of future redemption.

We ground to a halt twice more. Twice more we restarted and got going. I keep patting the tank. “Hang in there baby”

It was strange to have to stay behind a semi truck going up the hill because I did not have enough power to pass it… Or not have to worry about going too fast and checking my RPMs… You know the 5 on 5 (5 thousand RPMs in 5th gear = 75 MPH kind of thing…

About 6 miles from Palmdale it suddenly started to pick up speed. Same RPMs but it accelerated, I have no clue what this is all about. Ozzy said it could have been a vacuum in the gas tank starving the engine. As if for extra measure the Universe managed to make it really totally incredibly dire so that I would let it go, not try to hang on to it…

L Avenue, I get off the freeway, Lancaster looks beautiful today in this gentle winter light. I make it to my destination. Roll up the driveway, kill the engine, get off, walk to the door. I can sense no one is here. They’ve probably already left for the meeting. I turn around and walk back to the bike, fumbling for my phone. Then I looked up. And there it was.

So beautiful in the sun. I lost it. I’m crying and crying. I got the camera out. I’m taking photos upon photos, just to be certain, just a last feeble attempt at not letting it go. At keeping some of it with me.

Oh does it ever hurt.

I am not so good at goodbyes, never have been. There is a feeling of utter loneliness. Loss. Irreplaceability. The End. El Finito.

I thought I had dealt with this whole thing a couple of weeks ago. I was pretty smug. Wow. You know, I had been able to let it go gracefully. Not so.

Sunny arrived. opened the garage, I push the bike in the garage, look at it, fall apart again. I’m so not good with this stuff.

The garage door rolled down, the bike on one side, me on the other. I try to act civilized.

I tell some of the details to Sunny, she said she thought that it was the Grace of God that actually carried me so far. I believe she is right. I believe there is a greater scheme, a script for a play we don’t know the title yet.

So here we are.

6 months on the road. 6 months in the hands of Fate. It’s been quite the voyage.

I look ahead and there is still no gridded, organized and extolled plan. There is a red BMW waiting for me for a blind date. That should happen sooner than later. I am curious, a bit shy, nervous and I hope it likes me some and that I can fall in love again.

But you know, for the first time in a long time, I am not alone with a machine and a stuffed dog anymore. As much as every fiber in my being hurts with loss, I am surrounded with beautiful, amazing, brilliant, generous, fun and inspiring souls. They have made me a better person and I love them so very much.

The sun has been gracing the sky just about every day, I have Leo, two guitars and the will to live.

What more can I ask? Really..

I have promised myself to fix IO. There will be a time and a place. I know it. I will get all the wires, the transmission, a new engine, suspension, nice pipes with a Yoshimura baffle, I’ll get the short windshield, the bar ends, I’ll fix all the scratches and dents, I will give it back all that it gave me. I will make it gnarly, righteous, absolutely flamboyant and sleek as it is. I’ll do it with love and anticipation to hear that metal heart roar again and we’ll get to roam together again.


3 Responses to “Bye love.”

  1. francoise Moulin Says:

    Je tw comprend tellement bein. J’ai laisse ma belle toyota Previa ce printemps. Elle etait tellement fatiguee et pourtant on a roule ensemble comme cela pendant plus de 6 moi. Comme je l’aimais. Elle etait tout pour moi, ma mfeilleure amie qui etait toujours la quand j’en avais besoin pendant plus de 20 ans et 467.000kms. Avec elle, je me sentais en secutite, heureuse. Je lui parlais. En la laissant, c’est tout un passe qui s’en allait. La vie familiale et tout le reste. Comme cette voiture etait fidele au rendez-vous! Je sais ce que tu ressens, c’est difficile. Nos engins ont une ame, comme disent les boudhistes et c’est vrai. Ils ont une vie mais ils ont capable de nous laisser. Moi, j’aurais voulu la nettoyer, lui faire une fete avant de la laisser mais j’ai trouve une voiture et tout s’est termine au garage comme cela…Dis lui un grand merci du fond de ton coeur. Je pense a toi…

  2. Norman Says:

    Not to grieve, you had a fabulous existence to be thankful for. As you say, it will live again in the future to go on more adventures. In the interim, be happy & make a new 2 wheeled friend & lover!

  3. Pete Starich Says:

    Hey there Darling
    I will look around in the milwaukee area for parts and a runnable engine for you to swap. I have allways been lucky at finding things at very low cost. After all I found the one I have for $300.00 The chances are I may find one with broken or missing body parts for way less.
    By the way I would love to get a CD of your music. Please let me know as soon as one might be available.
    Light and love my dear (just cause you rock!!!)


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