March 23

March 23rd 

Just a quick little jaunt into town today. I usually don't even write about these but today was special.

It was cold, really cold. Low 30's/High 20's with a relentless 50+ MPH wind swirling out of the north. Now this is the Alaskan march I know and LOVE! I decided, since the bike will soon be in the hospital getting a clutch transplant, I could not let a day go by without even a short ride. So, off I went.

My plan was to get a little dinner for myself at the local greasy spoon. This is the place where my friends and I spend time together all winter long. They have fairly decent food, good coffee, and cute waitresses. Since I spend a lot of time there, They know me, and I know just about everybody that works there, and some of the other regulars. I usually feel right at home there wheather I am alone or with my close friends.

Today, was a little different. granted for weeks now, my mind has been riding the planned routes of the comming summer, loning for that isolation of the further places, yearning for the adventure of aloneness on the endless open road. I pulled into my parking place a my restaurant, went inside, and didn't recognize anybody. I had a waiter, instead of my usual waitress, the locals looked like locals but they  were not the ones I know, or even recognize. The menu was the same, but then again, they all are. I was alone, None of my friends were there, My mind took me back out on the road.

As I ordered, I fired up my phone, and did a little web surfing, I checked the prices of the new clutch I just ordered just to make sure I only got ripped off a little by the dealer. I replied to some posts on ADV, and I hit some distant emails. No texts, no calls to friends. I actually felt alone. The experience was reminiscent of days past on quiet and sometimes lonely the road. As any adventure rider will tell you, a person riding alon is never alone for long, sure their are great stretches of highway, and nights alone in camp, but a man, alone on a motorcycle, anywhere in the world is a magnate for conversation. Weather it be the gigling girls giddy with fearful intimidation, or other men green with envy, Everybody wants to know where you have been, and where you think you are going. 

Not so tonight, right here at home, in my little restaurant. familiar surroundings, but no familiar faces, still in Alaska, where a dressed out adventure rider on a dirty beemer, even in 20 degree weather is not out of the ordinary enough to draw a croud.  Ah,the peace and quiet of aloneness...

I felt like, and acted like, I was out on the long road. I looked busy at something like I would be posting, or writing, or whatever I do on the road, I flirted a touch with the ladies checking me out, I dropped respectful dude nods to the men, and I carried on my business like I was a Million miles from home. How freaking spectacular!

After dinner, I ordered a coffee, and drank it like it was the great nectar of the goddess. Like It would be a long time until such warmth would find my lips. I took my sweet deliberate time suiting back up, smoking a cigarette like I imagine Pirsig would, I checked things on my bike, then mounted my steed like I was beat from the long haul. I even rode it off the center stand like a true professional ADV rider. 

Now, wouldn't it be just freaking hilarious if I washed out the front end on an unseen patch of black ice or gravel, and laid her down right there in front of god and everybody? HAH! no such humor to the fates! I rode methodically out of the parking lot, carefully navigating the traffic, and the gravel.  I chose a route back to the highway that would afford me a protected left signal, and rode home uneventfully Always diligent of the hazards of my chosen path. 

I did manage a Charley Borman like Wheelie after the tracks at the KGB intersection. And I did dream wildly of the Dalton, or the Dempster. I even went so far as to contemplate pitching my tent in my back yard and sleeping outside in the frigid wind, just to not let the moment end.  Back at the cabin however, the woodstove, and the bigscreen once again fettered me back to reality.

Maybe next time I can scape the torrid clutches of comfort long enough to enjoy the  beloved misery of adventure...
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