July 18, 2013
By Laura Drake
In honor of the release of my ‘biker chick’ book, Her Road Home, on August 1, I thought I’d share yet another of my obsessions — Motorcycling.
We’ve all read them. Articles about “Why I ride a Motorcycle.” This is a subject that fascinates me, because no one ever seems to explain it well. I thought for a while that it was because the answer couldn’t be expressed in words…that the emotion couldn’t be conveyed to someone who had never done it. But that’s not it either. So I’m beginning on a new theory; that the answer is so multi-faceted that it can’t be described in a few sentences.
Alpha Dog and I have ridden 100,000 miles together on one motorcycle, and I’ve logged 100,000 on my own. Now, granted, we used to spend three weekends out of four on the road, so we’re bound to have seen more of the West than many, but I was always surprised when I returned to work and said where I’d been, and people who’d lived here their entire lives had never been to fairly local places!
I’m so grateful to have the motorcycle – In a car I probably never would have experienced:
- The awesome vistas of Wyoming, where the land is so open and rolling, that from the top of a hill, you can see how the glaciers carved the land and how time has softened the harsh effects.
- The badlands of Utah, where the delicate multicolored striations in the crumbling ledges made me wish I knew how to dye cloth to be able to recreate it on fabric.
- The vast sky of the Four Corners area, where the dramatic red stone monoliths seem to rise out of the ground in the distance.
- The never-ending green prairies of Canada, where the wheat dances with the wind.
- Small towns in the middle of nowhere, who shut down the main highway running through town for a Fourth of July parade, complete with tractors pulling hay wagons festooned with bunting and carrying the local beauty contest winners.
- Real country stores with wooden floors and pot bellied stoves surrounded by rocking chairs – not to be trendy, but because the old-timers sit there.
- The howling aloneness of the Canadian Rockies, where the mountains stretch on forever.
True, I could have traveled to all these places in a car. But what makes them unique is that on the bike is that I didn’t go looking for them. In a car we generally tend To Go Somewhere – have a destination in mind, say a National Park. You drive there, experience it, and drive home. On a bike, I like to have a destination, but the destination is not the reason for the trip. We “happened upon” most of the above places on our way to somewhere else.
Another part of my theory is that experiencing life from the seat of a motorcycle is more real and indelible than a car experience. Follow me on this one, it’s kind of weird. I believe we’ve been so indoctrinated by our “socialization” to be able live so closely together, that we lose the sensitivity to really experience life to the fullest. The physical and mental rigors of riding a motorcycle scour that protective layer off, allowing the details of life to sink in to the pores of our consciousness.
Imagine watching a rain storm from inside a house. Then imagine experiencing it on a motorcycle; black clouds ahead, and the straight road leading you right into them. Before you get there there is a temperature drop, the wind buffets you, you smell the rain in the air. But more than that, you feel the storm inside of you…it almost feels like a small electrical current humming inside your body. An experience like this is naturally going to remain with you longer than watching rain come down outside a window.
Food tastes best, out of doors, right? I think life is sweetest when you’ve been on the bike long enough that your “normal life” has receded to the background, and you are truly living in the moment, happening upon the next treasured memory.
So – tell me – have you ever ridden a motorcycle? Ever wanted to?
Romantic Times gave it 4 stars!
“A minor motorcycle accident leaves builder Samantha Crozier stranded in Widow’s Grove, Ca. While she recovers, she hires mechanic Nick Pinelli to fix her bike. But while recuperating in town, she finds the house of her dreams to buy and restore, and she realizes that Nick just might be the man to go along with it.
With realistic emotions and nicely depicted characters, this is a powerful story.”
Want to pre-order the book? Here’s the links: