Short trip up memory lane: A pre-holiday ride

I've been clocking a few miles here and there on the Yamaha. The longest being to Red's house and back. For a while now I've been thinking about taking a visit back to the old town I grew up in. Life has a way of circling back to your past and as it were I now live 30 minutes from where I grew up. Since my father passed away earlier this year I've had an itch to go back to my old stomping ground.

I've been waiting for the right time for this short trip and had initially planed on Saturday December 15th. The rain shut the trip plans down however, Red and I did get together for some wet weather skills improvement.

December 16th ended up being a perfect day.
I met Red at a nearby McDonalds. After a quick trip overview and the securing of a neglected helmet strap and we were off.

The temperature was around 45ยบ. I had installed some MSR soft hand guards to protect my hands from the wind. However, because the Yamaha doesn't have dedicated hand guard supports I had some issues with the guard. The soft hand guards were applying force to the front brake level causing the brake light to come on. Red disconnected the switch fixing the problem. Also, when I would turn to the left sharply, the left hand guard would press against my tank bag causing the horn to sound announcing my arrival everywhere we stopped. After the 3rd frustration I vowed to purchase the MSR clamp on hand guards which would put some support between the soft guards and control levers.

The trip mostly hugged a local reservoir, though recreationally it was lifeless this time a year. The areas that were familiar to me have been fully developed with new homes. Many of the landmarks remain the same but the area around them have been altered with time.

The home my family and I lived in was relatively new at the time. Today it shows age and looked empty under the overgrown trees. It was strange to see how small the neighbor hood really is. From 10 year old perception the area was much larger.

We drove by a number of familiar homes and places. Then left the neighborhood to stop by the local park. I used to be on a little league baseball team sponsored by Dairy Queen. We used to have practice at this park every weekend.

This old gorilla has been around longer than I have. There were a few more animal sculptures in the 80's but the gorilla seems to be the last. Few original items remained in the park including an old metal curly slide. I remember how its mirror like surface used to burn the crap out of you in the summer.

After the visit to the park we headed into town for some ice cream at Dairy Queen. When we pulled in the only other vehicle in the parking lot was a Harley Davidson. When we walked in, the rider was sitting down with no apparent riding gear.

Look Mom. No helmet!

Look Mom! No helmet!
On a side note, not to get on a gear bandwagon (to each his own), but while Christmas shopping I did see a kids Harley Davidson sporting a child with no helmet. Cool.

Today was the day for motorcycles though. Three older gentlemen in the late 50's or early 60's in full riding gear pulled in on two BMW's and a Ducati. Friendly guys. After some quick "safe travel" wishes, Red and I were off to our last destination. Last on my list was my old Elementary School.

A small school out the middle of corn fields. The only destination on this trip that hasn't been overdeveloped with homes. The school still looked the same.

I was able to peer in a couple of windows and see the same hallways I once sat on the floor to sort my Garbage Pail Kids cards. Good memories.

After the school the trip was over. Good weather and no serious bike issues. A big plus.

Overall the trip is what I expected. No profound connection or sense of closure. The trip was a reassurance of where I should be looking. Forward. It was good to experience but I don't want or need to let my mind live there.

Big thanks to Red and his patience. I'm looking forward to our next ride.


red said...

I had a similar pattern to my first rides. I stuck to places I knew and when I strayed from them, my nerves were really on edge.

It's all expanding your level of comfort.

red said...


That's the ride where I learned about the soft guards and the tail light switch!

McMark said...

I got the msr clamp on guards in. I installed them but I forgot a piece. The instructions were nearly useless. When I pull them off I'll document and post the process.

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