After an extended hiatus I'm back to my blog. I looked at my last post and realized that more than two years have passed, and what a two years it has been. I went on a "wild ride", one that included a career change, the loss of my mother, turning forty and the gain of a lot of insight into who I am ( and who I'm not).
Over the last two years I went from an uninspired truck driver/equipment operator to a middle school science teacher and came back full circle to an unemployed (by choice) truck driver. The two years I spent teaching was a huge learning experience. I learned that I can do things that I never thought were possible for me to do. I learned a tremendous amount about other people, how to build relationships, how to manage crowds and how to manage my own feelings. I also learned that just because you can be good at something doesn't mean that you should spend a good portion of your life doing it. Putting it simply, just because you can be a good teacher doesn't mean you should be a teacher. In the two years of middle school teaching I think I aged ten years both physically and mentally. I learned that I wasn't into working 14+ hour days for $35,000 a year. I learned that public school teachers are the most underpaid underappreciated profession going. And the whole summers off thing is a myth, to further your teaching career you need to spend much of the summer getting advanced degrees and doing professional development courses. It's most definitely a labor of love, if you don't love don't try it!
Well, seeing this is a motorcycle blog, I suppose I should write about some motorcycle stuff. My motorcycle adventures didn't stop in the past two years they only took a back seat to the rest of things going on in my life. I took a couple of trips and rode on weekends when possible, but didn't ride to work, not because I didn't want to, but because my Sporty just wasn't the best tool for carrying all of my teaching junk around (as well as the unsecured parking lot from which four teacher's cars were stolen in the two years that I worked there). Last month I took a trip worth writing about, hence the title of this post. I had my first "off" on my Sporty. Amazing what lack of focus for a few seconds can do.
My trip was to the Mogollon Rim by the town of Forest Lakes, away from the heat and desert of Phoenix. My bike was loaded down with camping gear so my center of gravity was a bit higher than on a typical ride. The spot I was heading to was on a dirt road off of a 55mph highway. I was enjoying the beauty of the mountain pines when my turn came up. I wasn't thinking about the gravel that builds up where pavement meets dirt. My back tire hit the gravel, lost traction, and started to slide. I corrected through two or three skids until my back tire hit clean asphalt at which point I high sided my poor overloaded sporty. I ended up with my right leg pinned under my bike and learned exactly how heavy a Sportster can be when it's lying on your leg. I freed my pinned leg by pushing the seat with my left foot, which actually took considerable effort. After I got out from under my bike I stood it up and looked to see If any one saw my little accident. Low and behold here comes this guy racing up on a quad to see if I was ok. I realized then that the only serious injury was to my pride. The next thing he asked was if my bike was new. My pride took over and I had to inform him that my bike was not new and that I had been riding for twenty five years, and this was the first time that I had "dumped" a street bike. He then found it necessary to inform me of the obvious; that you have to watch out for gravel and that it can be slippery. I know that he had good intentions, but I was sure happy when he left. I learned the value of good riding gear when I checked myself for injury, I had good divot in my left shin (maybe from my handlebars when I flew over my bike) and I had a good bruise on my right hip where I hit the ground. Other than that I was completely unscathed.
As far as the bike goes it had very little damage as well. The only damage was a broken buckle on my saddle bags and a good sized dent and some scratches on the bottom of my tail pipes. The rest of my trip was on dirt road and I must say it was the slowest and most cautious five miles I've ever ridden. The trip home was interesting in that my confidence was shaken from my spill, and my riding skills suffered, I was tentative and nervous the entire time. I've gone on half a dozen short to medium rides since and feel pretty confident again, but no more daydreaming and riding.
I recently found one of my Dad's unit patches from the Air Force and I think I'm going to have it sewn to my fork bag. It reads: "CRANIUM RECTUS EXTRACTUS". Maybe it will serve to remind me to pay attention.