Monday, November 17, 2008

Mo Bottom 2008 - A short motorcycle trip story

Mo Bottom 2008 - A short motorcycle trip story
Tom Anspach 11/17/08

I wanted to go to Mo Bottom 2008, northern outskirts of Tallahassee. I tried, but I could not get the rubber band stretched enough to break. (For an explanation of my Rubber Band Theory go to: Monday, November 17, 2008 My Rubber Band Theory) So I did not make it. Here is the story.

I wanted to see and rally with my ol' MC friends from Florida and elsewhere. The weekend before Thanksgiving. I always want to go. Mo Bottom- the sequel to Coonbottom then Beach Bottom, has always been one of my 2 favorite rallies. Had not been since 2000 when we lived in Florida. .The other being Rolling Broccoli.

I started tracking wx and home ‘obligations’ a week or so ago. Things did not look too bad. Of most concern was my aching jaw, therefore a dental appointment Monday morning November 17th. And of course the other major concern leaving Patty alone with all the ‘animals’ for 10 days or so, in snowy, freezing weather. Coupled with, risk of not being back in time for Thanksgiving. I started packing. Did a test ride in windy cold rainy wx, last Saturday. Dug all my camping stuff out of their spots and checked it all out and repacked. Started loading the bike. Kept waffling about a final decision to go or not to go. Driving Patty crazy. And me also. This morning, Monday, the Dentist prognosis was pretty good. He filled 1 tooth that had bad decay and we scheduled follow-up cleanings. So that was out of the way.

Back home by 10 AM. Did some odds and ends. Would need to get going by Noon or shortly thereafter. I wanted to be down there by Tuesday eve or Wednesday day to get the full benefit and enjoyment of Mo Bottom. I made several I am going, no I am not going ‘final’ decisions. Patty astutely commented, “If you are having such a hard time making a decision to go, that means you shouldn’t go”.

Finally, the last decision, finished packing the bike, got bundled up and headed out. About 1:30. Temp in the high 30’s. Wind blowing like hell out of the WNW. Overcast. No snow but predicted on the way. I started heading South. It was good to be on the bike.

As you can imagine, I was thinking in overtime. You get to think a lot while riding. Especially without a radio or other distractions. If you have read ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ by Robert Pirsig, you know exactly what I am talking about. The rubber band was stretching. Could I get it to break. Would I, could I, get into the mode of one of my favorite quotes: “It is good to have an END to journey toward, but it is the JOURNEY that matters in the end. / Ursula Le Guin. On my motorcycle trips I like to enjoy the JOURNEY not just the ends.

The question that came to my mind, after about an hour or so: “Would I rather spend 4 to 5 days out of the next 8 or so on the road, or would I rather spend the next 4 to 5 days at home?” Discounting, for the moment, being at the rally when the road would be mostly forgotten. The answer kept coming back- I would rather spend them at home. The rubber band wasn’t breaking. I wasn’t getting into the Journey. Although not needed badly, I stopped for gas at 50 miles out. It was convenient. Michigantown IN, 800 miles to go. Filled up. Pulled out of the gas station and headed North. The FINAL decision had been made.

Going northerly, heading more into the stiff wind. It was definitely cooler. The big trucks heading south threw up quite a wind blast. The parrabellum windshield that I have had on the bike since on my way to a Georgia Mountain Rally, from Odessa Florida, many years ago, rolled right through them. The northerly ride was, probably, similar to what I would have experienced on my return trip on about the 25th of November, 8 days later. Except there may have been snow on the ground.

I rolled back into the garage at about 4 pm. A 2 ½ hour, 100 mile MC trip, fully packed for camping. I was glad I had taken this short ride. I had demonstrated to myself that I could have made it, if I had broken the rubber band. I came in the house and Patty said “I knew you would be back today.’ She was right. . . again. I was glad to be home. A week early.


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