It was going to be a daunting task, riding an unfaired street bike with 2x4 seat, tiny gas tank and growling exhaust 1400 miles in 2.5 days, round-trip from Richmond, VA to Lowville, NY and back, through the hell that is DC area traffic and the moving death walls of tractor trailers that infest I-81. Immediately upon return, having to load my hare scrambles bike and gear into the van and driving 5 hours one way for a weekend of off-road racing.
Could have flown, but that would have been easy. And comfortable. But wouldn't have provided the excuse I needed to spend the airfare on a new front tire for the streetfightered 1999 Suzuki Bandit 1200 I would ride, along with a new tail bag and waterproof touring boots. Not only was this trip going to pain me financially, but physically as well. And I knew it.
So why? Phil had died, after a several year long struggle with Lewy Body Dementia, a true son of a bitch of a disease. I will get more into who "Phil" was in the second installment, but suffice it to say he was a best friend and a lifelong motorcyclist. And genius. It seemed only fitting to take a last ride for his memory, however back breaking and coccyx crumbling the affair might prove. Not to mention the hypothermia from fall temperatures in the Adirondacks.
A motorcycle procession would ride from the funeral home in Lowville to his final resting place in Castorland. There was no question I would be in attendance. Somehow wheeling a bike out of a trailer for the event or borrowing one did not sit well with me. This was the way it had to be done. The way it would be done. The hard way. The only way I know.
I set out in the evening from Richmond on Tuesday, Sept. 26 and arrived at my brother's home in Forestport, NY at 9 am Wednesday morning, stiff and tired, with enough time to nap, shower and dress for the calling hours that afternoon, steeling myself for the emotionally taxing days to follow....
|Prior to leaving Richmond, lack of a windshield or fairing meant I would be buffeted and blasted the whole trip.|
|A cabin. In the Adirondacks. A bit cliche maybe, but beautiful nonetheless.|