An Ode to August

On the road.

It’s where I go to get perspective. Some people might believe that motorcycles draw folks in for a number of reasons, but I really can’t get behind that: I think every person who dreams of riding a motorcycle has the same soul-deep love of adventure.

I bought this Ducati Scrambler Classic 800cc in 2015. About two years prior to the big purchase, I started saving 20% of my waitressing tips in this really cool little handmade ceramic urn next to my bed. The cash tips went straight into the envelope labeled, “future motorcycle” before I had a chance to miss them. Because I’m a hippy I even wrote out my vision for that motorcycle. Let’s see if I can find it:

Yes! My hoarding– errr— “collecting” tendencies pay off! The inception note is right where I left it. In the ceramic jar.

The handmade, salt-fired stoneware coin jar/urn I made ~2012.
And the original note! God that waitressing job was hell but it sure made good seed money!

So, as you will see… I didn’t end up with the Honda CB360 of my dreams (I could have afforded that a lot sooner), but I did end up with a bike that has fit those requirements to a T.

  • Rides through mountains (hell yeah, I’ve even strapped my snowboard on the back and taken some turns at Taos Ski Valley!)
  • Down streets (she was my commuter for 2 years of PA school in Albuquerque!)
  • Safe (probably not ever… )
  • Efficient (once on a roadtrip we made it 270 miles on the modest 3.8 gallon tank. Thanks tailwinds!)
  • Sexy (duh. Have you seen that thing?)
  • Fun (100%)
  • Cool (classic styling, and that gorgeous deep yellow color. No question!)
  • Quick (a lot faster than a 350cc would have been! Yeah, she zippy.)
The author and her good friend derping around before riding to the hot springs.

The moment I sat on that bike, I knew it was the one.

The feeling was exactly like at age 14 when I found a horse advertised for sale on Craigslist. Our test ride was to run a speed event called Keyhole at the local County fair. The horse and I had never met prior to a few warmup laps in the minutes before the speed event. We ended up not only winning the class but setting a new arena record. We just clicked! And he’s still my horse, 16 years later. (Love you Disco!)

Moab, UT.

Since that special day when the motorcycle was signed and paid for, sitting on hot pavement, waiting to be taken home, I’ve never regretted following the dream.

Halfway across the country with August. Morrow Bay, CA. April 2017.

……well…. except for those moments on long stretches across Death Valley;

or in crippling winds;

on frantic LA freeways;

in sleet storms without a map.

Then I do briefly question why the hell I’m doing this.

But those moments of fear, frustration, pressure, and survival always turn into cherished memories. Really, those moments forge my sense of self and give me hope when I’m struggling with the more mundane tasks of life.

Somewhere between Gallup, NM and Flagstaff, AZ.

The motorcycle is a magical entity. It is sexy and mysterious. Utilitarian and sensible. Sometimes it’s the least convenient thing in the world.

But isn’t that exactly what the adventurous heart relentlessly seeks?

Motorcycling is always more fun with a friend. My dog Pickles posing in front of Taos mountain. 2016.

I hereby respectfully submit my nomination for the best therapist in the world award to:

(Drumroll please)

THE MOTORCYCLE!

Bungees are a girl’s best friend… so long as a more proper, sturdy strap is also participating.

Thank you August, you purring, roaming freeway-freewheel sphinx, for bringing me on the wildest adventures of my dreams.

Respectfully,

Darwin. Your person.

Descending into Prescott Valley. Wildflowers with wide open twists and turns.
The author sitting on her motorcycle, parked in the driveway, expecting some perspective.

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