Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Home run

I do love the work. Even when it's trying it's rewarding in ways I couldn't have imagined. I start at 5:45 AM and usually wrap up around 8:30 or 9:00 PM. Not too long ago, this was a 24 hour gig with short naps now and then to keep you going, or not. It's a crazy lifestyle that people all over the world pray for and thank their god or gods for. It's something I've always wanted, something I've worked hard for but in the end I realize it is a gift.It's also directly at odds with my wander lust. If I told you I've never felt confined, I'd be lying to you.

I fully understand why parents sell their bikes after starting a family. Like many things in our lives, it is dangerous, made more so by being sleep deprived and distracted. Those sunny Saturday morning rides, the ones where you are well rested and have no obligations until Monday morning, are a thing of the past.

That doe eyed ride stares at me as I depart, child screaming in the back seat. It taunts me as pull in, just in time for dinner. From some dark corner of my garage I hear, "Where are you going in such a hurry?" It is constantly reminding me of my desire to escape from under the burdens of responsibility and taste freedom.

Raising a family is not easy. The motorcycle becomes a symbol of conflict, I understand why people want it out of their garage and out of their minds. It’s also a tattoo, cleverly hidden beneath layers of cotton and polyester. It’s a commitment to yourself to be the person you know you are, or were.

I want that burden of freedom and responsibility, it’s my responsibility to show my family that freedom exists and they too can participate in it.

I live 300 miles from my parents, my brother, sister-in-law and my three nephews. The six hour car ride means our family spends a significant time apart and opportunities to get together are not to be wasted. I recently scheduled a solo trip home and when the time came the weather was just on the right site of rideable. 

It was 45 F and sunny when I set out at noon on Friday. Properly dressed for a comfortable ride, the blast down I-94 was enjoyable. It felt great to be out there putting miles on the bike again, knowing that my destination was three wonderful boys and their awesome parents.

The boys were pretty excited when I showed up on a motorcycle. I explained to them how I dressed warm and rode safely, taking brakes when I needed to. I like to believe that it left an impression on their young minds. Between their dad and their grandpa, they have plenty of exposure to bikes and "things that go." I was just doing my part.

I was happy to have the boys climb all over me all weekend. I even got out for a night on the town with their parents and mine.

We visited Brenner Brewing in the Walker's Point neighborhood of Milwaukee. These guys make fantastic beer. They have a room dedicated to open fermentation and 10 foot tall oak fermentation vessels imported from France. 

Walker's Point is an interesting neighborhood, full of gems in the rough. 

The Allen-Bradley clock tower, the largest four faced clock in the world, keeps watch.

Lovely day for a Guinness! 

Sunshine and beers with the family.

Castle Rock/ Camp Douglass is located along I-94, half way between Saint Paul and Milwaukee. It's a great place to stop and stretch your legs.

Riding a motorcycle requires strategy both on and off the bike. It's this part of our "sport" that keeps me engaged. Combining trips, be it a work-day commute or a weekend get together, keeps me in the grove. And being in the grove keeps life in perspective, one hand on responsibility the other on freedom.

 - Ride North


  1. Very much enjoyed this one Jason. I think we may have been seated at that very table or one very close in Milwaukee; the memories all very good of that evening.

    Good luck keeping everything in its proper balance. I quit riding for 20 years or so and though I don't regret it from my immediate family's point of view, getting more rides in with my dad during that time was definitely opportunity missed.

  2. I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that I can't do everything with everyone all the time, one of the many joys of adulthood. And I'm very thankful to my wife for understanding and stepping up at home so I can get some extra family time in. <- If there's one thing I've learned it's to give credit where credit is due. :)