Tis’ the Seasons

Dec 24, 2012 View Comments by

Tis' the SeasonI can’t believe December has rolled around again already. The countdown to Christmas has begun, and there’s barely time to finish up remaining fall lawn chores, get the house decorated for the holidays, and finish (or perhaps start) shopping for gifts. And which of these daunting tasks did I tackle today? Sorry, but with temperatures running abnormally high for this time of year in Ohio, I had no choice but to postpone holiday preparations for at least a day and fire up one of the bikes for the last ride of the season.

There is never actually a “real” last ride of the season, of course. Aside from catching up on some periodic maintenance, my end of season bike preparation consists of a halfway decent wash job, some fresh oil, and a full tank of gas seasoned with fuel stabilizer. I keep the batteries charged, and when the mercury rises above forty degrees or so, I play eenie-meenie-miney-moe, pick a bike to fire up, and head out for a couple of hours.

The KLR won today’s pick, and I headed out for a 9:30 breakfast meeting with some fellow ADV riders, followed by some gravel road meandering. I was quickly reminded that yet another season was at hand. Had I been aware that deer season was in, a flak jacket would have been part of my protective gear. On my way to the restaurant I passed at least six or seven hunters clad in fluorescent orange alongside the road. They weren’t getting ready to hunt; they were hunting, and had probably been standing twenty feet off the road in wait of a passing deer since dawn. I’m surprised they don’t put salt licks in their open trunks and shoot the deer when they stop to investigate. It’s not that I have anything against deer hunting, it’s just a bit unnerving riding several yards from folks ready to start slinging jawbreaker-sized chunks of lead at deer bouncing between groups of hunters like a ball in a pinball machine.

The deer must have been having a good day, because I don’t recall hearing (or feeling) any shots. I truly hope that the hunting season was a success, as the deer population here in rural Ohio is outrageously high, and deer/vehicle accidents are very common. As for the riding, it was great as usual. It’s amazing how different my favorite roads look when the leaves are off the trees. The gray skies, gray woods, and gray roads didn’t provide much in the way of way of optical stimulation, but you take what you can get this time of year up north, and concessions must be made in order to ride in winter. We even did a small water crossing, gambling that we wouldn’t go down and have to ride home with wet clothing.

Spraying the mud off the bike after I got home, I wheeled it back in the garage amongst its unlucky companions who lost the bike-pick lottery that day. Heading into the warmth of the house, I wondered how long it would be before the next “last ride” would roll around. Perhaps on New Year’s Day the weather will cooperate, and maybe it will be one of those rare blue-sky, snow on the ground but not on the road days. All bets are on the Ducati for that one.

Tags: , , , , Categories: Outside the Lines