RoadRUNNER Zen Motorcyclist

Time Travel

Oct 06, 2013 View Comments by

Time TravelToday was one of those unseasonably warm October days. I was working from home and had a scheduled car oil change, then errands, and a stop at the shop for an oil filter for Big Red (which only whet my appetite for riding). I hurried home, finished up my work, quickly changed the bike’s oil, and headed over to visit mom, glad to finally get out on a ride to enjoy what remained of the day.

My route home from my folk’s house takes me through some of my old neighborhoods and past a couple of spots we lived during my youth. I rode to Nazareth and then toward a little town called Tatamy. We lived in a huge farmhouse on the edge of an alfalfa field when I was very little, even I forget how young, maybe four or five. I decided to take a drive out past that old place; the unmistakable scent of alfalfa still hangs in the air like memory bait.

My father used to walk us over to see the men working on Route 33, which was just being built at the time. There was another road, off behind that house that I was always forbidden to walk down, I have no idea why. The farmhouse was gone and in its place stood a construction trailer and some heavy earth-moving equipment. I could see the telltale stakes with orange flagging tied to them dotting the fields as far as I could see. They marked the locations of soil probes and perc tests. It looked like at least a few hundred homes were going in.

I decided (as a final act of defiance in the face of progress) that even though the forbidden road was blocked I’d take a ride down it to finally see where it would lead. It led to a cement plant and eventually to a footpath. I rode as far as I could then turned around having finally found its terminus some 40 years later.

I rode on toward a dairy farm that used to have a store where Forrest Hartman and I would stop during long, track practice training runs to buy popsicles to eat as we ran. We hid dollar bills in our socks and were always far enough ahead of everyone else to duck in, pay, and get out before being spotted. Sadly, the store and farm are also gone.

It was sad that those places I remember from so many years ago are gone now; but I rode past on a motorcycle smelling the same smells and riding the same roads I had walked and run as a kid and I got to relive and relish those memories all over again. I thought about my daughter, Devon, and what she’ll remember of me. Big Red and I were connecting the dots between past, present, and future. I’m not sure when, or even if, those memories would ever have come back to me had it not been for a ride by on a motorcycle. Sometimes a simple ride can unearth treasures you never knew were buried just out of reach.

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About the author

I have been motorcycle commuting since 1998. I created Zen Motorcyclist (formerly Commuting Motorcyclist) in 2011 and work as a motojournalist, software developer, CAD designer and IT/CAD manager in the Surveying and Civil Engineering field.