Annually, as the year draws to a close, my habit of juggling a great many things with a few less than many hands takes on a fever pitch as I race to meet my goals, tackle them, and ride into the new year a gleaming beacon of accomplishment. Or, at least, that’s the fantasized vision that goes through my head as I roll through crunch time. The reality is more exasperating in looks, but the outcome no less fulfilling. December is the go month, fueling my need to create and produce, and the excitement of the holidays function as kindling on the fire. The first eleven months, month by month I check off and revise the smaller goals lain out annually toward my larger dreams, but December is the time for completing all things yet undone, tying up loose ends, and finalizing the prerequisites for the next round. But no matter how willfully goal oriented, how elbow deep in undertaking, sometimes everything has to come to a complete stop, just to breath in calm before continuing on. This weekend was the last of those times for me for this year. A weekend of much needed relaxation and riding, I make it sound as though it were planned. It was not. Typically when I come to a grinding halt, it’s because my being refuses to keep up the pace another minute without a pause. So, I paused. I’m getting better at that, so says Josh. Part of me still thinks I’m wasting time when completely stopped, though I know I need it at the pace I keep. A bit of wind therapy, movie time, and a light smattering of adventure later, and this week its back to the grindstone with fresh eyes and rested mind.
And though I make it sound all well and good, let this weekend also serve as a reminder to the things one mustn’t forget this time of year when taking down time involves motorcycles, one very important thing in particular: this time of year, always check the weather before you leave out on a ride. Saturday was phenomenal, albeit windy. But then Sunday came, and I knew the beautiful sixties and low seventies we’d enjoyed all weekend were due to plummet below freezing in the overnight, and I knew, I said out loud even, I needed to check the time they were due to drop before we left because they could shift into cold before the overnight and I wanted to know if we would need extra gear. I forgot to check. They dropped before the overnight. We had no extra gear.
By day we enjoyed a peaceful run up 66 to plan for our latest undertaking and grab a nice lunch, then up a back road and small highway to photograph the town of Shamrock and rather than double back down to 66, we explored new to me highways, up through Drumright, Cushing, and Langston and down into Guthrie then back road it home. Or anyway, that was the original plan as we headed north. The sun was already low when we left Shamrock and spoiled by Saturday’s weather, we were ill equipped. By Drumright my nose was solid red under my bandana. By some gas station near Perkins we’d both lost feeling in our hands and had to stop and use our factory hand warmers (re: engines) to get the feeling back. And by Guthrie the sun was gone and the temp had dropped to 39 with a strong north wind that made it feel like 29 (I finally checked the weather). The jig was up. I have a remarkably high cold tolerance, but tolerance be damned, as soon as 35 south was in sight back roads were out of the question and jamming it home to beat the dark was the new goal.
Ignoring my again quickly numbing hands, I concentrated on the horizon line, the hazy robin’s egg blue sky all lit up like a contrail and cirrus wildfire of blood orange and salmon pink tipped in lilac shadow were the sky was growing dark. The sunsets in this part of Oklahoma are phenomenal, but I think I’ve mentioned that before. I think I’ve also mentioned before my love of the view coming into Oklahoma City from the north, but having never come in from the Langston side, I was enthralled with this new angle in spite of the swiftly coming cold. There is something amazing about the land along the meridian facing toward OKC. The skyline is infinitely sweeping and the hills roll ever gently onward toward some great promise. For now, in my world, that promise is an amazing twenty fourteen rolling into an exciting twenty fifteen that will certainly include more down time and finally finding the right place to photograph that view, that Oklahoma I see every time I ride in from that direction.
* The photos for this entry were taken in Shamrock, the remainder of its now abandoned former main street. A second entry this week will include history, more photos, etc.