Trish and I had been riding together ever since she started traveling down to Florida in late summer of 2007 -- she rode on the back of Pancho, which was a less-than-ideal arrangement for her because the passenger pillion was small, narrow, too firm and generally inadequate. I had never intended the Bandit to be used to carry a passenger, so the Corbin saddle I bought to replace the OEM seat was designed for my butt alone, with a short pillion tacked on as an afterthought.
Even so, we had some great rides to some cool places. And she never complained, even when it rained.
Trish took the ABATE course up in Indiana in 2008 and got her motorcycle endorsement. I couldn't have been prouder or more enthusiastic; it was one more item on a long list of things we can share and enjoy together. She seemed pretty excited about it so I asked her if she would be interested in having my backup bike, a 250cc Honda Rebel, to practice on. She eagerly said yes.
"Are you SURE," I pressed, "because I'm totally serious."
"Yes, I'm absolutely sure."
And with that, I embarked upon one of the more memorable rides of my life . . . not the longest distancewise or timewise by a long shot, but memorable nonetheless. I rode that Rebel from Orlando to Indianapolis -- in November.
It was a thousand miles through chilly mist and drizzle on that little bike. The Rebel has a lot of positive qualities, but long-distance comfort is not among them. It was a bit of an ordeal, but I survived.
I left the Rebel there and flew back to Florida. Trish practiced riding around her apartment building, mainly in the parking lot across the street.
Trish named the Rebel "Y.T." after a character in the Neal Stephenson novel Snow Crash, one of her favorites. The arrangement worked well until Y.T. was inexplicably towed. To this day we have no idea who had the bike towed or, more importantly, WHY.
I had to fax a bunch of notarized documents officially designating Trish as the custodian of the bike (it was still registered in my name and we weren't married yet) before she could reclaim it from impound. It was an enormous headache, and we'd love to know who the hell initiated that silly pointless nonsense.
When we moved all of Trish's stuff down to our place in Geneva, we had no room for Y.T. so our good friend Danni was kind enough to keep the little Honda in her garage for weeks while we made arrangements to have it commercially trailered down to us. (I was not particularly inclined to fly up there and ride Y.T. back down to Florida, although I would have if that had been the only economically viable option.) THANK YOU, Danni! As if hosting our beautiful, fabulous wedding reception hadn't been enough!
So now, at last, Pancho and Y.T. are reunited and they sit happily side-by-side in our driveway. Trish and I have been taking a series of rides of increasing length together, starting with short loops around the local area and culminating with our most ambitious excursion yet, a scenic jaunt up to DeLeon Springs State park, where we had a lovely midmorning pancake breakfast before turning around and riding back.
We've put together a list of places within day-tripping range that we'd like to do on our bikes (such as Canaveral National Seashore) as well as our first overnight trips -- possibly including an offbeat treehouse lodge in south Georgia that Trish discovered online . . . and/or possibly stays in Athens or Savannah.
Eventually, I'd love to take her to one of my very favorite riding destinations, Two Wheels Only. (I posted five pictures of that place on here page and another 14 here.)
And ultimately, of course, the goal is the Big Ride of 2012 -- although that remains a distant, vague and elusive objective shrouded in question marks. Y.T. may or may not be Trish's mount of choice for that undertaking, but there is plenty of time between now and then to contemplate possibilities and alternatives.