Last Ride of the Season

Posted: October 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    A mastectomy ends up affecting the mobility and usage of your underarm muscles, doubly so for a bilateral. From what I’ve read, exercising these muscles back to a state of flexibility and strength will be an ongoing process for the rest of my life now. Getting on and off of a motorcycle as a passenger requires usage of all of those exact muscles.
    So, even though there may be one more weekend left, weather permitting, to get in a motorcycle ride with my Honey before my surgery  — we looked upon this past weekend’s time on the bike as being my last for the season.
    Between having an extremely dry season here this summer, and then the remnants of a tropical storm stripping most trees of their leaves with heavy rains and/or high winds a few weeks ago, New England’s fall season was hit hard. There’s wasn’t much color on the trees to be seen, especially any red leaves. But all in all, we got in some beautiful rides over the weekend, especially on Saturday.

Diane at EMS, Inc

    We started off the day with a visit to a local motorcycle shop, Enfield Motor Sports, Inc. I love going there, mainly to watch Diane give Keith a run for his money. Their banter is a hoot to listen to. In general, the sales help there has always been informative and helpful — but Diane takes the cake. She knows her stuff, has a lightening fast wit and an even faster easy smile. You just gotta love seeing a competent business woman while she does her stuff.
    I had told her about my upcoming surgery and how sentimental this ride was going to be for me. Somehow, we got to talking about my reconstruction surgery, and how I won’t be as big boobed as I am now. When she heard Keith was mildly disgruntled about this fact … well, she doled him a good streak of banter from there on about it — she had us cracking up laughing. Thanks again, Diane, for being an extra sprinkle of happiness.
    Diane was even kind enough to come outside and take a picture of Keith and I together before we started our ride for the day.

Keith & me in front of Enfield Motor Sports, Inc.

    The day had just a tiny bit of chill in the air, but when Keith heard that I hadn’t zipped the liner to my leather jacket back into it? Well, let’s just say I got a big sigh added to, “Guess we’re going to that discount store and get us some sweatshirt jackets before we head out, huh?” We lucked out, they were only $10 a pop. Keith even nabbed me a pair of leather Thinsulate gloves for $5. Boy oh boy, later on down the road of our story for the day — were we ever glad we stopped and purchased those items!
    We road up into the northwestern part of Massachusetts. It was beautiful, even with the less than usual beautiful New England type fall foliage we’re used to. The roads were winding, the air was crisp and there was hardly any traffic. Usually this time of year the roads are packed with 5 MPH leaf peepers.
    Around lunch time we found ourselves driving through a vibrant, well kept and quaint downtown area, Northampton, MA. Everything was still old fashioned looking, but there were people walking and riding bicycles everywhere. I mean everywhere! Turns out it’s a college town, Smith College. Next summer we’d like to go back there, spend the day in town. I’m betting it’s gorgeous there at Christmas too. It was refreshing to see an old downtown area so well preserved and so alive.

The Brown Bridge crossing the Wethersfield River

    After having lunch in town we headed on up the road and came across an adorable bridge. Seconds after spotting it Keith asked me if I’d like to stop and take some pictures. I had a blast! I could have spent a ton of time there taking pictures of every minute little part of the bridge’s two sides. Just before I started clicking away like a tourist geek, a local happened to walk on by us. I asked her if she knew the name of the bridge. She said, “Oh, we all just all it The Brown Bridge. Couldn’t tell you the real name to save my life.” Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed myself while snapping away as Keith kept saying, “Honey! There are cars whizzing by you! It’s just a bridge, Lady!”

Anyone else notice the little white light orb in the middle of the road?
This picture was taken just seconds after the picture above.
Warning, I went nuts taking pictures of this bridge.

A cool light effect from taking a picture while looking into the sun.

    Okay, I’m done torturing you with my fascination for that bridge. Depending upon what time of day it was, how the light was falling, what the weather was like — I bet you could take a lifetime of pictures of that little bridge. It had a very happy feeling to it.
    Right behind the bridge was a really cool house. I just had to take a picture of it too. It looked well lived in, filled with family upon family’s life’s history. It also has the classic upper New England “we get a ton of snow here” tin roofs.
    You swear you can hear the well worn patio furniture echo many a summer afternoon and evening being spent there — innumerable conversations and a few moments of solitude.
    I would venture to guess that quite a few old relatives still “hang out” in that house. Like the bridge, it too, had a very happy vibe to it.
    Keith was a total doll while waiting for me to get done taking my pictures. He did look at me like I was a little more than off kilter when I up on top of the hill, looking down at the bridge, standing smack dab in the middle of the road though. Hey, how else was I going to get a good shot of both sides of the bridge?
    We tootled on down various roads, stopping here and there to get another cup of coffee to keep warm, or, to appreciate another beautiful spot more closely.
    As the wind really started to step up in speed, the temperatures started to rapidly drop. Just a little bit before sundown we stopped at Laurel Lake. It truly was a pretty spot. Most of the colorful leaves were already gone. The wind made for quite a good chop on the lake. Keith had been checking out the boat ramp while I sat on the wooden fence edging the parking lot. He finally made his way back to me, all smiles, saying how we should try and come back next summer to fish.

    I grabbed a hold of his sweatshirt, pulled him towards me and gave him a quick kiss. Just a quiet, private moment … or so we thought.
    A little old lady burst out of the backseat of a car a little ways away from us in the parking lot. Waving her arms, bursting with enthusiasm while rushing towards us she said, “That was so beautiful! Do that again!” Keith and I laughed and obliged her. Then she instructed us to wait a minute, she returned with her camera, “A pretty lake is a pretty lake, but you two just made is extra beautiful. Kiss him again like that!”
    Sure enough, she took some pictures of us kissing. When it dawned on me that she would be willing to take a picture of us with my camera, she talked away with Keith while I fetched my camera. She spoke of her son being a bike rider too, how much she enjoyed sitting on the back of his bike and soaking in the scenery. I handed her my camera and she gladly took a picture of us recreating the original spontaneous Laurel Lake kiss moment.
    Keith and I both hope that we were as bright of a spot for her to always remember as she was for us. She glowed with a robust, joyful zest for life. She literally sparkled like a diamond. Thank you, Ma’am, wherever you may be.
    The sun finally sank and so did the temperature, dramatically so. We decided to try out an Italian American style restaurant that we had eyed on a previous summer trip down Route 20, The Russell Inn in Russell, MA. We decided we could use a warm meal in our bellies before the last leg of our trip home that was sure to be a very cold one.

    The Russell Inn Family Restaurant was a delightful surprise! Keith and I both enjoy a sweet basil type sauce and that’s exactly what they make. You could tell everything was made fresh and with care, with pride. Our friendly waitress told us that the restaurant has been run by the same family for over 20+ years. The second generation now runs it. Mom and Pop taught their children well. We’re itching to make a special trip back just to try the pizza next time, in a car even!
    I wish I knew how to figure out the windchill factor formula. But I know I can at least tell you that the rest of the ride home was C-O-L-D, COLD!!! We bundled up best we could with what we had brought with us, luckily Keith remembered to pack his chaps. I literally shouted with glee when we rode across the bridge that crosses the Connecticut River. Twenty minutes later we were home. Then only a few minutes upon arriving home, hot showers helped subside some of the chill that had settled into our bodies.
    After drying off, still feeling a bit cold, we crawled into bed. We were exhausted. We put an extra quilt over us and then laughed when we saw the clock — it was 9:58 p.m., some wild party animals we are, huh? A few minutes later, we crashed.
    Thank you Keith.  I couldn’t have asked for a better last ride of the season. I’m going to do my best to get my arm muscles back to being strong enough after the surgery to make sure I can ride come next year’s season. It was a beautiful and adventurous day to treasure until I hopefully can ride again next spring or summer.
    I’m so thankful to get to live life to it’s fullest, in spite of cancer, for all of those before me who made doing so possible. Dang, it’s good to be alive and have a bright future in front of me.

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One Comment on “Last Ride of the Season”

  1. 1 Anonymous said at 6:30 pm on October 13th, 2010:

    Well ridden.
    SB