The Charlie Bravo Story


It had been six months since I had been on the bicycle; it wasn’t planned that way, the time just seemed to sneak up on me. It started with the passing of MacDuff, then fall morphed to an extended winter, and so it goes.

But yesterday, I decided to get back on the bike; no special occasion, just figured it was time. I was quickly reminded of how much stamina I had lost when I began to climb my first hill, a hill that just a short time ago I would have scooted up like a jackrabbit.

A few miles into the ride, I encountered the spot where I first encountered the Duffster. Although I hadn’t planned it that way, there it was and there was no way around it. But it wasn’t the bad experience I expected, just a pleasant blend of mirth and melancholia remembering how the hairy little goober scampered around while we waited on Mom to bring the SUV down to the river to spirit him back to the Casa.

As I continued on my way, I felt an undeniable urge to make another pass through the area, so I did. Nothing special happened, no epiphanies or another dog in need, so I rolled on. Maybe it was a test to see if was still willing to listen to my instincts, or maybe it was a just a wish to return to a simpler time, I have no idea.

But it did make me think about the future. MacDuff’s last trip out west was the last trip I’ve taken as well. I have to admit that the way that trip ended, stranded in the middle of Nowheresville with a blown head gasket, has had me more than a bit gun shy concerning leaving my safety net in favor of the very thing that I once lived for.

Charlie has gotten too old to face such a journey, and I don’t feel that Nama is yet ready for the rigors of back-to-back-to-back 10-15 hour days on a motorcycle, so I’ll be taking the Duff.

But how can that be? While the canine MacDuff is gone, there is a new Duff in the Cave Canem of the Casa; a 2012 BMW motorcycle I traded for back in the winter and have been prepping for such a journey. While MacDuff is no longer with us physically, I have always felt that his traveling days were just beginning, and so it shall be. The motorcycle has named himself “the Duff”, and we’ll be heading west sometime this spring when the Colorado passes begin to thaw. I fully expect Nama to someday fill first Charlie’s and then MacDuff’s former spot on the bike, but this next trip needs to be Duff’s.

Or maybe not; I am totally aware of how fickle I am about these things. I can’t count the times that I’ve had the bike prepped and ready to go solo, only to have Charlie guilt me into totally changing my plans. Then, instead of resting up for the long, flat, windy miles across Oklahoma and Texas, I spent the night reconfiguring the bike to accommodate her wishes.
I have a feeling that Nama is cultivating some of those same powers of guilt projection; when it comes right down to where the rubber meets the road, the only certainty concerning any of this is that there is no real way to forecast any of my actions, for I am just a wuss.

See you on the road…

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