When people see us out on the road, dad always gets questions like “does she really like it?”, “how do you get her on the bike?” and the biggie, “how do you strap her in?”
They don’t realize that this is what I live for. Its especially delectable when we pull up beside a vehicle containing another dog, and I can see the jealousy etched upon their face; sure, they get an open window, but I get the world.
Dad designed the Charkstream with an open front so that, when mounted up and under way, his back makes the front door. The thinking behind this is that if, doG forbid, we were ever to go down, we would both be thrown clear; as for being strapped in, he wouldn’t want to be attached to a cartwheeling chunk of metal, so why would I?
So a ride begins like this: I can “sense” the impending party long before the the snap and “kkkkrrrriiiissshhh” of the buckles and Velcro on dad’s riding boots sends me into paroxysms of rapture. C’mon,c’mon, C’MON!!! Dad, it’s time to hit the road!
We usually head north into the Ozarks towards our favorite series of twisties. It takes approximately two hours to ride from the Casa to the upper end of AR 123 at Mt Judea, but that’s just fine with me; a ride doesn’t even begin until after the second tank of gas. It takes at least that long to clear the cobwebs of civilization from inside one’s head.
We usually stop at the Mt Judea General Store to check road conditions and the possible presence of the local constabulary, or “Mr Mobile Reality” as dad refers to them. Then we saddle up and start to roll; the road starts with a series of uber-tight switchbacks, the road clawing it’s way up the mountside through a series of curves so tight and steep that it seems in mid turn like you can see your own headlight staring back at you. I’ve heard that the scenery is beautiful up in these parts, but I can’t comment, as this is a section where it’s all about the road; I must admit that, while this is dad’s favorite section, the twists and turns are bit abrupt for me,
But it’s all part of the ride.
Then the curves start to open up and sweep through the peaks and hollows of the Arkansas Grand Canyon; this is the kind of riding I live for. As we dive into the corners, I keep my chest against dad’s back and my head over whichever shoulder that is dipping low; this contact keeps us connected as we carve the road. A curve is not just a solitary change in the journey, but an asphalt trebuchet serving to slingshot us into the next apex, and then the next, and so on. I believe that this is as close to dancing as man and canine will ever achieve, but its not a waltz, or even a jitterbug, but more like a salsa, with both parties involved both leading and following. Ginger Rogers danced every step with Fred Astaire, but did it backwards and in high heels; just sayin’.
Then we hit the interstate and head home towards the Casa; by this time, I’m usually whupped, and spend this time with my head still on dad’s shoulder, but now dozing, ears popping in the wind while all of the amazing odors are funneled around his helmet and firehosed directly into my twitching snout. This straight section is the part of any trip that is usually decried by most motorcyclists as boring, but not to me…
It’s all part of the same ride.