I don’t know why I like to ride my motorcycle alone. I like to hang out with other riders and do group rides from time to time, but there’s something different about being on the road alone. We’re a bit more vulnerable. Maybe we’re dependent on ourselves, but maybe more dependent on strangers for help if we need it. At least in my experience, people I meet who are not riders seem to be more open to talking with me when I say hello.
I was at a gas station last summer. A lady at the next gas pump came over and said “nice bike”! I said thank you, and pulled off my helmet and sunglasses so that, at least for a minute, we could have a real conversation. I don’t think that she would have spoken to me if I had been with a group, or appeared the least bit threatening. That’s why I often travel alone. I love the opportunity to meet a stranger.
It was a solo ride along the western portion of Route 66. I left my home in Colorado and worked my way down to the southeast to Amarillo Texas. from Amarillo I connected with the “Mother Road” and continued my journey due West toward the Pacific. My intent was to stay in every town mentioned in that classic song. you know the one? “Get your kicks on Route 66”. my favorite version is by Nat King Cole.
I spent a night in Gallup New mexico. that morning I rode my motorcycle to a nearby cafe. it was in the parking lot where I first saw him. a man walking nearby just in front of me. I parked. he walked a little closer and said “Nice Bike!”. I thought to myself, this is a man who could use my help. I have just about everything I need in my life. He just told me that I have a nice bike. Yes, it’s great! I also have a safe and comfortable home and money to live on. I have a friends and loved ones who care about me. Maybe there's something I could do for this poor man.
So I asked him “ would you like to join me for breakfast? he said sure. we walked into the cafe together and were led to a booth. I told him " get anything you want it's on me. " I thought to myself maybe you this will be the best meal he's had in a long time.
I was prepared to share with him not only my money but my wisdom, how he too could someday lead a life like mine.. instead, he shared his heart with me.
With a great deal of pride, he described himself as Navajo. He told me that he was a recovering alcoholic and he had found God while serving time in jail. Seems that a jail chaplain who told him that no matter his past, he was a good man with a good heart and could have a bright future.
He told me that now, he was very happy with his life He had a good job right down the street working at the car wash as an attendant. He loved life and had found “peace of mind”.
Peace of Mind. Seems to me, that’s something that all of us seek, no matter how good our life circumstances may appear to be.
After finishing his breakfast, he said that he needed to head on over for work, but he thanked me for the meal and the conversation. I said “thank you, sir, for your kindness”.
After he left, I had another cup of coffee and waited for the check. It was very slow to come. I got the attention of the waitress and said thank you for such good service. May I have the check now? She replied “There will be no check today. the manager is paying for both of your meals”.
I must admit that I don’t remember many details of the rest of that journey down route 66, but to that Navajo gentleman, thank you. Just like that jail chaplin who touched your heart, you touched my heart too. Thank you for listening. Until we visit again, Peace and Love to you all.