It’s Good To Be Home
We left Duluth round 10 AM and the sun was shining.
We were headed north to Canada, home to Thunder Bay. Ten machines, 10 riders with 7 passengers on our way home from one of Minnesota’s largest annual swap meets in Elko. We had wined and dined and partied and shopped. We had new parts and old parts and t-shirts and even made a trip into the city for a stop at a “love” store. It had been a great long weekend, but we were all tired and looking forward to the ride home and sleeping in our own beds tonight.
It was cool, but nothing we hadn’t been through before. I was happy with the sunshine…some pin headed, pea brain had stolen my leather jacket at the swap meet and I was now wearing a jean jacket stuffed with newspaper for the ride home. Once I got over the initial anger at someone stealing from me…and my prized Queen Bee HD leather to boot…I was ok…and laughing at the picture I must have made sitting on the back of that flaming Sporty virtually unable to bend my arms and knees. Just like a kid in a snowsuit.
By the time we hit Lake Superior it was raining.
It started out being that kind of summer rain that revives and refreshes but before long it got to be that mind numbing, bone chilling rain that comes sweeping down across Superior. It convinces you that Superior is cold and old and majestic and it lets you know that snow is on the way and you’d better pay attention.
By the time we hit the high ground we had snow. On the way up the hill to the pass it was starting to accumulate on the shoulders and it blew around us in swirls that made riding pretty tense. Coming through the pass (now we’re talking hills here not mountains) the white stuff was kicking up as slush off the front tire…so much so that we had to slow down even more to see and because I was sitting higher on the back…guess who got to taste it?
We got to the Pigeon River border crossing and the crossing guard, for once in her life took pity on a rider. I’m still convinced that it wasn’t me that she was interested in…it was all them boys with vibrating dildos taped to their legs so we wouldn’t have to explain and pay the duty on them to get them home!
Either way, she gave me a couple of green garbage bags and access to their private washroom to wrap my self in plastic before I put my wet gear back on. Lucky they didn’t have one of those handdryer, blower things…I might still be there.
By the time we made the outskirts of Thunder Bay my shaking had become a detriment to riding. Poor Joey surely wished he’d left me the hell at home! The very first intersection in the city held a Maytag Laundromat and we stopped.
All seventeen of us, leather encased, near frozen bikers stomped into the laundromat and all ten or twenty yapping laundry ladies and all of their assorted children shut right up.
We collected just inside the door still too cold to even be able to take our gloves or glasses or buckets off.
The laundry ladies parted like the Red Sea as we made our way to the dryers in one fell swoop. Like we heard some unseen bell we started peeling and throwing our gear in dryers. In almost no time the laundry ladies were staring at seventeen near frozen and totally nakid sets of breasts and buttocks. I tried to get in the dryer too…but somebody stopped me.
In all this time not a word was spoken. I pressed myself up against the dryer trying to absorb some of the heat…I was numb…too numb to feel I thought.
I am dying, I thought. They can just bury me here.
Not true. I felt a hesitant touch just above the back of my left knee. I turn to see a little girl, maybe six years old dressed in her Sunday go to meeting dress and carrying a tiny teacup full of pretend tea in her hand.
Y’y’ yah? Says I.
Wansome? Says she.
That broke the ice. Almost immediately we are surrounded by clucking laundry ladies offering us blankets and towels and Uncle Fred’s one-piece long johns while the kids are trying to put socks on our feet and laundromat manager bustles off to make another pot of coffee.
Yup…it was good to be home.