Wiped the bugs off her face with a smile, just turned 116,000, ...this girl just runs...
Life is good
Bike is a 2000 with 96,000 miles; one owner
. Engine runs like new. Tires, brakes, handling, all just right.
Foliage is close to peak around here; we head out for a few hours Sunday afternoon, southeast Vermont and northwest Mass.
I've got 60's rock in the ear speakers; the likes of Savoy Brown, Jethro Tull, Ten Years After...
The world's greatest pillion rider is relaxed between her arm rests and floor boards, listening to an audio book on her Kindle; I check her posture in the mirrors occasionally, she's always relaxed. I tap her knee to alert her to a bump in the road or to point out a scene, a fly fisherman in waders, a small group of Holsteins grazing a hillside pasture.
I'm cranking along back roads, following streams that wind between the hills of Vermont. These roads are mostly paved but narrow enough there is no painted center line. We know roads that have only a little local traffic, no out of state leaf peepers. The occasional local driver we come up on usually slows, puts on a right turn signal and waves us past. Spirited riding, the driveline is kept loaded, trail braking into corners, throttle keeps the driveline pulling against the feathered brakes. At the apex, off the brakes and roll on throttle, maybe an upshift, and then the next curve. The tachometer needle is pointing straight ahead a lot of the time. The bike loves this. I love this. Pillion rider has her elbows on the arm rests, hands dangling, relaxed in the wind.
Trees of yellow and green leaves over-hanging the road give a tunnel effect to the ride. Tunnels of color.
Then climbing out of the valley, over rolling farm land, vistas of yellow, orange, and crimson.
(Some years the foliage is mostly yellow and rust colored orange, but this year a good show of crimson and other shades of red.)
We pass multi-million dollar estates on hill tops built by out-of-staters who wanted a Vermont retreat, "starter castles" of the ostentatious; big modern horse barns, horse pastures with white board fencing. Just down the road a couple of local boys, "Swamp Yankees" drinking beer and smoking, leaning on the hood of their pickups, snowmobiles and fourwheelers scattered around the yard; I wonder to myself what they think of their hill-top neighbors...
We pass abandoned old farmsteads, falling down barns, and old sugar houses that haven't made syrup in years. I love these old places; vestiges of the subsistence life of yesteryear.
The KLT takes us through all this, sublime scenery, amazing views, and a sense of nostalgia. And the ride, what a great ride.
Yeah, life is good.