Lieback’s Corner (#13) / 9.24.2011
Three days after the due date, the Repo Man was knocking at my door. Well, not my physical address’ door, but rather my electronic-communication door.
This Repo Man was Manny Pandya, the media Coordinator for Victory Motorcycles. And he wanted the 2012 High Ball back, a machine I spent the last four weeks on, blasting around canyons, cities and even touring to Roar on the Shore from my hometown in Northeast Pennsylvania to Wildwood, New Jersey.
Yes, after 1200 miles of flawless fun, I had to return this muscled-up cruiser. And I mean muscle; the 106 ci provided un-cruiser-like power, bringing me back to my high-school days when I was obsessed by muscle cars. My ride then was a 66 Mustang Fastback with a mildly-cammed 289, and burning out on the Victory was just as fun as laying tracks with the 66.
But money was needed for college, and the Fastback quickly vanished from my life. And now my four-week testing period with the High Ball was also vanishing, beginning with electronic voices.
So through this electronic repo notice, I was asked if I could deliver the High Ball to Baer Sports Center, a Harley-Davidson/Polaris dealership nestled in beautiful Honesdale, the birthplace of the first steam locomotive on rails.
I promised Repo Man(ny) the bike would be there before the shop closed at 8 p.m. Friday But when I exited my upstairs office after a Friday of working with non-stop Coltrane playing all day, I quickly realized the rain wasn’t going to stop.
A promise is a promise, and there was always a trailer. But why waste my last 60 miles comfortable in a car with that balls-out fun machine bouncing along behind, alone and cold?
So it was quickly decided. My “other” Pam would follow me via car, and I would ride. When I began suiting up in the two-piece Alpinestars 365 Gore-Tex suit and boots, I knew I’d praising the Italian designers for this work of comfortable art, one that allows riders to go on endlessly in pouring rain without a drip of water hitting the skin.
And it rained; roads were closed in various locations, and five minutes into the ride I knew why. The rain appeared to no longer fall from the sky, but rather shoot up from the ground like darts, attacking the High Ball and I as if we were one huge bulls eye.
The inclement conditions prevented an extended back-roads route, but nevertheless it still brought those smells, stinging rain and misty scenery one could never experience enclosed behind the glass of a comfortable automobile.
When I finally arrived at Baer, I rolled the bike near the entrance of the mechanic’s garage loaded with Harleys. I parked outside, and was sent on a mini journey to find Manny’s associate in the Polaris part of the dealership, my boots creating wet shadows behind every step I took.
The staff at Baer was receptive to the rider lifestyle, and immediately when some of the staff saw me clad in wet leathers, they offered some coffee, the sound of the rain very audible from inside.
Was it that wet out? Was the rain falling that hard? I was too focused on the ride to even realize what I had just driven through…ahh, the beauty of a motorcycle.
We found the repo man’s associate, and after gawking at a Victory Cross Country Tour, and a few used Harley Street Glides, we had to get on the road. It was almost 8 p.m., and the stomachs were running on empty, a far cry from the usual Friday night of a dinner and a movie…although not nearly as satisfying.
I brought along a change of clothes, getting back into some comfortable jeans and sneaks in a garage bay. I then ran to the car, attempting to stay dry. I glanced over at where I parked the High Ball, but it was gone from view, the staff bringing it in for basic maintenance before crating it up and shipping it back west.
The four-week testing period was officially complete, concluding with one of rainiest rides of my life. But the woman and I still had to conclude the evening.
Off we went, traveling to a local restaurant closer to home, one that offered the best Caribbean salad, the mixed greens filled with juicy raspberries and walnuts. As I sat there, nibbling and leisurely finishing a glass each of Pinot Noir, Merlot and finally a Syrah, I contemplated that evening’s rainy ride.
Of course it soothed the soul, conjuring up new memories. But one thing could have made it much better – turning around at Baer’s Sport Center and riding another 60 miles back home.
But I don’t think Victory’s Repo Man would have been too happy about that…
Stay Twisted; Throttle yr Soul
– Ron Lieback
Lieback’s Corner is the Online Editor’s column, which delves into RL’s recent motorcycling mind breaths and wanderings.