The economy was crumbling, so was everything around me. I was in a panic; along with everyone else. I stopped keeping track of my income because it was just another source of stress. It reminds me of the posts I’ve seen on Facebook: “God only gives you what you can handle, apparently God thinks I’m a major bad ass.”
After six months, it all came crashing down during a one week period. I ended my ten year relationship with my law partner. I ended my relationship with my live-in girlfriend. I even put my home up for sale a after living there for eight years since I knew it was only a matter of time before I could not afford it any longer. I was all alone, felt alone, and I had no idea how I would get through this.
After never-ending days at the office, coming to my new home was even more stressful since I would worry about the future into the wee hours. Many a nights I saw the sun rise and without a wink of sleep, off to work I went. I knew this had to stop.
One night after dinner, feeling stressed, I jumped on my Goldwing for a ride up US-27, a road used mostly by bikers and truckers that runs parallel to the Everglades. At night, after one half hour, the city lights disappear and it’s just you, your bike, the open road, and your problems falling further behind with each passing mile.
I glanced at the odometer. I was 150 miles out. I had passed Clewiston long ago; “the Sweetest Town in America,” where the sugar companies call home, and I was riding somewhere by Lake Okeechobee.
The motorcycle high was interrupted by the harsh reality that I had to turn back. By the time I got home, it was past 3 a.m., and I was anything but tired for the first time in months. My problems? A distant memory. I spent the next day at work thinking how I could not wait to go back out; and I did, every night.
Eventually, I would make my way south and ride through Everglades National Park. What an experience that was; alone, in the middle of the night, in the Everglades. Then I would take Tamiami Trail or Route 41 west to Naples.
With each mile that I logged late into the night, my problems disappeared. I felt invincible. I did this for months and the lack of sleep never caught up with me. It had the opposite effect;riding all night was a source of untapped energy. If for any reason I could not ride out too far that evening, I had a “secret location” where I would stop, have a cigar, and just enjoy the silence. When the moon above was full, I could even see the red glow of the alligators’ eyes just above the surface of the water.
My only disappointment came when I decided to keep riding and disappear for a few days. Whatever clothes or essentials I needed, I could buy along the way. However, a reply text from my paralegal made it clear that was not possible.
One day hanging out with my neighbor Dave, I told him how I was spending my nights.
“You get home at 2 a.m.?” he questioned. I knew he would think I was crazy. “Well… I ride so far out, that I realize I have three hours to get to work. I just ride straight to work after logging several hundred miles each night.”
Bob Dylan once wrote: “just when you think you have lost everything, you find out you could always lose a little bit more.” The loss of income, losing my home, business and personal relationships, no longer meant anything to me. I had it all. I had my motorcycle, the open road, and the freedom to ride.
If I have to explain, you would never understand.
Parked on Snake road