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His Ride, my Freedom

A story from Sunday (03/20/2022) involving a road trip with a Harley-Davidson Road King from Barre Vermont to South Royalton Vermont via Route 14.

As a planner there are many times there have been some near ugly moments between me and much less of a planner Husband.  I need security and he needs validation. That is who we are. So, when it was time to take his first ever solo ride on his new bike, we went together.  Him on his 2009 Road King Classic and me in our family car to lead the way. 

Husband has never checked the weather, picks up snacks on the way, and goes with what moves him.  I am not and it has been a struggle at times bending to each other’s wills. 

The one hand signal we reviewed before heading out for the Sunday drive was left-hand over the head pointing to the right means pull over – something isn’t right.  “The left-hand signals because the right hand controls the break.”  Husband knows to tell my planner brain the why.  I can’t just know something.  I must know the why and the why not of a thing.  

Growing up in a hay field, long Sunday drives looking for deer were my childhood.  This ride wasn’t as fun for me. If I had prepared it might have been. 

Leading the way was stressful.  Breaking hard to show hazards, real or imagined, constantly reviewing the mirrors to check “is that the hand signal…damn, no! It’s a flappy jacket.  It's cold out, why didn’t Husband zip up his jacket!  He is going to get sick.”

After keeping Husband in the rear-view for 18 miles and whispering to nonexistent passengers for him to speed up, take that turn wider, and actively yelling at oncoming traffic that they were hugging the yellow line or to get off their cell phone … It was time for a break.  

I pulled off (using my right blinker to signal because that is what they are used for) and forced a timeout.  

Unlike me, Husband was having a blast! His smile was wide.  His confidence was huge as was his love for this new skill.  

Then we got to do something for me; we made a better plan.  While he had a snack, I cleaned the back windshield to better see him.  He zipped his coat to stop from whipping in the wind and looking like a used car inflatable sign.  We also reviewed additional hand signals.  Left-hand palm down means slowdown.  Left-hand palm up means speed up.   (Wife's internal pain “there are more hand signals!” wife external voice “thank you, those are helpful”)  

The route was discussed, and the tiny caravan was back on the road.  After a mile the tension held in my shoulders relaxed – he was a rider.  After two miles the radio came on.  Another half mile “I wonder if he saw those turkeys.  Turkey season is coming up.  I want to get the bow out.” Another mile “oops, he is pretty far back on this long stretch, I should slow down…NO! He needs to learn to catch up.” (rolled the window down.  Left-hand, palm up.  Go faster.)