So, here it is the middle of April and trees are in full bloom. I’ve been seeing signs of Spring for weeks now, and it just isn’t normal for this time of year at this latitude and altitude. Not that I’m complaining, but this is just one instance I’ve noticed over the past few years.
I live in a semi-arid region. This area is sensitive to minor shifts in the Jet Stream, so a few inches of rain – more or less – throughout the year can make a huge difference in the length and severity of the subsequent fire season. Personally, I don’t want to see a severe fire season again. Several years ago, we were evacuated for more than two weeks because a wildfire came within a mile of our home – an experience I have no desire to repeat.
But an early Spring is not a Bad Thing™. It means I can finally get out and ride.
One of my hobbies is motorcycle riding (I ride a 2002 Honda 1300 VTX), and last Saturday was the perfect day to get out on the bikes for the season’s first shake-down ride, albeit a bit breezy.
So how did it go, you ask.
Well, we got most of the way to pavement (did I mention we live Off the Beaten Path™?) and I realized I forgot my helmet. No, we did not turn around and go back to get it, my Better Half™ gets the “hangries” and its best to feed the beast before it breaks free. Besides, our riding friends and family store extras.
So, onward into the city we drove. First stop: the breakfast place. Had to feed us both before getting the rest of the day going.
Because we live Off the Beaten Path, we store the bikes in town. Falling off your big street cruiser on a steep, gravel-y, windy, washboard-y dirt road kind of ruins the image of the rough-tough-and-hard-to bluff biker. Besides, the gravel dings up the paint job.
We finally made it to the bikes, and – yes! – they started right up (relatively speaking). Of course, one experience we had last year was buying a new battery for my bike – just as we were leaving town for a two-week trip. We stopped by the Honda shop, bought a battery, unloaded my bike, changed the battery, and repacked for the trip. I would have had to wait four hours for the shop to do it. I didn’t have that kind of time. Every outing is an adventure.
Anyway, last weekend, we only rode about 60 miles and made a lot of stops. For a first outing, it wasn’t bad.
But I’m more used to being knee-deep in Spring snow this time of year than blooming trees. I have lived along the Front Range for going on 30 years (and in the foothills for 15) and have experienced all kinds of weather, but nothing like the last five or so years. The seasons are subtly shifting, coming early by a few days or a week each year. The wind patterns have changed, it used to be the high winds were mostly north of here, but have been shifting south in the last couple of years.
These are all changes that are subtle and hard to spot in the short-term. And since most of us live from day-to-day, many don’t have time to think about events that have happened in the past, or worry about what could happen in the future. If we don’t take the time to make changes now, the future won’t matter.
But for now, the world is coming back to life after Winter. The grays and browns are being replaced by the myriad shades of greens and pinks and whites. Wildlife is birthing its next generation and a bug or two intruded on the ride, sure signs that Winter is over and Spring has sprung.
As usual, we will have a busy Spring and Summer. We have plans to ride to the Western Slope and camp at Vedauwoo in Wyoming. Some of our favorite performers are holding concerts in the area, and grandkids will be visiting from the Midwest.
And always taking the time to ride, to camp, to write, and to enjoy life.