In the blackness there is only the lope of the engine and the flowing caress of wind on my face. As I float along the black river, my mind is clear and I am swimming in my serenity. After hours of Zen, I see it…the first splash of light; a splash that will ultimately crash down on me like a tidal wave of lava. Dawn is approaching.
While most riders prefer to traverse the country side in broad daylight, necessity has driven me to a love affair with the night. Mounting your motorcycle in the searing heat of an Arizona summer is not a task for the faint of heart. Temperatures can exceed 120 degrees at mid-day and even in the higher elevations, 90-100 degrees is more than most people can stand. Hydration is key and keeping your core body temperature regulated takes considerable effort. Cooling vests, water-filled backpacks, long sleeve shirts and light refracting clothes are helpful but there is still an element of danger riding under the unyielding blaze of the summer sun.
Night riding offers an escape. The temperatures are often 20 degrees cooler, there is less traffic, and with the right riding gear and technique, a night ride can keep you safely riding throughout June, July, and August. It’s the very necessity that is what drew me to the night; drew me to the darkness: the vacant path welcoming me in and setting me free, a drift on my voyage… to anywhere… anywhere but here… anywhere my bike will take me.
I’m riding to the high-country where the temps are more tolerable, the scenery more lush and green. I’m in search of new cities, sights, and experiences yet to be had. It occurs to me as I glance at my watch that I don’t really care where I end up or what time I get there, all that matters is that I am here, now, with the rumble of my bike and the response of the throttle. In this here and now, my life is perfect.
As I zero in on the coming dawn, I breathe deeply, pulling in the last of the cool breezes. The day is new and the road stretches out before me like an unending river. As it unfolds, the twisties and long, deep curves ahead pique my excitement. Here, as in no other place, I am free and completely one with the road, my soul swimming in all that surrounds me. My soul… the soul of the road.