Except for the dogs nothing was going to stand between me and a ride on the Vespa. Each day begins with a moment of revelation as I push the blind aside to see what the world is offering. Some mornings find a faint, hot glow from the sun yet to breech the horizon. This morning it was a blanket of white, dragging me into a cold place where body and spirit contested with a strong, serious desire to ride.
Like helpless children, the dogs need me for food, water and a serious amount of action. I can pace across the garden in myriad pathways collecting steps on my iPhone that easily consume a mile or more as I throw tennis balls for the dogs, wearing them out, draining the energy gathered through the night.
I swear they know my plans to leave them behind, looking at me with imploring eyes, “Play with us daddy”. Watching the the sky and thinking about a ride on the Vespa I could hear the rider in me chanting, “Let it snow…”.
In minutes, my riding world moved from wet with incidental snow to snow and the road is getting slippery. For a moment as I stood along the road trying to keep the camera dry and considering the road surface I started to grumble about winter.
I have had enough.
The evaluation of weather and road was inconclusive but without any striking warning signs. So on I went.
Riding has its own rewards with a chance to witness the world just being one. The snow covered landscape presents a world of quiet solitude that I find energizing. When I see scenes like this I wish I could paint because a photograph just doesn’t adequately reflect the magic of a place — the energy and thrill of being alive — wind and cold and snow striking skin, firing neurons and bringing the brain into communion with the world.
I knew I would enjoy the ride. Let it snow.
There are times when I look at the scooter along the road and I feel as if I’m in a fantasy — a sudden beautiful moment that I can only describe as a gift. It’s an experience born of moving slowly, stillness, and generally an incompatible experience from what I read in motorcycle magazines where speed and breathtaking performance are the focus.
But how many horsepower do I really need to ride?
The weather moved quickly through the valley and after an hour or so the roads and paths were wet with the temperature hovering in the mid-30s. The biggest challenge was keeping the visor clear of fog. At some point during a ride the “adult” in me steps up to spoil the fun and guides the Vespa toward errands and chores. I’ve not yet found a reliable way to ditch that guy.
He does have his advantages including always having enough cash for a stop at a cafe on a cold morning for tea and a biscuit. And with one last, long look toward Mount Nittany I started toward home, satisfied with a small ride on a snowy morning. Thirty miles of road time can be some fine medicine.
Is this the last snowy ride of the season?