weekend in tahoe

The title says weekend, but really it was more like one long day. I stayed at work till a reasonable time and then got on the BART. I don’t remember why, but I couldn’t take off that afternoon (it may have been before I knew I was changing jobs, and had extra PTO). In any case, Sophie, her mother, and her mom’s friend Sally went on ahead in their tiny Yaris, and I drove the Land Rover by myself, across the central valley and into the mountains. We spent that evening on the patio of our AirBnB, drinking wine and or beer. The next morning, we went to Ernie’s Cafe, something of a local institution. Then we drove around the lake all day. That night, I cooked french fries, and Sophia cooked steaks. For desert, we had wine and conversation. There may have even been a nap in there.

This last weekend, I rode a motorcycle for the fist time. It was a range day for the motorcycle safety class I’m taking. Man, that’s a lot of fun. The class starts with the very basics; how to safely start the bike, walk the bike across the range under power in first, feathering the clutch, then short little jumps, then longer jumps, then around the oval; every exercise built on everything I’d learned so far, and by the end of the day I felt pretty good, doing the countersteering exercise. I need to work on looking through the corners, and braking with both brakes. And throttle control. Really, everything.

There’s definitely something to motorcycle riding though, beyond the risk involved. Something about the coordination of all the things you have to do— concentrate on any one and before you know it you’ve messed up somehow. But you focus on none of them, and everything just flows. I’m sure after a bit more parctice, all of that will be second nature and not require Zen concentration. Like driving was at first, so many things to manage. Anything like that is bound to seem complex. Then your left foot learns where neutral is, and your right hand learns where the throttle really kicks in, and the left hand learns how to find the friction zone. Gearheads talk about becoming one with the machine… I thought it was bullshit, but it’s definitely a thing I’ve felt on my bicycle, so it seems natural on a motorcycle too.

Also, I keep thinking about riding into the mountains, into the night.

Posted by Matt on 2015-08-25 02:23:59 +0000