The Ride to Hell and Back

September 6, 1999

Yes, and I have the pictures to prove it.

I had no idea how this day would end. But then I suppose when we wake, none of us really know what is in store in the next 24 hours, or even the next 2 minutes.

The day had started out clear and bright and cool, and before it was over, I had gone through Hell.

But I did come back.

When I walked into the office my assistant looked around the corner of her desk and asked, “I thought you were going to go see the Smiths today?”

“I am.”

“I see, and this trip requires a motorcycle right?”

“Gotta train the clients not to expect anything. They hire me for what I know, not what I drive. Besides, the day is stellar, I had to. I was all dressed in suit and tie and walked out of the house and turned right around and put on jeans and white polo and grabbed the motorcycle keys.”

You see, I live in a state that happens to have clouds lots of the year. Lots and lots of clouds, we rank only behind Alaska and the state of Washington in the number of gray days we have. This day broke cloudless, with temperatures expected to hover in the mid 80’s, which can be a bit warm on a motorcycle, but I figured, time to ride.

Getting to the meeting was un-eventful and not the best experience, since I used the interstate to save time. I did feel a bit exposed blowing by 18-wheelers on my 2 wheeler, but their wind blast can be hell on a motorcycle, so best to pass and get it over with.

It was the ride on the way back that I really was anticipating. Rolling Midwestern fields of corn interspersed with great stands of trees. The sun was at my back and the bike just roared down the two-lane highway. On the road ahead I watched the shadow of a hawk as it circled over some critter thrown to the roadside by some kind of rolling thunder.

About half way into the ride, things began to go to Hell. You would not have imagined it, for the roads were just perfect for this ride. Stands of trees on both sides of the road reached out and connected in long tunnels of green. The road undulated and curved and I was taking in every moment, it was a truly spectacular ride.

And then Hell.

Right out of the blue, or should I say green. I came around a curve and I was there. Right in the middle of Hell I tell you.

The sign said so.

In front of the Dam Site Inn were several motorcycles, a couple of pick-up trucks and a number of non-descript cars. I went inside, ordered up a beer and burger, and ate my first meal in Hell. Problem is, they did not take credit cards at the Dam Inn, and I had no cash with me. I wrote them a check.

Think about it, maybe I should have closed the account.

I went to hell, had a beer and a burger, and paid for it with a bad check.

Sounds appropriate to me.

Hell, I had never been to Hell before, and before I left, I shot a couple of pictures of the bike.

I even included one of the party store, with all its painted flames.

Finally, I swung my right leg over the bike, put on my helmet and continued my ride.

In my pocket was a flyer I picked up in the bar. It seems that a local radio station is raising money for cancer research, titling the ride, To Hell with Leukemia.

If the weather is good that Sunday, I think I will have to go to Hell and back again.