Yesterday was an unbelievable, sunshiny day here in North Texas. I think it capped out at 79 degrees, warmer than you could ever hope for in January, even in the south. And, naturally, after what feels like weeks of being confined to the (mercifully) short trek back and forth to work on cold mornings, there was no way I wasn’t riding – a long, “no destination in particular” ride.

Honey had been off his bike even longer (after almost a month away from home helping his mom in the wake of his father’s untimely death New Year’s Eve) and he had the exact same idea. Isn’t it sweet when things work out that way?

So, money’s kind of tight after a month of extended, unplanned travel as well as some other expenses in our business that have left us needing to find inexpensive entertainment. Now, while a motorcycle will never be called a cheap toy, it does (once you’ve acquired it, at whatever cost) provide cheap entertainment! This was not only going to be a fun day, it was going to be an inexpensive day!

The only destination we had for the day was a Polish restaurant I’d found in Plano. Honey’s family is of Russian and Polish descent and I’ve been regaled for quite a while with tales of fine Polish fare. Getting special mention are pierogies, which are, basically, a ravioli stuffed with mashed potatoes or cheese or other yummy things, and cooked in butter with onions – I mean, what’s not to like? Kielbasa with saurkraut is also prominent along with a lot of other fattening foods that keep people in very cold climates covered in a permanent warm layer! It is just another gross injustice of life that Honey eats those things all the time and is still as thin as he was when he was a kid (based on pictures). I, on the other hand, must lay off or I’ll need a bigger bike!

So, one Polish restaurant does not an outing make. What we needed were some other places to go and naturally, our first choice was…the Harley Store. Harley Davidson of North Texas, to be exact. Now, I know what you’re thinking – there’s no way a trip to the Harley store can be called an inexpensive day, but here’s where the beauty of this lifestyle comes in.

Sure, you can spend tons of money on your bike. We won’t even go into how much Honey’s spent on his and we certainly won’t go into what kind of return he could hope to get on his investment if he were to sell it! I, on the other hand (as I’ll address in another blog) haven’t spent nearly as much. Doesn’t mean I’m not tempted, but my bike’s pretty much perfect as is (and my checkbook isn’t) so that’s the end of the subject.

The thing is, even if you’re not planning to buy anything right now, the Harley store is a fun place to go look and (in this girl’s opinion) North Texas Harley does it better than anyone. First of all, they’re just plain friendly there. Honey bought his bike at another dealership but I got mine there and we’ve determined we won’t trade anywhere else. Honey’s been sitting on his “next bike” more than a year there and every time, we see our favorite salesman, Danny, and talk about how the time will come, eventually, and he’ll make the deal. In the meantime, he treats us like his favorite customers, every single time.

The girls all know us on the retail side and even though I don’t really like shopping (OK, maybe I like it a little), I always have fun looking around, trying on things, looking at attachments for my bike if I were ever to decide to add anything, which is very unlikely.

The service people all know us by name (even MY name, which is hardly what you’d call memorable) since they’ve been servicing both our bikes for a long time now and they always make a point of coming by to talk to us when they see us. And, remember, we’re not customers who have dropped tons of money there. We’re pretty modest by Harley standards. They’re just that nice.

But that isn’t the best part of stopping by a Harley dealership on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I’m sure this is the case at all Harley dealerships but it happens to me most at HDNT – we run into friends there. Honey and I both ride with HOG groups (although it’s been an awfully long time for me because I’ve been so busy over the last several months) as well as other clubs and you can almost always guarantee you’ll run into someone you know.

Yesterday, Honey first saw a friend from his HOG chapter (Panther Creek) and he introduced me. We had a great time visiting while he waited on his bike. Then, just as we were leaving, another couple we know pulled in, looking for a windshield for a new bike she’d just bought. Within minutes, we’d made plans to head to the Polish restaurant together and a party of two doubled to a group of four riders jamming up the turnpike (well, I was jamming. I still seem to be the only one who bops while riding), headed to pierogies, potatoe pancakes, and kielbasa sausage.

Our visit over lunch was warm and friendly, even though I’d actually never spent more than cursory time with either of them. And we didn’t even talk about bikes – not really. It turns out we had a happy time because the day was beautiful, the company was good, the food was fine (not the best, not the worst pierogies) and we have a lot in common.

As people, when we socialize, I believe we form ourselves into groups that share some sort of passion, whether it’s spiritual, political, cultural, recreational, whatever. I suppose if I were passionate about dogs and had a dog, I’d hang out at pet stores and have the same experience. Or if I were a gardener (instead of a certified, registered plant killer) I’d hang out at nurseries and find like-minded people and we’d get together for lunch and talk about dahlias.

Instead, I’m a biker and I hang out with other bikers and find that they are some of the most fun people to be around. We don’t always (in fact, rarely do) share political viewpoints. We’re not typically from the same religious background (although the time Honey and I spend with a Christian motorcyclist organization definitely helps form our circle of friends). Our kids may be different ages, our socio-economic statuses are generally different; our occupations differ, our cultural and family backgrounds are rarely similar. But no matter the differences, we can find a common ground on two wheels. We all love riding and glow with happiness when the weather is tailor-made for riding or if we’re just together in the comfort of our common joy.

So, today’s blog is in praise of the biking community (and, I admit, in praise of my favorite Harley store, Harley Davidson North Texas). Thanks for letting me be a part of the gang and for playing with me yesterday, all of you!

Until next time, Lord keep my wheels down, my eyes up. Keep me out of other people’s way and them out of mine. And if today is the day we meet face to face, I do it with thanksgiving for a joy-filled life!