The shine is ultimately blinding, but not achieved until the long winter’s dust is painstakingly wiped away from every curve, crevice and chrome.
It’s my personal spring cleaning, when I pull my Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic out of hibernation and prepare it for what I hope is a spring, summer and fall of many miles.
My wife Lisa would tell you I’m not much of a cleaner. I’m a straightener. I don’t like clutter, preferring things be put away in their proper place at all times. But when it comes to the details such as dusting, I can let it pass.
Not when it comes to my 15-year-old Harley. Its details motivate me to make them shine with perfection. I’m never more motivated than a warm, sunny, Sunday afternoon in the springtime (sounds like a Sinatra song) like we had last weekend.
Perhaps one of the reasons I enjoy the spring cleaning so much is that with each buff of the chrome, it reveals great memories of trips past. I recently learned my next National Newspaper Association board meeting is in Lexington, Kentucky.
My last visit to Lexington was on the back of my Harley. Jim Beckett, Mike Jones and I had toured every back road of West Virginia when we passed through the beautiful Bluegrass State on our way home and spent the night in Lexington.
While doing some saddle bag maintenance, I thought of the memorable ride through the Ozarks and on to Kansas City with Todd Cospelich where we toured the Harley Davidson plant.
Wiping down the fenders, as Hugh Mitchell Cannon and I would do each morning on our trips just prior to Jim Beckett walking out and laughing because he had no interest in cleaning his bike at all, I thought about our trip across the Blue Ridge Parkway with its scenic curves, tunnels and unforgettable sunsets.
The more the chrome began to sparkle, I was reminded of many visits to Daytona Bike Week, HOG rallies throughout the South with Tom McKelroy and Paul Tyler, the rides along the Coast, a cruise to Natchez with Lisa, and my many Sunday afternoon rides to Memphis, the Tennessee River and Ross Barnett Reservoir.
In recent years, many of my good motorcycle buddies have sold their bikes for a variety of reasons, mainly, not enough time to ride anymore. I suffer from that as well, but can’t stand the thought of parting with my beloved, especially after listening to it run.
The purr of the 1,600 cc engine sounded prettier than any George Gershwin composition. I debated for a while what was more appealing – its robust roar or the sparkling shine.
I concluded they were equally intoxicating for stirring new dreams of more asphalt in the rear view mirrors and a horizon of great adventure just ahead with the simple twist of the throttle.