August 31, 2006


It's almost Labor Day Weekend and I want to go for a long ride. For several days I've been thinking of riding to Watkins Glen, NY, to attend the annual BMW Finger Lakes Rally. But that darned Tropical Storm, Ernesto, appears to be heading to the same place.

It's not that I mind the rain. No, it's the 40 m.p.h. gusty winds that I don't like. Such weather produces two bad things for us motorcyclists: sideways rain and dangerous, blustery unpredictability.

The storm is heading up the coast as I write. Its outer bands of rain are already hitting Ithaca. There appears a slight weather gap that might allow a fast ride from the coast to the Rally tomorrow, but then everything will close in for two or three days of rain, clouds, and cool temperatures.

So I think of hotels, those lovely, warm and dry locations where one can enjoy the camaraderie of a Rally yet return to comfort and repose beyond the elements' slings and arrows.

Sadly my weather-watching hesitations have cost me. Every Watkins Glen B&B, Inn, hotel and motel seems booked (it is Labor Day Weekend after all). Orbitz tells me that I will have to relocate from the Rally to Ithaca in order to find a room.

I've never wanted to go to Ithaca. (If I'd wanted to go to Ithaca I would have attended Cornell University all those years ago when I was young and smart and I didn't even apply to Cornell because...........I never wanted to go to Ithaca).

I am thus left in a quandary. I've awaited "Ernesto the Damp's" change of course for two days. He has sorely disappointed me.

I am forced to abandon my hoped for Finger Lake Rally. But I shall continue to watch Big E's course. If he makes even the slightest move out to sea, I will tomorrow afternoon grab a ride to the West. Maybe I'll make it only to Burlington, Vermont.

I know a place there that makes marvelous Sangria. I could make an evening or two of that. I'll bring a good book and watch the vibrant street throng enjoy the dance of life as they walk, hand in hand, along Church Street. Their happiness will be contagious and will sing to me of all the sunshine that Ernesto could only foolishly hope to conquer.

August 30, 2006


Few sights warm the heart of the ocean voyager as much as the sight of a familiar lighthouse. Dusk settles and the night closes in: the lighthouse becomes a visionary path.

The moon, as well, warms the hearts of both ocean and land travelers who've been long on their way.

On rare, special occasions, the moon eclipses even the glowing majesty of a lighthouse. The traveler is happy. His heart races in joy.

When a man travels to the moon he need bring no more, and no less than his soul.

August 29, 2006


Peace Be Still
Evening Has Arrived
Sleep will come
Rest will rejuvinate
A new day will Rise

August 28, 2006


Sooner or later we all need to write a story about things we know, mix it up with things we imagine, and then call it a novel. Well, Montauk Rider is working on a little piece of fiction that is a lot of fun.

Here is a tease portion of the second and third chapters (copyright claimed of course):


Jake was thinking again about that fundamental divergence in his and Susan’s lives that evening when he expected to spend a quiet evening alone in Kona. Susan had already returned to Boston. Jake was secretly happy that he would have another week in Hawaii all to himself.

Immediately before “she” appeared Jake had ordered his second Sapphire and Tonic of the evening. The Kona air was warm and moist.

It was a perfect Hawaiian evening. The surf pounded on the nearby volcanic shore. The trade winds engulfed the Tiki House in a sensuous bouquet of floral and salty scents.

And yet Jake was uneasy. He contemplated yet again how unhappy Susan must be. “I’m unhappy,” he mused, “so she must be even more so.”

“Of course Susan was unhappy,” his thinking continued, “she and I have lived together 25 years, and we don’t have anything in common. She is beautiful, still vibrant, and yet caged with a total stranger. Our relationship is held together by stuff.”

He started to feel a heavy squeeze around his chest, almost as if he couldn’t breathe.



Jake’s lungs suddenly filled with the fullness of moist tropical air the moment he saw her approaching. What was it about those eyes that made them flash like that, he wondered?

As she moved to sit beside him, Jake’s left hand moved to feel his left pocket. Yes, his key was there. He didn’t know why he had done that. It was a subconscious movement.

She had seen the same subconscious movement many times before. “Men,” she silently laughed to herself, “so predictable. See a pretty girl, check for the key.”

She twirled her head in Jake’s direction and peered directly into his still unfocused eyes. Jake blinked. This wasn’t right. He was supposed to be studying her eyes, not the other way around. Who was this creature?

“As I mentioned,” she started, “I am with the Embassy Tour. My clients have asked if I know a good lawyer who might be able to give them some advice. I had heard you were here, so I told them of you and of your fame at winning cases in Boston. They want to meet you. And I’ve wanted to meet you for years.”

She took Jake’s lack of instant response as an invitation to continue. “I can see that I interrupted you in deep thought, Mr. Drummond. Would you prefer if I spoke with you in the morning?”

“No, no, now is fine Miss……I’m sorry, but I don’t know your name,” he replied. He was now just beginning to see her eyes. They were magnificent: Arctic Blue with tiny radiating lines running outward from each pupil, like solar flares blasting off from the sun. These were eyes from the wild, he reflected.

She smiled again, touched his still full Gin and Tonic, and said, “Do you think I could get one of these?” Her voice made his heart flutter, a feeling he hadn’t experienced since….well, he actually couldn’t recall the last time he felt such a flutter.

Before he could answer or even look for the bartender to place an order, she had done it herself. Without hesitation, and while she was saying “Do you think I could get one of those,” she had simultaneously signaled the barkeep and placed her own order. There was no lack of independence in this beautiful stranger. Jake was impressed.

She looked again directly at Jake. “I’m not at liberty, just yet, to tell you my name or my clients’ names. We leave tomorrow for an international gathering in Toronto. We then fly to Geneva. I’ll be in Boston ten days later, on October 15th. May we meet then at your office,” she matter of factly inquired?

She already knew the answer would be yes. She had read his eyes, just as she had always been able to do. She had the advantage on Jake, as his mind was still stuck in the predictable fantasy about beautiful women and a hotel key.

She took a long and pleasing sip of her G&T, and arose off the stool. Knowing the effect she was having on Jake, she bent forward and whispered into his ear, “I’ll see you in Boston on the 15th.” She turned, flashing one more blinding beam into Jake’s still unfocused eyes, and then she walked away. Her walk was syncopated, almost dance-like. Jake’s left hand found the key still in his pocket. The fantasy was shattered.

As he turned back to his drink, the bartender spoke. “Man, you are one lucky dude.” Jake didn’t feel lucky. He felt heartbroken, and he wasn’t sure why. When he went to bed alone that night in his little Hawaiian bungalow he lay awake for hours. “What was that all about,” he wondered?


Monarch butterfly
Originally uploaded by Tampen.
The Breeze Rider balances for a moment on a delicate flower. She will soon flutter away riding little puffs of air. Someday she will fly far to the south following not just puffs of air but her heart.

August 26, 2006


The world is blessed to have so many creative talents in our midst. One of them is Rob, a fellow who programmed some code into a random poetry generator. I thank my sister, Betsy (, for letting me know of this great tool. You can find it at the following URL:

I thought it would be fun to link it to my recent post about Dawn and Dusk, just to see what would happen. Amazingly, Rob's algorithm came up with the following rather lovely rendering of Zen Riding Poetry. Enjoy........

The way. Arundel
just as dusk set upon its vast expanse.

Best shared with motorcycling,
touring, travel, and fascinating people
along the TWO times when all nature was rising
and DUSK

It is a motorcycle tour
or floating waist high.
I was speechless
Magic moments DAWN
AND fascinating people along
the WILD Alpbach flowers

THE best things happen?

I recall riding into the fields
rose into the sky like our universe,

randomly chaotic
yet another day of a wafting fog
floating upon its vast expanse.



Originally uploaded by derpunk.
Magical Dawn

Kashmir dusk

Kashmir dusk
Originally uploaded by Tampen.
Magical Dusk


Magic Moments are governed much like our universe, randomly chaotic yet divinely inspired. That's my take on it at least.

Two times each day offer us mortals the highest probability of a magic moment: dawn and dusk. It is at those times when all of nature is either coming alive or bedding down. And aren't those the times when all the best things happen?

I recall one early morn riding my Triumph 650 north from the southern England village of Arundel just as the sun was rising and the dew of the fields rose into the sky like a wafting fog floating waist high. I was speechless (which is not a situation I often find myself in.)

I recall riding into Geneva Switzerland just as dusk set upon the Lake. All was quiet. All nature was bedding down for the eve, to rest for yet another day of joyous life. I was again speechless.

Magic moments indeed.

Such times are magical whether on a motorcycle tour or walking in a forest. Atop a mountain. Beside a lake. At the ocean's edge or floating upon its vast expanse.

Best shared with your love of course, but magical even when circumstances, time or distance make that temporarily impossible. They are there with you in your heart right then and there.

August 24, 2006


Originally uploaded by hirosh.
Chasing the moon.


Jack London wrote many a fine story in his time. Few, however, have been as popular as his story of Buck, that wonderful dog in "The Call of the Wild."

I had a wonder dog once too. His name was Sting, named after the legendary sword that so many times saved the life of little Bilbo Baggins in the days of Middle Earth.

Sting was a mixed breed, sired by a St. Bernard and mothered by a mixed Great Dane and German Shepard. He was large: he was quick witted and acutely intelligent.

Sting was for many years my best friend. And he needed land on which to run, and rivers in which to swim. New Hampshire fit him just so.

And then I moved to Boston to attend Law School. I couldn't do that to my Sting. So I left him home in New Hampshire with my mother. (My mother had a large property, with fields and gardens, and she loved animals of all sorts. She was quite pleased to add Sting to her menagerie of four dogs and innumerable squirrels, birds, and chipmunks.)

Sadly, Sting succumbed at an early age, around 6 years old, to the greatest of all thieves, Cancer. I remember the call from Angel Memorial Hospital: "We can keep your dog alive, but he will have to come in twice a week for chemotherapy treatment." I asked if he would still be able to run and swim for hours on end, which was how Sting loved to spend his days. "No," they said. "He will have to be kept in the house without too much activity." I told them to put him to sleep.

I pulled an old favorite book off the shelf tonight, Jack London's "The Call of the Wild." I opened it and noted its commencement with the following:

Into the Primitive

Old longings nomadic leap,
Chafing at custom's chains;
Again from its brumal sleep
Wakens the ferine strain.

I again understand why I had to let go of Sting.

I again understand why some of us, the ones I call the lucky ones, get on motorcycles and head out on roads knowing not where we will end up that night. We chafe at custom's chains.

Like Buck and Sting, we need to howl "beneath a glimmering borealis, leaping gigantic above [our] fellows." We long to sing "a song of the younger world, which is the sound of the pack."

The song of the road is a song of the younger world, a world where simplicity and honesty provide all that one needs for guidance.

Alpbach flowers

Alpbach flowers
Originally uploaded by betsythedevine.
My sister Betsy is currently traveling in Austria and has graciously shared this lovely photo of an Austrian village and its flowered chalets.

I'm brought back to giddy memories of motorcycling through the intermittent villages and magnificent mountains of Germany, France, Austria and Italy. (Though years ago, the adventure seems as recent as last night's dream of dancing in warm moonlight.)

Oh how I yearn to again ride in Bavaria's cool forests, up and down rugged Alpean Passes, then down into the beckoning reaches (and beaches) of Italy and the Adriatic Coast, to sup and sleep perhaps on the southern shores of Greece.

The ride would be reason enough. The adventure would be indescribable. I would follow the moon from village to village, if for no other reason than simply a hope of catching her uncatchable rays.

August 23, 2006


Pond of Nine Dragons
Originally uploaded by DIastolic DI.
Speaking of dragons. Here is a fantastic photo of nine dragons in Toronto. Thank you, DiastolicDi, for taking this marvelous photograph of the dragons.


I'm intrigued when people claim to have "Slayed the Dragon." I mean, really, what do they mean?

Bikers proclaim it after they've successfully ridden the 318 turns in Deals Gap, Tennessee. But we riders have no ownership of the phrase. I've even heard accountants (I'm sure there are wonderful accountants) say it merely as a result of having survived what they call Tax Season.

What primitive drive causes us to think of everything in terms of slaying? When we rip an incredible ride on a wave, did we "slay" the water? Or did we in fact enjoy a brief moment in time when we and our surfboard synced perfectly with the wave, allowing us to glide weightlessly along a wall of H2O whose own movement is in fact merely mirroring the quickly rising ocean floor as the wave moves toward the beach? I think the latter.

It's the same in skiing, sailing, flying, and motorcycling. We do not slay the mountain, the breeze, the skies or the twising roads. We meld with them: we work with not against them.

We live on a green planet abundant with opportunities to dance with its elements. A winding road is like a great Tango. You learn the steps, you feel the music, and you let go.

Let others proclaim that they've slain a dragon. I'd rather play with it, maybe even let it take me for a ride high up in the sky.

Ahh, now that would be an adventure.

August 22, 2006

The Canal Homes of Lake Simcoe

One finds serenity in the strangest places. Often we find serenity in pastures, woods, or along a streambed at sunrise. Other times we find it in our own backyards, in our gardens, or in the simple act of observing a multi-hued sunset from a window seat.

I found serenity recently in a little cluster of lake homes along a canal on Lake Simcoe in Ontario. The waters were still and quiet.

The birds sang in hushed tones, wanting not to stir their neighbors.

Even the flowers held back their bouquet ever so slightly, as if to make the wandering traveler desire yet one more moment in their perfect presence.

Ah, it was a lovely spot on our little planet Earth, our Garden of Eden (if we would just let it be).

Good night moon.

August 21, 2006

Montauk Rider on an Ontario Agricultural Tour

Ontario's farms fill the air with odors of grapes, apples, onions and carrots. Motorcyclists lucky enough to ride here are bathed in the visual and olfactory appreciation of where fine wines and salads begin.

Lunching on fresh vegetables, cheese, bread and wine makes for a good life in these parts. Yum.

August 20, 2006


I've just returned from a week-long tour around the shores of Lake Ontario.

Yesterday's leg of the journey brought me home from the Lake's western shores at Lake Oswego. It rained much of the way, lending me the perfect time to reflect on the marvels this Great Lake opened to my eyes over the previous many days of traveling through Kingston, Ontario, down along the northern shores to Mississauga, and then down through the Niagra shores and vineyards, thence across the southern shores in New York State.

I am forever greatful to have met so many fantastic people on this adventure. To my cousin Dennis, a most congenial traveling companion, to the many friends who guided and hosted us in Canada, I offer this little Ode to Lake Ontario, the lines of which came mostly to me during the hours of rain riding yesterday.


She is far more beautiful than one can imagine this Great Lake of the North. Her measure takes days and days to appreciate. She can inspire and confound. She can laugh and she can cry.

Her shores gather geese and goats, swans and sailors, villages and parks, travelers and farmers, great cities and copious vineyards. She welcomes them all.

She is like an Indian tale, a Princess who walks on water. She gives life to her fish, to her birds and butterflies, and to all those in need of her cool wetness and abundance.

Were she a woman, a man would be in love. Were she a woman, a man would gladly write poetry a thousand years to see her smile a day.

August 01, 2006

Adventures in Sangria

Sangria is a marvelous Spanish concoction. Blended of wine, fruit, ice, lemons, grapes, melons, and juices, this quaff brings ecstacy to an evening of romantic conversation that only a moribund palate would fail to observe.

The same is true of adventures. We mix unknown roads with unknown people, places, and events, and voila -- a memory of a lifetime.

I do hereby toast all those who travel for the simple joy of adventure. You are the toastmasters of life. You are the ones who have tales worthy of telling. You are the ones who understand the importance of releasing the comfortable to venture into the unknown.

The meek will not understand. It's fine. They would miss the sense in the story told by Yann Martel in "The Story of Pi.":

"Once upon a time there was a banana and it grew. It grew until it was large, firm, yellow and fragrant. Then it fell to the ground and someone came upon it and ate it."

Life is precious, short, unpredictable, and challenging. Ride long my friends.