October 31, 2006


Originally uploaded by G r e n.

A pair of pears.

Makes me hungry.

Brings me balance.

Is all good.

October 30, 2006

Another German Road Machine

Here's the new Passat that calls out for some good driving.

Zen Surfing

your kung fu is strong
Originally uploaded by astrocruzan.

Becoming one with the wave .......


This October has been quite a month. Riding in snow storms is already the norm -- a cold norm at that. Now the winds seem to set daily records. I'm quite impressed.

Today I learned that Mount Washington received 40 inches of snow already this month. The only higher October on record was last October when New England's highest peak received 78.9 inches of the white stuff.

This past weekend saw winds peak at 144 mph up there. To put that in perspective, winds of 144 mph are the equivalent of a Category 4 Hurricane. Nasty for sure.

So Winter is moving in hard. Still, a Zen Rider's thoughts never stray from the next adventure.

There are snowy roads to ride in the VW 4-Motion. There are ski slopes to surf and tropical corals to snorkle. There are dreams to dream and great books to read. There are clients to help and friends to support. There are kids to nurture and loves to love.

Like the wind and snow I'll try to do great things this coming Season. I accept the challenge. We should all accept the challenge: "Bring It On."

Or as a friend once taught me about riding in difficult situations, just grin and say "Teeth to the Wind."

Clymena Butterfly

88 Diaethria Clymena Butterfly
Originally uploaded by chuchogm.

Speaking of nature's beauty...................

October 29, 2006

Wind Zen

Playing with The Wind in the Evening
Originally uploaded by fiou.

It's really windy today. But rather than curse it, I thought I'd think of all the fun things wind can bring us.

This fellow has it right: kite flying in the evening. Yes.

October 28, 2006

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Originally uploaded by jimfrazier.

Just as people have a favorite hotel, restaurant or wine, Butterflies apparently have their own plant preferences. Very neat.


Nature is arranged by a brilliant yet simple strategy: everything must work together for the good of the whole. When we look at an Alder tree, for example, we see its beauty and form. But do we look and note that the Alder is often home to Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies?

Frankly, I never even knew until recently that Butterflies enjoyed different host trees. This evening I read a bit and learned some marvelous tidbits about the symbiotic relationship between trees, plants, stones and Butterflies. I'll share a few, as I know that Zen Riders love nature.

The White Admiral prefers Linden trees. Tiger Swallowtails enjoy not only Alders but Maples as well. The Silver Spotted Skipper (I've yet to be introduced to one of these lovelies) likes to live in the Mimosa tree. [And I always thought that a Mimosa was a Brunch beverage.]

The Mourning Cloak crows for Poplars; and the Spring Azure adores Dogwood.

Butterflies also choose their habitat in reference to plants. Monarchs moan for Milkweed; the American Copper coughs it up for Sheep Laurel. Most weirdly, the Red Admiral admires Nettles. [Ouch.]

Were one to plan a garden to entice Butterflies one need follow just a few simple horticultural rules. First, locate your garden in a sunny area. Second, use large splashes of color in the landscape design as groups of flowers are easier for Butterflies to locate when they are at cruising altitude. [They might miss a single nettle, but not an entire cluster.]

And finally, place large flat stones in the gardens as Butterflies like to perch on warm stones to bask. [Duh, who doesn't like to do that?]

My next home will be planned with these rules in mind. One big stone will be for my Butterfly friends. The other will be for us two-legged folk that enjoy lying back on warmed stones to share stories, dreams, and concerns.

It's Really Raining Hard

Whats the weather like.
Originally uploaded by Protection Island.

Today's incredible rain makes one glad to have plenty of indoor activities. I've had dry fun doing some work, reading the paper, talking on the phone with friends, and plotting upcoming travels on the GPS.

I ventured out earlier to go to the office and got soaked in a matter of seconds. Ahh, the fury of the elements is to be respected for sure.

Rainy Nights

rainy nights
Originally uploaded by -Ant-.

Rainy days and rainy nights make this a good time to put on a warm sweater and curl up with a book.

Soon the sun will return and outside we will go.

For today, though, Inside activities are just fine. I think I'll plan a new GPS route to someplace and then see what happens. Fun.

October 27, 2006


Originally uploaded by MustLovePandas.

The Zen of Love.


"On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair. Warm smell of colitas rising up through the air. Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light. It grew heavy and my sight was dim, had to stop for the night."

Indeed, "Welcome to the Hotel California." I've forever loved that song of The Eagles. On many a journey, after hours and hours of hard riding, I find myself singing its lovely refrain to myself. "You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave." Deep. But wrong.

We can leave or check out of any situation any time we like. True, we must be sensitive to others needs and feelings. But we are not imprisoned by addiction, which is really what that Eagles song is about.

We are free. And I love freedom. Today at my office we enjoyed a Happy Hour with our new Legal Assistant. We played Trivial Pursuit and drank a lovely bottle of Shiraz. I found it funny when one of the younger members of the firm described me as one who never dealt well with authority figures. I could have told her that years ago.

So I sit here tonight aglow with the sense of victory that one gets when they wipe everyone else out at Trivial Pursuit. (As if it meant something?)

But really I sit here tonight thinking how fabulous life is. Every single day brings a new adventure. The other day I walked into a silly little auto dealership: two hours later I walked out with a new client and an offer of a guitar gig. How bizarre is that?

Everything we do is simply another stitch in the pattern we weave. Everything is connected. When we meet a complete stranger yet know them completely, it is just the warp and woof of the fabric coming back to us. We made this fabric long ago. Now we wear it.

So whether we talk of Yin and Yang, of Karma, or of a Dark Deserted Highway, we can leave but we can't totally "Check Out." Our future is in our own hands. We can never abandon who we are, but we can make the future our own.

October 26, 2006

November Planning

First snow
Originally uploaded by kulkuri.

This is the time of year when we northern riders grow jealous of our southern friends who can ride all year long. We here are nearing the dreaded day when we set our machines in hybernation mode, and set our sights on other activities.

It's not that winter is dismal and cold; well, yes it is to be honest.

But the trick to a happy winter is a plan. My plan is just beginning to gel, but will include the following essentials: warm wool sweaters, warm socks, marino wool and silk turtlenecks, skis, boots, snowshoes, good books for reading, good rental movies for watching, good food for cooking, and lots of good red wine. Add work, a few nice trips to visit friends in Canada, Florida, or perhaps Mexico, and the Spring should be here before we know it.

For winter travel, I'll stick to the new VW Passat 4-Motion I just purchased. Surely I'll be warmer in the car than I was last weekend on the Montauk. The Passat even has Sirius Satellite Radio so I can listen to anything I want when driving. Though I haven't yet visited all the channels, I've discovered channels dedicated to the Met Opera (awesome), Cafe Jazz, Vocal Jazz, Chicago Blues, NPR, and even the CBC. Sweet!

I'll just have to go on an extended road trip real soon.

October 24, 2006

The Old Staircase

The Old Staircase
Originally uploaded by veloopity.

What is it about staircases? Why do they grab our attention and forever remain in our memory?

Travelers might recall trees, lakes, and mountains differently. They might years later disagree about the season they shared in a village. No one disagrees about a memorable staircase.

Perchance a staircase is just too precious to forget. After all it is the staircase that leads to a place "above." Could it be a road to heaven?

Who knows. And regardless, a stairway constructed of artistic design and function is a marvel to behold.

Those who actually sweep up or down its course are privileged. I love staircases whether grand or petite.

French Cafe

French Cafe
Originally uploaded by The Great California Migrants.

Just as I remember it.


I've been listening tonight to a marvelous collection of French Cafe Music. Left Bank, Right Bank, we're not flying in a plane, we're walking along the Seine in one of the world's most lovely cities.

I remember Paris. It was the Spring of 1973 when I arrived there on my way back from my journey to India. Alone, very little money, but so much optimism. If I had one gift to give everyone it would be optimism. No matter how bleak things can appear one day, they almost always brighten the next. It is faith in this simple truth that allows us optimists to live well on such easy principles: never panic (thank you Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy), never forget to treat people the way you wish to be treated (thank you Mrs. Sanborn -- my Kindergarten teacher), and never look for the worst in people, only the best (thank you Mother).

Paris in March was rather gloomy. The city instantly captivated me nonetheless. Such history: such art: such architecture. I, a young man from New Hampshire, was in awe of this hallowed ville that most of us hope only to read about in a history or art book.

The people of Paris were shockingly rude, it seemed to me. They appeared to hold outsiders in contempt, though they beckoned each to enter their shops and cafes. This was my first encounter with the phenomenon now called Euro snobbery. Maybe we all deserved it, however, given how boorish so many Westerners had been in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. Either way, I recall having no problems with laughing and enjoying Paris’s citizens, as all one really needed to do was to remember the easy principles. All peoples of the world respond kindly to those who abide those simple rules.

Besides, some Americans really did act like asses back then. I recall being at the steps of Notre Dame, preparing myself to go inside to observe a service in this Cathedral of Cathedrals. Just gazing up at the gargoyles juxtaposed against the ashen gray sky put me in a trance. But my trance was broken by an older American couple who were yelling at a local nearby. “Where the hell is the Café Amercain,” the husband shouted at the poor fellow who clearly spoke only French. When the Frenchman explained in his own language that he did not understand the question, the American merely shouted it out louder. I stepped forward, pointed the couple to the appropriate direction, and then turned to the Frenchman and said, “Forgive them, they are insane.” The man laughed loudly, and then said in fairly perfect English, “I like you Canadians, you have a sense of humor.” He walked away convinced I was Canadian – I walked into the Cathedral convinced I was about to find God.

I didn’t find God. But I did find out why Notre Dame is considered such a fabulous church. From its flying buttresses to its interior sound chambers, it is unlike any church I’ve ever experienced. For the first time in my life, I actually was disappointed when an hour long service was concluded. I was flushed out into the street with the throng.

My next stop that day was to a sidewalk café, where an accordion player and his accompaniment on a guitar strolled table to table playing such mellow little tunes. These are the same tunes I am listening to here at home tonight. I am no longer in Paris. Yet my mind is brought back to that time, long ago, by the lilt of the tune and the tempo of the lyric.

There is romance in this music, in that place, in those times, in today’s events, and in tomorrow’s’ promise. We who appreciate that are the blessed ones. We are the optimists. We hear the music and believe that all things are possible. The adventure never ends.

October 23, 2006

Innocent Longing

Originally uploaded by marj k.

We all long for something, someone, someplace, someday. It's part of being alive and having a spirit. It's what happens whenever one wants to journey beyond the confines of yesterday into the possibilities of now and beyond.

Unlike humans, who are trained from birth to hide their inner hopes and dreams, puppies hide nothing.

October 22, 2006

Nature, Nurture, and Beauty

dewdrop orchid refraction #4
Originally uploaded by Lord V.

Orchids seen in dewdrops. Wow. I just had to share this with those who enjoy this little blog of mine.


It's not easy writing on a tiny PDA keyboard. I have no choice tonight though -- my DSL service has once again disappeared.

But I need to write about something I've been thinking about all day. I've been thinking that too many of us allow current circumstance to set the course for the future. If you think about the futility of that mindset you'd surely agree that it's self defeating.

I recall a Summer job I had in a sawmill in Central New Hampshire in my teens. The mill was in a tiny Hamlet far from the highways and cities to the south. The workers there all lived in Town. None but one had ever left their village. And Old Tom, the sole adventurer of the lot, had ventured "out" but once; he had fled back to the certainty of the Hamlet within a week.

No one in that town had ever attended High School. Only mill and factory work kept food on their tables.

Now I have always believed that there is nobility in all forms of work. But to a man these kind folks told me that they weren't good enough or smart enough for what they called "out there."

They were good enough to be whatever they were willing to make of themselves, yet they anchored themselves to their current limits through a self defeating mindset.

About 10 years later I visited that same area to see how things were going for the Hamlet. It wasn't pretty. The mill was gone, burned to the ground with only its chimney and concrete loading dock left. The town's factory was boarded up, as were most of the little houses around town.

A crippling mindset had cost these fine folk dearly.

Let us all choose to be the Captains of our own futures. Allowing current circumstance to set our course is as immobilizing as choosing indecision as one's method of making decisions.

See the future you want and work to make it happen.

Come See the Winter Sea

Originally uploaded by Demetrius Koro.

The northern ocean is changing with the season. It is more beautiful than ever. No longer green and serine, it is mythical and mysterious. It calls us to walk along the empty beaches and to dream of far away places.


Originally uploaded by comma?.

Yes, that is what I awoke to and then drove home through yesterday. Nature is a powerful force, and one that exerts more control over our daily lives than we care to admit.

The ride was exhilarating, though I don't think I'll be intentionally setting out for more snow riding this year. I suspect my travels will soon be relegated (till next season) to planes, trains and automobiles.

I'll dearly miss "The Ride."

October 21, 2006


My late season journey to the Adirondacks proved to be a bit too late, as I was stranded in a snowstorm for a day and night, and then enjoyed a long ride home through not one but two more snow storms as I crossed over the mountains of the Adirondacks and Vermont today.

My journey was mixed with great joy and great regret. My regret is that several friends had planned to join with me in the mountains for riding, but were unable to get there due to the rains and snows that buried the Northeast over the past few days. Some of them are sad, feeling like they let me down.

They did not let me down, however. They simply made the right choice, the same choice any educated rider would make. You must know when it is unsafe to ride, and you must stop then and there. I admire and respect their choice, and will tell them so personally when we next speak.

My joy came from riding in snow capped mountain passes, something I have not done for a long time. Cold, yes. But invigorating to the max. The entire ride was as if I was alone in a wonderland. Except I was never alone. I saw hawks galore. I came across dozens of deer, as well as a number of downed trees. My main focus, nonetheless, was to avoid the ice on the roads, so I paid particular attention to dry versus wet paths ahead.

I knew before I even left that this was likely my last long ride of the season. But this morning, when a group of Adirondack snowmobilers regaled me with jabs like "Aren't you pushing your season a bit far," I laughed with them. They were right. I had indeed pushed it a bit far.

But frankly, I hadn't expected snow this weekend. I thought it would hold off until Monday. Silly me.

October 18, 2006


The riding season is waning fast here in the North. Montauk Rider is blasting off early tomorrow on what is most probably his last big ride of the year. Storms are brewing from the West, and a seam between them appears open tomorrow until around 2 pm. Then we’ll be engulfed in yet another large rain system.

Readers of my posts know how I love mountains, streams, lakes and oceans. I’m heading again toward the Adirondacks. The pull is as strong as the moon’s influence on the tide.

While I hope to ride a lot, there’s an equal chance of finding that rain (perhaps mixed with snow) will bring me some great reading time. I’m packing a few books for the road. One book that I’ve just begun is quite remarkable. It’s Don Miguel Ruiz’s wonderful little tome called “The Four Agreements.”

Ruiz writes of Toltec wisdom, and of his own discovery of self-worth and appreciation. His words are powerful.

Of the evil of gossip he writes: “Gossip is black magic at its very worst because it is pure poison.”

Of the need to be impeccable with your word he counsels: “Just imagine what you can create with impeccability of the word. With the impeccability of the word you can transcend the dream of fear [which is the dogma of being and acting as the person you were told to be] and live a different life. You can live in heaven in the middle of thousands of people living in hell because you are immune to that hell [which is the world of fear and lack of self-worth that society tries to force upon us all].”

As we look around at the beauty of our wonderful planet, and at the wonders of its inhabitants, are we not actually living in the Garden of Eden? I think so.

Our supposed leaders tell us no. They say man was banished from the Garden because of sin. Perhaps it is they who are banished from the Garden, but not by God. They have banished themselves by their fear-based ideologies and their guilt-based poisons. They have failed to truly love others and to allow themselves to be loved equally.

That, my friends, is enough philosophy for the night. I have laundry to do, saddlebags to pack, riding gear to inspect, and rest to seek before tomorrow’s Wonder Ride. Since it might be my last for a bit, I intend to make it magnificently, marvelously, and most assuredly memorably unforgettable.

October 17, 2006

Matin d'automne

Matin d'automne
Originally uploaded by mmarsupilami.

The chill of an Autumn morn gives way to a lovely day. A morning's walk begins with steamy breath and ends with a smile. Life is good.

October 16, 2006

Autumn Waterfall

Autumn Waterfall
Originally uploaded by silliopolous.

Sometimes we feel rooted and safe, like the hardened rocks of a waterfall. Other times we might wish to be like the leaves that wash downstream, letting go just to see where the river will take us.

The rocks are safe. The leaves are alive. It is our choice, no?


I rode yet again to the coast yesterday. The draw of the ocean is just too much for me to deny. Each time I visit the shore I see new things.

Yesterday, for example, I happened upon a quite large Monarch Butterfly that had lit for awhile on a lovely potted flowering plant in the afternoon sun. A soft breeze blew in from the Southwest. (It was is known as an Off-Shore breeze, resulting on calm days in smooth seas and small glass-like waves coming in one after another.)

I listened to The Long Riders singing one of my favorite songs, “And She Rides.” I spoke softly to the butterfly, whispering to it that it really needed to head further south soon. “Winter is coming my friend,” I advised my winged visitor, “and it’s time to follow your heart south.” I quickly snapped a photo of the marvel with my camera phone.

This is the second day in a row that I have suddenly come upon a Monarch. They are actually rather rare here this time of year, as most of them departed weeks ago for warmer climes. Most interesting is that each time I came upon one of these lovely creatures I had just been thinking of a Butterfly I happened upon and befriended (as in helped it from a certain demise in a roadway) this summer. The notion that you can think of someone or something and then have an instant connection like that is stunningly amazing; yet it is happening more frequently lately.

The road along the coast is twisty and smooth. Rocky shores fall off to the sea. Tiny cottages and inns dot the mainland side, separated now and then by a stretch of truly magnificent mansions with Roman columns and sweeping vast gardens.

The world has many fantabulous places to visit; few, however, compare to the seashore. When the snows fly, and the motorcycle is long put away, I will return to this coast. It is even lovelier, in a furious and wild way, in winter. In winter, with storms raging far out at sea, each crashing wave tells a story that began far away and long ago.

It’s as if nature were telling us a bedtime story that begins …… “A long, long time ago, in a far away place…..”

October 14, 2006

Holland's colors

flower fields
Originally uploaded by Stuart Yeates.

Not just onions, but tulips fill Holland with color and passion. A ride there is a must.

October 13, 2006

More Roads to Ride

Originally uploaded by moitronic.

I hear it calling.

Toronto By Night

Toronto View with Boat
Originally uploaded by Mute*.

Toronto by night. Stunning.


Change is all around us. It's not just the seasons or the fast changing weather. No, it's more.

Everywhere I look I begin to see things differently. I see opportunities for growth, for improvement, and yes, for adventure. As the saying goes, so much to do -- so little time. But before I can make changes I need to focus on the now.

Tomorrow is Homecoming at my alma mater. I've attended the Homecoming Football game with my family since I was in my teens. It was my Uncle Shane who started the tradition. He'd buy reams of tickets and arrange huge tailgating parties. Shane was exceedingly gregarious, and nothing pleased him more than to have family and friends all together for food and quaff.

His children have continued going to the annual festival, as have I and my children. My two sons went to every Homecoming Game that's been held since they were born. Now they both attend the University: Now I travel to see them at the Game. There's a satisfying symmetry in this.

Tomorrow morning at 8:30 a veritble caravan of vehicles will assemble at my home. We'll load cars with food, liquor, footballs, tables, condiments, and people.

By 9:30 our group of (I estimate) 18 will arrive at Boulder Field. We'll unpack the stuff, and start the hoopla. Kick-off is at noon, so we'll have lots of time to eat and play tag football before the game. My boys are bringing their fraternity brothers to our site as well, and a host of other cousins will be meeting us there as well.

There are people I wish could be there with us, but they're either no longer with us, or really far away. For those away, I hope someday to have you join our party. Every one of us is a character, so there's never a dull moment -- just laughter, frolic, and even some good old fashioned cheering as we watch our University team play a funny game called Football.

The players grunt, groan, hit each other, throw a pigskin, and then pat each other on the ass after each play. Quite strange behavior actually.

A good time will be had by all.

The Light in the Woods

Walking the dog
Originally uploaded by Tampen.

Some days a cloud bursts open with rain and hail. Other days, the sun sneaks through a forest canopy showering us with the light of ancient cathedrals.

Each day brings its own gifts.

October 12, 2006

Fruits of Autumn

Fruits of Autumn
Originally uploaded by Chrissie64.

To each season, a fruit. To each age, a beauty. To each journey, a discovery. To each person, a glow.


I remember Amsterdam as one the first really “different” cities that I toured on my European motorcycle adventure. It was 1972, I was 20, and I was riding a gorgeous Blue and White Triumph 650 that I had purchased just a week before in London.

England had been my first stop on the journey. There I at least knew a few souls. In London, Mary Parfitt (a longtime family friend) and her husband, David, hosted me to several dinners and pub crawls. A few days later, after having purchased the bike, I headed south and spent a few days visiting a number of High School chums that were now studying abroad at Arundel College. Again, more pub crawls. I enjoyed a drive up north in the countryside and then decided it was time to head out on my own.

The trip to Amsterdam took only two days, as I stopped for a night in Belgium. I was determined to get to Amsterdam as I had heard so many magical stories of the place. They were mostly true, actually.

No matter where one travels, however, it is the people who leave the greatest impressions on us. I found a cheap hotel in Amsterdam, locked up the bike, and headed out into the city. I was rather astounded at how many hippies were hanging around.

In a tiny bar not far from my hotel I was approached by another ex patriot for the States. He was a bit older, having served in the military before heading out “on the road.” I think his name was Mick.

Mick offered to buy me a beer and commenced telling me a tale of adventure in the art of “the con.” He was the first con man I ever met. He told me he needed a new partner and that if I played along with him that evening, we would be drinking and eating for free all night. All I had to do was let him walk into the next tavern down the street, and then wait 10 minutes before going there myself. He told me to then sit nearby, and when he called out into the crowd for someone who thought they could beat him at a card game, to quickly volunteer and step right up to him. He would do the rest, as long as I laid down a big bill on the table as my wager. “Don’t worry, dude,” he said, “I’ll give you that and far more back within 15 minutes.”

His affect was charming and I fell for the whole thing. He told me not to worry about how he would do it, just to act surprised. He then pulled a bar of soap out of his pocket, and drew something quite invisible on the back of my hand. No sooner had he done this than he walked out the door, turning only once to hold up 10 fingers and smile at me.

I finished my beer slowly. “What is this all about?” I asked myself. I decided to go find out.

Walking into the next door tavern, I noted Mick sitting at the bar yapping away with a number of other fellows. They seemed rather agitated. Mick was telling them that he could read their minds, and could prove it to them if they had any guts. I sat down at a table not far away.

Mick noted my presence, jumped up off the stool and screamed out: “Isn’t there anyone in this bar with enough testosterone to bet against me in a card game?”

I figured that this must be my cue. So I jumped up and strode right on over to him, slapped a fiver down on the bar and said, “I’ll take that bet buddy.”

Well, don’t you know, Mick knew how this would draw in the crowd. We were suddenly surrounded by onlookers, as Mick told me to pick any card out of the deck, study it, memorize it, and then put it back in the deck while he was turned away. I did as instructed, slowly for better effect (even showing the card to some of the onlookers). Mick shuffled the cards, flipped them around, squinted to great effect, held the deck to his head, pretended to be confused, and then pulled out the very card I had selected.

A great gasp engulfed us. Several men accused Mick of playing a cheap card trick. [Which of course he had.] But Mick, now ready to make the night’s real killing, stood again. I suddenly realized that Mick, if that was his real name, had probably played this same charade at a thousand different bars around the world.

He puffed out his chest, and proclaimed with the self-assured air of a neo-Napoleon: “Not only am I not a cheap card trick artist, I bet every one of you a fiver, double or nothing, that I can not only figure out this fellow’s next card pull, but also make the card appear by magic on the back of his hand. Oh, the bills started flying onto the bar.

Mick shuffled the deck (which apparently he had already switched to a special one while everyone else was paying more attention to grousing), and had me do another pick. I pulled out the Jack of Diamonds, studied it, and then slowly put it back in the deck. Frankly, I was still unclear on how Mick intended to pull off this new stunt.

Mick then played around with the deck, held it to his head, grimaced as if trying to remember something really important, and put the deck into his shirt pocket, just above his heart. “I need a little help here,” he whispered. The crowd grew anxious. Several men threw down more money, demanding to increase the bet against Mick. He “reluctantly” accepted.

He then asked one of the men to stub out his cigarette in a nearby ashtray. “I need the ashes,” he pleaded. More money flew into the pot. My eyes were growing larger, as I saw a lot of money next to me, and yet still had no idea what the hell was about to happen. I peaked to be sure I knew where the door was – just in case something went wrong.

Mick started fondling the ashes. Then, without saying a thing, he grabbed my hand, the one he had drawn on earlier in the evening. He rubbed the ashes onto me, and there, incredibly, appeared a big Letter J and a nearly perfectly shaped Diamond.

Mick stood, slowly showed everyone my hand, and said, “Good night gentlemen, your money is mine.” He took the cash and walked out the door. I sat there thinking that I better not follow him right away.

“How the hell did he do that?” I was asked. All I could say is “I wish I knew.” A minute later I slipped out into the street and started walking back toward my hotel. I hadn’t made it a block when I heard Mick’s voice. “Hey hippie,” he called out, “let’s have a beer down the street. I owe you some money.”

Sadly, like most con men, Mick never knew when to quit. A couple of nights later he tried the same stunt at another tavern. Someone recognized him, and we ran out leaving all the money on the bar. I never did see Mick again. I left the next morning for Germany. It was getting cold, and I wanted to make the end of Oktoberfest in Munchen.


Originally uploaded by HelenJr.

Cruising along the byways of North America one glimpses clumps of White Birch trees mixed in with other forest neighbors. I have always loved these trees, not only for their lovely and unusual bark but as well for their bright yellow crowns in the Fall.

I guess I'm in good company, as Robert Frost loved Birches too.

Thanks, HelenJr, for Flickering this great photograph of Fall's Birches in Minnesota.

October 11, 2006


Originally uploaded by mike138.

Images are powerful.

Unknown roads into unknown lands beckon us to travel. Here, the mists of Scotland rise from a valley as the rider takes the high road.


October 10, 2006


October has been a lovely month here in the North. Warm sunny days followed by cool clear nights.

The sun brings blue skies, wispy cumulus clouds (white, not black), and hot afternoons that make one tear off their outer clothes and walk barefoot in the grass.

Evening brings crystal clear skies with stars popping into view before dusk is even settled. Dusk itself has become a quicker time: it lingers no more till next Summer.

The slow change from Summer to Winter is quite natural and absolutely lovely to observe. It's just another cycle in life; not really that dissimilar from watching our children mature from infant to adolescent to young adult. Indeed, I liken Fall to the wonder of more mature persons who have labored long and then found just a bit more time and experience to become who they were meant to be. They are beautiful, wrinkles and all. Look how their eyes shine with love and an appreciation of this marvel we call life.

There will be snow in the North soon. It has already fallen in the rockies. It will be in the East by next month.

For me, I plan on a few more rides into the chilly hills and valleys of the Northeast. I enjoy cold riding. Just add leather, a sweater, and a smile, and I'm good to go. [Oh yes, I like to add a bit of good music as well.]

Ride till it snows and then go skiing [or swimming in a southern climate on vacation]. That's my plan, and if the creek don't rise, that's what I'll do.

October 09, 2006


Full Moon
Originally uploaded by Jungle_Boy.

The same full moon we see here is seen all around the world. Makes me feel closer to those who can't be here tonight.


Web in Dew
Originally uploaded by Talsi1.

Cobwebs show such style when glistened in morning dew. Wonderful.

October 08, 2006

Bobby Mcferrin and a Great Ride

Sometimes, if you're really lucky, you can find peace even when there's bothersome turmoil in your soul. It might be a smile from a dear friend, or perhaps simply the golden reflection of a Harvest Moon dancing across ocean waves calmly moving toward a long sandy beachfront.

Last night I was blessed to have both comforts. My sister, Marie, and her wonderful husband, Bill, hosted me in their York, Maine home as I was enroute for a couple of days of New England foliage riding. Marie had prepared a fine Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding. It was a gastronomic orgy for three, made even more complete with a lovely Tuscan Red followed by a Tawny Port.

We then walked down to the beach to join the town's Harvest Moon Bonfire. As Marie and Bill danced to the band, and flames shot skyward, I found myself lost in happy thoughts of times past and times to come. Peace wrapped its arms around me, and I was ready to let go of current concerns.

This morning I found an isolated tiny little road around bays and rivers that led me south into Portsmouth, NH, where I was to join my cousin for another day of riding. I was just cruising along this little twisting road marveling at the waters and plants surrounding me. "Wow," was a word that kept slipping out of me.

I thought of another who I knew would adore this road. A hawk crossed my path, above me of course, and my headphones suddenly started playing Bobby Mcferrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy." I laughed and started singing along.

Today was just too beautiful to allow anything but joy to flow through the mind. I joined my cousin, we added three others to our group, and then rode to Wolfboro, NH, where we enjoyed a lovely lunch stop at the historic Wolfboro Inn (one of my favorite little Inns on "The Lake"). We were ready to circumnavigate the Lake when I called home to see what time I needed to be home to prepare my usual Sunday night feast for my retired Priest friend.

To my terrible surprise I learned that my son Sean had suffered an injury at University, including a fractured wrist, and that he was on the way home to see a specialist. That ended my idyllic day. I separated from my friends and returned home.

Sean is actually doing well. He broke his wrist, yes, but he might have learned a good lesson about being more careful. Some lessons in life hurt more than others. In the end, however, we learn more from our failures than from our successes. So I look at it as a good thing.

Just as Bobby M says, "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

Harvest Moon Bonfire at York Beach, Maine 2

Harvest Moon Bonfire at York Beach, Maine 2
Originally uploaded by MontaukRider.

Sparks fly when you're having fun.

Harvest Moon Bonfire at York Beach, Maine

Harvest Moon Bonfire at York Beach, Maine
Originally uploaded by MontaukRider.

A hot night at the beach even though the temps were chilly. A live band played classic rock music nearby, and the entire York Volunteer Fire Department was on hand. Marie and Bill danced in the sand beneath a full moon.

What fun for couples young and young at heart.

Harvest Moon on the Atlantic

Harvest Moon on the Atlantic
Originally uploaded by MontaukRider.

I was so lucky to attend a Harvest Moon Beach Party last night with my sister Marie and her husband, Bill, at York Beach, Maine. The Harvest Moon shone brilliantly out over the ocean. Sparks from a giant bonfire rose high into the night sky, like little fairies flying home.

Ahh, Fly Me to the Moon.

October 07, 2006

Winter in the Vineyard

Vineyard at Auvernier
Originally uploaded by mangold47.

The vines rest and gather strength for next year's grapes.

Autumn in the vineyard

Autumn in the vineyard
Originally uploaded by mangold47.

A change of seasons.

Summer in the Vineyard

Vineyard at Mt. Vully
Originally uploaded by mangold47.

A Swiss Vineyard in Summer....so welcoming.


A call from the past to the present
Originally uploaded by ßlϋeωãvε.

Classic cars and motorcycles remind us that change is perhaps the only constant in life. Material things change. So do we as individuals.

Some things, like cars, motorcycles, and even telephones, change through the evolution of engineering and technology. Other things, like Pet Rocks and Lead Paint, disappear because their social utility is outweighed by stupidity or toxicity. And so it goes.

It is in remembering those now-gone things, nonetheless, that we can sometimes better perceive the history of changes in ourselves.

Reflecting on the evolution of things for a moment, I can’t recall the last time I used a rotary dial telephone or even saw a telephone booth. Yet they are still in use all over the world.

It’s said that some homes in this big world of ours actually have Red Burgundy Rotary Dial Telephones still in use. That’s very cool.

Around here you can’t find rotary phones or telephone booths at all. Our telephones are mostly miniature, multi-function, music-playing digital cellular devices. And as for land lines, well, they're vanishing like bedevilled dinosaurs in an ice age.

Maybe we should all go try that Burgundy Bomb just to remember how good it feels to grasp and talk on one of those big handled barbells. Frankly, when you use one of those at least you really know you’re “on the phone.”

And no one ever drove around town talking on a real phone while thinking they were safely operating a car either.

October 06, 2006

Cold Mountain Streams

Terminus, 2
Originally uploaded by *CA*.

The stream adorned by fallen Autumnal leaves is a symphony unto itself.

October 05, 2006


Every moment in life deserves a musical score. Really. It's not just movies and television shows that merit enrichment by composed beauty.

Walk down a country road at dawn when the mist is just rising from the fields. Do you not hear the music of nature awakening? In your mind, do you not hear lovely Chamber Music wafting upwards with the moist rising air?

Walk down that same road at night with stars shining in the heavens. Oh the air is alive with the song of insects frantically trying to find their way. Do you not hear soft mandolins and harps played by invisible fairies?

Ride your motorcycle across the Alps as cow bells jingle below and crisp mountain air chills your nostrils. Do you not hear sopranos lifting their voices to God?

Swim in a cold mountain stream, water rushing across smooth rounded stones. The riverbank sings its gurgle and swoosh. Do you not hear lovely jazz flowing from the trees just beyond your grasp?

Even urban zones have their musical essence. Ride through the working streets and hear the Hip Hop and Beat Music flowing from the doorways. See the people smiling as they walk and talk. Ride further to the business district and see the bankers and lawyers in their suits shuffling along the sidewalk. Do you hear their silent cry to dance? Do you hear them silently humming Steely Dan and Doctor John tunes? They might well be.

Years of personal, singular, non-empirical study have proven this: music is probably the most universally understood and loved artform of all. Life may not have sound effects like TV: I mean, really, when we make a good point in a conversation, do we hear a resounding "Da Doing," as one might hear on "Law & Order"? No we don't. We are left alone, soundtrackless, naked, bereft of even the slightest symphonic accompaniment.

So I simply believe that everything in our lives has music attached to it. I hear it in my own little world. It makes me happy. I may never have sound effects, but I can do without those. I'd rather have, and make, music in everything I do.

Got to go now, it's time to play guitar.

Great Autumn Scenes

Originally uploaded by ~Living the American Dream~.

Autumn can get quite crazy in New England. Tales of ghosts and The Headless Horseman abound. Witches are on the loose.

It's a great time to explore the region. But be careful. That pumpkin patch might just be haunted.

Smell those aging leaves. Oh, it is so good.


Originally uploaded by BlueDjinn.

Travel brings the joy of seeing so many places, so many people. Inevitably one happens upon a tiny house, a little village, where each doorway and window seem to sing a soft song of Welcome.

Here is such an entryway in Switzerland. It looks well worn, well loved, and so ready to welcome its occupants home.

Wouldn't we all love to come home to this place after a long day's toil? I think so.

October 04, 2006

Swiss Alps Memories

Originally uploaded by BlueDjinn.

Here BlueDjinn captures a Forever Memory while hiking in Switzerland, stating that "the joyful sounds of [the cow bells] accompanied us all the way through. And that evening was pure magic."

She knows how to make memories. Thank you, BlueDjinn, for sharing them with us.

I adored riding my motorcycle through these Alps many years ago. I'd love to do it again. This time I'll be in less of a rush than I was as a 20-year old.

Man Made Stars on the Water

Originally uploaded by _Lofter_.

Water reflects all that it sees. Here, the photographer has captured man's little electric stars as they both light a bridge and create fire on the waterway beneath.


Good night Moon.


Memory is a precious thing. Ask those who suffer or live with dementia and they will tell you the sadness of lost memory.

It is said that the oddest of triggers can flip the switch to a long dormant memory. Smells are one of the strongest triggers. Think of the smell of fresh baking bread, and your mind might flash back to a childhood morning in the kitchen when bread was rising in the oven. You might even remember what your mother was wearing that day.

All the senses are attuned to memory channels in our brains. Taste, sight, smell, hearing, and touch. Any one of them can link to a past experience that might otherwise remain buried in that funny cranial orb we call our head.

Some memories are so dear they seem more in our hearts than our heads. You see a smile, or hear a certain sigh, and your heart skips a beat. Memories flood through your entire body.

Appreciating this amazing link between senses and the ability to recall is, I think, the key to making Forever Memories. When you smell a forest floor damp with dew and must, breath it in--hold your breath--keep your eyes open and gaze, and then close them and slowly exhale. You have made a forever memory of that moment in that forest.

If you're lucky enough to be with a significant other when you want to make a memory, do it together. Just say, "Let's make a memory of this [moment, mountain pass, sunset, sunrise, lovely country inn, forest morning] right here, right now."

Not only are you both then truly "living in the now," you are ensuring that you'll never forget.

October 03, 2006


Originally uploaded by Lamerie.


"But if you try sometimes," wrote the Rolling Stones, "you get what you need."

Watching my children grow into men I witnessed their nurture from childhood's natural expectation that everything would be instantly granted to adulthood's realization that some things just can't materialize so swiftly.

As I watched their maturation I learned more about myself as well. I learned that I am not a particularly patient man myself. I keep trying to learn patience, but it doesn't come so easily as I would wish.

Many of us share this foible; this inner desire to make today's wishes tomorrow's reality.

Understand that this is not about the infamous "instant gratification" syndrome. This is wholly different. This burning desire to make today's wishes our reality is about far more than instant pleasure: it's far more complex than that. It's about having a say in our futures.

We who wish to make reality out of dreams do so because we envision what could be as what can be. We think of those who create beauty and seek their company. We think of roads to paradise and seek to ride them. We see all possibilities as probabilities just waiting for someone to sculpt them.

I feel sorrow for the cynics of the world, for the pessimists who fail to let themselves see beauty in the loving people around them. I hear Mambo music when I see a smile. I hear trumpets when I see circling roads twisting through mountain roads. I hear beautiful guitar when I ride my motorcycle in any direction that seemed enticing when I pulled out my driveway.

So even if the Stones were right, and we can't always get what we want, we will simply learn to wait a bit more. But we will not give up on our dreams. As long as we remain honest and true of heart we will get what we need. And if we remain steadfast and of good spirit we'll likely enjoy a great ride along the way.

And that is what a good life should be, a great ride along the way.

October 02, 2006


by ancient hands wrought
Originally uploaded by hoolebronx.

Roads have seduced travelers for eons. The architecture of roadways, bridges and tunnels is truly a wonderment.

Romans may have perfected the Art of the Bridge, but Greeks perfected the notion of paved highways between centers of commerce and learning.

The Pont du Garde, in Nimes, France, shows the beauty of the Roman arch. Simply elegant --marvelously balanced.

Algonquin Park

Originally uploaded by Hot Meteor.

I haven't ridden in Algonquin Park in years. A friend told me they were heading that way today.

I remember riding through the Park with my brother, Mark. We rode through Madawaska, into the Park, and then on to Oxtongue Lake. How lovely that entire area was. Peaceful and Grand.

The Park's Fall colors must be magnificent today.

We have a long weekend coming up. Shadowfax has brand new tires that were broken in nicely this past weekend in Maine. New tires, new oil, heck, it's time to ride.

I can hear that whistle blowing.