Howdy! Grab a chair an’ a beer! Have ya ever had a naggin’ feelin’ that somethin’ was gonna screw up, with you as the focal point? Kinda like the time ya ate that big Mexican dinner just before meetin’ your girlfriend’s parents for the first time. Yeah, that kinda feelin’ of impendin’ doom.

A couple of weeks ago, Reggie wanted us to go for a ride with friends down to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. I’m thinkin’, “Why do I want to go all the way down there to look at books ya can’t touch an’ some statues or whatever?” But Reggie wanted to go, an’ it’s only about a four-hour ride so no big deal, right? Well, I got that naggin’ feelin’, an’ I just couldn’t shake it. I checked the bikes end to end, topped off the oil an’ fluids, checked the tires an’ anythin’ I thought might have loosened up, shook apart, or worn out since the last time I checked ’em over. Everything looked good, but rememberin’ the incident last year when both crank position sensors went out one day apart, I tossed an extra in Reggie’s trunk along with an ignition module an’ enough tools to make most roadside repairs.

Now, I’ll readily admit that I don’t like ridin’ on the freeways, an’ when there’s a two-lane goin’ the same direction, I’ll always choose that. But this time I wasn’t leadin’ the parade, an’ they were takin’ the fastest route, which just happened to be the freeway. To make matters worse, we were stickin’ our noses well into the L.A. freeway system to boot!

Ridin’ 80 or more has never bothered me, but what bothers me is that all the cages are doin’ 80 like me (an’ most of ’em even faster than that) while they’re doin’ everythin’ imaginable except payin’ attention to their drivin’! Well, as the ride date got closer, I was havin’ visions of slidin’ down the pavement, so I just had to tell myself to stop snivelin’ an’ keep my eyes an’ ears open when we hit the road.

We met along the highway in Fresno, gassed up an’ then hit the road. The ride down was fast, but traffic was light, an’ the only problem was the concrete freeway that was as lumpy as a sack of mismatched doorknobs an’ vibrated my eyeballs till I was seein’ four of everythin’. We left the freeway an’ took some really nice back roads, an’ that old song “Ventura Highway” kept runnin’ through my mind because that’s where we were. By this time, I’d relaxed, was over my “skitters,” an’ was enjoyin’ the ride an’ the good company.

We pulled into the Reagan Library an’ I was expectin’ to see a bunch of books an’ memorabilia, but the place is so much more than that an’ I really had a good time lookin’ at all the memories of when times were better an’ patriotism wasn’t looked down on. If ya haven’t been there, it’s really quite a place. Even though we were there for about four hours, I could have stayed a whole day. They even have Reagan’s Air Force One in a huge climate-controlled room.

We left for our motel in Oxnard (I think Oxnards are like mountain oysters, but I’m not sure…), which was about 45 minutes away. When we got there, the power was out an’ it was goin’ to be dark soon. Somebody had hit a utility pole behind the motel an’ broke it off at the ground. The PG&E guys were workin’ on it, but didn’t know when they’d have the power back on. Now, bein’ the true survivors we are, we went out an’ bought all the booze we could carry an’ took over the patio by the pool for an impromptu party. The desk clerk had given us all flashlights so we could find our way around in our rooms, an’ after a few drinks we were all shinin’ them up on the pole where the crew was workin’, yellin’ encouragement to them like, “Get yer ass movin’, will ya?” an’ the ever popular, “Need some help up there?”

Before long the pizzas came an’ we abandoned our efforts to lend moral support to the crew who was still workin’ atop the newly installed pole. About an hour later, the power came back on an’ we congratulated the PG&E crew by offerin’ them beer an’ pizza, but they were ready to call it a night. We gave them a bad time, but they were good-natured troopers who did a great job an’ had the power back on in record time.

With the booze an’ pizza gone, an’ the lights workin’ again, we all turned the lights out an’ went to bed. Seemed like kind of a waste, but what else are ya gonna do at midnight in Oxnard?

The ride back was uneventful except for the lumpy cement freeway, an’ one idiot (back in Fresno) who ran me into the inside lane. (Yeah, he knew I was pissed!)

Some guys seem to have a “sixth sense” about impendin’ disaster, but apparently I’m not one of ’em. In fact, I’ve been told many times over the years that I don’t have any sense at all! Oh, well… See ya on the road!


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