May. 9, 2019

A DREAMER OF DREAMS; A LOVER OF ADVENTURES.

After seeing the Harley Davidson three-wheeler-- parked at Walmart-- that “charmed” me so, I thought of nothing else as I drove to Food Wise…my next shopping stop.  Living on a fixed income requires me to shop price on everything, including what I feed every squirrel, bird, and whatever else “flies through the air with the greatest of ease” and lands on my deck. 

When I discovered Walmart charges more than two dollars more for the same five pound bag of sunflower seeds I can buy at Food Wise…and... Food Wise is also cheaper on some other necessities...my grocery list now requires two stop-shopping. 

Leaving Food Wise….I was shocked to see THE HARLEY of my dreams…once parked at Walmart... now parked next to my car in the Food Wise Parking Lot!

Just as I was closing my car trunk, the three-wheeler’s owner walked up, opened the trunk on the Harley,  and dropped his small purchases inside.  Immediately, I started a conversation….quick to tell him that I’d fallen in love with his bike when I first-saw it at Walmart.  Of course, the owner was proud to tell me that he, too, loved his Harley…and it was one of many he’d owned in his lifetime…but it was his first three-wheeler.

 Seems the Harley guy….like so many of us….has grown older and has had a little “balance” trouble.   Rather than retire from biking…he decided to add another wheel….and…just keep on---keeping on!  He mentioned that his wife has her own motorcycle so….that must mean the “couple who rides together….stays together.”  I was shocked back-to-reality when I asked what he paid for his Harley Davidson three-wheeler.  Seems that…even with his trade-in, his three-wheeler cost 32,000 dollars. Yep….it cost far-more than I could afford…even if I sold my car, agreed to take-in laundry for the next 20 years, rented out my house with me as the maid/servant, and….started frying hamburgers at McDonald’s. That “adventure of my dreams” will need to be replaced with a-much-more affordable adventure.

But, I did like the “authentic” look of the Harley’s owner.  In fact, if I were casting a movie about bikers, which might be titled “Back on the road again” I’d definitely cast the Harley guy.  He was skinny…. with slightly-tanned skin... covered in large dark ink-tattoos. His hair was long, steel-gray, and a little-bit curly.  He wore a faded-black tank top, black jeans, and black boots. Naturally, his sunglasses were black-rimmed with mirrored lenses. He was older and not particularly muscular….but he did move with a certain-rugged confidence that seems to define all those who once served in the military.  

We never exchanged names but I expect to see him out-and-about since he mentioned he now lives in “The Village.”

On my way home from my motorcycle encounter, I remembered the time I was “arrested” while traveling The Great Wall.  What a thrill it was to ride to the local police station in the sidecar of a vintage Russian Motorcycle!  I loved every minute of being " attached" to a Russian-made treasure from such a mysterious country with a historic past.

 Four years later, when I returned to teach in Beijing, I met an Australian Teacher who had bought an-almost-identical Russian Motorcycle with a sidecar and used it like a car to travel all over Beijing and to small villages nearby. Several times, the Aussie Teacher gave me a ride to various government meetings that required both of us to attend.

 When my Australian friend’s teaching contract expired and it was time for him to return home, he was shocked when the government denied him permission to ship the Russian-made Motorcycle out of the country. With no time left to argue, my friend was forced to leave his motorcycle companion in China.

I soon learned that the Chinese Government carefully guards its antiques….all its treasures that are ever-increasing in value.  I’ve often wondered what happened to their supply of uniquely-handsome Motorcycles… those designed and made in Russia. 

Yes, I'm a Romantic, a Dreamer of Dreams, and a Lover of Adventures. To me, there is something magical about people, places, and things from…Way-Back-When.

Sally Miller