Aug. 24, 2022

A DREAMER OF DREAMS; A LOVER OF ADVENTURE.

After seeing the Harley Davidson three-wheeler-- parked at Walmart—I was completely “charmed” and---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 everything else that “flies through the air with the greatest of ease” and-- lands on my deck.  When I discovered Walmart charges 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 a few other necessities--my grocery list now requires two-stop-shopping.

As I was leaving Food Wise-- I was shocked to see THE HARLEY of my dreams—the one that had been parked at Walmart-- was now parked next to my car in the Food Wise Parking Lot!  While I was placing my groceries in my car trunk, the three-wheeler’s owner walked up, opened the trunk on the Harley, and dropped his small purchases inside.   I started a conversation with the Harley’s owner so he’d know I’d fallen in love with his bike after seeing 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, from time to time, experienced a little “balance” trouble.   Rather than retire from biking--he decided to add another wheel and----just keep on--keeping on! He mentioned his wife has her own motorcycle so--that must mean the “couple who ride- together—stay- together.”  I was shocked back-to-reality when I asked what he’d paid for his Harley Davidson three-wheeler.  Seems --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 my house with me in-it and---fried hamburgers at McDonald’s. I’m afraid the “adventure of my dreams” must be replaced with a-much-more- affordable dream.

But, I did like the “authentic” look of the Harley’s owner.  In fact, if I were the Casting Director for a movie about bikers- I’d definitely hire the Harley guy.  He was skinny, with slightly-tanned skin, and completely- 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 moved with a certain-rugged confidence that usually-defines guys who once-served in the military.   We never exchanged names but I expect to see him out-and-about---any day now--- since he mentioned he lives in “The Village.”

On my way home from my memorable motorcycle encounter, I was reminded of one of the times 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 so-close to a Russian-made treasure with such an exciting past.

 Four years later, when I returned to Beijing, to teach, I met a Teacher from Australia who had purchased an-almost-identical Russian Motorcycle with a sidecar.  He used it to travel everywhere in Beijing and small villages nearby.   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 to argue, my friend was forced to leave his motorcycle with Chinese Authorities.

I quickly- learned--- the Chinese Government carefully-guards its antiques-- especially their limited-supply of WW II Motorcycles that were designed and made in Russia. Of course, I'm a Romantic, a Dreamer of Dreams, and a Lover of Adventure. To me, there is something magical about unique people, places, and---things--- from Way-Back-When.