With borrowed carpentry tools I dismantled the wooden crate my dad shipped from Oklahoma. Soon I straddled the unpacked merchandise and thrust the kick-starter. I was happy for the right-foot design. With my left foot’s polio history firing up the motorcycle engine would have been tough.

The 150cc Honda came to me a couple days after my bus arrival on Sheridan Avenue. Sitting on my bike felt good. A link with my home state, and memories. A wistful mood took me back.

I was ecstatic over my bike’s achievement one night. On the Honda I had opened the throttle on a long downhill stretch of highway, seeing what she could do.

Returning to the towns’ main street, I spotted a familiar green and white ‘59 Chevrolet – the wheels of a good friend. The Chevy was parked before a diner. Dropping the bike’s kickstand I strode in – primed to brag. At a booth I spotted my brother Tim, his friend Larry and a couple others.

Guys! Guess what. I just got seventy on my Honda.

Gale, the Chevy owner and the wittiest head among us, grinned my direction. Kinda crowded wasn’t it?

Another memory was the goose-egg my skull acquired from a Sixth Street pavement. I smiled again at the remark, Reckon we oughta get his bike off the road?

 Now my same white Honda carried me along the Shoshone River – into and past a canyon. The smell of Shoshone’s Sulphur pestered my nostrils as I leaned into highway curves. The bike hummed loudly through tunnels leading to the Buffalo Bill Reservoir. Cloud-shadows blotched Rattlesnake and Cedar Mountains. Peaks that – like sentries – stood watch over Cody. I ventured between them, then past the lake and up Wapiti Valley.

My motorcycle treks became therapy rides – the perfect answer to hours parked in a chair near an editor’s room. Where my fingers marathon-danced on teletype keys.

Weather attractive to motorcyclists held on till early Fall. Tourism slowed. Intermittent cold snaps knocked at Cody’s door, ready to usher in an approaching winter.

For the Honda and me, a last big trek lay ahead.

Toward the most unexpected, life-altering adventure.

©2015 Jerry Lout



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