A Cleansing Rain and Ride


Fall came today like always does in the Northwest, like a light switch flicked by the finger of God.

Yesterday, smoke from forest fires hung in the air perverting the sky sour and sunsets blood red, lingering in the air with depressing tenacity, draining spirits and permeating pores until residents could scarcely remember a day without the smoky blanket of depression draped over them.  Then today, the unofficial first day of fall up here in the PNW, God cried “Hold. Enough.”

And so, for the first time in two months, it rained.  Glorious rain.  Giant, wet, sloppy drops of rain poured from above cleansing the air, washing away smoke and the depression.  Like manna from Heaven rain fell everywhere on everyone and everything: on the fires and those fighting them, on the smoldering skeletons of houses that formerly held the hopes and dreams of their owners, on the leaves turned brown by ash and on the sour spirits of the populace.  Showers pushed people into coffee houses where they crouched over cups of dark brew, sipped slowly and peered out the window talking, praising God’s Divine Intervention.

Then the sun came out and fall began, God’s fresh start, His reset button on weather, life and hope.  People everywhere poured out from coffee houses, shedding their depressed spirits like so much scaly skin, rubbing the smoke from their eyes and relishing in their air washed anew, smelling sweet and pure.  They walked dogs, rode bikes, pushed strollers full of giggling kids and laughed gayly at the absurdity of it all, the titanic shift of fortune. 

Me?  I did what I always do- I went for a ride.

I celebrated God’s miracle by mounting my 1998 Honda Superhawk and letting it thump free among the mountain roads near my home.  We know each other like jockey and steed this old bike and I, having bonded at the racetrack she turns before I’ve thought about it, shifts gears without my asking and pushes giant whacking thumps out her tailpipes like cannon shots, each boom from her giant pistons a reminder of the potential below.  There is something reassuringly lazy about this big v-twin as it trundles through the mountains. She’s docile when you desire but only one throttle whack from a 10,000 rpm rev limiter and front wheel liftoff.  Today however, she is my v-twin cruiser.

Seeing across the valley is only possible after the rains have washed smoke from the sky.

Colored leaves emerged around me as the rain rinsed away their ashen coating revealing their clothes of red, orange and purple.  A few leaves, ambitious little fellows deciding to be first to fall, were already on the ground so I rode through them at a sprint, scattering them back up into the air and everywhere, giving them one more dance, their second chance to fall.  The leaves relished their second fall, stirred by my beast and her Pirelli hooves, like they were waiting in the road for us all along, their existence made whole by one last frolic, one more brief moment of airborne glory as I sped through.

I rode on to play with more leaves and an occasional puddle in the shade while shafts of light slowly separated the abating rain clouds, the rhythm of the climbing mountain road mixed with the auburn colors and the whacking twin was all too therapeutic.

How do people cope without a motorcycle?

This made me wonder: how do people cope without a motorcycle?  Where do they turn to soothe their troubled souls?  Isn’t it so much cheaper to buy stacks of motorcycle tires than make appointments with the therapist?  Can’t caffeine and gasoline be mixed into a prescription for what ails us?  Nothing else developed by man can so blissfully blend solitude and freedom, speed and form, adrenalin and relaxation.  We would be rid of such unrest, permeating strife and debilitating depression if everyone had their perfect bike in the garage, a mountain road nearby and the first leaves of fall to dance with.

So we danced, the bike, the leaves and I, on the early autumn stage set by God’s Divine Intervention.  While my v-twin may run smooth, the course of nature never does.



  1. Marco

    Thanks for another well-written article. Here in the eastern mountains (WV), we have also broken the back of the long, hot summer via the application cleansing thunderstorms. Your fond description of your Superhawk brought back memories of my first and only ride on one. I worked for Honda in the 90s and when I would visit the sales HQ in Torrence, they would lend me a bike for the day. I spent a happy day on a Superhawk, up the Angeles Crest Highway, back through Big Bear, and then LA. Thanks for the memories.

    • Rob Brooks

      Hi Marco,
      Very cool that you worked for Honda USA back in the day, and had opportunity to sample their offerings so often.
      West Virginia is a beautiful state. Lots of fantastic riding. Maybe we can make a ride together some day.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *