We made it to our late sixties.
It wasn’t much. Food, TV, a little money.
Soft life malaise, premature rigor mortis.
So we bought an old motorcycle with a sidecar
online, on a whim, 2,000 miles away.
Speeding through the cold Nevada desert at midnight.
America’s Loneliest Highway, tantalizingly treacherous.
Wrists wind-welded to handlebars, my wife bouncing
in the sidecar hoping her bladder wouldn’t burst.
Close calls, flat tires, UFO skylines, heat so hot things
melted. Nights so cold we slept in our clothes.
A world away from a retiree cruise or lucky bingo card.
It was wonderful.
Along the way, warming sunrises turned traitorous,
becoming scalding dry infernos. Stench of salt and sand
clashed with oil mist and exhaust fumes.
Trials by fire for engine and tires.
Sun scorched eyes, cramped thighs, butts numb like Novocain.
Lively sensations unknown at home.
Jokes about finding skeletons wearing helmets
if we crashed made us laugh.
Dead bug wallpaper covered our rig. Sweat soaked skin licked
our leather jackets. It wasn’t Everest, but it was something.
We rumbled into Cedar City, Utah at sunset. Nice people,
nice meal, too nice. A day later instinctively drawn by love
back to the unrelenting heat and biting cold of the desert.
We do better together in the extremes.
It’s the broad expanse in between
that needs more attention.
Eric Burgoyne lives on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. He has an MA in Creative Writing - Poetry, from Teesside University, Middlesbrough England, and MBA from Reading University, Berkshire, England. When not writing, he’s surfing or motorcycling.