Eric was off to work again when I woke up. I thanked his wife for letting me stay another night and got on the road south in a light rain. I had plans to meet one of my best friends from high school, Tony.
On the way, I had my scariest moment ever on a motorcycle.
Riding south on I-35E through St. Paul in the rain, I was rounding a left hand curve while in the left lane. The rain was light, traffic was fairly heavy, going about 60 or 65. My tires drifted over the yellow fog line on the left. I felt the rear tire start to spin and slide out to the right. I steered into the skid and sensed an impending high-side. I kept on the throttle and kept off the brakes while my rear tire spun sideways and back onto the wet blacktop. For perhaps two or three full seconds, my bike rode sideways at 60 miles per hour with cars packed around me. I don't recall tensing up, but I did think, "Oh, this is going to hurt." Slowly the rear tire slid back to it's normal position behind the front tire, and the bike straightened up. My heart was in my throat. Somehow I had avoided what I thought was inevitable.
When I arrived at Tony's place, he was ready to eat. "Jame [as he calls me], have you ever had a Juicy Lucy?" he asked. A what?
Tony drove me up to Matt's, one of two competing Minneapolis eateries which claim to be the home of the Juicy Lucy. Matt's place spells it Jucy Lucy.
A Jucy Lucy is a cheese-filled burger. The molten cheese inside the patty oozes out when you bite into the sandwich. Tony warned me several times to be careful on first bite. It was excellent and the fries were crisp and tasty. We finished lunch and when Tony came back from paying the tab handed me a Matt's bumper sticker. "Here, I want you to put this on your bike."
Tony also rides, and like Eric hasn't had his bike out on the road for quite a while. (His wife asked me, "His bike? You mean the garage queen?") He wanted to change the oil in his bike, and it was a good opportunity for me to change my oil too, since it was due.
We did the work at Tony's parents', where they have a big garage.
For Tony's 16th birthday, some 20 years ago, his parents bought him a hotrod: A 1949 Dodge truck with a Ford 302, custom interior, and wide aluminum wheels. When he got it, it needed a bit of TLC to make it complete. It still needs some TLC, and each time I see it, it has more stuff piled in and on it, the paint has faded a little more, and each time I see it, I get on Tony to get the thing back on the road and he promises he will.
The other bike in the photo belongs to Tony's stepdad.
We met Tony's wife when she got home from work and rode up to their favorite pizza place, the Italian Pie Shoppe.
I must say, it was excellent. Jennifer insisted on paying, too.
Look, I even made the calendar in their household!
I crashed on the couch late after several drinks, and lots of stories and laughs.