The biggest downs for 2005 were the loss of my friend Daun to cancer at age 36 and my friend and co-worker, Mike A.K.A. "Killer", at age 54 in a solo bike crash. I wrote a bit about Daun previously but have not written anything as yet about Mike's demise. I'm still pondering his crash out on Apache Trail and trying to piece together in my mind what happened late at night when Mike was all alone on his VMax. We can ramble on all we like about bikes and riding and roads but ultimately it's the people we meet along the way that matter and give real character to riding. To ride and not in some way share the experience with fellow riders is to miss a good bit of what makes motorcycling so special. To lose motorcycle friends is to have the motorcycling experience diminished and put into a more realistic perspective.
Downs of a much, much less significant nature were the departure of my beloved Caponord. Yes, I still miss the Capo and sometimes find myself scheming about ways to get another one. Reason still prevails but just barely. My Kawasaki 1600 Classic left this year but didn't leave the empty spot in the garage like the Capo did. I need an Italian bike again and preferably an Aprilia even though buying an Aprilia is largely an act of faith and madness because of the sketchy support and parts situation. One must believe fervently in the solidarity and reliability of the brand to attempt ownership. The timid owner, those in need of dealer hand holding, need not apply.
Having talked a bit about the downs, I'd rather focus on the ups. There were a great many this year; here's a few highlights:
First and foremost is that I put another year of riding behind me. There were a few moments when things went wonderfully right but could have gone oh so wrong. A 100+ mph blast up Kitt Peak and similar wail down Aravaca Road burned the sound of the Aprilia v-twin into my mind and heart. A moronic driver in a junker Chevy crossing the yellow line in a fast curve on Aravaca Road nearly spoiled my year though. It was a matter of inches. Often in motorcycling triumph and tragedy rub elbows.
The wild flower rides early this year were great fun and maybe the most relaxing rides and getting out to ride for the first time time with my buddy Doc Henry and the redoubtable Angry Bob was grand.
Other, good stuff came in the form of the new Honda ST1300 in the garage.
I took a bunch of pictures in 2005. I am still very much enamored of mixing motorcycle riding and photography. My new Nikon 8800 is a wonderful camera. I wish there were disk space available to share more of what I shoot. A couple of favorites follow:
Magma Hotel, Globe/Superior, AZ
The blog has done surprisingly well too. I have actually turned down some opportunities to promote it further because I prefer to write when the mood strikes and without feeling beholden to anyone. It's a tiny blog with just a few visitors when compared to the bigger, better known blogs but that's ok with me. I enjoy the writing and judging by the mail a regular group of people enjoy the reading. I genuinely appreciate your e-mails and the time you spend reading here.