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Friday, September 17, 2021

    Gremlins, Gravel, and Grit Part Two

    Chad Brislawn
    A lifelong Muscatine resident, Chad Brislawn has a passion for motorcycles and writing. He writes No Baffles No Brakes, for Discover Muscatine newspaper.

    Muscatine Living

    Watch for motorcycles. You hear it all the time. You see it everywhere. But are the motorcycles watching for you? The answer is yes. Well, at least most of us are. Motorcycling is a dangerous activity, there’s no doubt about that. When you are hurtling down the interstate at seventy-five miles an hour in the back pocket of your best buddy just a few feet away, you know that at any moment something could go terribly wrong and you could be sliding to a very abrupt end.

    But then why do we do it? What’s the appeal? The most common answer you get is the freedom. Not being encumbered or enclosed in a cage and having the wind blowing through your beard. The sun on your face. That sweet thunderous sound drowning out all of your worries and concerns. It really is liberating. But is that enough? Is that enough to put your life on the line? Is that enough to send home to your children—a folded leather vest instead of a hand to hold? At some point we all have to ask ourselves those questions. Recently, I was faced with a day that had me asking, “What am I doing out here?”

    It was the start of my four-day weekend and our little mini vacation. With storms in the forecast and clouds rolling in, I finished packing up my saddlebags, double-checking my list to make sure I had everything. Extra sunglasses, check. First aid kit, rain gear, check. Everything seemed to be in order as I went over my bike and checked my tire pressure, made sure my oil was good, and topped off the coolant. Dodgeville, Wisconsin, was our destination and we’d been looking forward to this ride for some time. I threw on my rain pants and buttoned-up my raincoat and rags. Let’s roll.

    Our ride up was great! The weather was great! We caught a little rain, but other than that it was smooth sailing the whole way. But my story leads us to the trip home. In an attempt to beat the storm that was rolling in the next day, four of us decided to head home early. My brother and his wife cruised ahead of me. I followed close behind and my wife, in my Silverado, brought up the rear as our support vehicle. We were making great time, belting down Highway 61.

    A pickup truck pulled up to an intersection and without a second glance he pulled directly out into our path. All of us locked them up! Smoke, rubber, and brakes, dust at seventy miles per hour. With only a couple seconds to react, we did our best to slow down, but it wasn’t going to be enough. I was coming up on the bike ahead of me and the pickup truck fast. I barely had enough room to sneak through them, and at sixty miles an hour my mirror hit my brother’s right hand almost bringing us both down. My wife behind us locked up the brakes on the truck to avoid running us over and as I glanced back… To Be Continued.

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