Thursday, August 12, 2010

Background


I learned many things from my mom over the years. Among them is the sage advice "Never make a promise you can't or don't intend to keep."

My mother has always been many things to many people. As a single parent raising three children, she worked hard to give her family a sense of stability and to instill confidence in each of us.  She accomplished these while working full time, earning two college degrees, and eventually becoming a successful entrepreneur. As a kid, I remembered vividly that when mom made a commitment - a promise - she kept it. These attributes undoubtedly contributed to her amassing a collection of loyal friends all over the country.

One of those friends runs a no kill animal shelter in a small town called Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Northwest of Seattle, Washington. Mom fell in love with the island and eventually bought a small get away place there.  A retreat such as this offers an abundance of friends when you need them while providing the solitude so many of us crave when it's needed. To her, it was heaven on Earth. She told me once that when she crossed the bridge over Deception Pass into Oak Harbor, she felt like she was home.

As an adult, I can look back and recognize how much mom struggled financially.  Likewise, I can look back and remember not noticing a sense of financial struggle at home.  We had clothes for school, lunch money, and Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny always came.  Only as an adult can I put the pieces together to recognize and appreciate how she struggled.

Despite the financial struggles, she somehow managed to buy me a dirt bike for my 13th birthday and over the years, I became hooked on motorcycling. I rode and raced dirt bikes with my sons and have had my motorcycle license for 32 years. None of the bikes I had were ever made for comfort, much less long distance touring. Finally, I picked up a ride comfortable enough for a long haul. I spent considerable time and money preparing the new bike for a long ride up for two. See, Mom had asked me to take her to Whidbey someday. I now had a way to keep that promise. Mom's birthday is July 26th. I thought it fitting that I would ride across the Deception Pass bridge with her on her birthday.  It's 2,200 miles from Dallas to Oak Harbor.

We leave July 23rd.  Details daily as I ride.