TALLADEGA SCENIC HIGHWAY ON MT. CHEAHA ~ ALABAMA ~ photo taken by Dianna Stover
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Sunday, February 1, 2009

HOW DO YOU PERCEIVE THINGS?

Perceive: pres. part., to become aware of through the senses, eg. by hearing or seeing.

Perception: n., the ability to perceive.


I've come to realize, that the ability to make or break a good ride, is all how we perceive things. I know we've all discussed attitudes before, and how having a good attitude is a very key factor. But, where does our attitude come from? Probably how we perceive things has a lot to do with it.

Yesterday, we planed to go up to Sylacauga to visit with Harley's mom, who's recovering from a brief illness. We discussed our travel options, Glides vs. truck. The fact that the sun was shining brightly, helped a lot with our decision. There was no rain in the forecast, and even though it was only 42 degrees at that moment, the temps should climb to around 56 degrees by 2:00. We knew the ride would be chilly, but the fact that it was sunny would make it enjoyable. I felt need to get out there and ride on behalf of my brothers and sisters, suffering in the cold north who can only wait and count the days till Spring. They would probably give anything right now, to have a day like this.

I wore my rain suit pants over my chaps to ensure that I would be comfy while we cut through the morning air. The sun on my back was keeping me from being too cold, and my windshield and fairing was a tremendous help in blocking a lot of the cold wind as we made our way up the long curvy road. I realized pretty quick, that if it had been overcast, (as it has been a lot lately) this ride may not have been as enticing to me. I was thanking the sun profusely at that moment for being here today, so we can bask in her warm light while we enjoy our January ride.

We saw very few riders out, and by the funny looks we were getting from the bundled up drivers we were sharing the road with, they perceived us to be blooming idiots. While passing by a big house in the rural area of Wedowee, I saw 3 men standing around on a large driveway doing something with a trailer. One man had his hands shoved deep in his pockets, with his arms locked straight, hopping from leg to leg, as if trying to stay warm. He turned and stared at us, with a look of bewilderment and chin hanging. I'm sure, it was his perception, that it was too cold to be out on motorcycles. He appeared to be very cold just standing around in the driveway, much less flying through the wind at 70 miles an hour.

On the flip side, as a rider, the way I perceive things can change too, depending on my circumstances. At the beginning of our ride I was very happy with the sun and my windshield. Now, two of the things I coveted the most earlier that morning, became somewhat of a detriment to my enjoyment later in the afternoon.

After we had a nice visit with the MIL, and me doing my good DIL deeds (I just tidied up and did few light household chores), we headed back to Montgomery in a Southwest direction. By this time, the late afternoon sun was low enough to create havoc on my vision. Riders know what I'm talking about. That blinding ride into the sun that makes you think your eyes are going to constrict so far back into your head, it will take days for them to come back out! From one curve to the next, the sun pops in and out of your eyes with her blinding light. It's times like this, I wish I had enrolled in "Helen Keller's School Of Motorcycle Riding".

The windshield, I was so thankful for this morning, has now caused me to contract a severe case of "Turtle Pokeitis". Because of the sun's glare landing directly on it, it became almost like etched glass. I had a very difficult time seeing through it during these intermittent intense blasts of sunlight. As a result, I repeatedly stretched my neck as far as I could, so I could see over my "precious" windshield, thus causing me to mimic a turtle poking it's head of of their shell. All the while, the tall pine trees that lined the road, provided a scattered break in the streams of light, causing the impression I was riding through a solar powered strobe light. Flash! Flash! My perception of the sun and my windshield was changing again.

I'm not complaining, mind you, just sharing! I still had a great ride and I'm very glad we took the Glides out for some fresh air. The air warmed up nicely and I experienced some really great road time. Even though the sun proved to be both, a help and a hindrance, it provided the best backdrop I could hope for, to ensure a beautiful day to ride. I perceive there will be more days like this in my future.

Lady R

9 comments:

"Joker" said...

Sounds like absolute heaven to me, and you were right, I'd just about do anything for a day like you describe. For us, it's still weeks away, if not months. Yep, I agree, it is all a matter of perception. The adjustments we have to make, even the crazy turtle-mimicking ones, are what set us apart and define the true mystique of the ride. It offers an unexpected challenge anytime and unannounced. How do I perceive it? The same way you do - the way that always brings us home safe. For the cagers? They'll never understand.

Mastercheif said...

Sounds fun. As always, I felt like I was the one experienceing the ride. Great!

Ann said...

Sounds like a great ride. Hopefully we'll be up and running soon. :)

chessie said...

We are lucky to have these experiences. Others, who haven't had the good fortune to experience the mixture of nature and the mechanical ruminations of riding a motorcycle...well, I feel very sorry for them.

I'm not going to try to encourage anyone to ride...I just don't like to share this kind of peace with too many people. I'm selfish that way I guess.

Dean "D-Day" said...

Yep, a lot of things are perception. 42 degrees may be cold to you southerners but it would be a dream day to me right now. Thanx for taking me along.
(58 days)

Lady Ridesalot said...

Joker...I was glad to share my nice day with you. I just wish there was a way to actually send it up your way. I figured, if I didn't take advantage of having a sunny dry day to ride, I might have a posse of northerner's down here, ready to kick my ass! I did it for the team Joker! LOL!

Masterchief... Hope you had as much fun as I did! LOL!

Ann... I hope so too. Remember my post this summer about the Road Gremlins? I feel your pain, sister! Being broke down is a mega bummer!

Chessie... Shhh! We'll just keep this our little secret. I agree with you... those who don't ride, just don't get it.

Dean... see my note to Joker. I would have felt guilty if I had not taken advantage of such a beautiful day!

58 days...We need to ask Google to find you a time clock for you to put on your blog. I think there are links, that will allow you to put a countdown timer somewhere on your page. That would be cool.

irondad said...

You also touch on a point that affects how accurate we are in getting good information. What we see versus what is actually there can be affected by our perceptions. Sometimes our past experiences can make us see what we expect to see, not what's really there. Once in a while that can get us hurt when it happens.

Nice post to get us thinking, Lady R!

Mr. Motorcycle said...

The beauty of the annoyance of a low setting or rising sun is that you at least got to be annoyed with it on your motorcycle. The same shit happens in a cage.

Great post. Great perceptions.

Lady Ridesalot said...

Irondad... I never stop thinking when I'm riding. Some of my biggest surprises came when I saw I expected to see, not what was actually before me. I'm just glad I've got good reflexes. ;]

Mr. M... I knew bikers would "get it".
I couldn't agree with you more on the fact... if you have to deal with it regardless, might as well be on two!