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Signs of Yesterday

image of an abandoned metal store sign with clouds in the background
Sign, Hurley, New Mexico

The weather this past week has been pleasant here in Tbilisi, and we were able to open the windows in our workspace, letting the spring-like air do its work after the apartment was closed up all winter.

Along with the crisp air, all the sounds of the city rush into our normally quiet apartment, including the low grumble of motorcycle engines.

One of the things I miss about living in New Mexico was the ability to take my “five days on two wheels” trips each year, roaming around New Mexico, Colorado and Utah with a paper map and a loose plan on where I’d end up at the end of each day.

Corie and I had another expat couple over for dinner this past week, and the wife asked me what being on a motorcycle is like. It’s a hard question to answer to one who’s never experienced it. I told her it was the closest feeling to flying one could have without leaving the ground.

But that’s only part of it.

For me, the solitude at 70 miles an hour, feeling more a part of the surrounding landscape than one can in a car, was addictive. It’s what kept me going back time after time despite my 3 a.m. brain complaints that were usually along the lines of “Are you crazy straddling a 900-pound contraption on two wheels that can go from zero to sixty in far too short of a timeframe? Do you have any idea what can happen to you?”

I also didn’t bother to tell our friends how, after a day of underestimating the time it took to get from point A to point B on a motorcycle, my back and backside were screaming for an aspirin or two. Nor did I mention the desperate need for a shower at the end of a hot day in a helmet and jacket.

I’m making the whole experience sound irresistible, right?

Yet I couldn’t wait to go back for more.

For some reason, one sees more of his surroundings when on the saddle of a motorcycle. The experience opened a new visual world for me. Part of that new world was the old beat-up signs I came across in my wanderings.

New Mexico seems to have more than its fair share of old sun-bleached road signs around the state, hidden in towns once young and handsome, now wrinkled and gray. Those old signs stood in defiance of time, quietly remembering their more relevant days.

Today, my trusty motorcycle that carried me to adventures across the Southwest is in someone else’s hands, adding to its collection of adventures.

image of a sign shaped like a Native American thunderbird with the word Stop written across it
Stop, Pie Town, New Mexico

weathered restaurant sign
Evette's, Magdalena, New Mexico


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