The audition, and a short ride


Today started late. It was going to be an odd day anyway, but at least I got to sleep in. My riding partner, Hal, and I were due in Phoenix at 2:00, so we waited, had a late breakfast at the Deer Valley Airport restaurant, then headed toward Phoenix proper. The weather was a sunny 70-ish F., and I was wearing my favorite mesh riding jacket.

What were we doing in Phoenix on a perfectly good riding Sunday, you ask? Auditioning for a commercial, that’s what!

It is supposed to be a commercial for BMW motorcycles, and even though it was short notice, I managed to get an invitation to audition by submitting a photo and a short bio. Hal went with me, and he got an audition too. I told him he would. It worked out perfectly because we turned up early for the audition time (2:00-4:00) and got a nice relaxed audition with no one around except for the casting people.

For the audition, we had to ride up and down the parking lot; then we had to talk on camera about what makes us passionate about riding. We also had to talk about a recent adventure we’d had, and we both instantly said, “Death Valley!” That was the trip during which we ran into every kind of weather, from wind and rain, to heavy rain, snow, and then sleet. Not to mention the several hours we rode straight into hurricane force winds before ending up at our motel, damp and freezing. Today, the casting people seemed to like us, and we got several compliments on our bikes. Whatever happens, at least we had fun.

We thought we did well, but we will not know until later in the week, I suppose. The best thing about being early was that we were done early, and when we realized what time it was, we looked at each other and said, “Let’s ride somewhere!” We chose Globe-Miami again, mainly because to ride there and back takes about the amount of time that we had available. We geared up, hopped on the bikes, and got on the freeway.

It was so good to get away from everything and get on the road. I was relaxed for a change, having had the epiphany the other day and making the decision to just let things go. I rode with a clear mind, and without pressure to hurry up and get home so I could do some project or another. I stayed in the present and kept focused on the road. We pulled over in Superior so I could turn on my GoPro camera, which was on the front of the bike, for the ride from Superior to Miami. The road is interesting and curvy in those 17 miles, and I was glad Hal reminded me to turn the camera on at that point.

It was a beautiful ride, the road was perfect and there was no traffic in front of us. We swooshed through the turns, and before I knew it we were parking our bikes on that nice little street in Miami, the one with all the interesting stores. We de-geared once again, dug out the cameras, and went for a walk.

The first thing we did was go into the little antiques and collectibles store that had intrigued me so much last time. There were wind chimes, old chandeliers, sculptures made of miscellaneous objects, rocks and gems, and a horse saddle. My favorite object was a beautiful glass vase that was probably super-expensive and wouldn’t have made it home in one piece on the motorbike anyway. Although I liked it, I didn’t even touch it.

We left that shop and walked down the street to get a cup of coffee in a place that was basically a gallery with a coffee bar. It was called a “picture café,” and even though the coffee was not great, we had an interesting conversation with the man who owns it. He was interested in our riding stories, and had one of his own. After a while, though, the conversation wound down, and we went back outside to shoot a few more photos.

The sun was slanting low, so I said, “it’s time to go.” It was already after 4 o’clock by then, and we each wanted to get home to have enough time to relax and get ready for “bloody Monday” (which every one is) the next day. So, we put away the cameras, got into our gear, and soon were headed back on the 60 toward Superior.

Again, we rode the wonderful road, and this time it was hard to see because of the late golden sun glaring in our eyes. It was getting colder, too, and when we passed through Top of the World, I was glad I had put in my windproof liner once again. I wore a mesh jacket all day today, knowing I would probably be riding slowly in town for the audition. I had enough layers on during the return trip so I was comfortable.

After Superior, the sun was sinking fast. The most beautiful part of the ride was on the part of the 60 where it is two lanes each way and then goes up and over Gonzales Pass. The grasses lining the road had dried out, gone to seed, turned a light tan color. They seemed to float there, hazy and insubstantial, catching the light. It looked like the creamy froth on the top of the A&W root beer that we used to get in the 70s, foaming on top of a big glass mug. The magic of the road at twilight was working once again.

We stopped for gas in Gold Canyon, then headed back into the city. By the time I was near my exit, the sun had sunk low enough for it to tip the buildings lining the freeway with gold. When I waved goodbye to Hal at my exit, the sun was down, the air mauve and cold with the sudden absence of the sun.

I rode the last couple of miles with my dark visor up because I still had my sunglasses on as well. When I rolled into the garage, I was satisfied to find that I had ridden just over 200 miles for the day. Not one of the big mileage days that we like to do, but at least we’d gotten the opportunity to get that many miles in.

I felt like I was back on track at last. The day had been spent on the world’s most beautiful motorcycle (in my opinion!), my F800ST, and I’d had a fun, out-of-the-ordinary day.

What could be better? (except having Monday off to ride again!)

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