It’s not an adventure unless you’re getting some treasure

6, Sep, 2008

Saturday morning I told my 6-year-old son that I’d take him on his 3rd motorcycle ride. Things got busy and we ran out of time to go Saturday. At lunch-time on Sunday I told him “I still owe you a ride so let’s go on an adventure”. His reply was “Yeah, let’s go on an adventure!”.

We suit up and head out of the neighborhood. We get to the first stop light (1/4 mile) and he’s trying to talk to me. I stop at the light and turn around to find out he was saying “This is fun!” . We get another 1/2 mile down the road and he’s talking and pointing into the subdivision of his classmate Creed. I didn’t catch exactly what he was saying but just nodded and pointed up at a formation of airplanes overhead (Was there supposed to be an airshow today?). We get to the next light and he tells me “That was Creed’s house, well his street because I can’t see the house. What were you pointing at?”. I was thinking this could be a long ride with 3 conversations in 1.25 miles. I’m torn on whether or not I want to get an intercom setup with him jabbering all the time.

We settle in and there’s no talking for a little while (ahhhhhh). He’s looking around and seems to be doing fine. We go through some small curves with some late turn-in’s to make them a little more fun. I slow down to ask if he’s OK and the response was “GO!GO!GO!”. Some back roads and winding through a couple creek bottoms bring us out to a minor highway. Decision time: Are we riding to ride or should we look for a destination? Me: “You want to go to a lake or ride around?” Him: “Let’s go to the lake!!”.

We head south and cross over the Arkansas river. I’ve been noticing he’s been looking around and moving more on this trip. He seems to be a lot more comfortable on the bike. All of a sudden there’s a couple hands on my shoulders and he’s standing on the pegs to get a better look. I slow down and he asks me “Does that hurt your shoulders?”. I tell him that it doesn’t hurt me but he needs sit down and hold on. We are getting close to Haskell, OK so I decide to turn down the Stone Bluff Winery road. It’s a couple miles long and straight but a few of the hills are like a roller coaster. I hear him trying to talk to me as we come up to the first stop sign before the hills. I just pull over and turn the bike off. “Dad, your helmet says ‘D’—-’O'—” (I know where this is going) “–’T’. ‘D-O-T’, why does it say dot on your helmet?”.

Roll on down the highway and turn south at Leonard. There’s a couple good curves on the lake road but it’s rough pavement. Up over the crest of the hill. The road going down to the lake is pretty steep. I’m in engine braking in 2nd and still need to grab the brakes to slow some. I was hoping there was some overflow coming off the lake. There’s a channel that drops into the valley with a couple waterfalls. Unfortunately the lake was down a bit right now so no cool waterfalls.

We go around the lake (it’s small) to the covered picnic area on the far side to park. We see a couple boys playing behind a rock across the road while we are taking our gear off. He asks if he can go down to the dock and I tell him to go ahead. There’s another boy that’s a couple years older than Gabriel fishing with his mother. We look around and enjoy the scenery. It’s late afternoon and the sun is shining off the water pretty good. Mmmm sunburn. I figured we’d hang out for a few minutes then get back on the road. The mother starts talking and we find out they live 5 minutes away and come down to fish for perch regularly. “We have an extra pole if your son wants to fish”. He was all over that since he’s never been fishing before.

45 minutes and just a couple nibbles but he’s enjoying himself. The other boy caught 3 fish in the time we were there and Gabriel really liked that. We also got to hear someone in the distance trying to rock out from where they were stuck in the hills. Weeeerrrrrr, Weerrrrrr, some unintelligible frustrations, Weeeerrrr, Weeeeerrrrr, more frustrations, Weeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrr, normal driving sound.

I had agreed to help some friends tonight so I figured it was time to go. I didn’t plan on spending an hour here but it was worth having some fun. Time to head back up the hill to head for home.

The boys playing behind the boulder across the road were talking about cool rocks they found. They saw us coming up the hill and ducked down. We could see their heads poking out and heard whispering. Gabriel says “I’m going to go over there”. I spoke loudly “I think there’s a bear over there, better throw a rock at him”. The boys still kept popping their heads out so I guess I didn’t scare them too bad.

We’re getting ready to get back on the bike and I ask him “Was this a fun adventure?”. He replies “This isn’t an adventure”. “Why not?”. “You have to go around the world and get treasure if you are going to have an adventure. Get some pirate treasure and shoot someone if they try to take your treasure”. I explained to him that we aren’t going to shoot anyone over some treasure. “You got to go somewhere you’ve never been before and do something you’ve never done. Isn’t that an adventure?”. He replies “It was fun but I think we need some treasure too.”

I guess I need to forget the intercoms for now and buy a handheld GPS. Maybe some motorcycle rides to go geocaching will make it an adventure. I’ll just have to make sure we go after some caches with more than a logbook.  I see there’s 5 geocaches at this lake. Maybe we can come back and have a “real” adventure.

I know this was a lot of talking for a 60-something mile round trip to drown a worm but it was fun to share my time with my son. Glad you came along.

Gabriel’s first motorcyle ride was to….

8, Jun, 2008


My 6 year old has been interested in my motorcycle since I got it last year after some time away from bikes. He went from saying “I would like to ride when I’m older” to “I’m ready to ride when I get a helmet and gloves”.  I measure his head and order an XS full faced helmet and wait for a good opportunity. It was a nice day today and the 2nd child is due in a little over a week so I decided the time was right. We ran down to pick up some gloves and a jacket to complete the outfit.

He picks out some sunglasses too while we are there. I get him in his gear and he puts the glasses on. My wife and I say that he looks like Iceman from Top Gun. He’s thinking Iceman the superhero and starts posing.

Geared up and ready to head out.

Time for the fun. Two blocks out of the neighborhood and he’s yelling at me pretty intensely. I find the next drive and pull in. He looks worked up and about ready to cry. He’s not too sure about this and informs me that he’s walking back to the house. I tell him that I’ll give him a ride back the house if he really wants to go back. His reply “Let’s go to the next drive and then we can turn around”.

The “next drive” turns out to be a couple miles away after some easy curves. We hopped off and look around the parking lot a bit. I ask him if he wants to go back or does he want to drive out to his friend Isaac’s house (another 10miles from there). He decides that we should go there since we are having fun now.

We take the scenic way to Isaac’s house to find out they aren’t home.

Another decision to make, turn around or let’s go on to the next town to Sonic. His answer is “I want a grilled cheese and the toy”. We ride a bit farther into the next town without event but he’s seeming much more relaxed on the back of the bike. He’s looking around and is sitting up instead of leaning on me like when we started.

We take our gear off and see that we picked up 2 or 3 hitchhikers (tiny Praying Mantis).

Just hanging out waiting for some food.

He was feeling so happy that he was doing a crazy dance after this picture.

I make a quick call home to inform my wife that we are going to be longer than the quick ride around the block we said we were doing. We talk and finally finish up the food. We suit back up and start heading out. We are circling around back of Sonic to head out and I hear him yelling again. I think “Here we go again 20 miles from home”. I stop at the drive and ask him if he’s ok. “Yeah, I said BLAST OFF!! Now let’s go!!!”

We head back down some rough blacktop back roads and get back to our town. I start seeing this red and black glove in my right mirror. He’s just having a good time back there playing in the wind. I wish I could have got a picture of that but I promised my wife no picture taking in motion (she doesn’t like it when I do so I promised I wouldn’t with our son). I got to the twisties near our house and I hit them a bit faster this time.

Here he is after the ride.

He tells me “You went too fast in those curves”. I ask if it scared him. “No, you were just going too fast”.

We’ve been hanging out tonight and dad is his favorite person right now. I’m really glad he enjoyed it and now I need to get some good pants and boots on him. I didn’t want to go too overboard in case he hated it but I wanted to make sure that he had something.