Cat Litter

It was late afternoon. I hadn’t had the bike out all day. Temperatures were in the high seventies, a change from the cool weather we’d recently been experiencing. I got a call from my nutritionist to tell me one of my supplements was in. We agreed that five o’clock would be a convenient time.

As seventeen hundred approached I rolled the machine out of the garage and geared up. Cheryl’s place was across town and a few miles south of where I live. It was a pleasant ride over, all residential but some newer roads with an S curve and traffic circles. I know it was likely ill advised but I went through them about ten over the PRV. It was a nice ride.

Cheryl and I did our business exchange and then talked for awhile. As I mounted the bike to leave I began to think. I was in need of some more cat litter. I had already bought two boxes in the past two weeks. I’d let the litter boxes get low and was working to catch up. I spoil the cats by providing too many boxes and they choose to use them all. I was thinking that the place I buy cat provisions, Tractor Supply, is on this side of town just a few miles away. Maybe I should just pick up a box on my way home. Well, on my long way home.

At the Tractor Supply Company I bought a package of litter to match what was in the boxes at home. It was going to be a challenge. Daisy Mae has no bags and no pillion. It was a test to see whether I could bungee a twenty-six pound box of litter onto the back fender.

I keep a bag of varied bungee cords under the saddle. I removed the saddle, and the bag of bungees, and began to work on how to stabilize a big rectangular box on the rear fender. I used two long cords crossed front to back and one shorter across the sides. I put the saddle back on but had to push the load back just a bit to get it into place. It had been something of a tough day. I began thinking it would be good to run down the road a ways before going home. I looked at the load. I’ve tied a lot on the back of the bike, some for long rides, some short. I looked it over. I think it will hold but I’m not absolutely certain. The trip meter was showing one thirty-four. This bike goes on reserve at somewhere just over one fifty and reserve holds a little over forty miles at highway speed. Down the flyway the Tennessee Road exit is twenty-five miles from home. I would certainly run into reserve but could probably make it home before bone dry. We’re going for a run.

I rolled onto 69 hiway a mile from I-35. I changed lanes a couple of times because I had forgotten which way I35 South exited. I turned left onto the I-35 entrance ramp catching the light just right. Down the long ramp I picked up enough speed to roll onto the divided flyway a little faster than other traffic. Once more I was running five to ten over the PRV and it felt good. It wasn’t a particularly motorcycle thrilling ride with curves and such. It was just straight down the flyway but it was a pleasure to feel the full wind in my face and chest. Bad times just seem to blow away in that breeze.

I found I could reach behind me to check the tautness of the two long cords. So long as they were taut and in place I was comfortable that the box remained. Now and then I had to check my speed and ease off the throttle. I ran mostly in the right lane but I was running faster than the freighters and sometimes had to move over and go around. Some traffic in the left lane was traveling more rapidly than I so on some of those passes I need to bump the speed up to much faster than traffic coming on in the left lane.

I was keeping an eye on the trip meter and the mile markers. My belief was if I reached the turn around without going on reserve I could run home with no concern or care for speed. I kept checking the bungees and watching the distance. It seemed to take longer than it should even at hiway speed to cover sixteen, then thirteen, then nine miles. Inside of ten to Tennessee Road I felt comfortable about the trip home. Honestly there were a few fuel stops along the I-35 on the way home but they were a little more spendy than the stores in town. Sometimes it’s curious what some of us will do to avoid paying ten or fifteen cents more per gallon.

The sign for the Tennessee Road exit came up with the trip meter reading one fifty three. All was well with the world. I rolled off the exit, turned left, and back onto the entrance ramp. I ran onto I-35 North once more at hiway speed and passed a few cages just for the joy of it.

The engine coughed a bit. I looked down at one fifty-nine point four. I left the petcock where it was and let the bike run for a ways on four cylinders because the math is so much easier for me at one sixty. As the trip meter rolled to one sixty I turned the handle onto reserve and calculated that I was easily good to one ninety-five and probably a good deal more. I checked the load and we were in good shape.

On the way back I found my speed varying a bit, both up and down. I guess the down was a good thing as when I saw an LEO in the median I looked down to see I was only three over the PRV. I was considering running past the home street exit and fueling up a couple miles north of home. That would give me a chance to burn off just a little to avoid parking the bike with the tank full to the brim. Do tanks have brims? Then I thought of a QuikTrip station one exit short of the home exit. I usually fuel up at QuikTrip because their gas is top tier. I could make that exit and go home through town. That would give me two and a half miles to burn off just a little before parking.

I rolled off the exit and down the road to the QuikTrip. As I turned in there were by the sidewalk two bikes, Harleys, with riders waiting by them. They looked to be waiting for someone to join. They watched me as I went by. I gestured a greeting but they didn’t bother to acknowledge.

I put 4.8 gallons into the tank. That means I probably had twenty miles or more to go. The trip meter was reading one ninety. I set the meter to zero. On the way home I remembered to switch the petcock back to on. It seemed to be getting too dim for the dark riding glasses. I don’t like it this time of year because that starts to happen too soon.

The litter was intact. It had been a good ride. It wasn’t the classic thrilling motorcycle adventure but the wind had blown all my troubles away.

When I went into the house my life partner asked me why it had taken two hours. I gave her a pair of gloves I had bought for her at the Tractor Supply Company.


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