John Otterbacher
Author, Speaker and Adventurer

A Motorcycle Ride

Excerpt 1 from What Remains:

an empty two-lane road surrounded by grassy hills under a mostly-sunny blue sky

At a weekly get together, I tell friends I will be away for a while.


“Three, four weeks, a motorcycle ride. Get reacquainted with backroad America.”


Several glasses stop short of open mouths.


“Three, four weeks, alone, on your motorcycle?”


“Yup,” more sheepishly than I intend.


“Where you headed?” more question than challenge this time.


“South, then west. There’s a lot of beauty between here and California.”


Nobody says anything for a moment, which says everything.


Finally a bald-faced “What are you thinking?”


I take a long swig, how to explain.


“I could use some time out in the wide open, what’s left without all the commotion I call normal. What matters and doesn’t at seventy-four. What I’ve learned, what I’d like to change. How to make the most of this old man stretch. That kind of thing.”


“But why the motorcycle? It’s dangerous.”


“Yeah, it is, if you don’t pay attention. Hell, it’s suicidal if you don’t pay attention. But that’s also the point. I spend way too much time up in my head, overthinking. The cycle doesn’t put up with that. It demands focus. The road with its imperfections and surprises, what’s coming at you right now. Pay attention or die.”


Nobody says anything.


“As weird as it sounds, I calm down when I ride. And wake up. Both. Simple as that.”


Too many words.


“Besides, it’s fun.”


What Remains, page 8


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Awards for Sailing Grace

Best New Non-Fiction Book, National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist, Best Book Awards, USA Book News Winner, Michigan Notable Book Awards

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