Pastor Mike Weaver pulled into our driveway in time for dinner. For 15 years he’s been making the almost-300-mile journey from home for LIFE’s board meetings. His wife Cindy often accompanies him.
This time he arrived alone… on his Honda 1300 ST motorcycle.
I confess, over the years since I last owned a motorcycle (back in college days), I never lost the urge to strap on a bike and ride into the sunset. Many times on a glorious day in some part of the world I would remark to my wife Lori, “This would be a great road for a bike.”
But the responsibilities of life (and size of our garage) restrained me.
Until Mike showed up on his sport touring motorcycle. I admired it. I asked questions about it. I wanted it – or one just like it.
I waited for the urge to pass, as it always had. It didn’t.
Over the years Lori said many times, “Go ahead and get a motorcycle if you want one.”
I wasn’t sure I could believe her. But she repeated the line. So I bit.
I signed up for three days of motorcycle school. I wanted to be sure that a) I could still handle a bike; and b) I knew what I was doing. A lot has changed since the mid-70’s.
A day of classwork and two on the practice range with 10 other students convinced me. Passing the course entitled me to a motorcycle endorsement on my license. I was street legal again!
But where would I find my ST 1300? I tried the online sites that specialized in used motorcycles. I found several I would love to own. But none were within 100 miles. The ones I liked best were much further away.
I remembered Craigslist. And I found it! The PERFECT bike, low mileage, priced right. And it was 10 minutes away!!
Thank you, Lord! Please, please let it still be there.
My finger trembling, I texted the phone number. “Are you the owner of the ST 1300?”
Then, “I sold it yesterday.”
Oh no! Why didn’t I think of Craigslist two days ago? I mourned.
“That wasn’t the bike God has for you,” was Lori’s response. I’d already thought that; we’d learned that lesson many times in life before.
But still. How could there be a more perfect bike?
Dave and Sue Zirkle have been a part of LIFE’s ministry for years. Avid cyclists, they offered advice. “If you’re planning on taking Lori for any distance, you’ll want a different bike.”
That tip led to investigation of other motorbikes. I road tested a couple over Memorial Day weekend in northern Michigan. But it’s too far for me to drive home on a first ride. And the one most comfortable for Lori was not the one I wanted.
Then Craigslist yielded another find. A bright red 2008 Honda Goldwing in excellent condition, just over an hour’s ride away. The owner had just reduced the price since his earlier listings resulted in ZERO nibbles. “I just don’t understand it. This is a great motorcycle!” he proclaimed.
Indeed, similar vintages were listed at two to three thousand dollars more. Honda innovated an electric reverse gear (reverse, on a motorcycle!) on Goldwings in 1988 when the engine grew to 1500 ccs. (For non-gearheads, like me, that’s a BIG engine! Bikes I owned in my youth were 350 ccs.)
Now I found myself backing the 2008 Goldwing 1800 out of the shed for a test drive. (The owner had moved south, leaving it for his brother to sell.) The bright red color called my name. The engine responded to the start button with a deep quiet purr.
I reviewed my wish list: anti-lock brakes – check. Cruise – check. And so much more. Heated seats and grips. The control panels looked like a space shuttle. AM/FM/CB and weather radios; navigation system. An airbag. (An airbag! On a motorcycle! Who knew?)
Most importantly, Lori climbed on the pillion (fancy word for “back seat on a bike”) and claimed it exceedingly comfortable. I took it for a test drive, and fell in love. (No, not with Lori. She captured my heart LONG ago, and still has first claim!)
The bike is a monster (half a ton, dry). And it’s ours. (It even scrolls “Hello Wes and Lori” when the key is turned to on.)
And once again, I am grateful to God for unanswered prayers.
Because instead of a very fine ST 1300 I’m on a tricked-out ‘Wing – with a prayer: “LORD, please help me keep the rubber side down.”
[Your prayers are also appreciated! And if you have a “thank God for unanswered prayers” story you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you!]