This article was originally printed in the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club monthly newsletter.

A Learning Experience, by Bob Humphries

It was a perfect morning for a leisurely ride, just to enjoy the scenery with no special destination, in no hurry at all. After so many years of riding, including long distance trips and local short rides in the country on rural roads and highways, it becomes easy to assume I have seen and done it all. WRONG! I learned that day there is always something different just ahead somewhere even though everything in time can become routine. I thought I knew that. After all, for many years I had been in many parts of this state representing the State of Texas in a Trooper uniform and other times I had ridden my motorcycle most every place, so what could be new to me? I was fixing to find out it seems, on this ride.

For a bit of variety, I decided to ride for a few hours into the Texas Hill Country, which is not far from my house. Everything appeared to be normal and just like so many other rides. When I decided to change my route to another highway everything changed. It was necessary to pass through a little town which was in ranching country years ago, but like so many places all of that was now history, learning this town had very little going on.

As I turned off at the edge of town to pass through, I saw a sizable number of horses, trailers, pickups and people in western riding attire in a vacant field. That was puzzling to me. I do know small rural towns sometimes have an event such as a county fair, but horses and cowboys are not often seen anymore in that part of this state. As I entered this town, I began to notice horse deposits on the road occasionally here and there, but it was no problem to dodge with my "sickle" - not at first. All of a sudden, I was in bumper to bumper traffic, moving at a stop and go, crawling speed and I was the only one not in a pickup with a horse trailer.

The horse deposits on the roadway became thicker. It became a blooming test of my motorcycle riding skills, like it or not. There I was as if in a parade, but going much slower than that, too slow to stay upright without a foot on the street frequently, and moving only a few feet before having to stop. All the while I am facing the wrong end of a horse in a trailer just ahead of me. That horse and others in that line were giving me more than enough to dodge. I learned it was hard to swerve a big heavy motorcycle from one side to the other in a full fork lock and hardly moving at all. It became even more of a test to find a place to put my foot down on the road surface when necessary and that was often , but I made it and finally got out on the highway.

As I was riding back towards home I considered that experience. I had a number of conclusions. First, I had learned being a life long Texan and one who likes horses had not made me a cowboy on a motorcycle. Also, I had learned that even though I became a motorcyclist more than 55 years ago, I still had not seen and done it all. More importantly, I had learned it can be done, old dogs can learn new tricks.

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