Opening the storage unit to once again see my black Harley Davidson motorcycle appear would never get old. Neither would starting up the “V” twin 88 cubic inch engine with Vance and Hines after market shiny chrome exhaust pipes spread down it’s right side. With the push of the electric ignition, the exhaust pipes would scream out loud with a throaty barking sound bringing the bike to life announcing to the world I was ready to ride again. I always looked forward to riding my bike begging to be released and set free on the northwest Florida highways.
Returning home from war and repeated overseas deployments typically found me alone and uncomfortable, even irritable with my mind full of anxieties. I could only find peace of mind when Jojo would meet me at the storage unit. Every time she pulled up in her black Toyota SUV, she brought a rare excitement that brought new life to my eyes giving me a new reason to ride. We would board the bike with Jojo wrapping her arms around me, I would lean the bike up, twist the accelerator until the Harley came to life pulling us both forward leading away towards another private ride on the open roads of the “Red Neck Riviera.”
The best part of riding my Harley was getting away with Jojo…both my bike and Jojo always brought me a sense of relief and peace. We explored every mile of the northwest Florida scenery making life back home just right and easier to deal with. I never took the time with Jojo for granted. It was a new experience riding with her, I never expected to return home to find her grown into a mature and gorgeous woman. The entire time I could feel the unique experiences alone with Jojo were fleeting and special. I looked forward to being alone with her every day and night. Our rides together reached levels we no longer spoke to each other, instead, we held on for the ride and took our world in. Neither of us had to explain, we simply understood. The calmness of the evenings alone with Jojo with the wind in our face and the setting sun falling low on the ocean’s horizon always brought me peace.
Every night we rode to Seaside, a private Florida beach community built for the rich and affluent hidden deep within the pine wood forests paralleling the white sand beaches of the “Panhandle.” The million dollar homes in Seaside were painted in varied pastel colors with luxury cars and big SUVs parked in their drive ways. As we rode slowly, families and couples walked the side walks and kids shrieked in excitement heading to the beaches and shops interacting as a private community. People came from all over the country to Seaside to get away and hide in peace.
As the motorcycle’s engine sputtered and rumbled, Jojo and I slowly pulled up looking on both sides talking between ourselves. We marveled in awe at what was built in Seaside and how private the communities were wondering what it would be like to own one of the homes. Every time, I wondered what it would be like to get away and one day live in Seaside alone with Jojo.
Those experiences on my old Harley riding with Jojo in Seaside made me appreciate my time with her, leaving a deep mark on my memories where to this day, I crave the times with Jojo. Thinking back on those days and nights with Jojo, I miss her more every day. Call me what you want, I still look forward to more nights riding alone with Jojo free on the open road in peace.