Earl's Wave


I wave at every motorcyclist I see, which is most of them. I even wave at Harley types, who rarely wave back. I don't care. I wave anyway. Sometimes, I get to wondering what's really behind that wave. What kind of person just passed me in the opposite direction. What was behind Earl Brown's wave was one of the most generous gestures I'd ever experienced.

I was camped out in the China Camp State Park just above San Rafael. I had decided not to invest in wood for the campfire for the night. Instead I'd just sit by the fire ring in the dark and ponder stuff. Out of the blackness of the woods comes a pen light and a voice, "Mike? Mike, is that you?". I was astounded! Earl had come from several towns away on a moonless night, found the state park, found the campground in it, and then found me sitting at an inky black campsite. He said he had run across the website and knew he was pretty near by, so he decided to contact me in person. We chatted for a long time by the fire we quickly cobbled together, and decided to meet the following day for breakfast. As I went to sleep, I pretty much decided that I had just experienced the finest moment as a motorcyclist in 20 years of riding, and I hadn't even been on my bike.

Earl did his homework overnight. He picked out a fantastic place in Berkeley that would require we ride up through some really twisty stuff in the Berkeley hills en route. Earl had a really cool hot-rodded V-Max. I was jealous. Fortunately, Earl played the good host and took it really easy on me leading up through the hills. Even allowing me to keep him in sight, I was routinely grinding the floor boards on the way up and back down. It was a great and scenic ride.

We stopped at a place called Rick and Ann's , just below the Claremont Hotel. Breakfast was absolutely fantastic. While we talked over breakfast, it became clear that we had a lot in common.

I'm extremely gratified at "Earl's wave" and what I found out to be behind it: two fine motorcyclists who were an absolute treat to meet.