Saturday, December 27, 2008

Preparing to Return

Christmas has passed, and my return to Cluj approaches. Happily, I can report that Shirley McDougall and I have found a round trip for her from Manchester, New Hampshire to Cluj for under $1000, and we have booked her a trip over for the whole month of March.

I cannot wait to introduce Shirley to my Clujian friends, including, among others, our landlords Victoria and Florin Moldovan, my colleagues Mihaela Luţaş, Mircea Maniu, Alexandra Mutiu, Roxana Stegerean, Şerban Agachi, Rector Marga and Prof. Delia Marga, PhD students and teaching assistants Melinda Pleşcan and Monica Zaharie, the long-suffering and ever-helpful Carmen Tagsorean, my excellent Englishline students, and so many more who have made me welcome in their very special Transylvanian town.

In addition, I look forward to introducing Shirl to Klaus, and with the two of them to revisit Maramureş and its monasteries, mountains, farms and pensiones.

Of course, I also hope to make in March a trip to Bucharest, so Shirl can meet the wonderful staff at Fulbright-Romania, including Mihai, Corina, Mihaela, Anca and Loredana, not to mention Victor, and Dan the Taximan.

Finally, I hope that a goodly number of my fellow Fulbrighters will get to meet Shirl, and learn why I hope with all my heart that God grants us every day of that second 35-years of marriage that we promised each other online, last October 6th.


Sparky ♥ ∞ and Wiregrass Steve said...

You have a very nice blog. Y'all sure are world travelers! That must be such fun. We usually stay in America except for a trip this year to Hawai'i (hey, that's a foreign country in my book). :o)

Thank you for contacting us. I look forward to reading more about your adventures. Talk about your motorcycles sometime.

Happy New Year!
Sparky ♥ ∞ (aka Pamela)

Duncan McDougall said...

Hi, Sparky! Thanks for the good comment. It is great to hear from you, and I'll respond to your request here, as that seems more appropriate than in the blog, itself.

My motorcycling started when I was 19, in 1963. I have owned a diverse string of some 25 mounts, from a 1960 Harley Topper to a 1960 Matchless G80CS, a 1964 Triumph T100R to a 1966 Bultaco Campera 175, five vintage BMWs, of which I still own two, six Hondas, two Yamaha two-stroke roadburner twins (a 350 and a 400), one Kawasaki KS125, and one great Suzuki GS1100E. My newest machine is a 1990 Ducati 750 Sport. My present stable holds six machines, all but the Ducati officially antiques here in New Hampshire (over 25 years old).

An impecunious teacher with six kids, most of my bikes I have bought in private sale, at bargain prices. I have under $10,000 invested in all six of my present machines. I try to ride them all, every summer, and to keep them in roadworthy condition. My Suzuki (Suzi) I bought for $600 in 1991. I have since ridden Suzi from New Hampshire to South Dakota and Colorado 1n 1992, NH to California in 1995, NH to Nefoundland (with a bit of help from the North Sydney, NS to Port-au-Basque, NF ferryboat) in 1998, and from NH down to Florida, twice. She is smooth, wicked fast, very good- handling, seemingly bulletproof, and comfortable on a long ride. But I have also toured far over the years on my BMW twins, and on my 1982 Honda Silver Wing Interstate, which took me on a 13,000-mile "four corners" ride in 2005, including 2800 miles, with Shirl on the pillion, in California and Nevada.

When time permits in the summers, I take long rides, sometimes alone, sometimes with my biker sons Jamie and Jesse, and sometimes with my wife Shirl, daughter Piper, or son Alex as a passenger. I have clocked over 150,000 miles on the six machines I still own, and goodness knows how many on my prior machines.

Why do I do these things? For me, motorcycling is touring at its best. My blog-readers know that I love touring by car. But when I am riding a bike in a new place, I know I am there. Biking gives me a seeing, smelling, and feeling sensual presence that no view through a window can match.

I hope that is the kind of motorcycling skinny you wanted. God bless you, and keep you safe, on two wheels or on four.