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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Brown

A Tale of Loss, Love, and the Open Road

Updated: Jan 9

Embarking on a grand journey, the allure of an expansive adventure is unmatched. A venture where the road unfolds without a predetermined end, where accommodations are secured only when necessary. Not all my friends share this wanderlust, preferring the comfort of set plans. Yet, some of my fondest memories arise from journeys devoid of a concrete itinerary.

The echos of life the narrative takes shape—a tale distinct in its essence. Unlike my previous exploits dedicated solely to the rhythmic hum of motorcycle engines, this journey unfolds across diverse landscapes. The initial distinction lies in the absence of a daily commitment to motorcycle exploration, though fear not, for the spirit of motorcycling remains an integral part of this narrative.

Our story commences against the backdrop of a profound family loss—although, at the story's inception, the loss had not yet unfolded. Meet Jake and Ella, a remarkable couple encountered years prior in Cartagena, Colombia. September marked the month when they extended a heartfelt invitation to their wedding just outside Boston. As the date neared, my wife's mother's health took a somber turn. On the day of our departure, the heaviness of the impending loss filled the room with an unspoken tension. In the midst of the silence, her father uttered unexpected words: "You should go." The room, momentarily severed from its hushed stillness, witnessed my wife's refusal. "There's nothing you can do here," he urged, "and she would want you to go and live." "GO!" he insisted.

Tears streamed down my wife's face during the entire journey to the airport—an unusual display of emotion for her. Boarding our flight bound for JFK, JetBlue's delays seemed almost orchestrated, providing an unexpected day for my wife to bid a close farewell. Touching down and retrieving our baggage, my phone rang at 1 am. The voice of my father-in-law whispered three words: "She just passed."

Frozen for a moment, the dilemma of how to break this news to my wife in the midst of the bustling baggage claim loomed. Gently grasping her arms, I whispered in her ear, bracing myself for the weight of her grief. Tears flowed, and a spike of anger emerged—why deliver such news in baggage claim? "How would you feel if I told you later?" I reasoned. The momentary tension dissipated as we stood together, locked away in time, amidst the oblivious buzz of JFK airport.

As days unfolded, the sorrow eased, paving the way for an extraordinary wedding held in a coastal castle—a medieval tent, an intimate affair. The castle itself stood as a testament to its historical grandeur. The celebration transcended into the night, transforming the castle cathedral into a personal nightclub, where we danced with Jake, Ella, and their kin, reveling in the enchantment of the evening.

The subsequent day marked the beginning of a two-day road trip through the picturesque landscapes of Vermont and New Hampshire, leading us toward the Canadian border. While I wish I could narrate this tale astride a majestic motorcycle or a beloved Royal Enfield, the mode of transport was quite different.

After a minor encounter with the Canadian Border Services, a common plight for someone with a name as ubiquitous as Jeremy Brown, we ventured into Canada to visit long-standing friends and the individual who first introduced me to the world of Royal Enfields. Our transportation for the coming days was a 2018 Royal Enfield 500.

Our inaugural ride led us away from the riverside and the famed highway along the Saint Lawrence River, weaving through rural Canada. The journey unfolded like a large stitch, guiding us through crossroads and stretches of road, ultimately leading to a winery celebrated for its white wine and pizza.

As we traversed the expansive landscape, transitioning from quaint hamlets to vast fields of crops and orchards, we encountered a hill that tested our resolve. The descent brought us to a lakeside town, its road winding down the hillside, culminating in a picturesque bridge. Crossing into the town, we reveled in its postcard-worthy charm—bright fall sun casting a warm glow after hours of wind exposure. Just beyond, a gravel driveway beckoned, leading us into a vineyard-lined hillside. Parking our bikes beside stacked hay bales, we joined a gathering overlooking a field, with a band on a hay bale stage, an outdoor kitchen with a wood-fired oven, and servers bustling amidst the festivities. The scene evoked thoughts of our own cherished place.

Time slipped away effortlessly as we savored the moment. With an invitation awaiting us an hour away—a dinner with a friend featuring homemade Indian cuisine—we reluctantly tore ourselves away from the enchanting scene. Our journey led us back to Brockville, on the banks of the great river, the setting sun giving way to a brisk fall chill as we arrived in the darkness. Welcomed warmly, we indulged in some of the most exquisite food ever tasted. Later, we discovered the chef had omitted a significant portion of the spice. Prompted to try the traditional dish, I bit into it, only to experience an overwhelming surge of heat, met with concerned eyes from those around me. The room held its breath as the fiery assault lingered, the flavor captivating despite the lingering intensity.

Our hosts escorted us to our bikes, discovering with delight that they were Royal Enfields. Childhood memories of the iconic bike were shared, and with gratitude, we bid farewell, wrapped in the warmth of the evening, the tales, and the dinner.

The journey back home, a mere 40 minutes along the highway, proved to be the shortest yet longest leg of our expedition. The night, now entrenched in a wintry chill, tested the thin summer gloves and coats that had served us well in the afternoon sun. Conversations of avoiding night rides echoed as the dim light of the Royal Enfield flickered ahead. Teeth chattering, fingers numb, we pressed on until a solitary traffic light illuminated the town. The engine's warmth revived my frozen body, Heather pressed against my back for solace. Laughing, I reflected on the fiery aftermath of the Indian feast still resonating in my mouth.

And thus, the next chapter unfolds on the sun-soaked shores of Nice, France, astride a Himalayan

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