Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure


Motorcycle TourMagazine

About Whatchathinkin'

Backroads’ fairer half, Shira Kamil, has an interesting perspective on the day-to-day things riders run into which is both extremely well written and informative. She adds a new polish to the editorial team here at Backroads.

Name: Shira Kamil

Current Rides: Honda 919, Suzuki V-Strom 650

Favorite quote:

Time flies. It’s up to you to be the navigator. ~ Robert Orben

Your Words Mean Something

I was doodling through some website and a word popped out at me. It’s a German word and, right now, I can’t remember the context in which it was used, but I did write it down as a word I’d like to use in my column one day. I get daily emails from Merriam-Webster with a Word of the Day. I have a file dating back 4 years with some of the words that have intrigued me and that I hoped to work into my vocabulary. In reality, I’d be lucky if I remembered to even look into that file, let alone use those words on a regular basis.

So seeing this German word had me delve into said folder and you, dear readers, will now be subjected to a few of these more interesting parts of the English language while I write my thoughts for this month.

As Bill mentions in his article this month, the past few weeks have been an anfractuous example of winter’s weather, but on those two shining days near theWhatchathinkin beginning of February, anyone who could, and some who shouldn’t but did, headed out for a much needed pandiculation of the cables. I felt absolutely no compunction as I donned my trusty ‘stich and rolled out of the garage. The batteries were well tended and Brian had checked the tire pressures all around. My only concern was the state of the roads, as much sanding and salting had taken place and our friendly neighborhood Road Gods were not yet ready to take care of that situation.

(An aside from another internet posting: There are actually 11 seasons – winter, fool’s spring (we are here), second winter, spring of deception, third winter, mud season, actual spring, summer, false fall, second summer and actual fall.)

It is amazing what some sunshine and what can be considered warm temperatures can do for the soul. Yes, I did have my heated gear on, but found that it was superfluous. Once out of our squishy driveway, we took to one of our local routes that would bring us, eventually, for a wonderful lunch at the Elias Cole. Yes, we do mention this place often and yes, it is quite convenient for us to stop here for a delicious meal or simple slice of pie and hot, steaming cup of Joe. We want all of YOU to keep it on your radar should you be in our neck of the woods.

Our appetites sated, we took to the bikes and headed, not too sprightly, over High Point, which was spotted with shady patches that may or may not have that elusive black ice hidden within. The sky above was azure and my mood was golden. Due to personal responsibilities, but mostly weather of late, it had been too long since I had been in the saddle. Intermittent visitations to the garage with kind words to the motorcycles do not quell the desire to take to the roads and explore. Trip planning can put me in a better state of mind while the inevitable winter winds howl outside. This was the ne plus ultra of weather gifts that could be received at this time for me.

We scooted back in the general direction of home to take care of some quitodian errands. It always makes me smile when I see the looks I get from folks while I stroll through the store in my riding gear. Heading out, I saw a gentleman walking towards the motorcycles with a small smile starting to form. As we got closer he said loudly, ‘Great day to be on the bikes!’ We agreed and I thought that he might be one of the unlucky who could not play hooky on this beauty of a day. It made me appreciate my situation all the more.

We continued on for a loop around Swartswood Lake. Heading into the early part of the afternoon and with the sun starting its downward run, I knew that this riding day was soon coming to an end. Heading through the woodlands, now barren, that surround our region I felt waldeinsamkeit. Even though Brian was riding in front of me and we were connected via Sena, I was in my own world, with my own thoughts and quite peaceful. Pulling back into the drive, with the sun reflecting off the glistening gravel, I shut off the bike and listened to its power-down routine, hoping that there would be more anomalies of winter before actual spring came to pass.


Anfractuous: rare

Pandiculation: stretching and stiffening of the trunk

Compunction: feeling of guilt

Superfluous: Unnecessary

ne plus ultra: ultimate

quitodian: Daily, ordinary

waldeinsamkeit: Untranslatable from German but roughly meaning ‘the feeling of being alone in the woods’, isolated, peaceful and reflective