Permission to Ride

by J.D. Roth

Losing things is one of the hazards of travel.

I’ve heard horror stories of people who have lost their luggage, for example. Or had it lost for them. Last autumn, for example, I was fast asleep in my room in Lima when my roommate arrived.

“Sorry, mate,” Steve announced as he turned on the light. It was 2am. “My plane just got in from Australia, and my luggage isn’t with it.” For the next three weeks, Steve was constantly on the phone with the airline trying to track down his bags. He never found them.

Other times, folks lose things to pickpockets.

Me? I have a tendency to lose things to carelessness. I get distracted and leave things behind.

I did great on my recent trip to Turkey, though. I made it through Denver, two weeks in Turkey, and four days in New York, and I didn’t lose a single thing. Not until the airport, anyhow.

At the TSA checkpoint, I showed my driver license with my boarding pass. I passed through the scanners, gathered my things, and flew to Atlanta. When I went to show my ID at the hotel, my driver license wasn’t there. Crap.

Then, on my last night in Atlanta, I was upstairs in the bar, dancing with the ladies from the Savvy Blogging Summit. I was hot, so I pulled off my sweater (my $180 sweater) and tossed it on a nearby sofa. Not a smart move. Guess where that sweater still is…

This week, my first week back from my trip, I’ve been running all sorts of errands. Top on the list, of course, was obtaining a replacement license.

Oregon motorcycle manualI stopped by the DMV yesterday at lunchtime. I pulled number 116 and looked at the board — they were only up to 79. It was going to be a long wait. I sat down and looked around. There, before me, I saw the Oregon Motorcycle Manual.

“What luck!” I thought. “Don’t I want to get the motorcycle endorsement for my license?” Indeed, I do. I picked up a copy of the manual and started reading.

Much to my surprise, I found out that you can actually get a motorcycle permit in Oregon. That’s right. If you pass a written test, the DMV will give you a motorcycle instruction permit, just like you might get when you’re learning to drive a car. On a whim, I decided that’s what I wanted to do. I looked at the board — they were only up to 84. I began to read as fast as I could.

Forty-five minutes later, I had skimmed the motorcycle manual twice and could answer the practice questions with ease. When they called number 116, I stepped forward, applied for my replacement license and asked to test for the motorcycle permit.

“You want a motorcycle permit?” the woman asked. She seemed skeptical.

“I do,” I said.

And so I took the test. There were 25 questions. I could miss five. Which I did. But in the end, I passed and was awarded the prize:

My motorcycle instruction permit

The thing is, this permit is nearly useless. All it does is let me ride a motorcycle as long as a licensed motorcyclist is riding near me.

In order to get the actual motorcycle endorsement for my license in Oregon, I need to complete a motorcycle rider education course through the one organization in the state that offers them. Without completing this course, I can’t legally ride a motorcycle by myself.

When I showed the permit to Kim, she was baffled. “But you don’t even know how to ride,” she said.

“I know,” I said. I don’t even know how to turn a motorcycle on. The permit is useless, but it’s fun to have. And one of my goals is to actually be able to ride a motorcycle come spring. This winter, I’ll take the motorcycle rider education course, and when the weather warms, maybe I’ll be buzzing around the backroads of Oregon on two wheels.

Updated: 19 October 2012

Do what's right. Do your best. Accept the outcome.
Copyright © 1994 - 2022 by J.D. Roth