I should come up with a nickname for the firstborn. I don’t feel right about using his real name. It’s the internet after all. Truthfully, we always called him “The Ace”. I guess that’ll do.
So last Friday, The Ace and I went for our first “real” ride since he became a legal motorcycle rider. We did a little bit of riding around our neighborhood. I took the lead. That way, I could scan ahead for cars or other hazards. He followed behind. I told him over and over that if he became uncomfortable for any reason at all, to just pull over. I would circle around and find him. He never did.
After riding around the neighborhood a bit, we decided to stretch our legs a little and go to a little local restaurant for some dinner. This meant we had to get out of the neighborhood and on to a real road. A road that had speeds up to 45 miles per hour. The Ace never flinched. I think it was more his vision of the “end goal” of getting some tasty food without considering the route to get there.
The road out of the neighborhood required us to take a right turn onto the main road. At that point, we had excellent visibility off to the left. I looked and saw we had clear sailing. After waiting for The Ace to get ready, we pulled out onto the main road. The road goes up hill with a gentle sweep to the left. Nothing anyone can’t handle. I make my way up and find myself with one eye on the road and one eye on the mirror to make sure all is well with my new rider.
At the top of the hill, the road gets straight and flat. This is what I had in mind for us. You can see nearly all the way to the restaurant from there. It’s just a straight shot. There are a couple of hills, but nothing major. After a little bit at 35 mph, the speed increases to 45 mph. Again, I am watching as the Ace finds his groove. The little Honda is doing admirably with him at the helm.
Eventually, we arrive at the restaurant. Considering it’s 6:00 on a Friday night, the place is understandably packed. To my delight, the Ace is managing the parking lot like an old pro. He’s circling around looking for a place for us. No luck though.
On the way to the restaurant, we passed a different place. I noticed a couple of open spots in their parking lot, so we cross the street and go there. The open spots I saw were handicapped spots, but it’s okay because there are a few other open spots available as well. We park the bikes and head in.
This is when it should have hit me. When the one restaurant is packed to bursting and this one has open spots in the parking lot, something should have alerted in my head. Why aren’t people here?
The place is a mexican restaurant. Or Tex-Mex. I’m not sure what the difference is. All I know is that the bar had a wide variety of tequila and the menu was filled with all sorts of tacos, enchiladas and burritos. The Ace and I were served up a bowl of delicious chips and salsa. Our drink orders were taken and we were given the menus.
And that was it.
For 20 minutes.
We sat and sat and sat.
Finally, the guy came back and took our order. Two burritos. One with shredded beef and one with chicken.
Then that was it again.
We sat and sat.
Our chips long gone and our drinks nothing but cups of ice. We looked around.
Finally and very much out of character for me, I asked “Can you check on our food? It’s been a long time.”
The dude took off and returned apologetically. “Sorry about the wait. It should be about another 5 or 10 minutes.”
5 or 10 minutes?! These are burritos! It should have been 5 or 10 minutes since we placed the order. So now we’re 40 minutes in and looking at another 10 minutes?!
Well guess what. We didn’t see the guy for *another* 20 minutes. Here we are an hour into our “visit”. At least he finally had our food.
The real problem with this was not that the food (which was really good when it finally arrived) was crazy late nor that the service was virtually non-existent in a restaurant that still had open parking spots.
The real problem was that because of the slow service and the time we arrived, the Ace was facing the possibility that he’d have to ride when the sun was going down. Neither he nor I was happy about that.
Thankfully, it worked out okay. He got some miles on the bike and we had a nice evening. Next time, we’ll try a different restaurant. And maybe we’ll head out a little earlier.