I saw the man approaching and thought to myself, "Now I'm in for it. I'm probably not supposed to be parked here."
I had been looking for Lock No. 11 on the Erie Canal, but somehow missed it and found myself at Lock No. 12 instead. I rode down to the water's edge, parked my bike on a concrete slab, and started taking photos of the fog, the lock itself, and some ducks.
And here he came. The man in charge who would soon be asking me what the heck I was doing there, "and don't you know this is private property, and you can't bring a motorcycle down here, now off with you, mate."
Because those are the kind of first thoughts we usually think when we're not really sure of the rules.
Oops, I'm caught.
There's the enemy coming to spoil my day.
Why can't people just let me be?
But then he said, "Nice day for a ride."
His name was Dave. He was about my height, a bit younger, was wearing a wind breaker and an earring.
"Every day's a nice day for a ride," I said, giving him my pat response. And before you know it we were talking about the canal, how he had traded his job on Long Island for this one, where I was headed, and I secretly berated myself for thinking that this was going to be anything BUT a nice day.
I'll be honest, I don't remember our conversation word for word, but I remember that I had met someone who, if I'd lived a bit closer, I could call my friend. We'd go drink together at the local pub, I'd come down to the lock on my days off just to help out and see the people who passed by, and we'd probably go riding together, whether it was a nice day or not.