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Hi everyone,
I have been posting a few stories from the road to my Facebook wall, and I hope you don't mind if I share here as well. This is from my ride last Saturday, July 26. :)

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Delaware hates me.

I was sitting on my motorcycle under an overpass on Route 1, watching the rain pound down onto the highway and the surrounding countryside.

Delaware hates me because the last time I rolled Dorothy’s wheels across the state, zig-zagging from east to west, I kept running into the smell of poop, and I was quite vocal in telling people about it.

“Delaware smells like poop” escaped my lips half a dozen times in the past week. And this thunderstorm, this drenching rain with machine-gun hail that went rat-a-tat against my helmet was how the state was getting back at me.

The day didn’t start out looking wet, and when I first pulled out of my driveway the forecast for my area didn’t even mention rain. I neglected to check the weather a hundred miles north, however. Hunkered down, hiding from the storm two days ago, I would say that the odds of precipitation were at about 100%.

I listened to the thrumming whine of Dorothy’s idling engine mixed with the steady patter of rain and couldn’t help but sense the motorcycle’s impatience… it’s need to keep moving, to continue forward progress. To GO. Every pulse of the big V-4 seemed to whisper “Let’s get going… “

I relented to Dorothy’s plaintive grumblings when the rain finally started to lighten, after sitting for nearly half an hour. I wasted gas by leaving the motorcycle running for that long, I know, but we were having such a good conversation that I just couldn’t turn the key.

Checking over my shoulder, I twisted my wrist and the cable pulled open the fuel gates, flooding Dorothy’s ignition chambers with fiery propulsion, launching me down the road. Again.

I was headed for Lancaster that day, and the roads surrounding it. I had decided to take a direct route north, then spend a few hours exploring some of the roads of southern Pennsylvania’s Dutch Country. It was a long day, a long and glorious day of riding and getting lost and technology failing me and then saving the day. It was a day of discoveries and joys, of sights and sounds and smells and smiles and the never-ending, relentless and perpetual passage of pavement beneath my foot pegs. The miles rolled on, Dorothy disappointing me only when she decided to stop charging my phone, leaving me without navigation in the wilds of Amish country. I got lost, once again, giving weight to my theory that “lost” is a thematic element to the majority of my long rides. But this time, getting lost didn’t just result in losing a couple of hours and almost heading the wrong way across the Bay Bridge. This time, getting lost gave me the most amazing roads I have ever traveled on.

The roads were curvy and smooth. They went up and down the hills, around bends and over bridges and beneath canopies of trees reaching overhead like long lost friends shaking hands across the pavement. There were bubbling streams, calling to me to race them, clouds that played peek-a-boo with the sun, and cows that looked way more happy and content than any of the tourists I saw gawking at the Plain Folk and their simple ways. I saw the Amish everywhere, and marveled at how calm their horses were amid the frantic cars and trucks (and motorcycles) whizzing by. I wondered at a boy, dressed in black pants, suspenders and a long-sleeved shirt, pushing along a kind of scooter. The scooter had big tires, like a bicycle, but no seat and no pedals. He launched the vehicle along with one foot, standing with the other on a platform. Perched precariously on the handlebars as he pushed along was a Weed-Eater. A real machine… gasoline powered, with a spark plug and everything. How strange it was to think that these people would eschew zippers and pedals and electricity but could find room in their philosophy for weed whackers. The world is an amazing place.

I saw a girl, about my daughter Carolyn’s age, dressed in a brown dress and wearing tinted glasses against the intermittent summer sun. She was mowing her lawn with an old-timey grass trimmer, the kind that had beautiful curving blades that intertwined and scissored against the grass, cutting it with a quiet snick-snick-snick sound.

For a time, while I was lost, I could concentrate on nothing but trying to find a road south. I pulled over and unfolded my road map several times. This map was a replacement for the atlas that I had given away a week ago, but I didn’t notice how useless it was until it was already packed in Dorothy’s saddlebag. If I had given it much thought, I would have known that there would not be enough detail concerning local roads on a map that covered the entire eastern half of the United States. None of the roads that I traveled on showed up. I was Off the Grid.

I stumbled on a town (I can’t remember the name of it) that had a Target. Knowing that most Target stores carried a full line of electronics, I parked my motorcycle and entered the store to buy an external battery charger. Thankfully, they sold a kind that came fully charged. I plugged my phone into it, let it sip power for a few minutes, then was on my way, happily navigating through the beautiful countryside.

Like always, I learned a few things on my trip. I learned that tourists are tourists where ever you go. They don’t always look happy to be where they are. They sometimes shove cameras right into an Amish person’s face, and it must take a colossal strength of will to keep from slugging them when they do that. I learned that people are generally happy to see motorcycles, with the rare exception of Harley riders who look down on anyone who does not ride a Harley. I almost always wave to my fellow two-wheeled warriors. That day, I saw several Harley riders who didn't wave back, or even acknowledge my huge red motorcycle that must have looked like some sci-fi monstrosity to them. More unsettling to me was the one man who didn't just not wave… he actually put his left hand behind his back and gave me a stony frown while he slowly shook his head “no.” I shrugged and laughed to myself a little, because I had seen that same tactic used by my son, Christopher, but he outgrew it. He’s five now. I don’t mind riders who don’t wave back; I sometimes find my hands too busy controlling the motorcycle or sometimes I don’t even notice the oncoming bikes until they are past. I absolutely don’t have anything against Harley-Davidson motorcycles, either. They are solid, dependable motorcycles with a distinct history and an important place in the culture and spirit of our country. But I marvel at the people who want others to express their individuality by conforming to a group, and who insist that Harleys are the only “real” motorcycle choice because they are made in America. I wonder if they watch TV on a device that was made in the United States, or if their cell phones or socks were made here. I also wonder if they think anything of the real, flesh and blood people who DID make my Honda, even if they were half a world away. The people who designed and constructed Dorothy… they matter too, I think.

As I thundered home that evening (late again), I reflected on another day on the road. I had learned one lesson from my experience last week: I had my clear face shield clicked onto my helmet, so the night-time ride was not as harrowing, and was immeasurably quieter than it was a week ago.

And I learned another thing, too: Dorothy’s gas tank can take me about 200 miles before it needs a refill, but my butt is only good for about 100 miles before it needs a rest.

And the final lesson from my 15-hour, 600-mile day on the Road: There’s No Place Like Home.
 

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This is a good read guy! I look forward to your next post. :ty:

Rav
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dang, 600 miles is a weekend tour for me.
Well, it would have been closer to 400 miless if I hadn't spent 200 miles being lost! :(
 
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Man, I could have read on and on! This is so well written!

Thank you for sharing :ty:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What's wrong with that? :350x700px-LL-66dd6d :)
Well, it did give me a great ride, that's for sure, but it put me much later getting home than I planned. Also, I really need a GoPro. It would have been great to take photos from the bike without having to pull over and whip out the (dead for most of the day) cell phone. I don't know if I would be able to handle having a helmet-mounted setup, but I am thinking that a camera on the handlebars would be nice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the positive comments everyone; I have a few more things that I can post, including the write-up from last week's ride of 427 miles. If anyone is interested (and I feel like a dork saying this), you can find me on Facebook. My name is Shane Kio... that should do it. :)
 
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