Friends & Family (F&F) Tour: Day 1
Well, I’m on the road again. This time I embark on a relatively short ride (three weeks & 4,000 miles) taking me through 16 states as I visit (impose upon?) family and friends, catching up on scattered lives while once again enhancing my own with a two-wheeled solo sojourn.
I wasn’t sure I was going to blog this trip. There will be no awesome scenery to gush over (e.g. Newfoundland or Alaska). There will be no wildlife adventures to regale readers with (e.g. Rocky Mountains). There will be no medeival castles or soaring cathedrals that stir my historic imagination (e.g. this summer’s river cruise). And there will be very few pictures to entertain blog followers who don’t really like to read the crap I write. This isn’t that kind of trip.
While I very much look forward to seeing brothers, daughters and granddaughters and reconnecting with friends from throughout the past six decades, I won’t dwell on my daily interactions with them as I unwind from a day’s ride sipping Jack Daniel’s and updating hdriderblog. Instead, I’m going to use this opportunity to write random thoughts about things of interest to me. I wish I did more of that because I enjoy making impulsive mental stabs at literary creativity, but motorcycle trips seem to lend themselves best to my amateurish writing impulses.
Before I forget, though, today’s F&F tour started with a goodbye from my sidekick of 50 years whose willingness to let me venture off on my own for three, four, five, six weeks at a time speaks volumes about her admirable adaptability to my wanderlust impulses. (There are probably some friends who know us who would say she’s glad to have me out from underfoot for a while, but you would be wrong.) Apropos of a “friends” and family trip, as I was leaving Maggie Valley, I made a quick stop to say goodbye to friends celebrating their 60th anniversary today with a luncheon I was very sorry to have to miss.
Why did I have to miss their celebratory luncheon? Well, for those who haven’t emerged from their cave in a while, Florida is currently awash in one of the most destructive if not the most destructive hurricane in American history. We’ll know for sure when all the scorecards are tallied. And that hurricane is forecast to have a soggy atmospheric impact in North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. I wanted to avoid starting this trip in the precipitory detritus of Hurricane Irma. I’ve ridden in heavy rain before and will no doubt do it again, but I’d rather not if I don’t have to. And I didn’t have to. So I left today instead of on my planned departure date of tomorrow. Today’s ride started coolish (mid-40s), breezy and overcast, but, by the time I crossed into Tennessee and left the fast-paced Interstate for a more leisurely northwest course into and across Kentucky, blue skies and warmer temperatures made for a pleasant ride through still-green hills and mini-mountains.
As I rode under azure (as tinted by my aviator-style sunglasses) skies today, I thought about friends in north Florida preparing to experience Hurricane Irma. Why did they stay? I offered them shelter in the relatively safe harbor of Maggie Valley, but they opted to “hunker down” and take their chances. Did they stay to protect their “stuff?” Did they stay because the escape routes north had turned into 300-mile long parking lots? Or did they stay because, like most of us, they believe “it” won’t happen to them? “It” only happens to other folks. And what is “it?” Is “it” damage to their property? Is “it” injury to themselves? Is “it” something more final. “It’s” a mystery.
But don’t most of us or maybe all of us believe “it” only happens to others. Hurricanes and tornados hit “others.” But not me. Winning lottery tickets are picked by “others.” But not me. Cars run into “other” motorcyclists. But not me. A belief that “it” only happens to “others” makes it possible for us to proceed with our daily lives, to rationalize our fears, to accomodate an unknowable future.
At any rate, I will think often about my Florida friends during the next few days. I hope they avoid “it,” whatever “it” is. And I hope to see their smiling faces in a few weeks as the “F&F” tour eventually winds its way to Florida.