Charles Keefer's Blog

Writing about the tour

with 2 comments

George Primm reminded me that I should write with feeling about my motorcycle tour. So here goes.

Riding I-95 north looking to get out of Florida is boring to most folks. It isn’t really if you are riding a motorcycle, especially a naked motorcycle – one without a fairing.

Since you have nothing between you and the wind, you armor yourself with a motorcycle jacket to kill the wind and a full helmet you wouldn’t think of wearing around town. A full helmet reduces your field of vision to a tunnel and impairs your hearing, but it keeps that 70 mph wind out of your head.

It doesn’t keep the wind from knocking your head around. That is enough to keep you awake.

Riding a motorcycle at 70 mph up a straight, divided highway is much like flying. You only see the handle bars and the headlight – just enough to keep you centered on the vehicle. The rest is the world going past you.

You really get a sense of how large the world is. You start thinking about things like how many breaths you take to go a mile. You wonder how many miles it is before your butt starts hurthing. You wonder if that $500 Mustang seat will make a difference. You wonder how much farther the next rest stop is. You consider whether you can make it or whether to pull off at the next exit and buy a bottle of water at whatever gas station-mini mart there is just to get some circulation in your backside.

Riding north on I-95 is not boring. It hurts too much to be boring.

Then you get to Georgia. Much the same but with trees and huge, wonderful rivers with miles of marsh. You want to stop and just look at it. You imagine yourself with a kayak or a boat. But mountains are the object, not marshes.

Another day and you are there – the Blue Ridge Parkway. Strap the full face on the back of the bike and bring out the half helmet and sunglasses. Listen to the wind blowing past your ears.

Pull over at an overlook at about 5,000 feet in the sky. Look down at crinkles in the earth and feel their weight. It isn’t the curves you are going for. The bike takes them in stride. It is the weight. It is the awesomeness of where you are. You feel the heavyness.

Then you are wisking down through a gap with trees on both sides and a creek burbling on your left and you wonder how can this world be so beautiful.

That is why you ride a naked bike to the mountains.

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Written by Charles Keefer

May 13, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Posted in Blog, Motorcycles

2 Responses

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  1. Chuck, I can envision your trip. Makes me want to get my BMW out of the garage and hit the road, head north for the mountains. Been there, done that, numerous times but never tire of it. Something magical about winding mountain roads with streams and waterfalls at your side. The BRP (as locals call it) is a destination that never grows old. Enjoy your next trip, too!

    Ellen K

    May 14, 2011 at 8:22 am

  2. Nice piece. My longest ride on a motorcycle was from Miami to Orlando on the back of a friend’s Honda 100 shortly after Disney World opened. It made me long for the comparatively luxurious ride of my old Volkswagen bug.
    And I didn’t “remind” Chuck to write with feeling. He always does that. I merely referred him to a well-written blog entry about a pilot-motorcyclist’s trip to the mountains out West: flightlevel390.blogspot.com

    George P

    May 17, 2011 at 4:05 pm


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