Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gotta Love Those Backroads

Back when I started my blog I posted a story called "Ode to the Old Dirty Biker". At the end of the post I requested if any ODBs wanted to share their stories to feel free. Well...not sure if this guy is an ODB but I have a feeling that he is. Hope you enjoy this story as much as I did. I'd like to thank the author for sharing it with me so that I could share it with all of you.

I am not a big fan of interstates...and before I irritate those that love the super slabs....yes, I understand that you can cover lots of miles on the interstates. I have actually ridden many a 700 mile day on them myself, but usually only because I needed to be at a specific place in the quickest time possible.

But...you have to love those backroads. That is where America can truly be found. These are the roads that lead to the best little roadside diners, mom and pop motels, and some of the most interesting people you could ever hope to meet.

My riding partner, RV, and I have been trying to ride to Gettysburg for almost 7 years now, but we just never seem to make it. Yeah...we know where it is, but every time we point the bikes in that direction we always seemed to get sidetracked. Most times it was spending too much time with old friends on the way, but it was also new places found on the way that were just too good to pass up.

This year...this year we actually made it all the way to Gettysburg ...and with the exception of just a few miles...all on backroads.

What was special about this backroad trip...nothing really...and everything. For me, it isn't about mind blowing experiences, but rather the simple experiences and joys that riding brings.

Someone told me that "life is what happens to you between the plans you make". Ain't that the truth? But that is what makes the journey fun and amazing. Your choice is whether to view events as adventure or misery. Take for example our first 10 miles of the first morning. We are taking a state road in West Virginia ...one that needed a little upgrade, so the construction barrels are out preventing access to the shoulder on our side. Normally...no big deal, but when Mother Nature decides that this is a great time for a rainstorm...you have a choice...laugh or cry.

Granted...we couldn't pull off to put on raingear due to the construction and yeah, we got soaked to the bone...but I was still laughing my ass off...mainly because RV was just as wet as I was and he hates rain! Soon, I could see him laughing in my rearview mirror as well. He really started to smile when we broke out of the rain and back into the sunshine. Twenty miles later and we are dry and sweating.

A few backroads later and we are in a small place called Little Orleans. Not much there, but it had everything we needed...gas and food. How long has it been since you used the old time gas pump that you have to press a button to reset, flip a lever, and has the little numbers that mechanically roll around? Get on the backroads and you will still find them. Funny thing was that apparently the old pumps only allow a price of $3.99 and with gas well over 4 bucks, the owner had a sign up stating that gas was twice the price of $2.23 that was shown on the pump!!

Once inside, we found a small lunch counter and a grill. Ahhhhhhh yes...cheeseburgers made by hand and cooked by a little old lady with countless years of making simple things taste out of this world. Remember those interesting people I mentioned...well our waitress was one of them. She had moved to Little Orleans from Washington D.C. a few years back. She had enough of city life and moved site unseen to the country to raise English Bulldogs and ride her 1992 Sportster. We found out that she gets $2,500 for each of those bulldog pups and she has about 16 litters, several pups to a litter, a year...damn...who knew. When I asked if she needed a house husband to help her spend her money, she replied "hell no...I am done with that...I am not scratching any man's ass again". I laughed myself right off of my stool...but we did get free pie and an offer to stay at her place. We took the pie but had to pass on the lodging offer as we wanted to push on.

As I told you earlier...we did make it to Gettysburg and wouldn't you know it, that on the backroad leading into town, we found a little mom and pop motel. You might remember the kind...horseshoe shape configuration, all the rooms with exterior doors facing a small courtyard. And to no surprise, our neighbors across the courtyard were bikers as well, up from North Carolina ...via the backroads!!! The next morning, Ol' Pop brought all of us old towels to wipe the previous night's rain off the bikes. He regaled us with stories of when he used to ride back in the 40s and 50s. Told us that today's backroads were the main highways back yonder and motels like his were the norm rather than the exception. He even came down our last night with a six-pack of beer and more stories. Find that at your Holiday Inn or Best Western!!!

We left the next morning heading south and then west. I didn't even have any idea what state we were in most of the time... Pennsylvania , Maryland , or West Virginia as the backroads weave from one state to the next without much fanfare. If finally became clear that we were in West Virginia and on one of the most beautiful two lanes I have been on in a long time. We were winding our way thru the mountains on a ribbon of a road carved thru rock. Slow sweeping turns combined with sharp twisties made for the perfect stretch of road. As we entered into another section carved thru the mountain with sheer rock faces on each side of the road, we came around a blind curve to find a bear...a big bear...a really big black bear standing in the middle of the road on all fours. RV and I locked up the brakes on the bikes...I know, I know...never lock up your rear brake...but did I mention there was a BEAR...and we slid to a stop about 20 feet from the bear. Now, I thought he was big when he was on all fours....but when he stood up, he was huge. I locked the front brake, hit the throttle, slipped the clutch and slid the bike in the other direction. I guess that was enough reason for Mr. Bear to run the other way and saved me from taking another layer of rubber off my brand new Avon tire. RV rode behind him for about 40 yards before the bear went up the shallow part of mountain face and disappeared into the woods. RV swears the bear was running at 18 m.p.h!! Did I mention the bear was big!! Later RV scolded me for sliding my scooter for a get away...but he finally admitted he was going to do the same thing but was too damn slow!!!

A couple hours and a couple of backroads later, we find ourselves in a little town called Capon Bridge . Time for a gas stop and food. We went inside to ask for a local place to eat when I saw her...you know...her...that drop dead gorgeous chick that makes you forget the rest of the world for a moment. She was paying for her drink...long dark hair down to her waist...even longer legs down to the ground...obviously had been poured into her jeans just that morning...twinkling eyes...and a smile to die for. I know all these things because I was staring...staring so hard that I walked into the plate glass door. I still have the bump on my forehead to prove it. She laughed...I said "damn, that was worth it" and I followed her outside to talk. We finally got around to the issue of food and she tells us that she works at a little bar called Full Throttle and is headed there to open up the place. She tells us that the bar doesn't open for another hour or so, but that if we want, she will cook up some hot wings. Hmmmmm...if I want…if I want?? I just rammed a plate glass door...of course we will be happy to partake of some yard bird. So, off we go...we eat and drink...on the house. Find that on the interstates!!

As with all trips...this one came to an end. Was it anything special...yes...and no. Every day and every ride is special and while at the same time being nothing extraordinary. Just great roads...great sites...great people...all courtesy of the backroads.

As I said...gotta love those backroads.

Fly

9 comments:

Dean "D-Day" said...

That was a great story! Loved it!

I am a backroads biker too and will avoid the interstates at all costs. How boring to fly down some concrete slab with no scenery and no interesting people to interact with. I really don't care if I have a time schedule. If I'm not going to revel in the ride, it almost seems pointless. I really don't care if my bike can go 100 mph. If I can't spend a little time to kindle the road-mance with Dixie, I feel like I've wasted our time together.

Thanks for sharing this Steph! It was a great journey.

Ann said...

Awesome story!

I really don't care for riding on the freeways, either. It's so much more interesting on the back roads.

Ronman said...

My skin is still tingling from this post. A kindred spirit indeed. I've yet to travel the roads mentioned here but I've traveled them many a mile. I'll stop before I go on and on.

Thanks Fly and Steph,

Ronman

"Joker" said...

I'm tingling too, but that might be from looking at porno before I switched over to the blogs!

That's such an awesome story it almost seems made up. Almost. When I head up to Maine next week I hope to find some similar experiences. I just hope when I find "her," she's not wearing a flannel shirt and sporting a row of baked beans where her pearly whites should be! It is Maine afterall...

Great post Steph...luv ya!!

Ann said...

Joker: Maine is where the men are men and the sheep are scared! :) Have fun!

dan said...

Your so right about the back roads. Hwy 14 from Winona Minnesota to Brookings SD is a great road. Lots of small towns. Stay on 14 through Pierre to Hayes and then Hwy 34 into Sturgis. You have never seen anything like it. You can see forever. I now take Hwy 50 out of Yankton to Hwy 44 on to Rapid City. Its pretty bare but there is no trafic except bikes. You might want to top off the tank at Wanblee with there 87 proof gas, and again at Interior. Great place in Interior call the Horseshoe Bar. Its a hot ride from there through the lower badlands to Rapid City, so don't stay there too long. We made that mistake last trip. You can also get a great Buffalo burger there. Anyone looking to get off I90, they are both great routes. Ride Safe, dan

Lady Ridesalot said...

Really, really good story! I loved it! I laughed out loud when I read the part about RV chasing after the bear instead of turning to run! LOL! I could just picture this! And I bet those were the best chicken wings Fly ever had! Thanks for sharing this with us Stephanie!

mrs road captain said...

Great story! I am all about the backroads myself...and really, the speed limits on most of them are 50 or 55 mph, so you are really not losing much time at all over the superhighways! In fact, sometimes they even go in a more direct route and can actually be faster! Regardless, the scenery and enjoyment of the ride is worth the few extra minutes anyway.

Linda R. Moore said...

Love the story! Apart from the bear bit, it sounds like many of my trips. :)