Ahh, the ride...what makes the ride so magical? Is it the wind? Is it the freedom? Is there an answer?
There are so many things that make rides magical and yet with this kind of magic there aren't many secrets. There are components right there in front of you and as long as you are paying attention (and on a bike you'd better be!) all secrets are revealed.
On my most recent trip I started in Elliott County, Kentucky (my S.O., Danette, and I have been working in Kentucky for about a year now) and my first stop was to Lexington Motor Sports for a new front tire - an Avon Storm. I had Michelins put on last fall and as I am an avid rider of winding roads a new front is what I needed. Since parennial tire purchasing seems to be the need I am going to 'field test' a few different brands (no complaints with the Michelins except for the big white - REALLY white, naked, outta shape, cartoon guy and his dog lurking about.)
So Craig at Lexington Motor Sports treated me well and, quite frankly, rubberred my BMW R1150RT cheaper than any BMW dealer I contacted would. The one little snaffu occurred when I was going out to let the fellow take my bike into the garage. Apparently someone thought that lowering their garage door to height of about 5'9" was a good idea. I being 6' tall and obviously not paying attention at this moment (technically I wasn't riding at the time...) proceeded to ram my, protected w/ less hair now, forehead into the door removing a small layer of skin but adding a nice headache for the remainder of the days ride. How the service guy didn't laugh his head off I will never know!
Anyhoo, my intent was to trek to Iron Pony Motor Sports in Columbus, Ohio and do a little 'kid-in-a-candy-store' action in hopes to acquire a tankbag and who knows what else (have you seen this place?!). With a throbbing head and too much Cincinnati traffic I ended the days ride somewhere around Dayton, Ohio. I found an adequate hotel, a nice dinner, and a great band that played Couldn't stand the weather, Soul shine, and a killer (my request) 15 - 20 minute Whipping Post among other tunes. It was either the rum or the tequila that quelled my scraped up head.
The next morning meant finding my brother, Morgan, in Brown County, Indiana for some riding and a night of camping. I was packed w/ tent, sleeping bag, clothes, and a camp coffee pot for morning Starbucks - there's only so much roughing it one can take! And, yes, this meant no Iron Pony shopping spree.
I made the trip to the middle of southern Indiana and the beautiful County of Brown w/ only one goof: apparently 74 west does NOT intersect w/ 46 west in Indiana, even though it sure looks that way on the map. So I was a smidge later than expected but, hey, who is more forgiving than family.....don't answer that. All was well; Morgan was at the Last Resort Campground waiting and we promptly unloaded, set up the tent, and jumped on our bikes. Morgan has a beautiful 2004 Suzuki Volusia 800 cruiser that he's comfortably tweaked just right with a few modifications.
We headed into Nashville, the quaint little touristy town in Brown County and sniffed around for lunch. Our noses did NOT let us down. We waited a well worth it 30 minutes to have a divine lunch: rolls w/ applebutter, coleslaw, fried chicken and taters-n-gravy. Sounds pretty average, eh? FOGETTABOUTIT!!! The rolls are what Danette would call grecian rolls that are fried not baked and came promptly to the table warm and with applebutter from the gods of culunary excellence. Morgan and I would have been happy to have the complimentary appetizers as a meal! Then came coleslaw...yeah, I know, coleslaw. It was on a bread plate and kinda flattened out on the plate (I know not why). My thesaurus escapes me to expain the bliss of this seemingly lame food item...it was simply THE best coleslaw ever and I can't even think of time in my 42 years that I have EVER raved about some stupid coleslaw! Then came the fried chicken - good Lord my mouth is watering. Morgan said that if we went into their kitchen we would probably find a crew of septa and octagenarians (grandmas) in there making this stuff from scratch - it was all just THAT good! This all from The Nashville House in the heart of this town.
We decided to drive through the Brown County State Park, although napping was discussed. The park is utterly beautiful and has plenty of windy, well-paved roads and wonderful views. I did; however, miss perhaps the best view of the day. One should perhaps know that Morgan is, by far, the more pragmatic, wise, and safety-minded brother of the two of us. This mid-afternoon I was leading us around the park and came upon an ascending left to right switchback or hairpin turn. The caution sign was marked w/ 15 m.p.h. but 5 m.p.h. may have helped. As I approached the turn a truck was coming down readying to make its left as I was making my right in the bend of the turn quite cautiously cause the roads aren't real wide anyway. I went up the hill a couple blockes disatnce or so and did not see my big brother in my mirrors. I stopped in the middle of the road and turned around: no Morgan. It was hardly any elapsed time but enough for me to u-turn cause somethin' weren't right!
I got to the bend of said turn and Morgan was kind of being pushed by two pedestrians from the truck. I was simply curious, "what haahappened?" I said. We got to the top of the hill and we parked our steeds. His story: he was approaching the bend and saw the truck and reacted by slowing down and before he realized was, then, too slow. He went to put his right foot down and was so close to the edge of the road that his foot was reaching for empty space as there was a 6" drop off from the pavement. He knew he was going down so he decided to really flop off of the bike and roll as to not let the bike fall on him. The truck fellas saw all and kindly helped out.
Morgan was just fine and his bike of four years got its first few character-building scratches. Really: no harm done, unless, of course, you count Morgan's ego! We ended up laughing so hard we nearly peed our pants. I would've paid 100 bucks to have been behind him to see his newly patented 'stop, flop, and roll' maneuver. He was quite happy I had the lead that particular day. He did notice me vibrating later on my bike as it took a while for my chuckles to subside.
We rode more and ended up in Seymour (John Mellencamp's hometown) for an ok dinner, calls to our women, and a cool ride back to the Last Resort for a fire and a bottle of wine (red, of course). The next morning we had perculated java and oatmeal that I fortified with almonds, raisins, cimmminniimum, and a touch of organic sugar. We used the sites shower house (cleaner than most hotels!!) and were clean and refreshed.
We rode to Bloomington where our big Sister went to college and rode around that awesome city. It really is just a marvelous town - clean, cultured, and people out everywhere walking around (I know-'duh' it's a college town). We had gyros and spanikopita from The Trojan Horse and then decided to go our seperate ways: he north; me south.He had a 2 er 3 hour ride while I had a 4 er 5 hour clip. My friend John (my Kentucky riding buddy) was going to meet me at Malone's in Lexington for dinner and a drink but decided to try to garage his boat instead. This worked out well as I got home to my honey for some of her great cooking, my recliner, and some Sunday Night Football.
I logged 827 miles on my weekend jaunt. I got a new tire, heard great music, got to hang with one of my three brothers, ate great food, smelled southern Indiana farm country, and leaned into countless turns on the two-wheeled machine of my dreams. These are the secrets to the magic of my weekend!
Thanks for reading,