One summer I was headed to a family reunion in West Virginia. Family and the state of West Virginia have almost been the same thought for me for all of my life. The mountains are far more than a collection of rock, dirt, and trees. These mountains have witnessed my history. Not only my lifetime but the lifetimes of the people from whom I trace my life, my core beliefs, and my thrill of traveling this land.
Maybe it’s my imagination working overtime at the thrill of the ride, but I feel like I can depend on the people who populate these hills as if they are my family. A lot of them are. My family gladly traces its lineage to second, or third cousins. We include many of our close friends as “family.” We know that wherever we are in the world, if we knock on a door of a family member, we will be taken in. We will be received with hospitality and care that comes from the duty and respect of our common but sometimes distant history in these mountains.
(Please forgive the philosophy but riding US Route 60 is a motorcycling dream that encourages large thoughts.)
As I began my descent toward Rainelle, I heard my rear tire make a “pow” as if it just spit a large rock. This wasn’t unheard of, but I was surprised I hadn’t noticed a piece of gravel in my path that would have made a sound as pronounced as it did. Then, in the next turn, I leaned the cruiser over, and it felt …heavy.
Now my bike pushes 800 pounds with a full tank of gas, but ordinarily it handles like a crotch rocket in the twistys. I like to imagine it’s a football player body that can still dance ballet. This balance and feel is a careful arrangement of geometry, mechanical design, and great tires. The next turn and the next told me that the football player was pirouetting like he’d had a few beers.
Suddenly the road didn’t seem as friendly as before.
…TO BE CONTINUED