Dear Diary... a glimpse into the pages of a journal written by a woman rider.
July 5, 2009
Once again, I found myself following my fearless leader, Harley, down the road while we took ourselves to Panama City for the 4th of July weekend. Only this time, I rode my own Glide and Harley was in his own truck. A simple back tire replacement earlier in the week, lead to the discovery that his Street Glide had a loose bearing. Warranty work... good. Had to order part... bad. He didn't get his bike out in time for the weekend.
We changed out my seat and put the tour pack back on, so we could ride two up, once we got there. He offered to put my Glide on the trailer so I could ride in the truck with him and our puppies, in the comfort of the A/C. Panama City is a nice 185 miles, and even though it's pretty hot, I still wanted to ride.
So... Harley took the lead, and I followed. With his radar detector on and roaming, we were able to clip along at a nice pace, making my ride even more enjoyable. The sun was high in the sky and the wind felt warm on my face as I relaxed and took it all in. It wasn't long before we settled into our normal riding rhythm as if we were both on two. Anyone following us for any length of time would have noticed the graceful synchronization of the blue Ford truck and the black Electra Glide as we maneuvered together, through holiday traffic.
We came up on a dead possum or something and Harley drifted so far over to the right, his right tires were on the shoulder of the road. He could have easily straddled it, but as my own personal "road captain", he has a habit of kicking his right or left foot out, to warn me of upcoming road kill or other hazards that need to be avoided. Since he couldn't do that, he'd position his truck to the far left or far right of his lane, to signal my warnings. I smiled to myself at the reaction he got from other drivers who no doubt thought he was crazy for swerving so.
We got to Panama City without any problems and had a fabulous 4th of July weekend with our friends. Sunday morning, as we headed back home, we stopped to get gas before we got out of Florida. During our pit stop, Harley revealed to me that I may get wet. The radio was telling of an upcoming storm in the Montgomery area and he was hoping it held off until we got there. We decided to forgo any more stops and just get our butts home.
Traffic was pretty heavy and we did our best to find our comfortable rhythm, but it was like maneuvering through a moving parking lot. It was really hot again today and I was getting pretty thirsty. I was beginning to wonder if my decision not to stop needed to be retracted. As we approached one of the stop lights near Ozark, I noticed Harley had his window down and was dangling a travel mug out the window as if to say, "want some?" I split the lane and pulled up along side of him and said, "hey mister, got something to drink?" I took two long draws on the straw and was rewarded instantly with the cool refreshing taste of sweet tea. I should have known... Harley loves his sweet tea!
At three more lights along the way, he put his mug out there and I would pull up along side and take my drinks. By the time we were about to leave the city limits of Troy, I told him I was good and we can book it the rest of the way home. I wonder what the folks around us thought. "Look at that nice truck driver giving that hot thirsty rider a drink... how sweet."
We were about 15 miles from home when the sky opened up. I noticed Harley tap his brakes as he slowed down. He waved me around him, and as I rode passed, he pointed forward, for me to take the lead. I guess he figured if anyone was going to ride behind me in a hard rain storm, it was going to be him. I had been riding under the blazing sun for three hours now, was hot and tired, and I welcomed the cooling rain on my skin. It felt soooo good!
We pulled into the driveway and I got off the bike and thought... that was great! Riding by myself made me feel a little vulnerable at times because I feel there is safety in numbers, even if it's just the two of us. I crossed paths with a couple other solo riders during our trip down and back, and as I waved I wondered, are they really alone? I'm glad I chose to ride, and with Harley leading the way, I knew I would be fine.
I may have been riding solo... but I was certainly not alone.