Slowing Down to take it All In

Originally Published in Southeastern Rider Magazine, December 2018

End of the year reflections and checking the views

As a Midwest transplant to the southeast, I’m used to having to stop in the winter, and let the bike sit for weeks. I know most of us in the southeast don’t have to stop, but days that are good enough to ride become rare, the days good enough to ride mean extra layers.

The end of the year is also a natural time to think back over the past twelve months, as well as cruising my way to 100,000 miles. So, come with me on this ride through 2018.

A good group of bikes for the first of the year, thrown together ride.
The first real ride of the year was pretty typical for a premiere cruise. With an eye on the weather, a few guys start talking, before you know it, a plan is in place to meet up, and follow the leader. The only other rider I knew was Terry T-Bo. We cruised around Stanly and Anson County Roads. The sun poured through the blue Carolina Sky, but the temperatures were still cool. We made a stop for ice cream, but the corner shop hadn’t paid as much attention to the forecast as we did, and wasn’t open.

Terry and his friend check out the view while the
shadows of Kasey, Kina and I cast on the foreground.
Highlights are usually not expected, they just happen, and no foolin’, another highlight for the year was on April First. After riding around Stanly County, Kasey and made our way up to Morrow Mountain State Park’s Overlook. In addition to meeting T-Bo and his wife, we met another rider who had been out riding with them. This time around, we ended up at Sonic in Albemarle, North Carolina, where we grabbed a bite to eat.

Kasey and I are in our third year in North Carolina, but we had yet to do a large charity ride. Shortly after the first of the year, I started seeing posts about the Uwharrie Mountain Rumble. I wrote about the experience in an earlier edition. The ride was great, but the event was overwhelmed with the number of bikes. We were happy for the cause getting the support, but dismayed that the crowd meant we had to leave early and miss out on the meal and conversation. It will most likely be an event we skip in 2019.

April would show to be a month of rides by the seats of our pants. Earlier, we had decided to ride to the Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville, North Carolina. Originally, our plan to head out Saturday Morning and make the two-hour trip directly to the fair. On Friday afternoon, we changed plans, and headed out late in the afternoon with a new hotel reservation made for that night. It was a good plan, otherwise we would have had to have left in the dark on Saturday Morning and push our way through chilly air. By making most of the trip on Friday Evening, we could leave later the next morning, and give the sun some time to warm the air.

We wouldn’t escape the cold air on Sunday Morning, riding along part of the Blue Ridge with our phones telling us it was in the upper thirties. The saddle bags were empty, as we were wearing just about every stitch of clothing we brought for the trip.

While May was full of a lot of utility riding, to work, errands, etc. there is one trip I will remember
My view from the ditch that I was run off the road and down into.
Rode past here many times, never thought I would end up part of it.
for a long time, if not for the rest of my riding days. While doing my commute home heading south on Austin Road, I was moving through an area that dips down to a creek, and weaves back up hill on the other side. Because of this descent, there is often a county sheriff or state trooper looking to make some business. As my usual, I slowed down as I passed through the speed trap. As I approached the bridge and water crossing, I looked up the road to see two cars coming at me, side by side. In addition to being clearly marked as a no passing zone, it makes no sense to take to the oncoming lane in this area. It’s hard for me to believe that I kept my composure, as the wrong decision would have meant my demise. Both cars were speeding toward me above the posted 45 mile per hour speed limit. Since I have ridden this road many times, I instantly knew where I needed to go. I eased to the edge of the road, hoping I would be seen, and one of the cars would give way. Nothing doing, I’m not even sure they ever saw me. I eased the bike of the road’s edge, and down into the adjacent ditch. With the clutch pulled in, the bike slowed to a stop, and eased over in the grass. The cars were long gone. I fired the bike back up, but the tall grass was too slick to get traction. I knew I was going to need tow to get out. It was time to make the “phone call” to Kasey, and get her one her way with a tow strap.
Before she arrived, and pulled the bike out of the ditch, a county sheriff showed up, and assisted with traffic, and took a report. I have been looking for that gold Honda two door since, just to let them know they nearly took my life.

June would kick off with a ride to a great restaurant. We met up with our favorite riding partners, T-bo and his wife, and meandered our way through the Uwharrie National Forest until we met up with another couple close to the eatery. The food was worth the trip, and I highly recommend the River Wild Café if you are anywhere near it. It doesn’t matter if you are in the saddle, in a car, or even by boat, as it is a waterside café. The return trip was one of riding around the rain, and trying to escape without getting wet. We did get a soaking, but not bad enough to dawn the rain gear, and we were dry by the time we got home.

A week later, Kasey and I began the day at The Wayside Café in Stanfield, and then began a two-day journey north to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The home of Lincoln’s famous address was the host city for the twenty-second edition of Gathering of Eagles, Cruiser Club, USA’s annual meeting. After three days of riding through history, we began our way back, starting with a rainy leg on Skyline Drive. The rain would move out as we continued south on the Blue Ridge Parkway the following day, and that would be where The Black Pearl would cross over 95,000 miles on the odometer.

Early on day 2 of our return trip, the clouds remained on
 the Blue Ridge Parkway. The coated us in rain the day before on Skyline Drive.
With our big trip over for the year, we looked toward our next big project, looking for a new home. We rode around looking at a mix of homes, and raw land. While out and about, we lucked into finding a great little place to eat, and crossed over 96,000. Another grand of miles added to The Black Pearl, not bad for a month.

The month that host our nation’s independence saw me putting miles on another bike all by myself. My favorite riding partner was out of town visiting her parents, and I had an opportunity to take a new 2018 Honda Goldwing for a ride. It was the focus of an earlier article as part of my journey for a new motorcycle since The Black Pearl, my current Honda VTX 1800c, is approaching 100,000 miles.

Speaking of that mileage, August would kick off with bike trip to Myrtle Beach for Kasey and I’s
This captain provided a Seafood Buffet
 that appeared to be endless.
Below, one of the signs marking that
we had made to east end of the United States.


Honeymoon. After ten years, and probably 50,000 miles, of being together, we decided to make her spot on the pillion permanent, not that it wasn’t already. Shortly after returning from that trip, 97,000 miles would flip over on the odometer.

The rest of August, and the first week of September would feature a lot of riding as a commute to work. This would rack another 1000 miles up. Later in September, we packed up the bike with camping gear, and headed to IronHorse Campground for the Horizons Unlimited Meeting. It had been a while since I went moto-camping, and even though Kasey and went back and forth about whether we would try to make this trip, we survived, and actually enjoyed it enough to call it a success.

It was on this trip that I figured something out. We were riding the Cherahola Skyway, and Kasey was complaining about how often I was stopping at vistas. While the skyway is not a highly technical road, like all mountain roads, it demands respect, and begs for fun with a little speed. What she doesn’t realize, is that I don’t have time to really take in the scenery. I have probably missed a lot of what these rides have to offer because I was too busy driving.

Before the ninth month ended, the odometer flipped to leave only a thousand miles to the big goal. Since, Mother Nature has not cooperated as we had two hurricanes pass through and a chilly autumn. Because of the cool snap, I have also had a nasty cold. Just as another disclaimer, I do have to write these articles early to allow time to create, edit, revise and finalize.
The progression of the odometer through most of 2018. Mother Nature put an end to a great run through the summer with two hurricanes.

I have to admit that I have decided to slow down and take look over the past year. Now, I just have to train myself to slow down, stop, and appreciate what I have ridden passed. Though a journey is distance covered in time, I need to dedicate more time to stopping along the way.


Rodney Myers is Rider, a Writer, and Video Storyteller. He started riding around age 5. He made up stories before he knew how to write, and was fortunate enough to attend a high school that had a television station.
To read more of my motorcycle stories, you can check out my Motorcycle Blog at:
www.Blogspot.RodneysMCBlog.com

For More Information:
Morrow Mountain State Park:  ncparks.gov/morrow-mountain-state-park
Mother Earth News:  https://www.motherearthnewsfair.com/
Cruiser Club, USA:  https://cruiserclubusa.org/
River Wild Café:  https://www.riverwildnc.com/
Horizons Unlimited:  http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/

IronHorse Campground:  http://ironhorsenc.com/

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