A woman's first trip FL to MI
"If you want to sing out, sing out, and if you want to be free, be free cause there are a million things to be."
song by Cat Stevens
I had people telling me horror stories. I reminded myself at any point I could stop, get off my bike, and fly back to Michigan. But, I wanted the open road my bike offered me with the wind to keep me company. So I left Naples, Florida to Michigan. On my first day I traveled all of 40 miles to Ft Myers. Saying good bye to friends and loved ones.
My trip was on a 450 Honda(Dragonfly). Once again I was traveling on the side roads of life. The call of the road, the wind, the sound of my bike, the experience of doing what I had wanted to do all called me to travel off into the sunrise. With March's weather, I hoped I wouldn't run into snow.
I started off on hwy 17 and loved the ride, the smell of orange blossoms, the easy pace, the country folks, the sunshine and enjoyment. Found it fascinating to see the look from the bikers as I passed. The look on the men's face when they see a woman riding alone, the look from the women riding on the back of their man's bike. The comradeship from the single male bikers, kindered souls, riding alone, time spent with oneself. With out a radio to keep me company I sand outloud, thinking, looking, thinking, feeling, thinking.
Then I switched to hwy 27 and found the pace faster and less fun. Hwy 27 took me to Hwy 75 and then I got hit with the drive to ride, no longer layed back, it 's "hit the road jack and don't come back.."
Finally stopped to camp after riding 350 miles, probably 50 miles too far. Glad I promised my daughter I'd be off the road by 5 pm. Otherwise I'd still be going. Mesmerized by the road I felt it pulling me along the highway. So tired I slept on the hard ground without waking.
Decided to stay off hwy 75 and enjoy USA. Set my agenda and made a quick change when I saw hwy 41. Traveled most of the way by 41 and loved it. This is where the Americans live, the small towns where you travel 25 miles an hour, where the folks nod or wave and in general acknowledge you as a human. No horns honking, instead smiles, nods, suggestions on routes and things to see. This is America. This is where I call home. 300 miles and at a camp ground, once again no trouble sleeping.
60 miles to my friend's home. .
Doesn't matter if I go 1 more mile by bike, fly the rest of the way home, or I continue to Michigan, life is good.
As I rode into Georgia I was singing "Georgia on MY mind" while glidding through beautiful pine trees and a country side equal to Michigan's north woods.
After spending five days in Atlanta I left Atlanta and headed out singing "Swanee River".
The route out of Georgia was to Cherokee hwy 11, scenic route to Charlotte, NC. Beautiful and felt the freedom the side roads brings a rider.
Weather reports from friends and internet had me slowing down. I prefer not riding though snow or rain. I've ridden through both and find them nerve racking. I prefer sunshine even if cold.
Next stop, Charlotte, NC.
My stay in Charlotte not only gave me the opportunity to know my friend's sister but to enjoy her a piece of Charlotte. She lives on a street vrey close to downtown Charlotte but where time has missed and change hasn't been dramtic. The street is a dead end where the community of folks are a neighborhood. Fascinating neighborhood with goats in the back yard and a mixture of cultures, races, jobs and money. Reminds me of where I grew up. Invited by the man next door to stay around and he'd take me fishing. I know more about the folks in those few days than I ever imagined possible. Here is where folks say Yallor instead of yellow, the smell of wild onions when the spring grass is cut, and "Hey" is hello.
Folks constantly asked me how I could be riding a bike, alone, so far. It gets trying hearing other's fears and disbelief at my journey. Shouldn't everyone support others in our crazy dreams?
And the second question is "how do your children feel about you riding a motorcycle, anywhere much less long distant?" and when I tell them my kids don't like it, the folks decide my kids are more sane than thier mother.
But I just might kick the next person in the knee when they place their fears and limitations on me.
Left beautiful Spring of Charlotte and heading upward. The weather up north is snow but I was optimistic, and knew I could always sit and read a book somewhere along the path.
I was driving in OHIO and couldn't figure out what the stuff I was seeing was and then it dawned on me... "MY god it's SNOW". It does seem strange to be motorcycling with snow surrounding me.
Chased by the rain into Ann Arbor, Michigan I completed 1,700 miles.
When does a trip end? It never does. We carry the people we've met, the people we know with us forever.
It might be the chance meeting along the way, the love our loved ones send us, the prayers included by another, the stranger giving us their phone number in case we need help along the way. The friend that shares his family, the sister that open her home and begins to become our friend, the phone calls and messages left with love. The emails that supported me even by those that didn't want me to travel by bike.
The next time I take a trip when it's cold I want a larger windshield and winter bibs.
Better yet the next time I think of motorcycling in the cold someone should have me committed and not released until warmer weather.
"We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started... and know the place for the first time."
"Home is where we are loved."
"When you ride a motorcyle there are two kinds of drivers on the road. The ones that don't see you, and those that are out to get you."
Posted by Diane Bogenrieder at June 15, 2002 08:55 PM GMT