Roadtripping: Living with the Road Ghosts

Roadtripping: Living with the Road Ghosts

After a road trip is over there are ghosts from the journey that move through my mind. They are the whispers of people who have crossed my path. People that I will likely not see again.

Though I may have waved goodbye, these ghosts have left a mark, an impression uniquely their own on my life. Perhaps it was imparted wisdom, a good laugh, a kind smile or some… intangible thing that made their presence important.

There are moments when I feel sad that these interactions are so fleeting. But more often I know that part of their romantic flair is because they are transient. You see their best, their finest and they you. What you get is a perfect moment that doesn’t have to bother with fully realized reality.

I met this fine gentleman while in West Virginia in May. Being a fellow motorcyclist made it easy to strike up a conversation.

road ghosts

He had a lyrical drawl that made his stories captivating. The more he talked the more I conjured up this image of his life as a series of swashbuckling adventures. Each fantastical tale was peppered with down-home wisdom, thoughtful reflection and served up with twinkling eyes and a hearty laugh. In the movie of his life, he’d be played by Robert Duvall.

This man is one of my road ghosts. My life was enriched from meeting him along the way. Someone’s time can be the greatest gift in the world.

6 Replies to “Roadtripping: Living with the Road Ghosts”

  1. In my opinion, your greatest post to date Rachel!! So very true how these “ghosts” haunt us with joyful memories. Our fleeting time with these one and done strangers can leave lasting impressions! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Love the term “road ghosts”. That’s one of the great lessons of motorcycling. For some reason when on a bike it seems far easier to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger than when riding in a car. And oftentimes they’ll initiate it! Perhaps it has something to do with being exposed and vulnerable when on two wheels and people generally respond to that. Don’t know, but it’s great whatever the reason.

  3. To echo Sumoflam and the rest, a beautiful, beautiful post indeed, Fuzzy.

    Mostly I ride alone. I relish solitude and cherish being able to manage my time on my terms, whether I’m testing that tenuous relationship between rubber and asphalt in tight canyon curves or resting expectantly, red wine in a cowboy cup and incense from a dark cigar, in the silent nightfall of the vacant desert after a long and dusty battle in the saddle and on the pegs.

    After most of my adventures I send pics and a narrative to my parents and to my siblings and their families. The funny thing is, many of my memorable riding experiences, those most worth retelling, are the on-the-road encounters I have mostly with other riders. Sometimes we leave home seeking solitude, and we return with our minds filled with those we’ve met along the way, those–as you truly stated, Fuzzy–that we’ll likely never see again.

    Bikes will break down; bodies will age; and–perish the thought–we’ll all likely reach a point when we’ll no longer be able to tolerate the saddle or handle the controls. When that time comes for me, I sure hope to have a lifetime of memories and amazing encounters with my fellow travellers by which I’ll be able able to warm my mind and heart.

    Thank you for the poetry, Fuzzy, for the inspiration, and thank you for reminding me about all of the great folks I’ve met. I’ve some road ghosts to revisit.

  4. It’s not just other riders but people you meet along the way while riding. Your post reminded me of a lady I met whose story is giving me courage to not give up on my dreams.

    Thank you for your stories and postings as well!

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