Just last week I was waxing poetic about meeting road ghost and thinking about all of the wonderful people I’ve met while riding my motorcycle. On Sunday when the lady behind the counter of the Granville Country Storehanded me my turkey sandwich and I went outside to eat it, little did I know I would meet another memorable character.
This one had four legs and had deftly mastered the art of looking pathetic.
I never even eated anything, ever. In my whole life.
You won’t gived me any sammich so I’ll just lick these airs for turkey particles.
Ugh. So starvings I just died about it.
This ole mama-dog kept me company while I ate. She was very laid back and sweet.
When I finished eating she even walked me back to my bike before saying goodbye.
Isn’t it kind of amazing that you can get to know someone through their blog?
Whatever the writer chooses to put in their posts is merely a sliver of their life. Even when they are honest and direct, what they’ve opted to share is edited. Yet as a viewer you begin to develop an idea of their character reading the lines and what you decide is in between them. Maybe it is through the topics they write about, their insight, maybe even the vision of their photos. Who knows? But you start to build a character out of them and something inside of you makes the decision that “yes, yes, I think I would like to meet this person in real life.”
In real life.
What a funny turn of phrase for this day and age. With the pervasiveness of social media and information sharing ~ the lines of real life and what happens inside of your telephone have become rather blurry.
Kathy from ToadMama.com and I have been reading each others blogs for years now. During that time we’ve floated around the idea of meeting up but timing has never quite worked out.
Kathy is my kinda girl. She loves to ride her motorcycle, likes silly roadside stuff, says words like douchebag and is one of those independent broads who sometimes likes to do stuff with other people. In other words – she’s normal!
When Kenny and I were sure we would be heading down to Romney, West Virginia for a long weekend I sent Kathy a message in hopes that we’d finally be able to hook up and ride together. The stars aligned and the universe made it so. On a sunny Saturday morning, Kenny and I met up with Kathy – who had planned an awesome local loop for us to ride.
Knowing that I am a lover of the interesting roadside “stuff” our first stop of the day was a low water Old Town Bridge. It connects West Virginia with Maryland and is one of the few privately owned toll brides in the US.
The route that Kathy strung together for us took us over hill and dale across wiggling snakes of asphalt. She picked some of her favorite local roads to give us a good flavor of the area. Some of which were small and marked in a way that my eyes aren’t accustomed to. On one turn I actually said to myself “is this someone’s driveway?” When you get route suggestions from a local – you’d best listen up.
Interestingly enough Kenny and I both recognized it right away as we’d used route 259 several times when heading home from the south. Lucky us, now we had the opportunity to stop inside and eat. It’s the kind of place that makes you a burger like your mom would. Outtasight!
I had such a great time following Kathy on her GS. She is a confident, zippy rider and a great navigator. The fact that she likes to stop and check out interesting things along the way really makes her my kind of riding companion. There were several times throughout the day I felt a little sad that we don’t live closer together because I’d probably be bugging her to go for rides all the time.
Thank you, Kathy. Thanks for taking the time to come out and meet with us, to plan and lead a route and for being a beautiful person. I’m so glad to have met you <3
After dinner tonight I rode in to town to have coffee with some of the guys. Along the way I was think ing about the many friendships that I’ve made over the years because of motorcycles. The connections have been so diverse and some of them I’m happy to say have been deep, life changing relationships.
Tonight I had the chance to chat with a cherished friend I met over 15 years ago.
While riding my bike around one spring night, I saw a set of round headlights coming at me in the other direction while I sat at a traffic light. The rider on his CBR900RR went by, then made a quick u-turn and pulled up next to me at the light to say ‘hi.’ We made momentary small talk and went on our separate ways.
Weeks later, while I was walking through a street fair a blonde guy I didn’t know on rollerblades stopped me and introduced himself. He was the guy who pulled the u-turn to talk to me. I haven’t the slightest idea how he recognized me without my helmet on. (Isn’t that funny when you think about it?)
Little did I know that in that moment a friendship that would flow through nearly 2 decades would have been born.
What is it about motorcycles that make it so easy to meet new people?
Have you had any experience with meeting up with other riders that you ‘got to know’ either through their comments on your blog or from reading theirs? I’ll extend that out to people that you chit-chat with on Twitter, forums, G+, Instagram and Facebook while I’m at it.
Do you think that reading peoples posts and looking at their photos gives you a fair impression of what they’re like before you meet them in person?
As it turns out, I actually met my husband Kenny 287 years ago on a group ride that was organized on a forum that we both frequented. Life is mysterious. Nerds on motorcycles found love through 1s and 0s.
I rub digital elbows with so many people who seem cool or interesting that I’d like to meet in person. But then I convince myself that they’d hate me if they met me in person. Kenny says I have mental problems. Which then furthers me down the introvert path. Nobody likes a crazy broad. Am I right?
Have you had good luck meeting online moto-friends in person?
No doubt you’ve seen him make an appearance in photos that I’ve posted over the years. He’s always around. On our road trips, the Crotona Midnight Run, the Santa rides, riding for pie on summer nights, Bill has been a fixture in our lives for the past decade. He is one of my most cherished friends.
With a riding resume that dates back longer than I’ve been alive (left jab), Bill has been riding motorcycles for more than 40 years. Through rain, sun and cold, from coast to coast – the air that foils over a set of handlebars is woven into the very cells of his body. He is a wanderer.
In October of 2012 while on a road trip to West Virginia, Bill suffered a (non-moto) medical emergency that ultimately resulted in the above the knee amputation of his left leg.
His army of friends were in complete disbelief as the news began to trickle in from afar. We were in shock that this could have happened to our friend.
The very first time that Kenny and I went to visit him in the hospital, before I could go upstairs I had to collect myself. The tears were at the ready. In my own selfish fear, I wondered – how does a person go on?
I very quickly found out.
While I can only imagine the private devastation that a person goes through with the loss of a limb, I have seen Bill face his recovery with grace and determination. Watching him relearn to walk with his fascinating C-Leg prosthesis has been nothing short of inspiring. There are so many lessons to be learned from a person who doesn’t curl up into a ball and die when life broadsides them. The sheer force of their will to get on with gettin’ on is amazing.
Beyond the day to day aspects of learning a new way to move around in the world, throughout the past 12 months one loose thread has been dangling, waiting to be pulled. Would he be able to ride again? When simply putting your pants on takes 5 times longer than it used to, some people would be inclined to fold and say of course not. But not Bill.
Almost 1 year to the day of losing his leg he came home with this:
A Can-Am Spyder. I don’t know who was more excited – him or me?! I’m lying. It was me. I am over the moon!
Learning to walk again was a necessity. Getting back on the road? Well, it was also a necessity…. just of a different kind. Riding is an investment in a persons well-being and their quality of life. For some, like Bill, riding moves them beyond simply existing to living fully.
I am thrilled to have my friend back on the road and in the wind.