Friday, October 09, 2009

American Highway


My family had the good fortune to take a vacation in Disney World. Since I no longer get on (or in) planes under any circumtances I chose to drive. My wife, kids and in laws got there in just over two hours. I got there in about two days. Its a little over sixteen hundred miles by car. I loved it.

Now I considered taking one of the bikes. The Harley would have been the first choice since its a decent tourer by my own standards. But the family thought I could bring along more luggage with the car so the '98 Camry did the task. I even had the advantage of a Garmin lent to me for the trip. A surprising little tool so long as you program it correctly.

More often than not I drive a car in silence. Whether the distance is long or short. Conversation usually just flows from me but when I drive I must be trying to get as close to the riding experience as possible. That's what my wife thinks anyway. I'm sure she's right. She likes to take naps when I drive. I'm a very predictable driver.

So the drive from St Cloud Minnesota to Orlando Florida was a vacation in itself. Heavy rains through Atlanta. My first time actually doing the driving through that city.

When you hit Florida you think, based upon everyone whose visited the ocean, that the state is as flat the waters that surround it. But once you hit the turnpike toll road you realize there's more to the beatiful state than just year round summer weather and palm trees.

I saw roads sweeping away from main arteries which made me think about getting a scooter trailer. I could fulfill luggage duty for my family and take advantage of my night owl proclivities . A quiet Vespa prowling tropical tree lined Florida byways. The memories I would have. Warm summer nights in the dead of winter.

I thought about those roads as I began the return home last Saturday. I thought about hundreds more as I passed them in Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky. For a northerner with his roots in the snow its pretty amazing to think about people riding comfortably in autumn clothing after September. I drove silently into Wisconsin and yet another reason begged me to think hard about a scooter trailer.

A river seperates Minnesota from Wisconsin. The bridges I've seen are all posted at highway speeds and traffic flows at even higher rates. An LX150 is at its limit around 65-70mph. While the bike can ride wide open throttle on country roads devoid of steady traffic, its nearly a death wish to pin the throttle down and try to keep up with cars treating you as an obstruction and an obsenity. A GTS 250 would solve it. It can attain and keep speeds to seventy and above. But I love the bike I have. Getting over the river is just an obstacle to overcome safely.

Four days on the road by myself. The return trip was the more enjoyable one. Recalling things you saw on the way down, for instance. And it never quite looks the same as it does while you're getting there.

I find the road a quiet personal pleasure. A solace. You're moving but you're still. I think I wrote that somewhere once before, but it warrants writing again. Its a big country with a million sights to see and interesting roads from which to see them.

My family loved the resort and their vacation.

Me, I most loved the distance between A and B.

I can't help it. I'm a road bum.

Harv