I headed west out of Chicago on a 900 mile journey to South Dakota on my Harley with a group of amazing women; all the while, I knew there would be some stories to tell when the memory was all I had left.
The horizon changes from mile to mile, moment to moment, memory to memory. Blue skies shift to gray blankets of rain and grassy green hills fade into desert- like canyons as temperatures fluctuate without fair weather warning. The feel of the pavement under my tires and the air whipping my face, as it slaps my hair into my forehead with pins and needles like veracity, awaken all of my senses. The sky is bluer from the top of the Harley – the sunflowers, faces brown and reaching, seem to smile freely from the sea of yellow they call home as they chase the sun – while the green grasses outline and encompass them by some grand design. Mountains and valleys, rivers and creeks, ponds and waterfalls call out to me as I pass them by. This country and its magnificent tapestry – as diverse and ever changing as the people who call it home – is an incredible thing to experience from the seat of a motorcycle. It envelopes you, surrounds you, encompasses you and makes you become a part of it. There is no shutting out what you are literally riding over and passing through. There are no barriers between you and the road and the sky and the air. You are one with it all.
As you leave the traffic and tolls, and you find your way into the avenues of roads less traveled, the sites and customary certainties begin to morph and time travel takes you to whole new worlds. The gas stations once shiny and new – computerized and accessorized – age over the miles into one fuel pump outlets with long rubber hoses and dusty gravel drive ways. Scratch pads and pencils are totaling the cash only transactions. Riders are forced to slow down and take the time to go inside the rusty old shack and converse with the woman behind the counter still doing numbers in her head – the good old fashioned way. A hello is a hello, from eyes to smiles and back again, with genuine comprehension and digestion of the words that pass between strangers in strange places sharing the passion for the less traveled road. Grassroots living with an easy rider mentality that cannot be bought or sold – it simply must be experienced.
Like the magic of a shaman from the ancient tribes – smoky, chanting truths and mystical methods used to invoke madness – the solitude of the road can take your mind to a million places. I do not have ear plugs to muffle the sounds that surround me, I do not use speakers to clutter the quiet that will find me – it is me and my thoughts alone for whatever time I choose to be on the back of my bike – and those are the times, in my solitude and crazy imagination state of mind – that I am closest to God. God and I are both real good with that…. My head is filled with nothing but time and space – I play make believe and take my life to all the places I long for it to be. I see things clearly and I argue things loudly and I concentrate on concentrating so that the road without a rail will not fool me into some certain uncertain terrain.
I treasure the solitude and the freedom the open road promises. The two wheeled adventure is one that knows no equal when paralleled with untold miles and destinations unknown. Forget the mortgage, the deadlines and the laundry – they will all be there tomorrow – for today – I live to ride and I ride to live.
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About K. Guzman
Kathy grew up all over the US - lots of east coast time. She is a surfer girl with an unabridged curiosity. A woman whose mid life awakening continues to bring her to the place she was meant to be. Her degree in Journalism/Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida is being yanked from the archives and put to good use. Her two kids are grown and rock stars in this wild world – her Harley is ready for some serious summer miles – and her heart remains open to life, women and the possibilities each day brings.