Sometimes good things just happen. It could be the alignment of the stars and the moon, it could be just blind luck or it could be a higher being smiling down on us on that day. I don’t know why, but when they do I don’t spend a lot of time asking why. After more than fifty years of living and more than forty years of riding motorcycles (mini-bikes count, right?), I just roll with it and enjoy the experience. Last Saturday didn’t start out to be one of those days, but it soon turned into one.
The sun was shining but the air was brisk in Raleigh, North Carolina, with the temperature hovering around 65 degrees. I must have had that look I get when I need to get out of the house because around noon Deb suggested we take the bike for ride. I’ve only put about 6,000 miles on my new Honda Interstate since I bought it in June, so I jumped at the chance to get in a little saddle time. I pulled the bike out of the garage and Deb set a packed bag on the porch for me to strap to the bike. I didn’t have a chance to say anything before Deb stuck her head out the door and told me we might as well make it an overnight trip. Like I said, maybe the stars and the moon were in auspicious alignment.
With our leather jackets on and the bike loaded we pulled out of the driveway, heading northwest with no agenda, just a desire to check out the fall foliage and avoid traffic. The sun kept shining and our jackets kept us warm as we meandered along two-lane blacktop roads towards Martinsville, Virginia. The trees that lined the road had a hard time hanging onto their few remaining colorful leaves as many of the red and yellow deserters danced across our helmets and fell on the dry pavement.
We stopped for a late lunch and gas, taking our time and not feeling hurried. We enjoyed the road, the ride, the scenery and each other’s company. The Honda chewed up the road as we weaved through the Virginia countryside. We pulled into the hotel parking lot, unloaded the bike and made our way to a room on the third floor. Next to the television remote was a coupon for a Mexican restaurant just down the road. The food was great, the price was right and Deb rated their margaritas nine out of ten. We made it back to room in time to watch the late college football game on TV, or at least part of it because we both fell asleep before halftime.
Sunday morning brought more sunshine and a sky as clear and blue as a painting. I went down to wipe the bike off and check the oil, enjoying the fresh clean air but feeling a little chill—it was in the upper 40s. Before I could suggest we wait an hour or so to let the air warm up, Deb handed me a heavy sweatshirt to wear under my jacket. It always pays to have a partner who plans better than you do. Bundled up, we headed east on State Route 57 in the cool, crisp Virginia morning, and the road was nearly empty. If I kept the Honda at the speed limit, the cool air didn’t bother us much as it whipped around our open-faced helmets. We turned south on State Route 501 and crossed back into North Carolina, making a quick stop for hot coffee and fuel. Within a couple of hours we turned into our driveway. The whole trip had been less than 500 miles and took a day and a half. A spur-of-the-moment journey, but a very memorable one with good weather, nice roads and my favorite traveling companion.