Jul 12, 2005

sometimes you never know where you're going to end up...

got an e-mail friday night talking about a ride on sunday to the easyriders rodeo event in wilson, nc. thought about it and decided to go...

so we're supposed to leave from o'malley's at 12:30 on sunday... as usual, i get there a little early. a couple bikes were parked in the lot and there were three people standing outside. after confirming they were riding to the easyrider rodeo, i introduced myself to moose, harry and dana. since it was hot outside, it didn't take long for us to move inside o'malley's. soon, others start arriving for the ride - still no one i know... a guy by the name of mark sits next to me and we start talking. we talk about bikes, riding and family. it's nice to talk to other people about their bikes. you get ideas about what changes you might want to make to your bike... or maybe, more importantly, what you don't want to do to your bike!!!

soon enough, it's time to leave. we walk out of the bar and head for our bikes. outside i see jim, susan and ken - people i have ridden with before. i also see a group of about sixteen to eighteen riders - this will be one of the bigger rides i've been on, outside of charity events like toys-for-tots. i walk over to say hi to jim and susan. jim introduces me to dave. we all strap on our helmets, jump on our bikes and head out...

we don't take the most direct route to wilson - we take scenic back roads. as i'm riding, i usually try to remember which roads we're on, just in case i need to get back by myself. about 30-45 minutes into the ride, i have no idea where we are... i do see some familiar roads, 70, 39, 96, 42. it doesn't matter, it's a great day for a ride. okay, maybe a little warm, but i'll take it. now we start making more turns - we must be getting close... yeah, i think that until we pull into the empty parking lot of a church. the leader admits it's been a little while since he's been out this way and made a wrong turn. one of the other guys chimes up - he knows how to get there... cool, he'll lead...

we get started and about five minutes later, we pull over. where are we?? i'm not sure, but there's this crazy windmill stuff around... a couple of the guys hop off their bikes and go talk to this older guy, vollis simpson, who turns out to be the owner/artist. he opens up his field and lets us in, tells us to stay as long as we want. what is this place?? he's created all these windmills and whirligigs. and apparently he's famous in his genre. it was amazing to see all this stuff in the middle of no where...

this is a little bit of what we saw:




real neat stuff - you can find more here: from windmills to whirligigs

after spending some time here, we decide to head out... as we leave, i'm five from the back - four people behind me - i think... i look back and there are two bikes, a car and at least one bike behind the car... now i'm not sure where i was in the order. soon, i can't see the bike behind the car, but we're on twisty roads and there's space between us... a little bit later, there's only one bike behind me - and the car has turned off... i start slowing down, hoping the rest of the riders behind me will catch up. a little bit later, the rider behind me, moose, passes me - leaving me at the back... that's fine. but i'm in a dilemma - should i keep up with the pack or should i slow down to let the rest of the riders catch up?? if they catch up?? well, we turn onto another road and moose pulls over to the side. i pull over with him. we talk about what's been happening. moose says the road king disappeared first. then the big dog turned around. then the vrod turned around. i knew jim was on the big dog and susan was on the vrod - didn't know who was on the road king. we wait about five minutes. moose says he's given them enough time to group together and he's heading on. i ask him for directions to the place we're heading, telling him i'm going back to make sure everyone is okay.

now, can i remember the roads we were on?? thankfully most of it was one road, but we did have to make a turn - would i be able to find it?? would i be able to find the other riders?? it's amazing how much slower time goes when you're thinking of things like this... after some time, we pass each other - the three of them are on the road and going in the other direction. we wave, but did they know it was me?? will they slow down and give me a chance to catch up?? i turn around and do my darnedest to catch up. i'm making progress, but i won't feel better until i catch them... luckily they were within eyeshot when they turned off. it was obvious that they were on their way back home instead of trying to meet up with everyone else. i follow them, eventually catching up.

we pull over at some small country gas station/country store to get some beverages. i learn that it was dave who was having problems with his bike. his air cleaner had come loose and fell off. as if it wasn't bad enough for dave to see his air cleaner bouncing down the road, some local had to run it over. apparently they were able to find one of the bolts and were able to remount it with susan's tool kit. but now when dave road, he had to hold the air cleaner with his leg - not the most comfortable riding... dave was thankful we came back for him...

so, it was quite a day... we didn't end up where i thought we were going - although i think where we did end up was better. i would have never known vollis and his windmills were out here if the ride had gone as planned. i also learned the value in watching for the rider behind you and going back to help. i didn't really do anything to help dave - he was already on the road when i caught up to them. i just hope that if i am ever in that situation, someone does the same for me...

so - that was my day... great ride, great day... and, as always, thanks to my beautiful wife for allowing me to be selfish, shirk my responsibilities and go out riding. boo, you're the best and i'm the luckiest...