This blog entry is dedicated to the memory of past motorcycle adventures of the Road Dogs.
When we Were Dogs
The faded photographs on the shelf above my TV haunt me like a Charles Dickens ghost. When I close my eyes, I can remember loading up the bike to the music of crickets singing in the fresh morning air.
The taste of coffee and bacon lingers in my mouth. My knees pop as I climb on the back of our full-dressed Harley Davidson motorcycle. The early morning air tingles my skin with anticipation. Before I know it, we’re cruising down a narrow country road.
The sun peaks over the horizon as we round a curve. The wind is in my hair. The scent of pollen clinging to the corn in the fields is almost too heavy to breathe. It was going to be a good day for a motorcycle adventure.
The roar of the motorcycle blocks out the music playing on the stereo when Rooster accelerates and the motorcycle I’m sitting on glides down the road. The Garbage Man and Punky own the road behind us.
Once upon a time, we were Road Dog. The four of us rode down the highway searching ing for the perfect motorcycle adventure, and whatever came our way. We lived life like we were trapped in the lyrics of the Steppenwolf song.
We started calling ourselves the Road Dogs because we thought we needed to put a name to our motorcycle adventures. I made a quilt, punky made a collage, and Rooster designed a patch we sewed to the front of our vests. We even developed a howl to say goodbye at the end of a trip. It was a mournful sound that embarrassed the Garbage Man, but we did it anyway.
The motorcycle adventures for our motley crew began the weekend we rode down to the border of Kentucky and Tennessee. Our goal was to ride through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel. (The Dogs tried to include a bridge or tunnel in every road trip we made.} The three-day journey was a bonding experience. We knew we’d be taking more motorcycle adventures together in the future.
Road Dog Planning Their Motorcycle Adventures
The Cumberland Gap Tunnel road trip started a ten-year tradition of climbing on our motorcycles whenever we had a chance. Different destinations would get tossed in the air during the planning stages of our road trips, which is an enjoyable part of the adventure because of the adrenaline rush that always comes with the endless possibilities of the road.
The weather was the determining factor in which direction we’d choose to ride. (It’s a miserable experience to spend two days riding in a cold, hard rain.) We tried to stick to the back roads. The best adventures are always found off the interstate.
The trip was always about the journey and never the destination. We’d find the perfect road to ride and point our motorcycles toward it. We’d ride until we ran out of asphalt.
The Best Motorcycle Adventures of the Road Dogs
The Road Dogs traveled to The Dragon, the Arkansas Pig Trail, the Gulf of Mexico, and the horse country of Kentucky. We stopped in Rabbit Hash where the people elected a dog mayor. We rode across the border into Canada.
Rooster thought he was getting a good deal on the gas until he discovered they were selling it by the liter, not the gallon. (We all know Rooster is cheap.) We couldn’t find a motel room in London-Ontario. They were having a national soccer tournament. Half the country of Canada was staying in the city that weekend.
A group of New York City firefighters suggested we travel to Niagara Falls and spend the night. That was where they were riding. We decided to journey back in the direction we came on a deserted Canadian highway in the dark.
Punky always said there were no wrong roads. Most of the time she proved to be right. I know during the time I spent as a Road Dog, I rode a highway of discovery on the back of Rooster’s motorcycle.
The chemistry that forms the perfect road trip partnership is delicate. It’s a rare combination that often doesn’t last longer than a riding season. Life creeps in when you least expect it. The fragile string that binds you together gets broken by family obligations, work, or laziness.
Punky and the Garbage Man started doing casino rides on Lake Michigan and along the Ohio River. Rooster and I drifted further away from home until we discovered the city of New Orleans. We started making this destination the focal point of our two-week yearly vacation when we fell in love with the city. We always tell ourselves we’re going to find a new destination, but every April New Orleans calls our names.
The Dogs drifted apart as we developed different tastes and interests. The magic that drew us together dissipated. We rarely see one another now. When we cross paths, it’s nice to reminisce. We talk about taking another ride together, but deep down we all know we never will.
The season of the Dogs has passed. It’s impossible to produce the harmony we shared back then. It’s impossible to put something that delicate back together again. Too much time has passed. The cast of characters has changed. I will always keep the old faded picture of the four of us to remind me of the days when we were dogs.
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
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