For those interested in following along, my motorcycle adventure photos will appear in a Flickr Photoset.
Today’s ride was awesome. I am having more success at staying comfortable on the motorcycle throughout a 500-mile day. The route I published earlier turned out to be a little too scenic due to the late start, so I cut out almost 100 miles of twisty roads to make sure I got to my destination before midnight. I still rode VA 16 from Marion to Tazewell and I almost died twice: once when a young jerk in a red Camaro ran a stop sign and once from an overload of beauty.
I’m sorry. I mean I’m really, really sorry. Those were the twistiest, turniest miles of road I have seen in my entire life and I got to ride them on a motorcycle and I can’t even begin to share how wonderful it all was. I just can’t share it. I took a few pictures but the best views were impossible to photograph due to the narrow road and my camera phone is barely worth using. It made me feel selfish and greedy to soak it all in by myself. My only consolation was the sight of three other motorcyclists riding in the opposite direction; at least they got to see it. I’m sorry.
It made me wish I had a passenger with nice camera with a wide-angle lens worthy of Donncha, and maybe just a little bit of his photographic ability, but even the best photographs could not capture the experience. You can feel the motorcycle pushing you up through countless switchback turns under a lush, green canopy. You can hear birds singing over the engine and the wind rushing past your ears. A pickup truck races toward you, past you, away from you down the hill and in its wake you catch the smell of burning brake pads. You descend under more dense foliage to emerge in a valley flanked with steep cow pastures and the road just keeps pulling you along past barns and homes and everything is wet with life. You are rapt with awesome beauty. You can not stop flowing through it for the sake of a mere photograph.
I hope I can borrow my Dad’s camera when I get to Vermont. It is the same model as the one I forgot at home.
If you ever find yourself riding a motorcycle up Interstate 81 in Virginia and you have a couple of hours to spare, get off in Marion and ride up to Tazewell. You’ll thank me… unless you get killed by the red Camaro.