It’s as if no one can touch you when you ride…
No matter how many times I see the road reach out into the distance I still get a thrill. In this place, I experience a sense of freedom. It keeps me coming back. On the road no one can touch me. Cares and concerns melt before the wind and pavement.
I’m certain that riding sets you free.
My friend Paul Ruby and I were going on “a little ride” to breakfast. Stopping in the eastern end of Penns Valley so Paul could look at an old pickup truck I had a chance to survey the road ahead leading through Woodward and Hairy Johns and on toward Laurelton.
Pennsylvania has mountains. High places covered by a hardwood forest with threads of roads twisting and turning through a fern, rock and moss paradise. Riding introduces you to truth. Sometimes uncomfortable. When I started riding a Vespa 15 years ago I could still scramble up these rocky hillsides to make a photograph. Now it’s a careful trek with the knowledge I could easily break a leg or ankle.
Or maybe I just need better boots.
This picture was made just a few miles from where I dropped the scooter. I was still worried that something bigger might be wrong than the handle bars being out of alignment.
And we hadn’t even had breakfast yet.
There are no grids of roads in central Pennsylvania as you climb through the Appalachian Mountains. If I think about them more than a moment I have trouble imagining how they ever came into existence. Or how people made their way through this part of the country 200 years ago.
The Vespa was tracking fine through the most severe turns and curves and any concern I had for the alignment issues faded. The scooter really is at it’s best in this environment. Just watch out for the loose gravel that seems to be everywhere.
Departing the Carriage House Restaurant in Mifflinburg, Paul can’t pass up an empty pack of L&M cigarettes as an opportunity to pose. I didn’t spend enough time directing him into the proper Euro grimace. And we really needed a pack of Gauloises cigarettes for the right Ducati feel.
All the photographers I’ve known enjoy being photographed. Paul is no exception.
The skies played tricks on the mind the entire ride. Heavy clouds and darkness followed by bright sun and dazzling colors. Riding through that constantly changing illumination just makes the whole experience seem surreal. And I’m an actor in a play bent of flying free.
Riding sets you free.
Surveying the view of the river I notice Paul is tossing his helmet in the air. I didn’t ask and he didn’t say but I suspect it was his idea to make the picture more interesting. I just wondered how he would feel if he dropped it and the helmet rolled of the edge to the riverbank below.
He never dropped it after numerous tosses. Don’t lend him your helmet.
The weather was perfect and the low humidity provided rare summertime views to the horizon. The ride was great even if breakfast consumed 147 miles.
I’m addicted. Or at least suffering a compulsion that drives me out the door and onto the road. I hesitate to count the hours I spend riding. Or thinking about riding. If riding sets you free how come I can’t stop?
When I ride in the snow or sub-zero temperatures am I free or in denial?
Right now, I don’t care. I just want back on the road.