Clarksville, Tn — I just wanted to share a few thoughts about what’s been going on with me lately. There’s no particular theme to this post, just a few thoughts from the last several days.
First, I rode to Fort Smith, Arkansas for their Steel Horse Rally. This is the fourth year for this event and it draws thousands of bikers to the area.
I met the organizers of this event and you could tell this is a real passion for them. The event grows every year and raises money for local charities in the Ft. Smith area. It focuses on those who serve and HAVE served. They get a lot of support from the area, especially local law enforcement.
The best part about going to this event was, I traveled with a friend of mine that I met through this blog. He’s a Marine veteran and is DAMN proud of it as he should be. I was honored to be with him. I especially loved seeing people come up to him and thank him for his service. It made him feel good too. It’s the little things, like a “thank you” every now and then.
The trip to and from Fort Smith provided me with more opportunities to ride in the rain. As you know, I haven’t been riding as long as some of you, so “rain riding” isn’t something I’m real fond of. But like they say, if you don’t ride in the rain, you ain’t riding!
The last 50 miles of our trip to Fort Smith was in a torrential downpour. The last 10 miles of my trip home was a torrential downpour. There’s something really crazy about riding in the rain, but something extremely exhilarating too. I can’t describe it, but most of you know what I mean.
The trip home also caused me some concern too!
When I first started riding, other bikers would tell me that “you’ll get drowsy” while riding, just like you do when you’re driving a car. Especially on long trips. “How could that be possible?” I thought. With all the noise and the mere fact you’re riding a motorcycle, how in the world can you get sleepy?
Well, you do and I did. It’s kind of scary to be honest with you. I couldn’t fight it off and the longer I went, the worse it got. Nothing I did helped.
We had been on the road about four hours when I absolutely couldn’t hold my eyes open. I kept shaking my head and propping my eyes open, and just doing anything I could to shake it off.
Finally, I HAD to pull off and take a break. Drink some water, smoke a cigarette, grab a candy bar. Something, ANYTHING to shake the cobwebs loose.
Does this happen to you? I’d be interested to know.
The weather has been great the last couple of days, so naturally I took advantage and put in some miles. I cleaned my bike and took advantage of the better weather.
Sunday I took my wife out for a ride and some lunch. She enjoys riding, but won’t get too serious about it. Deep down inside, she REALLY gets a kick out of being on the bike, but wouldn’t admit it.
Today, I went out for several hours of just me and my motorcycle. The sun, the wind, the music, and the machine. I love riding solo. Just me and God, thinking about life and all that I’ve been through. I don’t know what it is about riding a motorcycle that causes such reflection, but it’s a beautiful thing.
I love this experience!
While I love riding with my fellow bikers, I really love getting away by myself for a few hours. I don’t know what it is, but I just love getting away from all the “noise” of life and just slipping away. I’m sure a psychiatrist would be able to explain it, but having a motorcycle means I don’t need a “shrink.”
During my ride today, I hit a squirrel and a bird flew into my faring. This was another first for me. The last time I swerved to miss a squirrel, I ended up in a ditch.
Not today. I really didn’t have time to react. It just happened. You know how indecisive those little critters can be, and today he made the wrong decision.
The bird thing was weird. You see these birds flying low to the ground that appear to be headed to your bike but manage to fly away at the last minute. Well, today, this one didn’t.
I don’t like running over anything, whether it’s in the car or on the motorcycle, but I realize that if we’re not careful, we could react the wrong way and cause ourselves a real problem.
The thing is, it happens so fast out there, we have to be on guard and ever diligent when riding.
I’m not sure when my next overnight trip will be or to where. I definitely need to get back to the Smoky Mountains since they’re so close. I also need to visit Maggie Valley.
I’ve also heard great things about Helen Georgia.
At any rate, the good weather is here and I hope all of you are getting some “saddle” time.
Thanks for following my journey.
Regarding sleeping “at the wheel”. Many years ago, when I was younger (and single), I pretty much took every weekend to drive my car to visit friends or family all over Texas. Being young, and stupid, I didn’t always get as much sleep as I needed. Very often I would fall asleep at the wheel. When the sun is squinting my eyes half closed, or the warmth of the car would make the car cozy. It never happens at night to me oddly enough. One time I ran into the back of a semi truck, got knocked out by some loose 6×9 speakers in the back window, woke up quickly, got the car off the road and didn’t even know what had happened!
I’ve found that this problem is minimized by getting sufficient sleep. MOST of the time. Sometimes I still struggle.
When I bought my bike about a year ago, I thought exactly like you did: “There’s no way I can sleep while riding!”. Yet I have found myself struggling with it a few times. On a ride back to Dallas from Mt. Ida, Arkansas, with sufficient sleep under my belt, I found I was nodding off, while following other cars, into curves! I pulled over, had a smoke, texted with the wife, played a game on the phone. This time it wasn’t lack of sleep, but it was cold! Cold really slows you down, too. In the heat, certainly, and the drone of the road, I have dozed off a couple of times other than this last trip. It is very scary.
So, no, you’re not the only one. There’s at least two of us!
By the way, your “comment” box here is limited to 400 characters! The site allows a longer comment, I modified the field element to maxlength=”10000″ to allow my longer response above. You might look into that. (I’m a programmer…so…) You can moderate this comment out, was just for you! Also, email is required? but doesn’t indicate that.