Omens and Divine Providence: Part Two.


The last time I wrote I was in Blowing Rock, North Carolina getting ready to head back up onto the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. I did so and rode her north for another 50 miles or so until I couldn’t stand it anymore. The poet Keats said that “a thing of beauty is a joy forever.” Keats had never ridden on the Blue Ridge Parkway. After about 200 miles on her she had lost her glow for me. Too many curves, a maximum speed of 45 miles an hour and frankly, you can admire only just so many damn trees. I stopped at an exit, highway 18, where there was a surreal motorcycle campground and country store. I stopped to get a drink and to reconnoiter the place (It had a life sized fake stuffed bear with arrows in its head in a yellow cage out front.) When I pulled over a man told me that the shop was closed and then launched into a discussion on politics. He was a member of the John Birch Society and outlined his views. He said he was voting for Donald Trump. I’m not into political discussions. They polarize people too fast and soon we start reacting to people as if they are some label rather than a person, a human being with dignity. Democrat, Socialist, Republican, Unionist, Nationalist – insert the political view of your choice. Mother Theresa said that if we’re busying judging people we can’t be busy loving them. I don’t do politics. We ended up having a nice friendly conversation about motorcycles.
After consulting my map it appeared to me quite clearly that I was in the middle of nowhere. I double checked with the map system on my phone which informed me that it could suggest no route for me to Fredericksburg, Virginia. Made me think of some dialogue from the movie The Quiet Man. “So it’s Inishfree you’re wanting to get to.” “That’s right.” “Well, I wouldn’t start out from here.”
It’s worrisome when your map system offers you no way out of your location. It’s sort of like a Twilight Zone episode where you drive out of a town only to find that after a few miles you’re reentering the same town. I knew Fredericksburg was east and north so I headed that way. Eventually, I came to Wilkesboro and hopped on 421 to Winston Salem. Then I got on I-40, followed by I-85 and then I-95. By the time I hit Richmond, Virginia it was dusk, the sky a bruised peachy grey. The last 55 miles to Fredericksburg were a lot of fun. It started pouring rain, it was dark, headlights from cars on I-95 south flashed in my eyes. Cars were whipping past me doing about 80 mph on their way to Armageddon. My windshield and my eyeglasses were mottled and smudged with rain drops and I had to lean to the side of my windscreen so I could look around it and spot the tire gators (bits of broken truck tires) and discarded car parts lurking in the shadows of the road. Yeah that was fun. But I finally made it there around 10 pm (I’d left at 11am), 430 miles for the day. Thankfully, my old friend Kevin Grigsby had a cold pilsner waiting for me. Okay, maybe two.

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