Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Not So Scary Bikers

48 hours, 28 gallons of gas, 500 plus miles, 3 states, 11 people, 6 motorcycles. The weekend motorcycle trip can't necessarily be measured in miles or minutes, because there's no real way to quantify some of the experience. New friendships were made, old stories were told, fresh memories were created in the midst of lots of laughter, driving rain, freezing cold and spates of glorious and much appreciated sunshine.

It was a picturesque ride from Florida through Georgia into South Carolina as six couples and one very entertaining single rider braved I-95 and a Saturday morning under driving rain on motorcycle. Beloved and I were the only riders not on a Harley, but our Honda ST1300 held its own. We were on a mission of sorts to make it to South Carolina in time for the start of a charity poker run to benefit a fellow rider and friend of my cousin who is battling cancer. Biker folk are nothing if not generous and we love to rally around a cause, especially if it involves food, fun and some foilage-lined back country roads.

We started at the RBar just outside of Hilton Head, SC. Then we traveled en masse to a few local bars and restaurants in and around the area. Each stop gave us all a chance to get to know each other better. A typical stop would find the men sauntering around in small groups checking out each other's bikes while the ladies clustered together laughing, sipping light beer and mostly talking about the men. Although there were some jokes and even a few tap dances tossed in for good measure.

The highlight of the day was a stop at a little place called Pepper's Porch in Blufton. It was the last stop of the night and we were all ready for a good old-fashioned porch sit. The men collected their final hand in poker and my cousin Troy was awarded "Biggest Loser" status for drawing the worst hand. Good thing he donated his "loser" winnings back to our charity ride beneficiary because we were all scheming to stick him with the bill for dinner if he hadn't donated his winnings.

Pepper's Porch was a great country place with a unique back bar area under the stars and the boughs of an iconic old moss-draped oak tree. Our group grabbed a table on the porch and warmed up with some SheCrab soup, fried green tomatoes, oysters and such. Plans were made to take a ride to another part of Hilton Head to enjoy some late night entertainment. And those plans were quickly forgotten once the food had been eaten and the weather turned colder and wetter. Instead we had a good old-fashioned hotel party that was one for the books.

That's when we learned about the complicated love life of our single-rider Dave, who was a good enough sport to share his life lessons with our less than sympathetic group. He wasn't the only one telling tales. Unfortuntely Scott and Troy decided to bring up a video they had once seen of Indonesians feasting on monkey brains a la Indian Jones. An unfortunate tale for the monkey of course, but even more so for our story tellers who were then teased endlessly by our group for their bizarre story - one monkey mallet coming up.

Scott's wife Cathy impressed us with her determination to capture all the hijinks with her digital camera. She even took photos of each of the riders in our group while crusing down the highway from her perch on back of her husband's Screamin' Eagle Harley Davidson. Can't wait to see the photos.

Unlike the Hell's Angels, our group of mostly middle-aged, white, urban riders seemed to draw a friendly crowd wherever we went. Stop at the gas station and every car rider, passenger and gas station attendant had to come ask us where we were from, where we were going and wish us a safe journey. Stop at the Subway sandwich shop and the other diners happily strike up conversations. Breakfast at the local pancake house and we're the object of every child's fascination - real bikers up close! I guess that's a secret only us bikers know. Riding attracts friendly people. No matter what age, race or background, we made friends where ever we traveled this past weekend. I guess you could say we're the "not so scary" bikers. That is until we break out our monkey mallets.

1 comment:

Island Rider said...

Sounds like a great time. We are also "bikers" and know exactly what you are talking about. You never meet a stranger when you are on a motorcycle.