The South

I broke tradition on this morning’s ride. I went north. I never ride to the North. I always go South. Or East, or most of the time, Southeast. But never North. The North is, well…boring. And before the hate mail begins pouring in, know that I don’t live in the South or the North; I’m stuck somewhere in between, which makes me…I don’t know, homeless?IMG_3840

I’ve spent plenty of time in the North. One of my daughters lives on the Indiana/Michigan border. In fact, I really like Michigan. I’ve ridden my bike up around the Great Lakes, seen the UP and wandered on into Canada more than once. The lakes of Wisconsin and Minnesota are really nice as well. Love those Walleye. And the Northeast? Heck yeah, beautiful country. I’ve spent time in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Vermont. Love those Lobster rolls. And the crab cakes? Like I’ve said before, I’d ride 1,000 miles for a good crab cake.crab

The Northwest you say? Right now I can only dream of traveling the Northwest or even out West; I just don’t have the time. It will have to wait until I retire. However, if you confine this conversation to my “normal riding radius,” say 500 miles in any direction, then the North and West just don’t have the appeal the South or East do. Go ahead and see for yourself. Grab an atlas and a compass. Mark off 500 miles on the compass and put it dead center on Louisville, KY and draw a circle. Now, take a good look and tell me which direction you’d want to ride? Consider this: I am less than 200 miles from West Virginia or Tennessee, 250 miles from Virginia and just over 300 miles from North Carolina. And what do all of these States have in common? If you said they possess some of the most enjoyable motorcycle riding in the entire United States then you would be correct!

I will admit that I have a few problems with the North. First of all it is cold. Second, because its cold, it snows. Third, many of the northern roads within my predetermined radius are flat and straight…and that equals what? Boring. Aside from all that, there are other compelling reasons to ride south. For example, the food. I’m talking biscuits and gravy, fried potatoes, gravy on your fried potatoes, pork chops, gravy on your pork chops…and BBQ. I mean, who doesn’t love BBQ? While we are at it, let’s not forget Po’ Boys! po boy

Not only is the food good in the South, but I just fit in better. I feel like if I go up North I have to be on my best behavior. I have to try harder. You know what I’m saying? I feel like I’d have to shave every day. And wear a collared shirt. And talk properly. Instead of saying, “I’m going to worsh my bike,” I’d have to say wash! Do you have any idea how much effort that takes? And even though English was one of my best subjects in college, I ignore the rules all the time.  For example, I often begin sentences with conjunctions, just like the last sentence. According to The Grammar Girl, that’s acceptable today, but I was taught it was wrong…by a Northern school. I also use the word “ain’t,” even though I know I shouldn’t. If I’m sitting on a front porch in South Carolina sipping some tea or knocking back Moonshine, I can get away with saying “ain’t.” But if I’m up North I feel like I’m being judged…as a Southerner!

Normally I take a week long bike trip every September. This year may be an exception, as I just took a new role at work, but I can promise you that if I were taking one, I would head south. It doesn’t matter how many times I say, “I think I will ride north for a change,” when it comes time to pull out of the garage, I’m 99% sure I would head for the mountains of the South. So, if I do skip town in the coming months, you can expect to hear stories and see photos of foggy Blue Ridge Mountain mornings, coffee brewing in a Jetboil on the roadside and plenty of the latest Octoberfest craft beers from the many fine breweries of North Carolina. Hell, I might as well just move there…then I could ride north!

PS: I will allow for once exception to this “ride south rule.” Beginning this coming Friday the CADVR Rally 9 will be in full swing in Boulder Junction, WI. If you are anywhere close by, then you should head up there. If I were unemployed, I’d be packing my bike right now, but since I can’t go, I sent about 34 pounds of freshly roasted Motorhead Coffee to my friends up North. I hope it keeps them warm at night and wakes their hungover asses in the morning. Safe riding!

Later,

Shep

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