Saturday, May 9, 2009

Late Start Adventurer

[As I mentioned in an earlier post, the camera died a terrible death during the first day of this three day journey - heat stroke, I'm guessing - and therefore there are no photos to share.]

The second day of our trip would take us through Huntington, West Virginia, and into Ashland, Lexington and finally Carollton, Kentucky. The day was hot for late April; forecast for 87ยบ F and windy.

Traffic was light as we travelled I-64 westbound and moving at a speed I seldom see back in Ohio. A few miles west of Ashland a yellow BMW decked out with hard cases and something wrapped in an oil skin tied across the rear seat zipped by us.

He wore a full face helmet riding jacket, pants and boots. I could tell the jacket and pants had armor and my first impression was that this was a serious long distance rider. Something I think I'd like to try someday but not of this bike.

Twenty minutes down the interstate we found a rest area and pull in. The BMW rider was there getting ready to continue his journey. I parked beside him and struck up a conversation.

His name was Carl and judging from his graying beard and snow white hair a few years older than me. He mentioned that this was his first bike, purchased 4 years ago. He said he decided that if he was ever going to learn to ride, he better do it while he still could.

So at the age of 68 (15 years my senior!) he learned how to ride. He said, with a little bit of pride, "I'm seventy-two now and I've ridden 55,000 miles in 31 states and 2 Canadian provinces. My longest ride was from Indianapolis to the arctic circle."

Wow. Not just a long distance rider; he's an adventure rider. The arctic circle is +1200 miles north of the 49th parallel, the US/Canadian border along Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington. To travel that distance from Indianapolis, I'm guessing he travelled +2600 miles one way.

Carl said he had left Virginia Beach that morning and was headed for home in Indianapolis, another 3 hours or so away. With a look of admiration and maybe just a little envy, I wished him a safe journey and he took off.

I rejoined Teresa under a shade tree sipping some water and wondered if that was something I had the grit to do.


Baron's Life said...

A good heart warming genuine story. Thanks for sharing

Charlie6 said...

when I grow up, I'm going to be like that Beemer rider.....first I've got to get my kids through college though....sigh.

RazorsEdge2112 said...

We all got the grit, my friend. Great post. Last person to the Arctic Circle buys the first round!

Doug C said...

Baron - I am constantly amazed at the diversity of those that call themselves riders.

Charlie6 - Who knows... you might have the company of those little ones on an arctic circle ride before college!

Razor - I think that grit is proportionate to passion. Here's to never loosing the passion!

The more I look at a map the more I realize the enormity of this journey. Once you travel to the 60th parallel there is not much civilization left, let alone roads. It is possible he followed roads northwest through BC and Yukon Territories to Alaska, I suppose. But my maps don't show much more than wilderness north of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

I wish I had asked more questions about his trip. Sounds like quite the adventure!

Lance said...

Great post Doug - proof that one can start riding at any age. My goal was to get my MC endorsement by the time I turned 50 and thought I was starting later in life, but I have a lot of catch up on your friend!

bikerphoto said...

Great story about Carl! That guy has really put some miles on. I just found your blog. Great job!

Doug C said...

Lance, Mike,

Life's too short to spend it in the garage everyday. Gotta to turn some miles!

Thanks for the kind words. I hope to have a new post up soon...