Memorial Day = Motorcycle Journey Plans


Lieback’s Corner (#5) / 5.27.2011

If I can attribute one trip that changed my entire outlook on life, and fueled my endless (and sometimes mad) need for traveling American roads, it was the 2002 Honda Hoot.

This now-extinct event came with many personal, now-extinct characteristics. I was 22-years old at the time, read copious amounts of Hipster Literature with emphasis on Kerouac, and was just beginning to really fall in love with motorcycles.

All three of these characteristics mended together perfectly that year: the age brought about braveness (and a need for partying); Kerouac supplied me with the spirit to roam, roam, roam; and the motorcycle suddenly became more than just to impress girls and hit triple-digit speeds – it became the ultimate tool for travel.

Since then I’ve obviously aged and the partying ceased, and my collection of everything Kerouac occupies one complete row in a bookcase, unread in the past five years or so.

As for the motorcycles, well they went lacking for a bit during college and my music years, but they helped construct who I am today.

Somehow, this all flashed through my mind as I discussed Memorial Day plans with the other, Pam. And it brought back the Memorial Day holiday in 2002. That weekend, surrounded by copious amounts of booze on theĀ  porch of my friend who organized the trip, Mike, we mapped out the journey to the event (yes, actual paper maps…no GPS back then).

We planned a ride through Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway, and then various country roads to where we stayed in Knoxville, Tenn.

And what a trip. Throughout that week in Tenny, my ZR-ZS constantly had carburetor issues (yes, carburetors). I also worried about ruining the soft Tourtech bags I had to borrow from a dad’s friend, and I prayed for no rain since the rain suit I borrowed was kind of ripped.

But regardless, it was the most memorable trip ever, which included Deal’s Gap when it was actually fun (less cops). And all these memories began with some planning on a Memorial Day weekend.

My goal is to continue this planning tradition over this holiday weekend, although things will be a bit different. Let’s say there are no longer carb, luggage or rain-suit issues. I have a fuel-injected VFR that’s decked out for sport touring, a few gear choices to chose from that don’t involve the need for rain suits, and my own, waterproof luggage.

I’m now one of those riders I considered “spoiled” when I was in my formative years. But as some of us age as motorcyclists, so do our tastes for comfort, kind of like going from jug wine to a $30 bottle of Syrah to savor, not get drunk on.

But before one of those trips I’ll plan this weekend, I just may consult Kerouac again, maybe breeze through the hundreds of footnotes I marked throughout the text during my studies in Angel-headed hipsterology.

And maybe that nice comfy stuff will remain back home, and I’ll buy a carbureted Kawasaki with major issues.

On second thought, nah. I’ll stick with the comfort, and simply enjoy being that “spoiled” guy.

Stay Twisted; Throttle yr Soul

– Ron Lieback