Every now and then, an ordinary day turns into a perfectly aligned space and time of adventure and comradery. An ordinary meet up with a few gal pals for a motorcycle ride ends up becoming an epic 300-mile, multi-day adventure! Here’s how it unfolded. . .
Because I had to stay off the bike for a bit, this was the first ride I’ve done with the girl gang in several months. The weather was great – warm and sunny, albeit windy – as we gathered at a local coffee shop for a ride north to Hanging Rock State Park. The six of us are part of a women’s motorcycle collective known as The Litas and have all ridden together several times before, so the vibe was comfortable and relaxed from the get-go. After gassing up and a quick safety brief (yeah, my brain still operates on military standards 😊), we fell into a comfortable, easy pace with Charlie on lead and me as sweep. I’ve ridden with a variety of different groups over the years; some ride as a synchronized grouping and some ride as a gaggle of individual riders doing their own thing. The latter is a scary thing to be a part of, but the former is a joy to be enveloped in. Fortunately, we fell into the synchronized grouping category and happily rolled along in a 2-second staggered formation across the rural NC landscapes on our way to Greensboro. Despite wind gusts occasionally pushing us off our lines, our travel was untroubled and sprinkled with gas stop stretching and yoga moves.
We pulled up to Hops Burger Bar in Greensboro to the sight of four badass bikes parked in a way that allowed us to pull in alongside. These bikes were for the four women we were meeting up with to continue our day of riding. We were all pretty hungry at this point, so we went in and introduced ourselves and joined them for lunch. They were super cool and the conversation flowed easily.
With the ice broken between the two groups and our bellies full, we rolled out 10 deep towards Hanging Rock State Park, about a half hour away. The two groups fell into a comfortable formation with allowances for the various bike characteristics and rider preferences. We arrived at Lower Cascades Falls parking lot and hit the trails. After only a half mile hike, we arrived to the uncrowded, cold-water pool at the base of the falls. A few gals waded in and others just hung out visiting and taking in the tranquil setting. It was hard to pull ourselves away as the realization that we were quickly losing daylight hit. As the two groups split up to go our separate ways, we adjusted our route home to accommodate escorting one of the Greensboro riders to her home.
By the time we waved off the local rider and pointed our bikes toward home, we were losing daylight and warmth, so we pulled into the next gas station to regroup. The next gas station happened to be in a town called Gibsonville, where we met a few lively characters that added to the adventurous vibe already buzzing in the air. By this time, we were so slap-happy that we decided to call it a night and get hotel rooms in the next town instead of pushing on for the last leg of our journey which was just under 100 miles. Could we have made it home that night? Of course, we could, but safety and the chance to collect more experiences tipped the scales into turning our day-ride into an overnighter!
By the time we parked and secured a couple of rooms for the 6 of us, we scurried over to the nearby Target (pronounced tar-JAY) for basic hygiene items before they closed. It was pretty amusing to watch a group of women, who also happen to all be mothers, treat an essentials stop at Target as an unencumbered (i.e., no kids in tow) shopping trip! Finally, we got the frogs herded and carrying our Target bags like purses, walked to a local restaurant/bar for a very late dinner and drinks. Savoring the food and reliving the day was cut a little short as a fight broke out in the restaurant and the police were called. We took that as our cue to end the evening and made our way back to the hotel. What a day it had been!
We needed to be back home by mid-morning, so we agreed the night before to be ready to roll out at 7:30 am. As I made my way down to the lobby for coffee and a quick breakfast at 7 am, I was pleasantly surprised to see everyone up and on track for kick stands up at 7:30 as planned 😊 Under a waning full moon, we backed all six bikes out of the single parking space and rolled out into a clear 47-degree morning. The ride was chilly, but the rural, twisty roads before we hit the main highway made it enjoyable. My heart was full as I shut off the engine to my bike safely parked in the garage a couple hours later. Oftentimes, it takes the passage of many years to look back on an experience and recognize it for one of the “good ole day” memories that it becomes. On a few rare occasions though, you feel in your soul as it’s happening that an experience will become a treasured memory. This little jaunt was one of those times. As I continue to transition from the brotherhood of the military, I am deeply grateful for this welcoming sisterhood on wheels!