Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 30, 1972 · Page 84
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July 30, 1972

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 84

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Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 30, 1972
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Page 84
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Packing choppers for long trip lakes some doing. Life Among the Chopper-Type Health Nuts All guys and gals on those big choppers aren't hippie speedfreaks. They are hardened health addicts with super strone bodies. 6 One rubberneck tour with a motorcycle "gang" from Charleston to Myrtle Beach, S.C., over a long weekend was proof enough for me. Our party, ranging in-age from 22 to 36, included Jerry Priestley, Parkersburg; Steve Ranson, St. Marys; Alan McGinnis, Chapmanville; Bob Bartow, Matewan; George Martin and Tom Daniels from Clarksburg; Lynn Chapman of Buckhannon; Connie Allen, Martinsburg; Tira Evans and Beverly Sherman from Bluefield; and Dave Compton, Elvin Moore, Jody Roberts and me, all native Charlestonians. The fact that the caravan included two professors, a doctor, a nurse, a loan processor, two professional artists, two secretaries and five college students shows the discontinuity of our gang. And we'd met only once-two months before our trip. P'rom the start, problems abounded. The first to solve was how to get 13 sleeping bags on 9 motorcycles--along with the 14 riders, 4 tents, 2 tarpaulins, 2 duffle bags and y sets of saddle bags. It was Thursday evening at the Glass House on the West Virginia Turnpike. Temperatures were in the upper 80s. We all had on long pants. Andjjre packed and unpacked, loaded and unloaded, balanced and rebalanced for two hours in the relentless, late evening sun. Ah, but by 8 p.m. we were ready for the STA TE MA GAZINE, July 30,1972 By Karen Wilson road. Some cycles had two people aboard. Others were piled "three and four feet high with camping equipment. Finally, nine big Harley-Davidsons fired up and we rolled down the open road. Motorcyclists take a lot of road abuse. We're beat to death by the wind, large rocks, gravel, dust and--probably worst of all--bugs. We superstars of the highways also get tired and sore. It's most difficult to get off a motorcycle after riding four or five hours and summon the nerve to sit down in a chair. Suddenly you aren't so sure you really wanted to sit down in the first place. And then you're not sure you can get up. If you're as unseasoned a rider as I am, you believe you'd walk the 150 miles home before you get back on that motorcycle. So what's so great about it after all? Whipping through the country--not boxed up in a car. Feeling the sting of the wind in your face and the sun on your back. Sensing the exhilarating power of the cycle going through your body at interstate speeds. And leaning with the centrifugal force around sharp turns. Cycling is freedom and pleasure--in good weather. By midnight and after several refueling stops, our outfit had reached Mt. Airy, N.C., famous for being a little chilly and a little windy. And it was cold that starry night when we put the footpegs down for a rest. All 14 of us alighted without A groan. It was loo cold to notice the pulsing muscles and throbbing nerves. We were attired in the standard jeans, jackets and boots, and also wore heavy sweaters, extra socks, leather gloves, helmets and goggles. This gear didn't protect us from the motorcyclist's kind of cold--the perpetual shivers. Whether it be scalding coffee, hot chocolate or tea, no liquid is powerful enough to warm you. Standing in front of a heater won't warm you--only your clothes. And neither will just relaxing in a heated building. The cycle shivers are cured only by a. hot shower. In the middle of nowhere?.You just stay cold and climb back on the cycle. Riding at night is a spectacular experience and particularly thrilling if you've never ridden before. It's a weightlessness and timelessness and suspension of everything. You know that you're moving. The white and yellow lines flash steadily on. Your coordination stays in tune with the motion of the cycle on the road, and the wind continues to sting your nearly numbed face. But if you're the passenger rather than the driver, you can close your eyes and feel an intense security and a sense of being wound into the world by the bonds of your motorcycle, wrapped tight to the seat by your own sense of safety in the darkness and the movement and continual roar of the cycle on an otherwise tranquil night. All-nighting in a field near Winston- Salem did wonders for our morale. We had been so worn out from the hardnosed drive of the evening before, we slept till nearly 8 a.m. On this day, pur second, I got the first four days, I was to learn that I may possibly be the dirtiest, messiest, laziest and unhealthiest person these IS cyclists have ever ridden with.) We headed for Winston-Salem for breakfast. Beautifully clear and sunny skies made us forget the chills and shivers of the previous night. Connie, the only other person besides me that had never ridden before, said before leaving for breakfast, "Gee, I'm so anxious to ride!" I didn't find myself quite that zealous. I was sore, tired, scratched, bruised and my usual cantankerous-in-the-morning self. We stopped at a small, crossroads homecooked-meals sort of restaurant bedecked with pictures of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis. In prominent display behind the counter were two rebel flags, and we assumed we were in the South. Not until the waitress condescendingly took our orders did we realize this was the Civil War Revisited. I don't know if we were rudely treated because we looked like hippies or because we were "Yankees." Suffice it to say we were treated to a lousy breakfast and departed as quietly and quickly as we could, leaving a tip and « note from the Union. Then I learned that these guys really were the non-hippie, take-care-of-thyself, super clean, honest and straight people that I didn't suppose them to be. Before getting back on the cycles, I casually asked, "Anyone for a stick of gum?" (Wouldn't you have done the same?) "Karen, pop that gum in your mouth daily and you'll lose your teeth before you're 30," Tom said. "And I don't mean to sound fatherly, but you're headed for tooth trouble." Beverly added, "And you have such nice, healthy teeth. Wouldn't you hate to lose them?" in a funeral home tone of voice, like my teeth were already lying in the casket. Elvin, after a minute inspection of my mouth, teeth and gums, shook his head and walked away. All over a piece of gum? I swallowed my gum and hid the rest of the pack from myself. Inside glimpse of my cycle buddies. (In CHARLESTON, W.VA. Away we went into the green and lazy rolling country through North Carolina. The clear morning sky had turned into a vast arena for light, puffy clouds. Rested and relaxed, we rode on in the fresh air and sunshine expecting to be in the water at Myrtle Beach by noon that Friday. I rode more comfortably that second day. I sat down a little easier and was a little braver about shifting around while riding and was taking the curves like a . champ. Just short of an hour along, though, I started watching for mileage signs, transposing the miles into minutes and wondering if my back would snap before the next stop! I kept testing my stamina and perseverance and made it until someone else signaled to stop before I did. It's extremely difficult to smoke a cigarette while flying 70 miles an hour down a highway on a motorcycle. So, you grab a cigarette and match out of your pocket while you're coming to a stop and you can jump right off and mumble something about. "restroom" and scurry away and hide and smoke. Or you can sit · on the curb away from the gas pumps and .smoke while your 13 buddies who don't smoke impatiently mill around and keep glancing your way. Or if it's a have-a- soda-pop-and-rest stop, you keep drinking one more pop and complain about your unquenchable 1 thirst so you can smoke one more cigarette. The last one is the worst alternative. It usually means an extra stop when no one else needs to-- and that time you can't cheat and slay in the bathroom' for 11 minutes so you can smoke. It's really rough to keep up your habit when you're traveling with health buffs lika that. / \ I still had to listen to their be-healthy- and-live-longer advice on smoking. I got the entire story on the condition my lungs were undoubtedly in, explicitly detailed by the doctor, with an occasional extra punch from the nurse. We jaunted on into South Carolina and Please turn to page 6m 5m'

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