Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 30, 1972 · Page 85
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July 30, 1972

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 85

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Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 30, 1972
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Page 85
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Life Among the Chopper-Type Health Nuts (cont'd) Continued from page 5m stopped around 2 p.m. in a little town called Marion. This was a seven-cigarette stop, including lunch and a, rest period and a chat period. But while we talked, jested and discussed worldly issues, the sun disappeared, the day turned gloomy and dark and a roar of thunder was heard; and for motorcyclists it amounted to an impending disaster requiring emergency procedures. 'If you aren't expecting rain, you often leave your umbrella home. We could come up with only five rainsuits, leaving nine of us naked to the elements. Soggy tennis shoes were forecast through the following day (our interpretation of the local radio station's broadcast). Rain, on a motorcycle, usually means you'd better go ahead and ride, but ride slowly and carefully. It also means that you'll think 60,000 needles are being driven simultaneously into your forehead, cheeks and neck. And too, it means that every drop of water will eventually follow the law of gravity and you'll either have four inches of water to pour out of your leather boots or squeaky sneakers for a day and a half. Regardless to what you've heard, it isn't fun. And no matter how slow or fast you go, you have to put up with the rain. You don't know whether to chance it and try to ride out of it or stop, in hopes that you can stay dry and the rain will quit shortly. From experience, I learned that if you try to ride out of it, the storm stays right with you: if you stop to stay dry, it's · usually a two-hour wait, you get mad about wasting time and go ride in the rain anyway. Then there's the new experience called the Motorcycle Rain Chills. This includes the squeaky sneakers I mentioned before, plus wet, flappy jeans around the lower legs and snakelike tentacles of hair that inevitably stick to your neck. This differs from the Midnight Chills only in that it makes no d i f f e r e n c e whether the temperature is 85 or 55. you chill till your clothes are dry. With every thread of my clothes soaked, with every inch of my body in monstrous chill bumps, we stopped for lunch in a small, unnamed town about 30 miles northwest of Myrtle Beach. Here we were in the land of the Spanish moss and abandoned, lone-standing houses. Other than out-of-state cars, there was seldom any traffic except for the farmers and their workers in pick-up trucks. Blacks and whites, old men and young girls stopped to iook over the choppers and discuss the storm and ask where we were from. 1 guess we were part of a life they don't know, and travelers rarely stopped in so small a place. Their gas station and restaurant were on a side road, a graveled one, so we walked. We were treated like long-awaited company at the bright and spotless little Country Kitchen. The rain slacked up as we ate, so optimistically we asked about the weather. "Y'all Ye due about a week's worth o' foul weather," one of the locals said. We boarded the Harleys with mouths agape. By the time we got to Conway (about 10 miles from the beach), we were tired, chilling and sick of the rain. After a powwow of sorts, the democratic vote ruled that we check into a motel in Conway rather than try for the beach. It was nearly dusk, for we'd stopped several times due to extremely hard downpours and five times so I could smoke. Peering at us in our dirty, sloppy, wet and sad-looking condition, the gentleman at the Conway Motor Inn was obviously reluctant to give us rooms. He kept mumbling to himself, "What are they gonna do with those sleeping bags?" I got the impression he thought we were a bunch of dirty hippies, and I was immediacy indignant--but he forced a smile and gave us three rooms. Finally, we could take showers, sleep in · b ' TO CHARLESTON, "beds, change clothes and rest in what we considered luxurious accommodations. And next door to the motel was a cheapie hamburger stand. After our showers, we sat down to tasteless hamburgers, raw French fries and flavorless milkshakes. I had a cup of coffee and should've known better. The girls jumped me with, "Coffee scrambles your chromosomes." The guys chimed in, "Caffeine practically eats holes in your body and has no nutritional value whatsoever." I tried to fight back on the bad points of milkshakes, but they yelled me down, and I switched to hot chocolate after that. -At nine they were hitting the hay, and I thought they were crazy. Even midnight is early to bed for me, but then, I wasn't expecting to get up at 6 a.m. either. So I sat on the veranda and talked to the mosquitoes and tried to massage that tingle-feeling out of my face. I was up till nearly one, and finally dozed off on the floor under the television. I was rudely awakened at some ghastly, pre-dawn hour by the Star-Spangled Banner and good morning wishes on Channel Go Away, I'm Trying to Sleep. To my amazement, there stood Jpdy, Connie, Tira, Lynn and Beverly with every stitch of clothing they'd brought along stuffed into a duffle bag. Almost in unison they announced, "We're off to the laundromat, want us to take your things?" "What, pray tell, are you doing laundry for if you just got here and have only worn one change of clothes?" I asked in answer. Come to find out, the clothes probably picked up a lot of road dust and grime on the way down and they couldn't possibly be worn before they were washed. Also to my astonishment, along came the guys with a knock on the door and, "Let's get this laundry done. Are you all going to sleep all day!" I wake up slow and grouchy every morning of my life, and I couldn't believe this was really happening to me on my vacation yet. at 6:30 in the morning! As you can well expect, I was bawled out properly for my poor sleeping habits and my lack of early-rise ambition. During breakfast I sniffled and sneezed twice. Dave, one of my let's-get-her-into shape companions, said, "If. you took Vitamin C regularly you wouldn't be catching a cold and sniffling." I had no rebuttal; I wanted to go back to bed. The gang wanted to swim. Saturday morning was a continuation weatherwise of the day before, but by 8:30 a.m., all were in the water. All of us,.that is. Firstly, I doubt that many others were up that early. Secondly, I believe most people have better sense than to go swimming when it's cold and windy and have to ride on a motorcycle soaking wet to get to a motel to get dried and warm. Nonetheless, we swam for an hour and a half. "We" is erroneous. I lasted 22 minutes, turned blue and sat down and cried with an earache. "Swam" is also wrong. The undertow was so great that morning that in any depth over the thigh, it was life or death survival in the ocean. I suffered greatly on the return trip to the motel. Not only were my chill bumps super king size, but'also riding that close to the beach without long pants on is like being sandblasted at close range with the power of a fireman's hose. It's more than a sting--you are sure the sand is actually being lodged in your skin and that it will take major surgery to remove that many particles of sand from your whole body. A shower worked miracles, and we laughed over lunch and sang on the road in search of a Harley shop. Being dry and happy, we were oblivious to the ever- approaching rainstorm which hit at the moment we spotted the shop. We had unpacked the camping gear at the motel I thought it was nice and fair that no one had a rainsuit this time. W. VA. \ After admiring the Barley-Davidsons in the shop and the people in the shop admiring ours, we talked motorcycles to kill time in hopes that the rain would slack up. Two other guys from West Virginia were there, which prolonged our chat. But we could see there was no getting around it: more rain chills ahead. The rain got to be such old hat with us that we made a day of it, stopping at the zillions of souvenir shops, having a wet dinner on one of the piers and walking on the seldom-deserted beach. Once more we returned to the motel and took hot showers and put on dry clothes. I kept thinking, "What's the use?" When Lynn came up with a bright idea and suggested, "Let's go to the amusement park!", I honestly thought I was going to cry. My body just wouldn't take anymore! The carnival was a nice sabbatical from the two days of rain and riding. With dusk came the end of the drizzle and a chance for a dry evening. ·As many West Virginians will attest, Myrtle Beach at night is a wild, yet friendly, place to have a good time. From the top of the Ferris wheel, you can see the slow, steady streams of vacationers on the main street with their car lights like a thousand wild eyes in the night. The crowds of tourists move stealthily onward, with destinations unknown. Innumerable neon lights and flashing signs seem to throb with the carnival music, the rock bands, the radios and the mood of the throng. It's no place for loners. Like most vacation spots, Myrtle Beach is a place to get out and meet people, to laugh and to feel free. The amusement park, in wild array of new hair-raising and stomach-turning rides, remains in its status as the backbone of the beach. It offered a commotion and tumult unlike the smooth and steady rhythm of the cycles. The drumming cry of the carnival faded as we roared away from the massive crowds and the core of night life. We rode several miles south of Myrtle Beach where the trees are more scarce and more gnarled by the salt and sand in the air. I marveled at the stillness of the night away from the metropolis and the serenity of the deserted beaches with their rushing waters and continuous waves. This, our second night at the beach, found us still optimistic about the weather. A few stars twinkled in between scattered, swift-moving clouds. The moon, anchored behind the clouds, appeared and disappeared as the winds carried the dark clouds so lightly, in front of its beam. On our ride back to Conway, I tried to reconcile myself to reality. I wanted to sleep out on the beach, damp though it was. Staying away from motel rooms and televisions is what vacationing by motorcycle is all about. But bless the weather; my feelings were one as we pulled into the motel in a drizzle. No damp, clammy sleeping for me. The Sunday morning sun found us once again in the ice cold waters of the ocean. I was so thrilled at seeing the sun that I ignored my blue skin and chill bumps and played and tossed around in the waves and the sunshine. But there's always that motorcycle you have to get back on. We had ridden so long the night before that my feet were swollen, my legs were falling asleep, and well, I wasn't feeling so good when I sat down, either. At the breakfast table, Dave noticed my lethargy and said, "You aren't getting enough rest or your feet wouldn't swell. And if you took Vitamin D regularly* you wouldn't have that circulation problem in your legs." I tried to smile in defense, when Elvin added with sarcasm, "I don't see how you stay alive." "I feel fine," I said as I lit my cigarette. "I just happen to like cokes instead of milk and juice. I like to stay up late instead of deeping my night life away. And I like to do laundry only when it's an absolute necessity." With all heads shaking solemnly, I added, "And I like to smoke and drink and every once in a while, be really messy and grimy dirty." This commentary' brought gasps of exclamation, but' their lectures were over. The only further comments on my conduct and health were muffled "tsk-tsks." With no hope for clear weather, we left Myrtle Beach after another, night of touring the amusement park, talking to brother cyclists and giving the peace sign to the little kids clutching their mother's hands along the sidewalks. We were on the road by 7 a.m. Our gang broke up, with everyone going back the same route we came down on except for the Charlestonians. I talked them into a northeastern route through Wilmington to look over the USS North Carolina docked there permanently for display. The air was fresh and clean. Winds had calmed and the sun was out in full glory. Your senses are intensified in clear weather riding along on a motorcycle. The aromatic North Carolina pines in early summer satisfy your nostrils until that smell changes to the scent of newly mowed fields or the lingering odor of salt in the air and the mustiness of swamps. You can feel the very vibrations of the world. Passing through shaded lanes, the chill of the air and the serenity of the forest emcompass your being. Riding along beside the open meadows and easy- rolling hills gives you the sense of continuity and well-being and the realization of vastness in our world. You dip into a pocket of closeness in a narrow valley, level off into the flexibility of the world along the interstates with cities and industries darting by, and climb to the edge of the skies on the peaks of twisting, bare-topped mountains, only to dip and climb upward in heart again with every mountain or home or tree-covered knoll you pass. The Glass House on the turnpike was our last stop before home. Four a.m. found the turnpike rather deserted except for big trucks and lone motorcyclists. The night was open, clear and free so the chains of stars seemed to prod us on. Just north of Chelyean, the chemicals of the valley hit us in the face, and we knew we were home. Drowsy and well-bealen, I walked into home and fell down on the floor at 7 a.m., only to get up at 8 and head for work. "How was the Big Trip?" Bob greeted me with when I walked into the office. "Bunch o' puny people, those motorcyclists," I replied, as I slumped to sleep in my chair--with 1,500 motorcycle miles under my belt--and dreamed about vitamin, pills and large glasses of milk. Next Week What's it like to ride a bicycle 1,000 miles on your vacation! AP Staff Artist Larry Zwast did this summer and liked it fine. Don't miss his article and sketches... %i Two Wheels and Ten Speeds" in the State Magazine Sunday Gazette-Mail Aug. 6,1972 Sunday Gazette-Mail

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