Craven – Where has the Time Gone?
Where has the Time Gone?
I sit here in the trailer park writing a piece of prose that has nothing to do with the magazine or anything that my dedicated readers would be interested in whatsoever. My rants and raves are likely of no interest to any of ya’ll and it’s rare that I get a chance to simply sit down and express my true feelings. I keep these feelings to myself. All I can do is think back on the past and remember some of the good times that I had out on the open road. An adventure always awaits when one sets out with no particular destination in mind, and it isn’t really about the destination after all – it’s about the journey. That’s what brought me to Barstow.
I must have taken a wrong turn in Oklahoma somewhere and after a day or more of riding, I realized that I had already traveled fairly deep into California. I-40 is like that. It is a never-ending road that somehow beckons the spirit sorta like Route 66 and other legendary highways, which since their inception, have called the names of millions of curious explorers who were seeking something different. A change from the daily grind or an escape from reality that eventually makes you angry is always a call to the highway, and back in that day gasoline was about as cheap as it is currently. A motorcycle is always more economical than most any sort of automobile or truck, so many of us who utilize that cheaper transportation option often end up going on road-trips that really have no forethought or ultimate purpose. I believe that is the spirit of freedom that we enjoy most about the biker lifestyle. Some regular citizens may look at us and scoff or perhaps cower in fear, but until they see the road from the saddle they cannot understand the experience that we all enjoy.
“How the hell did I end up here?” was all I can remember saying to myself as I exited the interstate and took to the streets of the city of Barstow looking for food and possibly a room where I could spend the night outside of the comfort of my tent and sleeping bag. I also needed to wash my remaining dirty clothes, but that was never really a large concern. Back in the day the general population considered us as being just greasy, dirty hippies, or hellions who were a menace to society with no redeeming social value. Boy, how things have changed! Nowadays should you have the courage to go “Easy Rider” and try to eliminate one of us by the shotgun method, you may likely hit a congressman, lawyer, doctor or other prominent citizen of the country. It’s a whole new era in our ever expanding world.
Seeking nourishment was foremost in my road-weary mind and body, so I cruised around until I found something that was open at 9:00 PM or so. Somewhere on First Street, a Del Taco joint suddenly appears like a ghost from the past. I thought that most of these restaurants had gone the way of the “Jack in the Box” franchise, but I later learned that this particular town still had one of those also. Anyhow, being from Florida and not daring to enter the city of Orlando, I hadn’t eaten my favorite tacos for a very long time and I was hungry enough to just go order my special and eat in the parking lot as usual. While I was devouring my meal, a group of riders showed up –evidently to eat some dinner- and came over to say hi. Noticing my Florida tag, their friendly banter soon turned to strange looks and some other uncomfortable things. I really had no idea what was going on, but being outnumbered in an unfamiliar town all I could do is stand my ground as much as I possibly could and hope for the best.
Running away was never an option for me. I promptly informed the several folks who were once friendly and quickly transferred to weird that I was simply passing through and they wouldn’t be seeing much of me in their one-horse town. I always learn things by listening, and out of the short education that I derived from this encounter I realized people from my home state would not be trusted due to a conflict between a couple of warring factions in the motorcycle community. I disavowed any knowledge of this alleged conflict and bid the group adieu. As I found my way back to the interstate, I realized that my mission had been accomplished, and that people need to step away from the continuous negative legacy and move forward into the future. My gypsy tour of the west was concluded with the fact that I was just a visitor in “Berdoo” county and I should not return without a back-up plan. It was fun visiting for a minute, but the un-friendly attitude that I received was all I needed to experience. I’ve been thrown out of better places than this!
Heading back east, I felt a more accepted and comforting state of mind and I remembered the warmth of the place that I currently live. Not that California isn’t nice, it’s just that everyone there is stereotyped to the particular extent that would cause certain people to be uncomfortable. I was one of them but I always say “never look back.”
Somewhere around Oklahoma I slipped into the comfort of my patch and continued the journey back to my homeland. Bad attitudes be damned, I just look forward to the next trip which is coming up soon. When I see you all out there say a kind word if you will, and remember that the road is treacherous and people sometimes are un-predictable. Until next month, “Speed Safely!”