Thoughts Along the Road Back to Bike Stories // Back to the Weeville Home Page
The Herald Friday, August 30, 1991
Sure, bicycling long distance requires a lot of effort. Ironically, the idea of physical exertion turns me off just like it does lots of other folks.
It's just that when I'm riding, I'm having so much fun that I forget I'm working. The bike's relatively slow travel speed gives me a good long look at what I'm passing. Maybe the exercise triggers a heightened state of awareness, because I can often find great subplots in things other folks pass for granted.
From my bottomless supply of notes made on the road, here are some observations:
*In coastal North Carolina passed a sign, SCREENPRINT/SIGNS/T-SHIRT/CAPS/REALTY. Now this makes perfect sense. The guy did such a great job on this T-shirt, that I think I'll just buy a house from him.
*At rural crossroads in coastal North Carolina, the directional sign make me laugh out loud. There was a small town that way, a tiny town yonder way, and the Pender County line this way. The county line on a directional sign? It looked like a stage prop from "The Dukes of Hazzard"..."Go left, Luke. The county line's just ahead. I think we got Boss Hogg outrun."
*People with colorful characters name their farms and display the sign beside the driveway. In North Carolina, I passed Flat Broke Flats. That'll turn the vacuum cleaner salesman away every time. Near Sumter I found the Shud-We Farm..."Martha, now that we have a farm, what shud-we name it?"
*A big changeable sign in front of a country store somewhere in North Carolina beckoned, "TODAY'S SPECIAL--NOTHING." Finally, truth in advertising.
*On a big motor home in Florida, I noticed a tag in the back window, "Roughing It Smoothly." Maybe these folks told acquaintances they traveled around the country "camping".
*Then there was the bumper sticker on a beat-up South Carolina pickup truck--I DON'T BELIEVE THE LIBERAL MEDIA. Yeah? Well, I don't believe bumper stickers, nor do I believe your pickup truck could pass a vehicle inspection performed by anyone concerned about keeping his license.
*While on my endless ride from Rock Hill to Utah, I often thought of a quote by Henry Ford, "If you think you can, or if you think you can't, you're probably right."
*I love country roads for their lack of traffic. The way drivers treat bicyclists downtown always reminds me of a letter to the editor of Car and Driver Magazine chastising the staff for a particular political stand--"When your I.Q. reaches 80.....sell."
*Lots of side roads in coastal North Carolina are named for individuals, some with names so long they fill the available space. You'd have to ask the locals who each prominent hero was, but I was mystified by one particular name--Stocking Head Road. Was this named for somebody who robbed convenience stores hundreds of years ago?
*A lack of punctuation on a horse trailer near Camden set my imagination running. In big red letters on the back of the trailer was the statement CAUTION HORSES. I have heard of quarter horses and walking horses, but caution horses was a new one on me. I finally decided the caution horse is the one that comes out to slow the field after another horse spins out and hits the wall, leaving debris and liquid on the track.
*Last, and most definitely least, comes the vanity license plate I saw on a cosmically expensive German sports car, a mechanical masterpiece from a faraway state. There ought to be a law against it, but the tag read, "U-NV-ME." Sorry, buddy, but your tag is wrong.
Vanity plates should convey some usable message to drivers behind you. I think I'll order one for my bike: "MISS-ME."
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