Never Met a Stranger .

peopleAfter my accidental ride through the “tail of the dragon”, I arrived at the rural motor cycle campground tired and a little disoriented. Tale1I was sitting on the bunkhouse stairs looking blankly at my scooter, trying to figure out what I still needed to do. I struck up a conversation with a guy sitting on the stairs next to me. He was waiting for his dryer in the bunkhouse laundry room.
So we chatted … and man, he was good at it. I tried to talk about him, but I was tired and we ended up talking about me, darn it. Now just an hour before then I had literally fallen asleep at a scenic view rest area, woken up by a stranger, so I was out of sorts. But he was good!
Motorcyles are parked like horses tied at a saloon


I talked about my bike, the trip, all the church events I was attending, about the divorce and the family at home, and about visiting old friends and seeing favorite places from when I worked. Then I told him my favorite aside, how some friends were worried when I left Florida, that “I was going to be alone all summer”.
He cut me off. “You’re the kind of guy that never met a stranger”, he said, “You’re probably having the time of your life.”
And he was exactly right, I was … I am.
He was from West Virginia, Wheeling, and riding a Suzuki. A new hybrid which looks like a trail bike but is really for roads (like an SUV is supposed to look like its for mudding but is actually a sedan). “Nice saddlebags” (always compliment a man’s bike). He pointed out that his Suzuki 650 and my Bergman had the same motor mounted in hugely different frames. Then we invited each other to dinner, since the chow house only serves from Thursdays through the week-end.
He was camping, pitched a tiny tent, and traveling with his son. Turns out a fifth grader (hence, no pix here) and on the one bike, so carrying the two of them plus supplies for two (starting with two helmets including bluetooth intercoms). Instead of “Junior”, they call him “Duece”, which I must say is the coolest thing I ever heard. When I bumped into him alone at breakfast I asked “How’ya doin’ Duece?” and he replied “Great! How are you Dave?” Coolest fifth grader in a long time. I asked Duece if the view from the back seat is ok, since you mostly see the driver’s back. He nodded. “Yeah, he tells me what to look for, and I get to see it after we pass it, too”.
We hit the little diner down on the corner, the one with a dozen Harleys in the lot, and after another 20 min of tricking me into talking, he finally mentioned his job. He’s a minister, on a six-month sabbatical. So he’s taking his son, during the summer, for several father-son (cheap) motorcycle / camping adventures. The smokies is a short hop from Wheeling, as were their other rides. I was flush watching the love and respect between the two of them.
The diner held a LOT of Harleys, a few Gold Wings, and one white Bergman (with FL Plates)


I talked a little church business, then he admitted that in a month or two he needed to settle down and focus, that his sabbatical is also to refocus him. I had no urge to tell him I’m an atheist, or pressure him about biblical errancy and the politics in Nicea. That night he was just a dad, taking 2 of his 6 “once in a lifetime” months with his son, his son with the coolest nickname ever.
Just another friend I had never met.

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