Today, Sunday, October 25, 2015, is the third day of a self-imposed three-day weekend.
This morning, rain or shine, I will head out on one of my Harleys with other riders for a trip to Shatley Springs, North Carolina, for an annual lunch to honor Kevin Spangler, a fellow rider and member of the Roanoke Valley Harley Owners Group.
My days off will end around late afternoon when I put the Harley away, take off my leathers, and sit down at the editing desk to put together the videos of last week’s candidate face-offs for posting on Blue Ridge Muse starting Monday,
The last three days will probably put a little more than 1,000 miles on my bike. Friday’s meanderings included a brisk ride down the twists and turns of Squirrel Spur that heads south out of Meadows of Dan and down to Arratt and then on to Mt. Airy for a double burger and fries at Barneys Cafe on Main Street.
Lots of people in Mt. Airy, the town that still thrives somewhat on fans of the old Andy Griffith Show and a Southern lifestyle that still struggles to exist in parts of this area.
Then up U.S. 58 to Hillsville, down Rte. 100 to Pulaski, over to Dublin on U.S. 11 and back on 100 for another turn-filled romp over to Pearisburg. After a stop for a dipped cone at DQ, a hop down U.S. 460 to New River Valley and home.
Saturday’s tour included a run out Ellett Road northeast out of Christiansburg. Ellett turns into Luster’s Gate Road and eventually meanders along the North Fork of The Roanoke River and dead ends into Catawba Road, which becomes Catawba HIghway/Blacksburg Road in Roanoke County until it eventually dead ends at Catawba Valley Road just outside Catawba. A short hope over the mountain on Rte. 311 to Electric Avenue and Salem.
Took the Parkway up the mountain and over to U.S. 221 and then off on several back roads before arriving home again shortly after 5. Spent the evening readying the bike for a possible cool and wet ride on this Sunday.
Motorcycle riding is therapy for someone who spends many seven-day weeks in pursuit of news, photographs and video. This fall was, and is, a busy time — sports to photograph, music to film, courts to cover and an upcoming local election with more contested races than usual and a sheriff’s race with too much mudslinging from one candidate. My mailbox overflows with “why don’t you look into this” suggestions and the usual assortment of grips, criticisms and threats.
I’ve spent most of my life as a newspaperman, a once thriving and noble profession that is now fading into digital obscurity. Every week, I hear from someone I know who faces “early retirement” or outright layoff from a newspaper that is shutting down. It sometimes seems like anything printed on processed wood pulp (also known as paper) is doomed. Newspapers and magazines are going online. Playboy magazine is dumping nude women from its pages in March of next year in and attempt to revitalize itself.
I’m able to survive in a printed world because I’m technically “semi-retired,” which means I can work under contract without anyone having to pay benefits. I also work for digital publications and own several web site.
But the last three days put me away from computers, laptops and even my iPhone. I ate lunches at roadside diners and places rooted in the past. I even left my cameras at home.
It was fun. I feel relaxed. It is something I should do more often…if I have the time.