Spent most of Friday on a leisurely motorcycle ride around Southwestern Virginia with fellow rider and friend Nick Piazza. Over breakfast at Blue Ridge Cafe that morning, he suggested a run down the Parkway. We did, to Blue Ridge Music Center near the North Carolina line with a stop at Mabry Mill (kidney relief stop after all the breakfast coffee).
At the center, watched some video footage of the Stanley Brothers playing with Pete Seeger with that folk legend’s New York television show back in the day. Then a run over to Galax on Virginia 89 for some Mexican food at lunch before taking the back way over to Fries for the start of the New River Trail, then along the twisties of Virginia 94 through Ivanhoe over to Fort Chiswell, then East on U.S. 58 to Hillsville, and finally up U.S. 221 to Floyd and home.
Joined Nick again Saturday morning for a ride to Roanoke for coffee and doughnuts at the weekly gathering of the local Harley Owners Group (HOG) riders. He joined them for a picnic ride up to Douthaut Park past Clifton Forge near Millboro.
I had some other things to do that afternoon so I headed back to Floyd the long way, on the Parkway from U.S. 220 just south of Roanoke, up Bent Mountain to Franklin Pike and then into Floyd.
A general rule on motorcycle rides (and rules are something we normally ignore) is that you try to find another way back home on any trip.
Road trips — long or short — help clear my mind. There’s an old cliche that says you seldom see a motorcycle parked outside the office is a psychiatrist (unless it belongs to a doctor).
Riding is therapy and most people know that I need a lot. Riding with Nick allows me to double down. He is a retired professor from the psychology department from The University of Toledo and has served the field of such things over the years.
Those two motorcycle rides were my first since skin cancer surgery earlier this month. I had to wait for my nose to heal enough to get a helmet over it. I was also under orders to avoid strenuous activity for two to three weeks, which gave me the best excuse I could have to avoid mowing our massive, long, sloping yard.
Hopefully, I can get some more riding over the next two weeks, until July 32, when the second round of surgery to remove what the dermatologists hope is the rest of cancer in my body. That surgery may limit the use of my left arm for a while and that could mean another respite from riding.
What is unknown, at this point, is how a left-handed person copes with something that affects his left arm.
With luck (and luck has saved my life more than once over the years) and the skill of the young surgeon who has helped me so far, I can return to all things without problems or impairments.
Let’s hope so.
Summer is far from over and, with luck, neither am I.