(On the Blue Ridge Parkway, June) The parking area is clotted with Harleys and their clones, and their road-benumbed riders. I recognize what they are feeling from their voices and their gaits and the looks in their eyes. A day like this will eat you up, suck the marrow from you, and wring you out like a sponge.
The term I used to use for this phenomenon was “road-simple.” Yet I do envy them [travelling as I was, in a passenger van], and see "the mark of the dragon" [The familiar squiggly decal from 'The Dragon's Tail'—U.S. 129 through Deal's Gap, N.C.] on many.
((sigh)) We never want what we have, and we never have what we want. And where are the goddam Beemers? [When I found out, boy did I feel silly!]
[From the following day] The bikers stick in my mind for some reason. They are representative of a certain type I have watched for a long time. They appear worn, tired, testy, stiff and sore, and not very happy until they are off their bikes and socializing. My prejudice will out, and I make no pretense of objectivity.
Riding, though by no mean exercise, is physically demanding. So is sitting in the sun for hours. So is immersion in constant loud noise. To combine it all on a machine designed for its looks, or in imitation of looks, is folly. No wonder they look and act they way they do. The sport bikers have it right.
Design is life, reality can’t be held at bay for too long, and physics is a cruel mistress.