Day 7: HOG Boys’ Toys and Going All The Way

The boys are out with their toys. The surest sign that this is Sunday in the US. Traveling the spine of Florida from Gainesville to Naples over Orlando via US 17, 325 miles. A sequence
* of old (Florida scenic) highways lined with orange trees, orange trees and more orange trees (town passed is hopefully named: Frostproof!) and

* of endless miles of chains of chains where traffic lights every 200 yards or so act as irritating beads as the idea of a ‘green wave’ has not yet made it over here.
Imagine what a waste of fuel: endless stopping, accelerating, stopping etc etc – the most fuel consuming way of driving. Wears the motorcycle rider out more than 300 miles on a busy Interstate.
Wolf packs of Harley’s roam the roads like German submarines did the oceans. Roaming, not riding. The ones going my way rarely are company for more than 20 minutes. Off they go into a neighborhood street, or stopping they do at a bar or cafe. Parking their machines all shiny, admiring them, and leaving them alone like old-time horses outside the western bar. Sunday show-off. Topped by shameless roaring of revving and accelerating engines. No wonder the law abiding good citizens have little sympathy for the way the boys play with their toys. Nor do I.

I take that back. Interactions while waiting for a traffic signal reveal that they are ordinary nice boys and girls compensating the confining chain gang of the week with the feeling of freedom on wheels on the day of the Lord.

The HOG’s (Harley Owner Group) are not only white anymore; black they are down here, too. However, even the HD ideology does not break through the separation of color.
“All the way you want it?” asks the very pretty waitress of about 18 in Chuck’s Wagon, a very local home-cooking hang-out I don’t know where which is a cool oasis for lunch. I missed the order the male customer placed, but the answer is ‘yes, please’. Not much later, same exchange with a woman.

I somehow have to find out what I will have to order the next time to get that question asked to me. And perhaps I get the $1 dollar off on my Memorial Day order – that is what the sign on the Wagon’s wall next to a large American flag promises.
Along the road. One more (wild) hog. Big and very dead. A flock of vultures is on it mustering enough courage not to be chased away by passing traffic. Vultures all day. A cat, a dog, assorted unidentifiable corpses. Small black speck in the middle of my lane, 60 miles per hour. Quickly becoming very large and not taking to its wings. Hard break with all MS has. Up the vulture goes, dragging a big slap of bloody meat with it into the air. Where is that from?? Yes, I see, a big deer in the median of the road. Nature cleans up after itself, humankind lost that instinct.
Vintage find of the day is an old brick section that once was also part of Dixie Highway. Found directions on the internet. It is there, small rural road now, red brick, sagging, cracking. But visible. The 1930 County line marker is there as well.
The contrast comes quickly thereafter. Shoulder to shoulder RV resorts, mobile home masses, sunbirds surviving in Florida. Many: 55+ only. Although: things are not all well given the help offered by outfits offering bail bonds, advance loans, title loans and by pawnshops. Geezer country, a friend would say. Why do they need the various adult private viewing room places that line the highways?

It was a hot day. Tough winds that call for sailing again. In my riding gear I feel like a lobster in the pan. Prospect: find a hotel on the shore. Naive I was again. Aiming for a nice little beach hotel near Naples. Only reclusive highrise condos which block access to the beaches. Money rules once more. Jeb country, here.
Greatest shock of the entire trip comes at Chinese dinner, late evening.
My heart misses two beats when reading the message in the cookie that comes with my check.
It reads: “You will be called upon to help a friend in trouble”.

I know for a fact that this is more than very very true.

Cilia, our lines remain cosmically connected regardless of distance.

You ride with me.

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