History, Geography & Living Free!
I've never been too good with history. My girlfriend sat in front of me during senior year. Instead of learning about the Civil War, I tried to figure out a way to fondle and ogle her without getting caught by Mr. Majeski. My love for teenage flapdoodle fondling came back to kick me in the butt many years later somewhere on the back roads of North Carolina.
The further south I headed on my exploratory trip for freedom, the more Confederate flags I saw. There are even official license plates with the Union Jack printed on them. To make a long, semi-uninteresting and embarrassing story short, I suggest that you don't tell a North Carolina bartender that you're proud to be a Yankee and then continue to ask him when I will pass the Mason-Dixon Line. How the heck was I supposed to know better? The entire state is full of trickery. The very name of the state implies that it is in the north. Why would you call a place North if it's actually south of the confederate line. After being laughed at by a bar full of southerners, I walked to my motel with my tail between my legs and used their computer to gain the knowledge that I spaced out on in history class.
When I Googled info regarding the Mason-Dixon Line and learned it involved a settlement between the Penns and the Calverts, I thought of Lord Calvert Whiskey (cheap Canadian hooch in a plastic bottle) and had another drink.
Things got a little fuzzy after that. I remember it being something about marking colonial borders, though, and that it represents the boundary between our country's North and South or something like that. On my Freedom Tour--riding a '08 Victory Vision Street through the towns of our forefathers from Washington, D.C. to Savannah--it was a line I wanted to cross. And let's make one thing clear: I am a habitual line crosser.
Turns out I know nothing about geography, either. I was always well below the Mason-Dixon Line my entire trip. Hmm, I was never one to reach new heights. My point is--and I do have one--is that being in the South for so many days had me thinking a good deal about race. Well, that and the fact that I saw five black cowboys riding horseback alongside a four-lane highway in North Carolina. They were heading north while I was following the GPS mounted on my Vision south after I'd left the stormy Outer Banks. Now don't go pulling the racist card out on me for bringing this up, just yet. You have to admit, the Marlboro Man was never black. Sure, there are plenty of black cowboys; Hollywood just never revealed them to me.
I love to ride, have a passion for adventure and have traveled around the world. One thing I've learned is how great we have it in this country. We've come along way since the days of the Civil War, and all around I can feel the pride and excitement our nation has for its first black president. That's not to say America is perfect when it comes to race. We still have plenty of issues and invisible lines. And let's face it: a lot of white men will never be able to jump. That's what made me hesitate before turning around to talk to the cowboys. Not the fact that I can't jump, but that I was worried they'd think I was being creepy for wanting to take their photo. Altogether though, it wasn't their color that intrigued me; I was curious why they were riding on horseback along the highway.
I passed the first chance of a U-turn, arguing with myself whether I should go back or not. I asked myself why I was on the road: I was out for adventure and to learn about the meaning of freedom. I made the next U-ey, caught up to them, turned off the bike so I wouldn't scare their horses, grabbed my camera and said, "Hi." We talked for a bit, I pet their horses and found out about the area's extensive trail riding system. After a few photos I waved good-bye, feeling a revived sense of freedom. Getting to meet new people and learn new things is truly what it's all about.