There are motorcycle riders...and then there are folks who are transported by a motorcycle. When they arrive they're aware of a whole new paradigm of freedom. You can quote me on that later. It's all pretty profound, really. Or actually, maybe I just wanted to use the word paradigm.
I've always explored the idea of freedom but never really fully tried to grasp it. I was a total terror during my youth. I made my mom cry a lot, as she often had to pick me up from jail during my out-of-control phase in high school. Sadly, in adulthood I never grew out of my anger and depression that controlled my choleric life and began a lifelong relationship with shrinks and meds. I self medicated with drugs to cover up my constant anxiety and feelings of being trapped in my own mind and of embarrassment, thinking I was different from everyone else.
Heck, while I am on a roll with the secrets, I've even studied Buddhism and read self-help books. Don't worry; I'm not going to get all Dr. Phil on you. If I had written the previous few sentences a year ago, my ego would have kicked my butt and I would feel embarrassed for looking like a sissy just as I used to feel out of place riding in a pack of chrome while I cruised on a PC800. Throughout my reading, my struggles and my journeys, I have learned and am still learning that when it comes to freedom, first and foremost, a man must be free from himself, free from his ego. Basically, you've got to pimp slap it from time to time.
Nothing has hammered that home more so than my recent epic trip, a "Freedom Tour" riding a Victory Vision from the nation's capital down the eastern seaboard to Savannah, Georgia. My mission was to find freedom in one form or another. Obviously, there's a whole slice of independence that comes from riding the open road, but there were other in-your-face signs of liberation, too. After all, I was riding through some of the very lands our nation first took roots and some of the battlegrounds where freedom was fought for and defended.I could run my mouth off about places like Fort Sumter in South Carolina, where the Civil War began, but you can look that up on your own. Go-ahead, I'll wait a sec.
You see; the mind must be clear to ride a bike or to read my articles. Luckily, all the real life horse puckey dissipates as you split the wind. I can't say for the experience of picking through my writing, but as for riding, when I'm leaning through some mountain twisties, the confusion stirred up by life, that often fogs my brain, seems to burn off like the morning mists under a rising sun. After a long journey, and with my head as clear and pristine as a freshly flushed toilet, I rolled into Charleston, one of two cities on the last leg of my trip.
It is there that I met up with the Gullah; African Americans who live in the South Carolinian and Georgian Low Country. I met a grandmotherly lady weaving intricate baskets out of sweet grass. The Gullah has preserved its African roots more than any other African American culture in the states. I wanted to ask her if she could weave some side bags for me. I knew I wouldn't be able to understand most of her words so I kept my mouth shut and smiled. Gullah language is a mixture of English, Creole, Bahamian, and a few words borrowed from West Africa. Most of the words she said were in English, but with the very thick, almost Creole sounding accent, I was clueless.
When I arrived in Savannah, there was a crazy lady on the riverfront yelling at everyone. I was hoping to see her start kicking some butt on random tourists but she never did. Instead I got to chill out by a street performer singing the blues with his perfectly whiskey tuned vocal chords.