I have been riding motorcycles since I was around 16 years old. I don’t ride now like I did then. I am much more careful and more aware of my surroundings, especially other drivers on the road around me and at intersections.
My wife Kay and I have been married for almost three-and-a-half years. Before she met me, she had never even sat on a motorcycle. How I got her to ride that first time while we were dating is another story for another time. Suffice it to say she loves riding as much as I do.
We have made several long cross-country trips this summer together. She rides with me on my Harley. Back a couple of weeks ago, the middle of October, we went for our annual Fall ride up into the Smoky Mountains to see the Fall colors.
Our plans had been to go a week later but the long range weather forecast for the following week was severe cold and rainy weather with some snow possible at the higher elevations. Now we are well prepared as bikers. We have all the correct gear, including heated gear and rain gear. The cold is not so bad with our heated gear, but cold weather combined with rain, made us reconsider. We opted to go a week earlier. It was still supposed to be cold in the morning but no rain.
We rode to Greenville the first day and stayed for a visit with a friend. The next morning we left for the North Carolina Mountains. When we arrived to our motel destination in Franklin, the weather was a warm 59 or so. We rode for a short time that first afternoon of our five-day trip on some back mountain roads. It was beautiful. Then we had supper and back to the hotel for an early morning start the next day.
The next morning was a cool 34 degrees or so, so we adjusted our riding gear thermostats and headed out. The Smoky Mountains are beautiful no matter what time of year a person goes to see God’s beautiful creation. We again rode an assortment of back country, mountain roads with no destination in mind. Just ride until you find another road and take it. For a biker, it is never just the destination; it is the ride that matters.
After riding through the mountain back roads for the morning we headed over to Deal’s Gap on the edge of the North Carolina, Tennessee line. This is the beginning of what is known among bikers and others as the “Tail of the Dragon” which is an insanely curvy mountain road on U.S. Highway 129. It twists and turns for a short 11 miles with 318 curves. Some are so sharp that the floorboards on my bike were dragging the pavement with sparks while I was only doing 5 mph!
I have ridden this exciting road for the past 13 years, sometimes more than once. It is exhilarating. I took Kay on it the first time while we were on our honeymoon. I wasn’t sure how she would do, but when I asked her at the end of the ride how she liked it, she said she loved it and could we do it again? So I turned around and went back through it from the opposite direction!
Life is like a ride on a motorcycle in the mountains. There are sections of life where you are breezing along with no concerns just enjoying the view. But then there are others parts of our lives where things slow us down, and to put it mildly, they are a little nerve wracking with sparks flying. You may wish for just a long straight road in life with no curves. Not only would that be a boring ride, but dangerous as well. You’ll get comfortable, with nothing holding your attention and you can easily just drift right off the road.
The Bible says in Proverbs 12:28 “In the way of righteousness there is life, along that path is immorality.” In other words you can live your life the best that you can, but you are always going to hit curves, or have problems. Keep your mind on the road and you’ll make it through the curves of life. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Happy biking!
Brad Morris, a retired minister, originally from Georgetown, served as a pastor and then as a missionary in Costa Rica and Ecuador. He can be reached at email@example.com. He has been in ministry for 49 years and a columnist for 16 years, 11 of which have been for the Times.