Rides and Tales

Observations From Behind Bars

Real Americans

with 3 comments

The following blog is not written by my hand, but by a fellow motorcyclist, a biker who has been down many  roads .  I enjoyed reading his words and asked if I could share them with riders outside the forum where he posted them.
His handle, “Santa Claws”,  is coincidental.

“Something I Learned From Crossing Part of America”

If you watch TV news or read the national newspapers you probably come away with the idea that America is made up of greedy, self-involved, violent people.  As we crossed the mid-section of America I found this to be a total misrepresentation of the American people.  Maybe we were just lucky….I don’t know, but everyone we met was nice.  People came up to us at almost every stop at convenient stores, gas stations and diners.

They would ask where we were headed and where we were from.  They asked questions about our bikes and about us.  Sometimes they approached cautiously.  (They watch the evening news as well.)  But their curiosity would get the best of them and they would want to know about us.  Some of them were travelers like ourselves, but many were local folks stopping to get gas or something to eat.  There was the fellow from Tennessee we met at our over-night stop in Missouri.  When he read my nickname (Santa Claws) on my windshield he disappeared into his room and returned moments later with a cold beer and said “Here Santa, for all the nice stuff you brought me all those Christmas’s.”  He then called his wife out and said “Look dear this is what Santa looks like when it is not Christmas.”

There was the couple in Kansas that invited us to their place to put our bikes in their garage to ride out a storm.  There was the 85 year old woman in a convenient store in Missouri who had ridden her own motorcycle all over the U. S. and Canada.  Her only regret was that she could no longer ride.  There was a farmer in Nebraska that was worried that if they didn’t get some rain soon he would have to plow under his corn crop and was surprised at how we stood up to the heat….the rancher in Colorado who was amazed that we had ridden our bikes so far….the two couples we met in Sturgis that were from Nebraska returning from a trip to Yellowstone in their RV.  There were the bikers from Detroit that Dale and I met at a little gas station in the middle of nowhere in northern South Dakota (we were headed for North Dakota) that brought us two beers…seems there were four of them and they had a six pack.  But most of the encounters were with non-motorcycling folks.  There were literally dozens of these types of incidents.
And something else struck me……their departing comments were almost always “You fellows be careful and have a great trip” and sometimes with a wistful look in their eyes “I wish I was going with you”.   Children in passing cars would wave or give us the thumbs up, sometimes the adults would too. Teenagers would whoop and holler at us from the sidewalks and old men would regale us with stories of their adventures.  Americans have not lost their romanticism.  We were strangers traveling unprotected in the elements and that seemed to strike a cord with the folks we met.  America still loves an adventurer.

Americans are a surprisingly open and friendly people, especially on the back roads.  The heart of America is still strong and its life blood is still freedom.


Written by fiddle mike

December 24, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Posted in biker, culture, motorcycle

3 Responses

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  1. Great write up. Your words describe what I’ve encountered in my travels around this great country!

    Michael Price

    December 25, 2010 at 11:53 pm

  2. The folk I have met in my travels have been the salt of the earth and kindness itself. Had frozen up in my boots on a long haul and didnt make the tight right turn without putting my bike down. Sheared off the foot plate on my gear shift and was warming up with a coffee as I waited for the service station to temporary weld the plate back. A lovely couple generously invited me back to wait in their lovely home by the lake….ran me a hot spa tub with bubbles and made me a pot of hot tea. What wonderful warm hearts that found me that day: a pair of angels.


    December 26, 2010 at 12:03 am

  3. Change the place names and this could have been written about people in South Africa, I too have heard from friends who have travelled in America about how friendly they are to strangers, how curious they are about your travels, but it could also be about how people in general (non-bikers) respond to the sight of bikers on the road or at pit stops. To them it is a totally different form of travel, they wonder at how we can ride for hours and miles straddling a two wheeler and want to know what makes us tick.

    Andrew aka the Rider

    December 26, 2010 at 12:11 am

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