I had a day off in DC… Decided to spend it two wheelin’ through the mountains. Of course, one of the first things i do when we arrive at a city for a day off is search for local motorcycle rental shops. Oddly enough, there was one 10 minutes from my hotel, and it was the same company (EagleRider) who I rented the Triumph from last weekend in San Diego who i spoke so highly of. Turns out, they were just as friendly and accommodating here in DC (Falls Church to be exact). I wouldn’t figure there’d be a place to rent bikes at inside a city unless there was something worth riding near by, so i asked the lady working (i’m sorry i don’t have her name) if she could recommend me a place to ride to. She immediately began printing maps and directions for me after stating very confidently, “Skyline Drive”. It sounded cool, so i was in haha.
The beauty of renting motorcycles as often as I do, is not only do i get to experience different terrain, and scenery, but i also get to ride a great variety of different makes/models. And as with any hobby or what not, people have their preferences on the these things, and sometimes are even a bit snobby. I however am open for anything. I’ve ridden Ducati, Triumph, Harley Davidson, Yamaha, Honda, you name it. I love them all for different reasons.
Today however, I opted for the Harley Davidson Sportster 883 Custom. It’s the first time I’ve driven this bike in particular and I was pretty pumped. It came outfitted with Screaming Eagle “pipes” (exhaust) that although loud, sounded like a lion purring. No irritating frequencies, just smooth delicious music to my ears. Ha.
Anyways, after a brief look over of the bike with the employee I was off to the races. I cruised down I-66 West (see map photo) for about 70 miles till i arrived to the entrance of Shenandoah National Park. I hit some rain on the way, which mind you feels like being shot by a BB gun in the face when riding at 75mph on the interstate. But it only lasted 15 minutes and i was out of it. What i was left with was zero humidity, brilliant clouds, and the perfect temperature.
The entrance of Shenandoah reminded me of The Natchez Trace, which is a similar stretch of scenic road near where i grew up, it runs from Nashville to Mississippi, and its a hot commodity for motorcyclists to cruise. So after a $10 entrance fee, off i went into the mountains, such a pleasant escape from the city. Personally, i love nature, i grew up in it and i thrive in it. My life revolves around cities, but when i get a moment to seek peace, i find it in nature, and in solitude (in most cases). The roads twisted and turned, they’re smoothly paved and before you know it you’re looking out over some of the most beautiful landscape in this part of the US. It makes me wonder how many people are unaware of the beauty that lies just an hour away from their daily routine. I encourage all of you who read this to inquire about national parks near you, you pay taxes that take care of them so you may as well visit haha.
I stopped over and over again at each resting point or overlook just because i couldn’t help myself. But i knew if i didn’t keep going i’d just end up not making it back into town in time to drop the bike back off. So I cruised, happily, through the canopied trees. The beauty of what makes riding motorcycles so incredible really shows in places like this. Driving down the interstate sucks, driving through cities sucks, traffic and stop lights… they suck. lol. But exiting a turn at 45mph after digging into the throttle with nothing around you but the beauty of what God has created and hearing nothing but the sounds of the wind and your exhaust pipes… well… that doesn’t suck. I love it with everything inside of me capable of feeling.
The ride back was actually quite nice as well… Lee Highway for the first half was just gorgeous farmland, a few vineyards and a gas station every once and a while. Then the city came, and i’m sure i muttered “ew” as i rolled in upon it. But hey, I did what i came to do and i enjoyed the hell out of it. My day off was a success.
Until next time my friends…
- Ian Keaggy
DISCLAIMER: Motorcycles are dangerous. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t encourage any of you to ride them or try to learn how to. i’m just simply touching on a bit of what it means to me. Ride at your own risk.