West Virginia roads are a motorcycle riders dream. Not much traffic, plenty of curves, switchbacks and beautiful scenery. Rivers, mountains and friendly people if you run into mechanical problems. Gil lost a bolt on one of the headers of his aging Harley Road King and this caused one of the mufflers to come loose down the mechanical line. He’s covalently bonded to that thing and I suspect he’ll be riding it even though most of it is duck taped together.
So he strapped it together with baling wire and we pull into an isolated gas station/eatery to get something to drink and some munchies. Next thing, several locals come out to talk about bikes, followed by some interest in looking at this header problem. Lots of solutions tried, none worked, then the lady that owned the place called a friend who knew Harleys and in 15 minutes he was there with tools and supplies. Thirty minutes later the problem was fixed. They refused offers of payment and bid us a safe further journey. Brothers of different mothers. Salts of the earth.
A new rider with us, a guy from Chicago who was once Arnold Schwarzenegger’s partner in a series of Gyms for body builders. Arnold long since sold his share, but our guy came away with lots of resources. He’s a vintage bike nut who has 50 vintage bikes warehoused in varouls spots, and he intermittently rides most of them. He has a ground-up restoration of a “Vincent Black Shadow”, probably the most famous and valuable vintage bike in existence. Imortalized in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream” (Hunter S. Thompson, 1971).
At any rate, he was a good rider and a great guy to have along. We put on 1000 miles and as always we had a great time
Dave Crippen: ’04 BMW R1150GS
Jim Clark: ’11 BMW R1200RT
Gil Ross: 1995 Harley Road King
Erik Diringer: 2000 Indian
Al Phillips: 2011 Triumph Rocket III
Next ride: The Natchez Trace, Nashville to New Orleans.