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By Cap'n

He walked around making sure the bungee cords on the sleeping bags and the tent were tight and checking for any loose bolts as the bike sat in the early morning sun. The oil had been checked the night before after he had topped off the fuel. She bounded out of the house carrying the saddlebags and threw them over the back seat. Pulled the rear pegs down and threw her leg over the seat. He righted the bike and pulled the kickstand up as he started her up. A couple of minutes to warm up and he dropped her in to first gear.

Out of the drive way and down the street to the stop sign, where he hung a left. He ran her up though third and started down shifting for the next stop sign. Another left and then right as they headed into the morning sun. The day was turning out good, the sun shining and not a cloud in the sky. The morning air on their bare arms felt chilly as they went down into the small valley's heading out of town.

At the out skirts of the city they pulled into a convenience store with gas pumps out front. Leaning against the wall was another couple standing behind another bike. They held up their cups of coffee and smiled a warm greeting. "You all ready?" "Nope, we just got here and got some coffee, you want some? No hurry we don't have to meet anyone for another hour or so". The four of them sipped their coffee and talked about the trip they had been planning for a couple of weeks now.

Their coffee gone they loaded up on the bikes and headed east. Riding at the speed limit for the first half hour or so and then they slowly started creeping up on the speed till they were holding about twenty miles per hour over the limit. Their ears where in tune to the singing of the pipes and their noses where filled with the summer smells in the country air.

Another half hour and they pulled into another convenience store where two more couples and two more bikes where in the parking lot. They shared greetings all around; the guys pulled up to the pumps and topped off as the women went into the store to get some cold sodas to drink. They all stood around joking and partaking in friendly bantering about each other's bikes, clothes, looks and what ever else happened to come up till they where all finished with their drinks. They all loaded up and headed south out of the small town. They ran at an easy pace for the next half hour before coming to another small town. The couple on the front bike made a left into another convenience store where there where two more couples waiting next to a couple of bikes. Everyone stopped long enough to check on the tied down bags and tents on the bikes. They all loaded up and with a roar headed east out of the small town.

The sun continued to climb higher into the sky and felt good on everyone as they rode in a loose small pack. Every once in a while someone would fill like they had to let out on some throttle and would pass who ever was in front of them and then slow down so that the rest could catch up with them. The hi-way followed a river in a way sometimes close to the water and then with some long sweeping curves away from the edge and back.

About forty-five minutes later one of the bikes slowed down and pulled over to the right hand side of the road. Those that where behind pulled over and the ones riding out front found a place to turn around and come back to see what had happened. "What happened someone asked?" someone asked. "I broke a clutch cable". The owner of the first bike to pull over replied. "Aw, man, what a bummer" from someone. "No sweat, I got an extra one in one of my bags here someplace," someone said. A couple of the guys got the tool bags off their rides and started helping remove the broken cable.

The sound of pipes could be heard long before the bikes came into view, three of them riding hard heading east. Then the downshifting as they came to a stop at the back of the rest of the bikes pulled over along the hi-way. It was three more of the guys that had been invited to the weekend outing. About a minute later an almost finished rebuilt early seventy's Chevy pick-up being driven by one of the guys wife and accompanied by to other women pulled up behind the bikes that had just stopped. "Hey, the pick-up is looking good" someone said to one of the new comers. "Well, I got the engine set in it a couple of days ago, now if I can find some time to put some paint over that primer it will be finished".

Everyone walked over to the pick-up and looked it over from top to bottom. The hood got opened and most of the guys walked over to check out the newly rebuilt engine. "Clean, really clean" someone commented. "Yea, that sure is nice" from someone else. "So what's up," asked the owner of the pick-up. "Got one with a broken clutch cable". "Do we need to load it up?" "Naw, we found an extra one and are just about done changing it out". "There's some cold sodas and beer in the ice chests in the back of the pick-up if anyone is thirsty and lots of food and snacks if anyone is hungry."

The owner of the broken bike asked someone to sit on it and work the clutch so he could get the final adjustments on it. "Feels good, lets get back on the road".

The sound of all the bikes firing up at the same time seemed to give the ground a vibration. One by one everyone pulled out on to the hi-way and worked their way through the gears. The pick-up followed the pack. As they rode east the road started to wind and twist more and head up hill. The small trees and brush that they had been passing through the morning now gave way to larger and taller pine trees and even thou the sun was high in the sky the air temperature was cooler and felt good.

After about an hour and a half the lead rider started slowing down, then he spotted the side road he need to take. His Ol lady signaled a right hand turn and everyone followed them down the dirt road. The farther down the road they went the thicker the trees got and in ten minutes the pack came to a mountain lake with a remote campground.

There where already some bikes parked in front of tents that were spread out over the two acre camping area. Shouts and greeting of all sorts could be heard as the incoming bikes found places to stop and shut down. Old friends where shaking hands and hugging each other and exchanging stories about their latest travels and adventures. Through the afternoon a few more bikes came in and there was more hand shaking and hugging.

As the sun started to set a fire pit was dug and firewood was brought in for the night. Everyone found a place where they where felt comfortable or wondered around visiting while folks set up their tents and got things ready for the evening. Someone walked up to the fire area with a guitar and started playing and singing, before long there was another guitar and soon after that someone was playing a harmonica along with the guitars. Folks laughed and sang some even danced to the music late into the night. New and old stories about the people at the gathering where told, some by those in the stories and some by others. Some funny and some sad. The fire burned down and people wandered of to their tents for the sleep that would come quickly tonight.

The morning sun had not been out long when people started moving about, coming out of their tents and stretching getting out the kinks from the hard ground out of the bodies that soon would be back on the bikes. Slowly the sleeping bags started getting rolled up and the tents being taken down and rolled up tightly to be bungeed down tight so as not to lost on the ride back home. Through the late morning and into the early afternoon depending on the length of the ride home the bikes started leaving but not before plans for the next get together were laid out and goodbyes to all were said.

eMail Cap'n 12-21-00
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