September 3, 2005

Start: Charlestown, West Virginia
Lexington, Kentucky
Mileage: 254 miles
Route taken: Route 119 south to
Pikeville, Kentucky to Interstate 64, exit at Lexington.


        The Charleston River ran parallel with the beginning of my ride and I watched boats push barges down the large body of water, while small pleasure boats weaved around them.

        The view didn’t last long as Route 119 started to run away from the river and soon I was in the hills that stretch toward the Kentucky border.

        The road was one of the better ones I have been on. It was not a popular road and free of traffic even though it was a holiday weekend.

        Me and Libertad had it pretty much to ourselves and I opened the throttle up a bit, letting her wind through the gently twisting road.

        She seems to respond to roads like that, especially when there is no one else around. Because the road is not heavily traveled, it is in good condition and easy on my back.

        My body has been a concern on this trip. It is showing signs of betraying me and I am not happy about it.

        The back was bad before I left, but I got a massage and that seemed to put it back in place. I have been careful not to overextend it and do a series of stretches in the morning to loosen it up. I have my duffle bag on the passenger seat and that acts like a support so my posture is good when I am riding.

        The biggest problem has been the beds I am sleeping on at the various hotels and motels.

        Mattresses that are soft, or thin or warped are usually in the places I have been staying at and that has done more damage to my back than the bike has.

        The bike has done its share to other parts of my body. Gripping the handlebars six to seven hours a day has caused my hands to go numb.

        Typing at night isn’t helping either, but that is just a minor annoyance that I can get past. My feet though have been a bigger concern. The foot pegs on my bike were extremely fashionable, but with little function. I changed out the pegs in South Dakota and that helped tremendously. The ride is much more comfortable now, but still traveling an average of 200 miles a day on the bike for more than a month is going to make you sore.

        It bothers me a great deal that I am getting older, though obviously it is inevitable. I am almost certain I won’t be the first person to live forever, but for many years thought there was an outside chance.

        Now I am resigned to my mortality and it has become evident in how I live my life.

        No longer do I take those unnecessary chances to cheat death, though some would argue that riding a motorcycle across country would fall into that category.

        Not really, though. The open road is always safer than a city full of cars with distracted drivers. The roads are open and though nothing is guaranteed, I like the odds of the two-lane sparsely populated country road, versus a Los Angeles freeway at rush hour.

        Life really is about playing the odds. I have always taken a shine to the longshot, but as I advance in years, even money or 2 to 1 looks better and better.

        It is my fear that the edge is deserting me and that would be tragic. I think everyone should have a little drama in their life, it makes it more interesting.