The dotted yellow line flew by faster and faster. Even through the padding on my helmet I could hear the wind roaring in my ears, and soldering on beneath me the unmistakable rumble of a 1985 Honda Nighthawk motorcycle. With 650 cubic centimeters of power the beautiful red machine could give me the ride of my life every-time I grabbed the throttle.
It started when I lived in New Mexico with my brother, James. He’s probably one of my best friends and no matter how much time we spend together, I don’t seem to get tired of him. The Honda first belonged to James. It was his pride and joy, the first motorcycle he ever owned and he treated it like a gem. But when a shiny, sleek Triumph Street Triple caught his eye, I happily volunteered to take the Honda off his hands so it could stay in the family.
Those moments, riding with James, me on my Honda and he on his shrill street crotch rocket, are some of the most exciting memories I have. We flew along the country roads of New Mexico surrounded by mountains and bathed in sunlight. If paradise exists in the U.S., its roots lie in the Sandia mountain range of New Mexico.
Random friendships is an odd, but welcome, by product to riding a motorcycle. I didn’t know this until after I started riding, but when motorcyclists pass each other on the road it’s tradition to wave to the other rider. It’s a mutual sign of respect. Friendship starts after that, with a random conversation at a rest-stop, or local pub. The mutual love of the ride provides a basis for conversation, long trips through the countryside and much more. The fellow riders I have met on the journey will remain great friends of mine for years to come.
I brought my motorcycle back to the Pennsylvania roads and rolling hills. Other bikers wave their hellos and conversations are started. It’s a taste of the unity that is hidden beneath many Americans. I could say at this point that I am thankful to be an American, but that’s a bit cliche. What I am truly thankful for is a loving family, a beautiful home, the memory of summer rides with my brother, and the freedom of flying down an old country road with nothing but the wind in my face.