A day of social distancing, sack lunches and waterfalls.
By Jerry James, Arkansas
Originally printed in the Summer 2020 Issue of the STAReview
Everyone rides a motorcycle for different reasons. One of the main reasons I enjoy riding is the emotional stress that is released when I hear the sound of the bike and feel the wind as I ride down a twisty scenic section of tarmac. During these challenging times of the pandemic and social distancing, I feel it is imperative that we take care of our emotional wellbeing. One afternoon at work, I looked outside and noticed a construction crew eating a sack lunch, practicing social distancing. What caught my attention was the way they were laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Then it hit me! Let us do a sack lunch ride. Jump ahead a few weeks, we are at our local departure lounge. 7 riders, everyone excited to get out and ride, to interact with like-minded enthusiasts. Today we would be taking an easy ride down the famous Pig Trail in Northwest Arkansas. Not a long ride, but it would be good enough to shake off the cobwebs and to spend a little riding time with friends.
We enjoyed a nice ride through the countryside. The weather was fantastic and the roads had very little traffic on them. The perfect equation for a wonderful day of riding. We made our way down the pig trail. The picturesque scenery, the surface of the newly paved road and the feeling of freedom was overwhelming. Just what everyone needed in these trying times. As we rolled into the Turner Bend Store, we noticed the store had a line, waiting to get inside. This was not surprising as this scene has become very familiar for all of us. What caught my eye was the smiles and the happiness that these folks were expressing. This area is a popular recreation spot for Kayaking, Canoeing, ATV’s and for camping. No one was frustrated about the line; they were just enjoying being out and enjoying life.
We all had brought our lunch so we did not have to wait in line. We walked a few yards to get up to the waterfall area. The sound of the waterfalls mixed with the orchestra of motorcycles riding by made for a very enjoyable experience. We enjoyed our sack lunch with the company of our friends. The conversation focused on motorcycles, the trips that people were planning and how great it was to get out on the bikes. No one mentioned the current challenging situation. It was so relaxing, so normal. It was a wonderful lunch. We all broke up and headed our own ways to get home. Many took the long way home, some just headed home. It was a very casual way to end the lunch. Many smiles were shared and everyone seemed to have enjoyed the day.
As Jamie and I rode home, we had a great conversation about how we were so privileged to live in such a beautiful riding area. How we were so excited to be back on the bike, enjoying some time with our motorcycle friends. It was a much-needed grounding. We know that things will return to some form of normal soon, however this ride was needed to remind us, that no matter what we have going on in life, the one consistent way to create joy, is to get out and ride!
Until next time, ride responsibly, stay safe and healthy. Be kind to each other. Let us Ride!