Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rider's Roost. Ferguson, NC. 2015. (by Jen Keller Skarsaune)

Almost every year for the past 12 years on a weekend in June I have found myself at the Rider’s Roost Campground in Ferguson, NC. It is nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and surrounded by great motorcycling roads… and also some dirt roads if you get far enough off the beaten path. It is often the case that you set out from the Roost with a group of riders who have no idea where they are going but someone claims the lead and you just hope like hell that this really is going to be the short ride you intended to take. Then you find yourself on some kind of crazy adventure that becomes a half a day excursion that, without a recalculating gps, you may never return from and you are just elated that when someone’s bike breaks down it happens after finding civilization again. This was the story when I pulled into the liquor store parking lot, pulling the trailer, to load up Vince’s bike. His chain broke and put a hole in the case, 20 minutes from my house. After many times being on the other end of such a phone call it was actually quite nice being the one coming to the rescue. Chuck and I hauled Vince’s bike back to the Roost while Vince rode bitch behind Jay. So memories are made, and each year as we reminisce, we all laugh. There is a lot of laughter at the Roost. Smiles and hugs and true friendships. Every year it fills me up, it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside, and then it is over until the following summer. I have to think there will always be a "next summer at the Rider’s Roost".

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

June 16, 2012

Today marks the third year since I murdered a deer with my motorcycle. Somehow I managed to survive with minimal injury. I feel very fortunate to be alive having lost a few friends to motorcycle wrecks months before, one of them also involving a deer. I was released from the hospital the next day and spent the following few days repairing the bike. I had started traveling in May, taking trips around the Midwest: Michigan, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Lake of the Ozarks.
Three days after my accident I was supposed to leave for an annual trip to NC that I'd been taking since 2003. I still went with my friends Scrap and Jennifer, although the bike was on my buddy Scrap's trailer with his and Jen's. Originally we were all gonna ride down, as usual, but they wouldn't let me miss it and the trailer was the only option as I was not able to ride immediately after the collision. The bike was up to it, but I wasn't. I was still a little broken and hopped up on painkillers. I spent the week with some dear friends I'd made over the years since going to the Rider's Roost campground in Ferguson, NC.

After returning to IL a week after my accident, Jen and I hit the road, each on two wheels, heading to New Orleans to visit our friend Clint, then riding back up to IL to join my Flatlander brothers and ride to another annual meet in Muskegon, MI that I'd attended since 2009. After leaving MI we remained on the road until October, zigzagging our way across the western United States. We rode to twenty six states, close to 30,000 miles, that year. It was epic.

Today also marks the day that I'd usually be leaving for that NC meet at the Rider's Roost, but not this year. Circumstances have kept me "home" this time. I'm working toward changing those circumstances.

I am constantly reminded to live, to live life, and enjoy it. It's quite short in the broad scheme, and we only get one go at it. Make it count.

To quote a cheesy mass produced sign that you can buy at chain stores: "Live. Laugh. Love."