Clara The Ice Breaker: Stories From the Road

Tuesday January 10, 2017, 49 miles (79 km) – Total so far: 440 miles (708 km)

Charleston to Walterboro, SC.

Back on the road again and what a beautiful day to do it. Blue skys and warm temps. So warm in fact, there was a sighting of my pasty, chicken legs! I road back to Walterboro the same way I had gone to Charleston so no need to talk about the back roads canopied with live oaks. What I do want to mention are some of the stories that were told to me by the people I met on the road.

A beautiful day to ride.

As always, Clara was the icebreaker. “I really like that bike. Does it have an engine?” Haha, I must have heard that nine or ten times today. Of course my answer is always, “Yes. A 1955, classic twin V”. They’d want to know where I was going and why. I’ve got my answer down pretty well by now which gives more time to hear their stories. Here are a couple.

One man remembered his father who left his family to go on a fishing trip when his son was five. He came back twenty years later having called only twice. On the journey, he married a second woman and reportedly saved his money by not going to town while in port. One night, he was killed on the boat and his money stolen. His second wife sent his body back home. I thought how lucky I was to have had supportive parents to guide me.

A woman, slowly walked by me using her cane for support. There was a huge smile on her face. She was from New York City and had moved down here. She was so happy because she had rented a Ford Explorer and this was her second day of driving solo. She had never driven before but recently took lesions and now was ecstatic in her new found freedom. I thought to myself how I take driving for granted.

I met two young ladies, sisters, who were very happy about last nights football championship game. Clemson won. The older sister was picking up her younger one who was returning to family from Utah. She has been battling pain killer addition but has been successful for a year this month. She was seeking the support of family and they were glad to take her in. I thought about the healing power of family and friends and how like this brave woman, I was lucky to have it.

As I pondered these stories and ate my lunch of PB&J, I must have looked especially pitiful and displaced. A sweet lady came up and handed me a foil wrapped package full of delicious pound cake. She said that her friends and her church wanted to give me this food. I was blown away with her generosity and managed to croak out a thank you and how sweet the gift was. I thought about how lucky I was to be doing something I enjoyed and how so many can’t or won’t. I thought about the generosity of others.

The generosity of others.

These are stories I never would have heard had I not been touring around this great country. Stories that perhaps without Clara, never would have been voiced. I tremble at the thought of what I have yet to experience as I listen to stories on the road.

Home for the night. I've missed camping and now I'm back.