August 05, 2008

Names at the airport

Joining us at the table over chili for dinner is Ed, who has ridden his bike from Kansas. Had a rough trip, lots of hail. It's his 14th trip to Sturgis, he says. 14! "Yeah, been ridin' since 1938. I'll be 80 on Thursday."

80 years old, and he has come up here on his bike. What's more, he's come with his older brother, who rode his own bike, and who has cancer. (Which is why they didn't come last year). Also along are Ed's eldest son, a wiry graying man with a ready smile, and two other friends. Ed's grandson and great-grandson had also planned to come, but the grandson broke a bone in his hand and the great-grandson backed out.

These five men, riding from Kansas. Why?

"Been ridin' all my life, that's all," says Ed. "My brother and me've biked everywhere together. We did the four corners too" -- touched the four corners of the continental US in one trip -- "and took just ten days." Key West, Florida, to somewhere in Maine to somewhere in Washington to San Diego and back to Kansas -- ten days.

A lot of driving.

"Yeah, we should've taken it slower. We saw a lot of white lines, that's all. But our names're up on the wall in an airport in LA now. There's a plaque there, you can go read our names there."

Why an airport, why in LA?

"Damned if I know! But they're there."

No comments: