Well, I pulled out of Pittsburgh,
Rollin’ down the Eastern Seaboard.
I’ve got my diesel wound up,
And she’s running like never before.
There’s a speed zone ahead, all right,
I don’t see a cop in sight.
Six days on the road and I’m gonna make it home tonight.
The lyrics to Dave Dudley‘s classic trucker song ran through my head as three of us nosed our Harleys out of the parking garage of The Westin hotel in Pittsburgh on a cold Sunday morning and headed south towards home.
We fled the Steel City after three days of travel from Roanoke Thursday and two intense days of “HOG (Harley Owners Group) Officer Training (HOT)” amid warning of pending snowfall and the threat of wet weather ahead.
Even with layers of leather and heated gear the cold gnawed at my bones as we blasted down I-79 towards West Virginia. A breakfast stop south of Morgantown brought hot coffee and some warmth but the warmth from the ride up on Thursday morning seemed far, far away as we studied radar maps on our cell phones and wondered if and when the rain would hit.
We turned off on U.S. 19 South and my riding partners split off onto U.S. 60 just sort of the New River Gorge Bridge. continued on through thick fog that left a sheen of water on the bike.
After a gas stop just outside Beckley, I turned south on I-77 towards Princeton. The weather radar on the Garmin showed rain to the East but not along my route.
The Garmin lied. Rain hit in Princeton: Heavy, soaking, soggy, cold rain.
I pulled off for coffee, called Amy and said I would be home in about two hours. Changing into rain gear, I nosed the Harley onto U.S. 460 towards Christiansburg — 52 miles away. The rain let up just past Pearisburg and then hit again, harder and more bone numbing when combined with the cold. It continued through Christiansburg and didn’t let up on Virginia Rte. 8 or the last, short leg on U.S. 221 to Poor Farm Road, then Sandy Flats and home.
I pulled into the garage, left the bags on the bike and a trail of clothes from the garage to the hot tub on the back porch and soaked for more than an hour, letting the swirling hot water take the chill out of my bones and the pain out of my aching muscles and arthritic joints.
Amy brought a cup of hot coffee and asked: “Well, was it worth it?”
Yes, it was. Four days with good friends and time spent well learning things I needed to know.
(Lyrics from “Six Days on the Road,” by Carl Montgomery and Earl Green. Recorded by Dave Dudley in March 1963)