RoadRUNNER Zen Motorcyclist

Magic Along The Way

Mar 31, 2013 View Comments by

Magic Along the Way-wp

Last fall my buddy Stan led us on a group ride from Hellertown, PA, to Conowingo Dam in Maryland. The dam, which spans the lower Susquehanna River, was built in 1928 and at the time was the second largest hydroelectric project by power output in the United States (Niagara Falls was the largest). The original location of the town of Conowingo, which was relocated during construction, lies beneath the reservoir created by the dam.

The 150 or so mile ride to the dam was a testament to Stan’s abilities and experience; he rides without the aid of GPS or maps. When I mentioned that to him he smiled and said: “if you use a GPS you can’t get lost.” Stan led us along some beautiful backroads including many miles of rolling, wide open, Amish country farmland. It was smooth, effortless, carefree riding in perfect weather. Once we arrived we watched the fishermen haul out fish after fish, took some photos of the dam, and even spotted a few bald eagles and great blue heron, which are known to nest in the area. We voted on whether or not to visit the museum inside the dam and shared a laugh when all but one of us chose instead to mount up and head off to see something much more interesting: the lunch menu. Our group is all about the ride (and the food).

There’s something special about riding along with a group of people whose abilities you know and trust. Sometimes you get to that place where you feel the hairs on your skin stand up, you feel something pulling you towards its equal up ahead in the distance. That electricity leaves a vacuum, just like lightning does, and what fills that vacuum? Well that’s where the magic happens. It gets filled with your energy; with whatever it is inside you that refuses to be contained. That feeling has a certain quiet perfection to it because it defies judgment. No one can ever judge it, take it from you, or claim it as their own—it is intensely personal and wholly unique, yet somehow shared.

You get to share that feeling with the people you’re with, you share it in smiles and handshakes and laughter, though the true source most always goes unspoken; it’s enough to have been in good company while you felt it. That day trip to Conowingo was interesting and the dam itself was an impressive sight; but in motorcycling, as in life, it isn’t always where you go, it’s more often who you go with and the magic you experience along the way.

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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About the author

I have been motorcycle commuting since 1998. I created Zen Motorcyclist (formerly Commuting Motorcyclist) in 2011 and work as a motojournalist, software developer, CAD designer and IT/CAD manager in the Surveying and Civil Engineering field.