The first time I see her we’re in some hick town. She’s parking in an outside slot–where I like to be when I’m not hiding. Like me, she prefers to park it alone, with nothing else around.
It looks like we’re both getting ready to take a break.
I watch as she strides towards the stop-and-puke in the next building over from where I’m parked. She’s tall and slim and moves with an attitude. Like she knows where she’s going, what she’s doing.
She turns to check out my ride.
She can tell that I’m watching her, but then I’ve never been shy about checking out a woman who rides. Some like it, others don’t. I ignore the ones that don’t, and leave them alone.
She turns her head back towards the store and walks in.
I wait for her to come out, and when she does it’s with a couple of bottles of water. Smart move in this heat, I think to myself. She’s been down the road a time or two. I sit by the window, thinking that I’ll have time to amble over and check out her ride in a bit.
She chugs the water and pulls out before I can finish my bowl of soup.
When next I see her, it’s down the road. Yeah, okay, I had to ride like hell to catch up, but she’s not exactly riding the fastest either. She’s easy to catch.
I trail for half-a-dozen miles–flying in formation–before pulling up closer. She slows momentarily to let me pull up even, and I can see that she’s taking a closer look. Checking. Evaluating. Is this guy okay? How is he sitting? Relaxed? Tense? How is he dressed? Rub? Biker?
I let her take her time, because I’m doing the same.
She’s on a black Softail. It’s dirty, like mine. She’s been on the road in the same weather. Windshield. None but the dwindling old-timers put on the miles without one. Piled high with bags. A second helmet hanging off the back. Full-face. Dressed in black. Well-worn boots, laced high. Tribal tattoos up and down her arms, neck. Probably all over. She’s seen lots of sun. A small nose ring. Mid-thirties, maybe pushing 40.
No girl on a motorcycle, this. She is pure riding woman.
I pull ahead for three or four miles, and give her the option of catching up.
When she goes by she arcs towards me and then pulls back and slightly ahead. That’s the sign I’m waiting for, so I pull in close behind and we ride together like that for a hundred miles, positioning back and forth, and I get the feeling that we’re playing the game.
That, and easy company on the road when both know how to ride.
Then we hit the city lights and it’s side-by-side through the streets. Conversation at each stop. Through the corners, she’s on the inside for some, me outside for some, still side-by-side. We block traffic when the lights change as we continue talking.
More sizing each other up.
Where are you headed? Where are you from? You put a lot of miles on that thing?
Are you running from or running to? That’s always my question.
It gets a grin this time, because she knows exactly what I mean, and when she nods, I know exactly what she means.
I grin back.
We look at each other when we finally figure out we’re both drifting, and we grin together. Then she tells me where she’ll be camping out for the night.
I know the place. It’s north of the city by about five miles.