Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bike week bound.

As is normally the case, I was not able to leave when I wanted... Friday morning found me still packing. Dealing with work that just popped up and a meeting at City hall. I finally hit the road 5 hrs late and the first thing I noticed was I HAVE NO BACK BRAKE. This came to my attention as the front wheel locked up as I came sliding to a stop sign... After a moment of investigation I deduced that the engine crash guard had been bent in the last crash and was not letting me push down on the brake pedal. A stop at a repair shop and I was able to heat the guard enough to bend it back to where it should be.. Thanks Ray.

On the road again.. This is the first time I have ridden more than 5 miles sense my Arizona wreck back in October. I'll tell you straight up, I was nervous. Wind, traffic and road conditions were on my mind but I decided to push through. Because of my weak and sore shoulder I was not able to ride the distance that I am use too. I was getting discouraged until I was passed by a trailer full of bikes. I was reminded, My trip had already began.. Some people are just going through the motions until they get to there destination. So what if I have to stop every 50 miles because my shoulder is killing me. I'm doing my thing. I'm riding my bike and I'm towing my camper. My experience has already begun.

I stopped in north Georgia after about 5 hrs on the road. I was cold. I was tired and I was sore. A stop at Ruby Tuesday and after a salad and A beer, I was ready to get a room and a hot shower.. I pulled up to a hotel next to the interstate and as I got off the bike I noticed a cemetery next to the hotel. I checked in and paid my money but as I was unloading my overnight bag I kept noticing that cemetery. For some reason, I was drawn. I walked over to the cemetery and walked up the hill so I could get an overview of the place. As I stood on that hill I could see the whole of the property. I could very easily distinguish between the old part and the new part. The new had huge monuments, visitors and fresh flowers that had been left by someone who had cared enough to spend a dollar and pay their respect with a visit to the grave site. I spent little time with the new because for some reason I was drawn to the old. No flower were in the area. There were no visitors in that area and the head markers were at the most, unassuming. I walked over to this area and I felt the rush of the dead. As if they were aware that they had a visitor. I was reading the headstones and noticing the dates. I was amazed that some of these headstones dated back to the early 1800's. As I walked amongst the dead, I found myself aware that alot of the mens headstones noted the military unit of service and then "CSA". Confederate States of America. I was standing amongst the confederate soldiers how had fought and died for the South.

As I read the headstones and the dates on them I was reminded of a Garth Brooks song that sings about the dash thats in between the dates.. I started thinking of what that "Dash" meant in these peoples lives. What had transpired in their lives between birth and death. I was moved by the thoughts that were running through my mind. I kept thinking of the sacrifices that these men had lived through. Then, I realized the headstones beside beside were the markers of these mens wives.. and what cought my attention was the amount of time that had passed between the death of the husband and the death of the wife. sometimes the amount of time that passed was 20 and 30 yrs. I thought about these women and there grief. I thought about how life was for a widow woman in north Georgia in the mid 1800's. I was reminded once  again that not all that sacrifice for the cause of war wear a uniform. There are many who carry the burden on war that never saw combat. There are mothers and brothers and sisters and wives who must carry on and sometimes, for a very long time. I have always thanked the mothers and wives of our service members because I was in the Army and I understand what these women are going through. Or so I thought. I feel know that I have a deeper understanding of what they go through.

As I walked from the cemetery I walked up to a flag pole that had no flag... At the base of the flag pole was a marker that read. "In this area rest the remains of 134 confederate soldiers who were unclaimed".
Unclaimed is a very strong word.

Until next time

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