Last weekend Studly Doright went on a motorcycle adventure. He and a group of friends from Tennessee, Virginia, and other locales, converged on the small town of Dillard, Georgia, for a few days of dual sport riding in the mountains.
(For those not acquainted with dual sport riding, it’s fairly self-explanatory. The motorcycles for dual sporting are licensed for street riding, but also equipped for off road trail riding.)
Studly was a late edition to the trip when plans for a different kind of motorcycling tour fell through at almost the last minute. He put all his spare energy into getting his dual sport bike ready. Much farkling* took place in a short amount of time.
I was concerned that he didn’t have the right gear. The group was heading into the Appalachian mountains, and the weather was supposed to take a turn towards winter-like temperatures. Still, he’s a grown man, so I kissed him goodbye and wished him good luck.
Even though the group roughed it during the day, the organizer, G, planned their route to make sure their nights were spent in motels, so they had WiFi service and phone connectivity. I felt better about the trip knowing I could speak to Studly each evening.
He said the mornings were mind numbingly cold, but the warm afternoons made for perfect riding. Every day he had an anecdote for me. My favorite is about a water crossing.
As you might expect, water crossings can be tricky, and no one wants to drop a bike in an ice cold river, for a number of reasons. The group of riders approached a wide river that was flowing at a rapid clip. Swirls and eddies indicated there were rocks of indeterminate size beneath the water.
The first rider made his way across, encountering deep water on his route, so when Studly took his turn next, he veered a couple of yards left of where the other rider had gone. Studly’s route was no better than the first rider’s, and while neither fell into the river, the ride was more harrowing and the water deeper than was comfortable.
(That’s not a picture of Studly, or anyone else we know, but it could’ve been, right?)
Our friend G ventured into the river after Studly, trying to pick out a shallower path with fewer rocks. About midway across he stopped, trying to discern the best way to continue without swamping his bike.
Along about then, a local man and his black Labrador Retriever approached Studly and the first rider. He’d heard them calling back and forth across the river to the remaining riders and wondered if they needed help.
The dog was joyful, as Labs are known to be, and ran boisterously between Studly and the first rider, enjoying the attention and “attagirls!”
When the dog noticed G out in the middle of the river she took off to get some loving from the stranded rider, unerringly leaping and bounding from one point to another without ever getting in water more than three inches deep. She basically gave G, and the remainder of the group, the best path for continuing across the river. They all remained relatively dry, thanks to a dog.
Any doubt about that man’s best friend thing? I should think not.
(Again, not THE dog, but he is standing in water….)
*Farkle/farkles: An ADV/dual-sport term for gear you’ve added or want to add to your bike, such as more lights, GPS, heated grips and so on. Usage: “I just bought that new KLR 650, so I’ve got to go load up on some farkles before the next ride.”