It's Motorcycle Weekend, the climax of Motorcycle Week here in New Hampshire.
When I moved here at the end of the 1980s, it was still just a weekend, and it was moving beyond the glory days of its legendary rowdiness. There were still "show us your tits" zones along the roads nearest the center of the activity, around Laconia, The Weirs, and Loudon Speedway, but brawls and beatings seemed to be on the wane.
Most people say they hate the motorcyclists. It's a rotten time to drive anything with four or more wheels. So I have no problem.
People are always telling me, "be careful out there with those motorcycles." Or they'll ask if I feel threatened.
Nope. The bikers may treat me like a retarded cousin, but at least I'm one of the family. They know what it's like to get around on two wheels. Some of them even reminisce about when they used to have the stamina to pedal. We both know that the real enemy is enclosed vehicles, sensory deprivation tanks filled with oblivious drones who don't realize how cut off they are from their world until they run over a piece of it that they had completely overlooked.
Some biker perv might take my tight shorts to be an invitation and drag me off into the woods some day, but at least that has the personal touch. It's not like being squashed by some Escalade with a boat trailer and hearing the nozzle who was driving it say, "Jeez, I just didn't see that idiot."
Not that I'm looking forward to either one.
For the week now drawing to a close, restaurants, motels, convenience stores and tourist traps all have signs out saying "bikers welcome." I know they're not talking to me, but it's still nice to see. I can pretend. Many of these businesses will leave the signs out for the rest of the summer. The state has a lot of nice touring.
People who have already opened their wallets to the oil companies, their motor vehicle dealer and the various licensing agencies are more willing to keep pouring out that cash than those of us who make the major investment up front in the bike itself and then propel ourselves around. We'll buy food, but not a lot of trinkets, booze and hotel rooms. No wonder we're not popular.
On my one long tour, I bought beer. We even paid for a motel once or twice. But I have to admit, I lived almost as frugally as a homeless person. Officially, I was a homeless person. My girlfriend had a college dorm room waiting for her, but I had nothing. Whatever I got I had to put there. It turned the tour into a much more significant journey than any vacation.
Now every day is a tour. And I get paid.
Try it. It's habit forming.