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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ruffntuff, Oct 2, 2012.
Reading this report makes me think of a newer western movie in the best regards: True Grit.
just "rewatched the thread" been a few years, looking forward to the next installment
It's really crappy here in Michigan and I don't have much to do except read others adventures and this is one of my favorites. Looking forward to an update!
Anna, I just wanted to thank you for a great read, and for inspiring me to ride to Alaska myself. I hope all is well with you. -Tryg
Anna, I just reread your last post, wondering if that was the final chapter. Hoping you’ll give us one last update.
Thanks for sharing your trip, and your story.
Amazing RR- just binge read it over the weekend. In addition to being absolutely courageous you're an awesome writer. Hope to bump into you someday in the C-Ville area.
Well the title says " Virginia to Alaska and back...so the final chapter has to at least get her back to Va. That plus she hasn't signed off or written a farewell means there is more to come. Looking forward to it.....
Ah, how has it been 8 years since I started this story! There are only three more posts left to go and I do aim to get them done in 2020. I can't thank everyone here enough for following along all these years and inspiring me to keep writing. Stay tuned!
Thanks Anna, we're all here when you are ready. I've been with you since the beginning and am glad you're still willing to finish it.
I literally did one of those "Oh wow!" inhalations when I saw you posted here!
This is one my favorite RR ever!
Please do, I remember reading along as you took your trip, it was around the time I first decided to join the forum and quit simply lurking. lol Time flies!
Part 3- Day 9
Oxford, MS – Chattanooga, TN: 409 miles
September 20, 2012
After a quiet evening in Oxford I took back roads through northern Mississippi to get back to interstate 40 in Tennessee. My next destination on the way home was Chattanooga, the city I lived in for five years after hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2003. It was a city that brought back memories of heartbreak but an old friend I hadn’t seen in a long time still lived there.
I found northern Mississippi to be more pleasing than the southern half I resentfully rode through the day before. The air smelled of fresh hay and pine. Large, flat pastures blanketed the landscape in a sea of tall grass with towering oak trees hugging the edge. It reminded me of when I was a teenager, horse crazy and desperate to ride.
Amy Johnson was by best friend then. She lived my dream, raised on a large farm in central Virginia riding horses bareback since she was a toddler. We’d gallop across the field racing each other until the horses squealed, kicked out, and farted in their own excitement. We’d ride bareback at night through the woods wearing wool ponchos as the moon cast haunting shadows through the trees. In the summer we’d ride down to the lake and let the horses swim while we giggled and splashed clutching their manes trying to stay on.
We were just about inseparable. I spent almost every weekend with her and her family at the farm. It was an escape for me when my own family was crumbling. But over time as we developed through adolescence, we grew apart. We were in different schools with different friend groups and riding at the farm on the weekends became a distant memory.
Although Amy and I were in different places for a few years, our lives always seemed to be synchronized. We both pursued horse careers after high school. We both cowgirled around New Mexico in different places for a summer before meeting up to drive back home together. We both got burned out on shit horse jobs and crazy horse people and said fuck off to the world and left society to hike the Appalachian trail. No matter how far apart we were from each other and no matter how much time had passed, when we were together it was like no time had passed at all.
Amy and I both ended up in Chattanooga after hiking the AT. I followed a man there I fell in love with on the trail and Amy had moved to her grandparent’s farm in north Georgia just twenty minutes away. Our lives were synchronized again and we both were still struggling to ride horses for a living.
After two great years and three rocky years, my relationship fell apart and I left Chattanooga broken and shattered. I went back to Virginia to be near family but I didn’t know then that would be the last year I would have with Dan. We lived just a few miles from each other while I was back in school planning a career change into veterinary technology and he was pursuing the art of winemaking. Living just five miles away I spent more time with him in that last year than I had in a decade.
It was as if the universe planned that year to be the pinnacle of our relationship. We had hit the apex and learned more about each other’s worlds than ever before. Our bond had rooted deep mutual respect and admiration for each other. We were the same fearless renaissance man and woman seeking adventure and passion in life riding motorcycles, making wine, and riding horses. We endured the same family trauma but found strength in each other’s resilience which brought us closer.
I hadn’t seen Amy, or even talked to her, since Dan’s funeral. I remember choking on my breath when I called her mom, Diane, to tell her what had happened. I couldn’t say the words. It made it all too real to say, “Dan is dead.” At the wake I collapsed to the ground gasping for air still in disbelief and horror. Amy and Diane embraced me as we rocked and sobbed together.
As I rolled into Chattanooga a mix of emotions hit me. I was so close to home. After 16,500 miles I was back in my territory, the Appalachians. The familiarity was haunting yet comforting. I knew the road from Chattanooga to Charlottesville was a familiar one dissipating any adventure I still hoped for. But I was tired and ready to put this journey behind me. I could feel both the heartache and excitement of the end growing near.
Quote of the Day:
I stopped at a rustic gas station in northern Mississippi. As I was fueling up the Radian there was an older gentleman standing behind me waiting patiently with an empty gas can. As I took off my helmet, he did a double take and looked at me with surprise.
“Why’s, you’s a young lady under dat hat. And I’s thought you was a man standin’ there.”
Mississippi accents are great.
Thank you so for sharing. Life can be, and normally is, a BITCH, but the memories of those times we survived, make us better people. Again, thanks for sharing and God bless. tomp dd50
That last post is some great prose!
Still following! Thank you for continuing to tell your story.
Wow, just found this and read it from the top.
All I can think to say is...
You go girl!
Whenever I see a Radian, I think of this thread.
Hi Ruffntuff, like many here I’ve been reading your story some years now. It’s a bit strange for us out here in digital-land, truly enjoying your story so much & feeling like we ‘know’ you. Thanks very much for sharing your feelings & your journey with us, it really has been wonderful to read. It’s very much like a book you enjoy and are sad when it ends.
I hope you made it home safely & wondered whether it was still the Radian you had, toward the end. Perhaps include a pic of you and your bike at the end of the journey.
After sitting for three years the radian runs again! This wild thing makes my heart sing.