We were born, born to be wild.
Marco keep your eyelids up and see what you can see.
-Dr. Seuss, 1937
As I wrote recently, I went on vacation for a week to northern Wisconsin. I will always encourage people to drive across country rather than fly (and not just because I’m not a big fan of flying), because we live in such a huge, such a diverse country, filled with deserts, mountains, rolling plains, river valleys, shoreline, rain forests, and cities. Very few countries offer the geographical diversity that the United States offers. And, the people within the US are just as diverse. When you drive for a thousand miles, you get a first-hand glimpse of the heights and depths of that diversity.
And, more importantly, you will always have a story to tell. And the most interesting people on the planet are those with a story to tell. Hmm, I kind of implied that I am among the most interesting people on the planet, which kind of makes me out to be an arrogant ass. What I’m saying is, YOU can be among the most interesting people on the planet. Hell, you know what I mean.
A large portion of our drive is through Illinois….where we spend the most hours, by far, as we enter through the southernmost portion, and leave through the northernmost point. We bypass Chicago, which is the only interesting city in the state, and instead go through places like Metropolis, whose claim to fame is having a statue of Superman in front of the county courthouse, and Rockford, whose claim to fame is being the home of one of history’s greatest rock bands, Cheap Trick (and after that, its interest factor drops dramatically). So, it’s not surprising when the highlights of the trip occur on the interstate itself. One of which was the guy we saw with the Vespa scooter tied to the roof of his Nissan Sentra, which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. The second was the group of bikers we saw.
With mostly flat roads, you can see for some distance in Illinois, so we saw this group of bikers overtaking us pretty early. They looked pretty tough from a distance, so we kept in the right lane and let them pass. My wife was driving. In a few minutes, the 4 bikers on Harleys came alongside. One of the bikers had a woman sitting in the “bitch seat.” 3 of the bikers, plus the “bitch,” had no helmets. A 4th biker, one of the solo riders, had one (Illinois does not have a Helmet Law). They looked especially tough….lots of road dust, scraggly beards, and one of them had a shaved head with a tattoo on his head. On. His. Head. Did we stereotype? Sure, I suppose, but considering you see more guys with skull tattoos in prison then you do in, say, an orthodontist or investment banker’s office, you can understand why. We gave them a wide birth, allowing them to pass easily. Once the quartet passed us, they smoothly moved into the right lane and kept up with their pace, and pulled ahead of us, their Michigan license plates clearly visible.
Naturally, my 10 year old, Thing 1, would not stop commenting about the tattoo on the side of the head, as I completely expected. But in a few seconds would be the vehicle that would capture MY attention. Shortly after the bikes passed us, we were overtaken by a small SUV pulling a trailer. The trailer appeared to be a motorcycle hauler, as there were frames on the trailer to which you could hold two motorcycles and tie them down into place. The hauler passed us and then pulled in front of us, it’s Michigan plate visible. At this point, I realized the hauler must be with the motorcycles. I had to snicker….these badass-looking bikers, who easily could’ve passed for Hells Angels, Pagans, or Del Fuegos, and they need a hauler to move their bikes and catch a ride in case the poor widdle babies get tired. I wouldn’t say this to their face, in case they actually WERE Pagans, but I sure as hell was thinking it.
The hauler and the motorcycles pulled further on ahead, and then we were passed by a Honda mini-van, which pulled in front of us once it cleared us. It too had Michigan plates, which I took to be a coincidence. It was then that I realized the rear window was dirty, and there was something written in the dirt. I strained my eyes, until I could make it out:
So in summary…we have 4 bikers (and 1 bitch) that looked like they were going to the rally at Sturgis to kick some ass. One SUV with a motorcycle hauler, to carry them when they got tired, and a (dirty) mini-van, warning people to be careful (as though it was a “Wide Load” vehicle), driven by an apparently illiterate person. From Michigan.
This is indeed a great and colorful country. With bad spellers.