I managed to ride my Harley over 750 miles last weekend through some of the most dangerous country in our land. You haven’t lived until you have ridden Interstate 10 from the California border to Phoenix, Arizona. Like in the olden days when wagon trains traveled from Missouri to the California gold fields, eighteen wheelers now travel the same route on a ribbon of asphalt. The trouble is that instead of traveling at the speed of grass growing like wagon trains, they now travel at what seems like the speed of sound!
I don’t think the 75 M.P.H. speed limit was intended for loaded semi-trucks trying to pass each other every time they come to a hill so they can put the pedal to the metal after they reach the summit and then gain even more speed before they reach the next hill. In the meantime, cars are weaving in and out of the line of truckers who can be seen into infinity.
It appears that truckers can and do exceed the speed limit to around 80 M.P.H., while automobiles travel at approximately 85 to 90 M.P.H. The wind vortex created by the cars and trucks is where the biker travels. I liken it to riding a tornado for hundreds of miles. Yahoo, baby, hold on to your boot straps, you are about to enter what surfers would call the tube!
It is possible that you can get sucked under an 18 wheeler. It has happened and the outcome is not pretty. I get as far away from the truck as possible when passing or being passed. This is when you enter the eye of the wind storm. It is eerily silent and calm, but like hurricanes you know it doesn’t last. Then wham, you are hit full force by winds traveling at the same speed of the vehicles around you. It’s bad enough when you are riding a heavy Harley, but God help the people who ride the crotch rockets. I have seen them pass truckers never to be seen by the eyes of man again.
Getting off the freeway for fuel and a pit stop is always welcomed. After dismounting the bike, I have to stand there for a minute or so (swaying back and forth due to wind action) and catch my breath. I always take my time filling the gas tank. After moving the bike to a parking area, I am ready to take my helmet off and head inside to the restroom, the whole time only able to hear wind rumbling in my ears. Back at the bike, I sip a coffee and wish I knew how to fly a small plane over the top of the traffic on the freeway a few hundred yards away.
Oh, well, it’s time to saddle up again and face the maelstrom waiting patiently for me on the ribbon of asphalt. I slap on my helmet, mount up and start the mean machine that, once entering the tornado, feels like a match stick being sucked into a vacuum cleaner.
Back on the freeway, I feel the powerful machine take me beyond the speed limit in the blink of an eye. I always get such a powerful feeling inside my gut when riding my Harley. The feeling surpasses my fear when I get ready to pass the first truck ahead of me while the beast waits to suck me under its giant wheels. I hear its tires whining the siren’s call. “Come to me you insignificant piece of steel with only two tires. Come to Daddy!”