Travel of any kind brings joys and pitfalls, inherent in what makes an adventure an adventure. Yesterday, a short trip by motorcycle brought an ample slice.
I was on my way to Troutville, on northeast end of Roanoke, to join my mates in Twin Valley Riders for one of the many breakfast gatherings. It seemed cool when I left the house, but the dashboard thermometer on the 1998 Honda VFR dropped from 35% to 28F as I descended into the Roanoke River Valley at Ellett. I turned on North Fork Road, hoping the electric vest I’d worn would keep me warm enough. Near Mason Cove, the first bit of excitement occurred, when a large deer ran briskly across the road in front of me, left to right. She was a large doe and she dashed across before my brain had the chance to let her appearance register. I never had time to touch the brake.
By the time I arrived at the Greenwood Restaurant, I was plenty cold and eager to get inside.
On the way home, the temperature had risen. It was still cold, but not as uncomfortable. I drove Interstate 81 to the Ironto exit from where I got on North Fork Road again. A slow-moving car was in front of me. I hoped he’d turn off at Bradshaw Road so I made no attempt to pass. Instead, a second car turned in front of the first and it was going even slower.
Often, when a vehicle is moving slower on a country road and there are no places to pass, I’ll simply pull over and wait, giving them some distance. Then I’ll resume at my own pace.
At the place where I decided to pull over, a Montgomery County Deputy was pulling out. I stopped for a moment, adjusted my sleeve that was letting in cold air, and then decided to follow, thinking if there was a cop in front of me, I’d like to keep track of him. A mile or two later, he did a leap-frog, pulling over to allow me past.
Now mind you, I hadn’t done anything wrong. My driver’s license is up to date, my motorcycle’s tag is current, and I had broken no laws. The slower driver was still in front, then me, then the cop.
After five miles or so of dawdling along, the cop squeaked his siren and flashed his blue lights. I found a place where I could just edge off the pavement and stopped. He walked towards me and I asked, “Am I legal?”
“When I called in your tag number, I couldn’t see it clearly and it looked like the ‘O’ was a ‘U’. The ‘year’ sticker is partially covering it.”
“The stickers are bigger than will fit on a motorcycle license. I placed it where I could.”
“So why did you turn off and then back on so quickly a few miles back,” he asked.
“I was getting cold air under my sleeve and I stopped to adjust it.”
He got a big smile and apologized, “Sorry to have bothered you.” He patted me on the shoulder and sent me on my way.
No harm done, of course. But in hindsight, I got a pit peeved that I was stopped for such a weak reason. I’ve done my share of misbehavior in the past, but it seemed strange to have been stopped when I wasn’t misbehaving. Maybe there’s a quota thing going on.