To the Editor:
There are those moments and encounters that have to be told, and this is one of them. On June 25th my brother (Ray White) and I set out on a journey, a 3 day road trip that covered over 1,100 miles. The trip was to finish up the "Blue Ridge Parkway". When you enjoy riding our Harley’s as much as we do, you study maps and web sites to find the "Best Motorcycle Roads" in America and the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the best to be enjoyed from two wheels and a set of handlebars. The Parkway runs from Waynesboro, VA to Cherokee, NC and covers 412 absolutely gorgeous miles.
We decided to start the trip at Front Royal, VA where Skyline Drive starts and ends at the beginning of the Blueridge. To start the journey we had to ride 488 miles to get to the starting point of Skyline Drive. It took 10 hours of interstate riding (a few stops at Harley dealers, and snacks) to get to our motel. Big supper and turn in early so we could hit the road early to start our journey.
Friday morning looked like we were going to get wet along with a few hundred other bikers that were setting out to do the same thing we were. Mother nature cooperated and we left the rain gear in the saddle bags as we hit the road. As we left Front Royal and got on Skyline Drive we traveled just a few miles before we had to stop and enjoy the view from one of the many "scenic view pull-offs" available to all. We had only been there a few minutes when we heard another Harley coming up the road and he decided to join us at the overlook. He shut his Harley off, dismounted and removed his helmet, walked over to us and said "Hi, my name is Edgva, I’m from Norway. Well it absolutely blew our minds that someone from Norway was venturing down the same stretch of highway like us.
Edgva, told us he had been coming to the US for almost 45 years now. He has his Harley shipped from Norway to Quebec Canada and flies over to set out on his annual journey across North America. He is currently riding an 09 Harley Road King Classic (Harley # 15 by the way) with over 38,000 miles on it and has logged over 800,000 miles on Harleys since he first began riding. He’s ridden in 48 of the 50 United States and has not been to Alaska or Hawaii as yet, but give him time, I’m sure he’ll get to those. He lost his wife a few years back and does all his riding alone. He said his wife used to join him on the trips, but since her passing he’s satisfied to ride alone. Here’s a man who has been in 48 of the United States and he’s from Norway.
Probably 85 – 90% of Americans can’t say that. He’s seen the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon. the Rockies, the Atlantic, Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico. He’s been to all the motorcycle rallies, Sturgis, Daytona, Myrtle Beach and others. He’s ridden all the famous motorcycle roads, Deals Gap, The Snake, Devil’s Triangle, Skyline Drive, the Blueridge Parkway and many others. Edgva has set an example for us, we really need to get out and enjoy the road, the wonders and the freedom of our United States. He’s enjoying more of the American Dream of Freedom than we are. He wasn’t worried about a bail-out or Obama’s Economic Stimulus Plan for himself. His biggest worry, if you can call it that, was the exchange rate of money from Norway to US dollars and the US is a bargain, because he’s getting more travel for his dollar.
You won’t find Edgva traveling on the Interstates much, he prefers the slower back roads, so he can enjoy the views of America. He told us he had even traveled famous Route 66 all the way to California back in 1965 before I-40 ruined it and turned it into cracked asphalt with weeds growing on it. In his 45 years of American roads, he’d only been stopped twice for speeding and both times he just got a warning. If you happen to get passed on the highway by a Harley with Norwegian tags, it’s probably Edgva. If you see a white headed man in motorcycle attire that speaks with a heavy accent, it’s probably him. His quote for us was "You buy a Harley with your heart, not your head", and a truer statement was never made.
It’s about the journey, not the destination, because on the journey you’ll meet many others that are on the road for the same purpose, FREEDOM. You’ll see the wonders of nature, beautiful sunrises and even spectacular sunsets. It’s the open air that ignites your senses, you feel the wind, you hear the roar of your bike, you can smell the fresh air hitting you in the face and see far more of what’s around you from the seat of a Harley or another other motorcycle for that matter.
One of the nicest things about riding is when you start the motor and hear the rumble, what was once bothering you doesn’t to seem so bothersome. All the problems and worries seem to melt away. You concentrate on the road, the traffic ahead and when on the byways of America, you stop and take in a view that is worth the ride and make new acquaintances along the way that have the same understanding of what we do. RIDE. If you by chance meet Edgva, say hi for us. We may get to see him again someday on the Motorcycle Roads of America.
Joe Butch White