My wife and I took a quick ride Saturday to Magnolia, Ark. The temperature was in the upper 60s by noon and the sun was shining. We hadn’t been on the bike together in months and despite the list of chores needing to be done, we hopped the bike and hit the road. I was amazed that less than seven days earlier, we still had snow on the ground and that in less than 5 days, we would again be under threat of winter weather with bitter temperatures. On this mild day with the sun shining from an azure sky, it was hard to believe we were actually in the depth of winter, or at least what East Texas produces as winter.
We had no destination in mind. The intent was to simply burn some gas and get some wind and sun in our faces. We just headed east on U.S. Highway 82 and, after a little more than an hour, found ourselves pulling into Magnolia. We parked on the square and started sightseeing.
As we wandered into an antique shop, I soon had reason to be thankful we’d come on the motorcycle. Had we been in the pickup, I’m sure we’d have hauled several large pieces back with us. As it was, we had to moderate our shopping to accommodate the remaining capacity of the trunk and saddlebags. We already had extra clothing with us in case the weather turned cold, so we could only buy as much as we could stow in the remaining space. We secured our treasures, then decided it was time to start back home. We weren’t sure exactly when the weather might turn on us and wanted to be home before the sun went down.
We put about 120 miles on the road that day with three hours of saddle time. Out of shape and practice, this short ride left us stiff and tired but happy. The day had the magical feel of an Indian summer. It was wonderfully renewing, after hiding inside from the winter weather, to be free on the road with the wind in our hair. There was a timelessness to the day, possibly because it was so incongruously crammed between two winter storms. And perusing relics of times past in an antique store on such a day simply added to the ethereal and ageless feel. The souvenirs with which we returned are from another time as well as another place.
The motorcycle on this day was far more than a simple mechanical conveyance. It became a magical machine that took us on a timeless journey to a place that exists more in the heart than on the map.
－ Guy Wheatley