I ride with a group of folks most every Sunday. People are invited to join "the list" to get email updates and to BS. One guy occasionally leads a ride called "The Ferry Stone Loop" that he does not post to the list...he has a splinter group, they leave at 8:00, well before our typical 9:00 Sunday crowd shows up.
There are reasons the ride is not generally posted. It's not a typical Sunday cruise. It's sort of long, 400 miles; most of the roads are very rural, some don't even have white lines painted at the edges; there can't be much waiting or they will not be home by dark (even leaving at 8:00). He does not want anyone who may not maintain focus on the tough roads, at speed, throughout a long day.
When I rode a motorcycle, I used to get invited. After getting the scooter, I didn't expect to be doing "the Ferry Stone Loop" again; I figured I was out of the splinter group. I heard through the grapevine that the route was run a couple times this summer without me. (I had considered doing the ride myself over a more relaxed two days sometime.)
Last week I got an invitation for Sunday the 12th. I debated quite a bit, but decided to go for it. Of the twenty invited, five showed up last Sunday as the thermostat hovered around 40; my Burgman 650, Suzuki TL1000, Kawasaki ZRX1100, Triumph Thruxton, and a Duc 748 monoposto.
Over breakfast at the Golden Corral, someone asked how the group was selected. The leader said , "I just used an old distribution list." To which I replied, "I was wondering if you meant to invite a scooter." Some chuckles, some silence.
All of the attendees could easily have left me in their dust. Fortunately, the Thruxton was still being broken in, so I followed and never lost sight of him. Much of the time I was thinking, "dark metallic red Thruxton with black and white checkerboard stripe down the center, or scooter, hmm?" The Burgman wins on its numerous virtues, but the retro-cafe-racer is sweet.
It was a great day. In the morning my shadow, four times larger than life, preceded me down the road. There were cows standing, cows galloping away from the sound of the TL's carbon fiber cans; horses standing, horses upside down scratching their backs; mutts trying to race us across the road, pale shaggy Goldens oblivious in the road; junk cars, including a dull black Studebaker Hawk. It could not be better.
Well, that's what I thought until we passed by Virginia's Ferry Stone State Park and carved our way onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. There were only a few cars at this time of the year, and signs warning of fog and snow. That was not to be had; it was clear, cold, but clear forever, like riding on top of world.