When my husband, Steve, saw a Harley Davidson Sportster for sale about two years ago, he justified his purchase with: "Think of all the gas money I'll save."
He also thought it would be something we could enjoy doing together. Well, countless Harley T-shirts and a couple of leather jackets later, we're bikers. We quickly upgraded to a larger bike.
Since then, we've taken many road trips and have met some great people along the way.
Give us a pretty day, and there's nothing we'd rather do than ride.
When we first bought the bike, a friend told me it would make our marriage better. She was right.
We each have our own friends, hobbies and things we do separately, but I really enjoy the time we spend together on the bike.
There is just a different kind of closeness there. We don't have the fancy earpieces and microphone sets, but we use lots of hand signals, a pat on the back or a thumbs-up.
Sometimes I think we communicate better on the bike than off!
Everything is just more on a motorcycle. The sights, sounds and, yes, the smells are more intense.
If you think a dead skunk smells bad from inside a car, it's 10 times worse on a bike. On the other hand, the fresh-cut grass, honeysuckle or nearby BBQ place smells 10 times better.
Who needs coffee when you've got wind in your face at 60 mph to wake you up!
An afternoon on the bike can free your mind from just about any troubles.
There's no better way to forget about a hamper full of dirty clothes or a stack of bills on the desk than a ride through the country.
Granted, the laundry and bills still will be there when you get home, but you'll be in a much better mood to deal with it.
My favorite kind of trip is an unplanned one. We'll start out around 9 or 10 a.m. with no clear destination in mind. Sometimes it's just the two of us. Sometimes we meet up with friends.
I love taking farm-to-market and county roads, many of which we don't even know where we will end up. Somebody will recognize something sooner or later.
We see so much more than when taking a major highway from Point A to Point B - gorgeous countryside, trees, creeks and animals.
We always find a great place to take a break and have lunch, usually a small, locally owned café.
After lunch is just as much of an adventure, as we always try to find a different route home.
We get home a little tired, a little sunburned and with hair full of knots, but happier and looking forward to next time.
As I starting writing this, I searched the Internet for quotes about motorcycles, and I found the perfect one:
Jerry Smith said, "Four wheels move the body, but two wheels move the soul."
Yep, that pretty much sums it up.
Meredith Hogue Watson lives in Jacksonville and works as a dental assistant.