Letter To The Editor
Dream ride with grandson
by Michael W. Mitchell, Newnan
The first rule of being a grandparent is that there are no rules.
On May 27th, (Memorial Day), my grandson Patrick, age 10, will be leaving for his first and my third cross-country ride across America. It will be the start of something big and I hope continues over time. My childhood dream was realized in 2009 and 2011 on my first and second cross-country rides. I hope the cliché “better and better” proves true on this new adventure with my oldest grandchild.
We are planning to cover over 15 states and ride over 6,000 miles, camping out nightly and enjoying the company of many other folks traveling as well. I am hoping for Patrick to experience the best and possibly the worst America and the west has to offer. This ride was planned just to “have something to do” with Patrick, co-workers and friends, and it has evolved into so much more. It’s a tradition, a sacred journey and a time of restoration and refreshment.
It will be a chance to set aside normal routines, and experience freedom the way a grandson can share with his Paw-Paw. I hope we are able to take away something unique from each day and share our own perspective on why the trip is so unique and amazing. We plan on sharing together the “Loneliest Road in America,” the same route the pony express riders rode. I hope as we enter Monument Valley he will be just as awestruck as I was the first time I rode through the valley with its simple yet majestic beauty.
I hope that when he places his foot on “four corners,” literally stepping on 4 states all at once in a Native American reservation, he will also share this with his grandson one day. As we ride on the “Mother Road,” old Route 66, I hope he can unearth the unheard words of the thousands of Americans traveling from Illinois to California looking for a better way of life and opportunities for their children.
Many ask me why I ride a Harley. To some I answer it is to feel the wind in my face, to others I share with them it’s about personal freedoms. But really I ride to keep in touch with my humanity. Once I was asked, “Why is being a free individual so important to you Americans?” My answer was simple, but it can really explain why I and many of my fellow riders ride.
I answered by stating that “free is who we are because being free is what we are.” I dream to ride and even ride to dream.