It was just out of Boone on 321 on a downhill slope where I broke away from my father. It was raining and I think it had him spooked, the road to Erwin curves and twists, but they’re wide through the mountains there so it runs about 55 plus. I was sick of worrying about his Harley behind me, checking my mirrors after each dogleg, my mother towing the trailer behind him, sick of the rain. I had come down here to tear through those hollows like I had before, rising up from
A solid hour of burned homesteads to bank past, goat shacks, paint-flecked pine wrecks tumbling. Each smooth arc run on little traction as rain was falling, stitching them together down the mountain to Erwin. Gearing down past the highest fingers of
I drove it deep into the valley when I spotted the turn-out over the bridge across from the grocery. The bridge ran over a falls, dad said later he saw an eagle gutting down through the cut. There were vehicles lining the front of the filling station, I aimed for a small paved patch that turned back to a fishing spot. Braking, the rear tire locked up and I went into a fifty yard skid, the back end getting sideways out from under me. I eased off and it barked back upright. I got it slowed again and pulled off. The whole valley was quiet except for my engine’s low idle. I was breathing heavy in the helmet.
There was no movement from the store. I looked around, the high ridges, tall poplars, mist and smoke; I could’ve bit it there, I thought, and been satisfied.
From down the ridge, the sound of my father preceded his crossing the iron bridge. His sound filled the valley; he was running it faster now. I throttled my machine back onto the roadway and got ahead of him, barely.