We had just passed Oilsville and Goochland when I glanced down at my odometer, 2424 it read and as my gaze traveled back up to the road I saw my speedometer was creeping past the 80 mark. I smiled under my Navy bandana that I had put on not too many miles back to keep the bugs and road grit from sand-blasting my face and beard. My daughter was riding behind me on my 1200 Custom and occasionally I could feel her fingers trace the skull embroidered on the back of my black hoodie I was wearing to help break the wind. But then, every now and again, she would wrap her hands around my waist and rest her head against my back and give me a big hug. I was tired but not enough to not enjoy the bonding of the day.
I suppose I should backtrack a bit…
Are you ready for a shock? Ok, you’ve been warned, I actually took a vacation. Ten full days off from my primary job, the reason for this break in work was supposed to be for me to ride my motorcycle halfway across the country to Texas to attend my U.S. Navy ships reunion. But, due to lack of interest, it was canceled. I was a bit disappointed in the news of the demise of our reunion but I figured that since I already had the time off, I would try and make the best of it. So I planned a trip in an attempt to obliterate the growing disappointment in not seeing friends of days past. Initially I planned to take my trip alone. To go to the home of American Enlightenment and knowledge, but after careful consideration and a long talk with my betrothed it was decided that I should take this time to bond with my daughter.
Now, to my daughters credit, she has always been very understanding of my work ethic and my need for solitude after a long day of work. My solitude consists of me sitting on my porch, smoking cigars and writing either short stories or blogs. In some cases, both in the same night, also, I usually listen to a variety of podcasts which consists of The Thomas Jefferson Hour and a lot of Kevin Smith Podcasts. Yes, two totally different venues but both very vital to my sanity.
When my daughter was informed of my plans she readily agreed and didn’t even blink an eye when I told her the restrictions on the articles she was allowed to pack for the trip. Because initially the trip was supposed to take us to Poplar Forrest then on to Natural Bridge with an overnight stay in Staunton, Virginia. The next day was to be spent traveling to Monticello and then head home. This did not happen. Why didn’t it happen? Simple, the directions I printed out were missing several steps. And, being the trained Naval Navigator that I am, I decided to forgo the chance of getting lost and misplaced with valuable cargo and just head for what I know, and what the primary destination was supposed to be.
Upon arrival we both lost ourselves in the history and ghosts of the “Little Mountain”. Our tour guide was well versed in the Jeffersonian mythology and I had a hard time keeping my mouth shut when she asked questions. I didn’t want to be that kid from school we all hated. You know the one, he or she usually sat in the front of class and always raised his or her hand or just blatantly shouted out the answers to all the questions the teacher asked. Yeah, I didn’t want to be that kid. I didn’t fully succeed and at the end of the house tour, when my daughter and I were exploring the grounds by ourselves we bumped into the tour guide and she commented to us that I knew more about Monticello and Jefferson than she did and I should apply for a job. I took that as a compliment. Although I don’t really want to give up my dream job of playing with trains and building all manner of shit for the museums I work for now.
My daughter… oh, my daughter, she has always been a morning star for me and today she endeared herself even more to me. During the entire tour she was fascinated and enthralled with every detail of the house, the grounds and the people who built it and worked there. Her quest for information and knowledge of our third president and his entire life on the mountain was endless. When some kids her age, or younger and some older became bored and fussy, she found intriguing things about the flower garden, the vegetable garden, the slave quarters and even the vineyard. We walked and talked for what seemed like endless hours. She described what sort of games she thought the children of Monticello played during their young formative years on the grounds and even became a bit morose when she found out most of Mr. Jefferson’s children died young.
By the time we left, her thoughts had shifted to food and getting a hotel room so she could go swimming. As we drove through the town of Charlottesville looking for a place to stay my gas light came on we stopped for gas. I took in my surroundings and realized we were less than an hour from Richmond so I sent a text to my pal Jeff who is the Executive Chef at a great Italian restaurant and told him we were in the neighborhood. He replied by saying “C’mon, the foods on me.”
We hit the road.
Which is where this blog started.
Our day started by us chasing the sun and ended by us racing east as the sun raced west. The sun of course won the race, but we, my daughter and I… We won the day.
Have a great week.