Why travel? I mean, really. Why?
To experience stuff you simply wouldn’t experience at home. Sights. Sounds. Tastes. Smells. Textures. And to occasionally be surprised.
Not that we don’t have a ton of cool stuff to experience here. Hell, people come from all over the world to walk around Stanley Park, sway on the Capilano Suspension Bridge or buy our real estate. So there’re lots of things here, too, but Vancouver is not the world, and the world is an amazingly interesting place.
Now, let me take you to Tuesday, morning. 7am. Location: The restaurant at the Days Hotel in Flagstaff. Not a place you’d expect to see something you don’t see every day. But that’s the beauty of traveling.
As I sat down to have a good breakfast, get some writing done and let the family sleep in, who should walk into the restaurant but a biker gang?
A French biker gang.
I sh*t you not. 8 of them. Who knew that France had biker gangs? Who knew bikers would want to come to Arizona? As tourists?
They were mostly old guys and half of the group were women, looking like they’ve seen a lot of road, but smiling and chatty just like any tourist would be.
They all took a table together. Got menus from the waitress who spoke about as much French as I speak Swahili. She tried her best to explain the specials, but I don’t think they understood. Even when she repeated the choices with a higher and higher volume.
I have to say, the bikers seemed a lot less intimating when they said, oui, nes pas or mais non. Not that I had the courage to go up and take a picture of them or sit down and ask what brought them here, but I do have a theory on the latter.
See, some of the highway we’d traveled (and would travel, today) was old route 66. A famed highway from long, ago. A highway that you can take from Chicago to Santa Monica.
It’s a route filled with abandoned gas stations, ghost towns, old bridges, ruined warehouses and lost of bits of Americana. It’s actually a great road, a road less traveled.
I even set one of my novels on locations along Route 66, in California, so I got a chance to drive a bit of it a few years back, and I loved it. I could see why bikers from France might want to take that route.
Despite the leathers, the bikers were polite as hell. The busload of Koreans who came in to eat sat about as far away from them as they could, but there was no need. The bikers were happy to enjoy their American food, laugh and tell stories with each other, and plot the next leg of their journey.
In the end, I did sneak a picture, but all the while I thought, boy, this is why I get out of the hotel room. You just never freaking know what you’ll find.
It was a great start to a day where we had one thing I thought we MUST do and one thing the-Youngest thought we MUST do.