Before I met my husband, my concept of camping was a hotel without room service. But love does strange things to you, and when my husband proposed a camping trip that would take us cross-country on his motorcycle from Washington D.C. to Washington State, it sounded like the adventure of a lifetime and I jumped at the chance. I was convinced I could manage without room service…for a few weeks.
I had to pass a test before I got married. Not the blood test we all need to satisfy. And not the challenge every woman faces to produce a palatable meal. It was a simple test, yet profoundly difficult. I had to show my future husband I could lean into the curve.
I’d traveled cross-country many times but never on a motorcycle. Newly divorced and eager to explore the opportunities a new lease on life offers, I found something charmingly challenging in his invitation to ride with him from Washington to Seattle on the back of his BMW. Five thousand miles. Camping in a tent. Eating at Taco John’s. An adventure impossible in my prior life. It took me less than a split second to say yes.
Fresh out of law school, I was happy to find a job, even though the hours were long, my boss was eccentric, the salary was pitiful, and he offered only one fringe benefit: flying lessons. He had just bought a Cessna 150, which was probably why he felt the need to hire an associate. The deal was straightforward: he’d let me use his airplane and pay for the lessons and the fuel. In return, I wouldn’t pester him for a raise anytime soon.
“Bridges are tricky for a motorcycle,” my husband’s disembodied voice informed me over the intercom in our helmets. We were approaching the awesome bridge that connects Virginia to Maryland on Route 301 and rises thousands of feet above the Potomac River. The closer we got, the more it looked like St. Louis’s Gateway Arch.
“Why?” I asked with the naivety of a first-time rider, but I already had a sixth sense I might not want to know the answer.