1986 Harley-Davidson FLST Heritage Softail

Lexi was tired.  She hadn’t really noticed it creeping up on her (it had been a busy day, after all) but the forty minutes that elapsed between her arrival at the gas station and Harold’s arrival in the rorty Stratos told her that she was exhausted. Out of the car for a few minutes, her body dropped out of road-trip mode, and she realized she’d been on the road for the better part of twelve hours, with only emergency repair stops serving as breaks. It was definitely nap time.

Unfortunately, as soon as she decided this, Harold showed and the NC HOG proclaimed itself ready to roll. Lexi had been hoping that Molly and Glen would arrive, but Harold told the Harley guys that he’d heard the Allard was ahead of him more than once that day and had likely already gone through.

Lexi was pleased to see that the NC HOG consisted of more than just Harleys. All manner of bikes were represented, from antique American and British bikes to modern tourers and sport-bikes. There were plenty of the requisite leather-bedecked Hell’s Angel wannabees, but an equal number of more conservatively dressed guys on Gold Wings and BMW tourers. Just about all of motorcycle-dom was represented, in fact. The NC HOG had scrambled almost two hundred riders, which was a deeply impressive display. Harold agreed.

“What happened to Dobie?” Harold asked.  “He was riding with you, wasn’t he?”

“He was being a cad, so I kicked him out,”? Lexi said simply, resting her elbow on Coquette’s doorsill.  Somewhere overhead, a helicopter chattered.  She looked, but couldn’t see it.

Harold raised an eyebrow.  “What did he do?”

“In addition to the usual rich-bastard stuff, which I am learning to forgive, he told me that he paid Joseph to ram the police with that Suburban.  He didn’t give the man a choice, just made him put himself in danger to keep his job.  When Dobie told me that, I had to kick him out, otherwise I was going to beat him about the face and neck.”

“Good for you,” Harold said.  Around them, motorcycles began woofling to life.  “Looks like we’re getting on the road,” he said, turning toward the Stratos.

“How’s the Strat running?”

“Beautifully,” he said.  “I’ve been sticking to L131, the little road that runs along the coast.  Avoids most of the big cities.  It’s not as direct as L7, but the scenery has been stunning, and I’ve mostly avoided entanglements.”  He grinned like a schoolboy.  “Did I thank you for inviting me on this adventure?”

“No.  Promise me I can drive the Stratos after you restore it, and I’ll forgive you.”

“Deal,” he said, grinning.  The bikers were on the move, and Lexi fired up the Alfa.  Harold climbed into his car, stepping over the wide sill, and the two Italian cars joined the growing parade of variegated motorcycles.