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First Run to the Atlantic

From Oklahoma in the Rain, Women and Moving

Photos and text by Bill May with a shot or two from Sam and Barry
2/5/2021


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I cleaned it up. Call it riding in the rain




It was September 2010. I had 5 acres with a mobile home and a little shop out east of Norman Oklahoma. I had just got back from riding to Sturgis. It was my first time and I really enjoyed the ride.

Here’s one of my old shop. I believe I gave you the Easyriders sign.
Here’s one of my old shop. I believe I gave you the Easyriders sign.





A few months before, I had dated a really nice gal from Edmond Oklahoma. She was a psychologist working at OU Medical in Oklahoma City. We didn’t get too romantic but stayed friends.



Laurie called me and told me her dad had passed away and she was selling her house and moving to Maine where she was originally from. She needed to help her Mother. She had already done most of the work. She had a big house she had got in the divorce. It brought something like three hundred thousand.



She had already bought a house Orono, just north of Banger. She wanted me to drive a U-Haul truck and tow her car from Edmond Oklahoma to her new house in Orono, Maine. She would fly up there and meet the movers in the big truck. I was just hauling mattresses and art and such.

Laurie on the steps.
Laurie on the steps.



She thought I would fly back but I had this idea. I would put my 2003 Dyna Wide Glide in the U-Haul truck and ride it back to Oklahoma. I had never seen the Atlantic Ocean.

I loaded it in the truck and put some blankets and a couple of mattresses on it, then we loaded the rest of her stuff in it and hooked up her little red Toyota on a dolly.

I rolled east. It was the 27th of September and the weather in Oklahoma was great. I went up I44 all the way to St Louis. Coming into the St Louis area I caught a glimpse of Fog Hollow motorcycle parts store and warehouse. I used to order lots of parts from them. They had everything for old Harleys and they had great prices. J&P has kind of replaced them.



I crossed the Mississippi on I-70 and rolled on to Columbus Ohio. I had been emailing a gal in Columbus, on Match.com. I told her I was passing through and maybe we could have dinner. I pulled into town and got a room. She came right to my room and we walked to dinner at the restaurant next door. After a great meal she came back to my room for some first class get acquainted sex. She is a real cute little blond. A little on the heavy side but not bad. We had a great time and stayed in touch.

Not even close, but you get the picture.
Not even close, but you get the picture.



The next morning, I rolled north to Youngstown. I took I-71 to I-76 right through Akron. I took highway 11 from Youngstown up to I-90. I took 90 into a corner of Pennsylvania and on into New York. At times I could see Lake Erie. This was as far north as I had ever been. The woods are really thick up there.

In New York it was raining. Most of 90 through New York is turnpike. It cost a lot of money for a rig with 4 axles to cross New York. I got a room in Albany and stayed on 90 all the way to Boston, where I caught I-95 north. The rain finally stopped. It was still turn-pike all the way to Augusta, then it became regular freeway the rest of the way into Bangor. I took a little two-lane road into Orono and her house was right there just a couple of blocks off the road. The temperature was in the fifties and cloudy.

We unhooked and I helped her unload the U-Haul then she took me to a nice lobster dinner at a little place on the river in Bangor. It is real pretty.

Stephen King’s house.
Stephen King’s house.





I spent the night at her house in a bed all by myself. I headed out on the bike the next morning. It was the first of October. I had on a lot of clothes and leather and still it was chilly but the sun was shining.

I rode through downtown Bangor and took pictures of Stephen King’s house. It is an old Victorian mansion. It has these cool spider web gates.


Spider web gates.
Spider web gates.




Larry DeWhitt. Welder extraordinary. He built Stephen King’s gates. They were buds.
Larry DeWhitt. Welder extraordinary. He built Stephen King’s gates. They were buds.



Okay, so back to the story. I rode east out of Bangor. I wanted to see the ocean. I took alt1 east toward Ellsworth. About five miles out of town I shifted into fifth after slowing for a car and the shifter fell off in the road. I stopped and picked it up. I had traded my old Panhead chopper for this Dyna and most of two Sportsters and an old fender guitar. The Pan was built out of all kinds of parts over the years, so it wasn’t a valuable original bike. The Dyna was wrecked but nothing I couldn’t fix. The shift shaft was broken at the spline where the lever goes. I welded it back together and it did good for many miles but my shitty weld broke there in Maine.

The truck is a ‘67 Chevy. It has a ‘77 Cadillac engine and trans and rear end. Even put tilt and power windows in it. The bike is my ‘49 Panhead Dave Mann tribute.
The truck is a ‘67 Chevy. It has a ‘77 Cadillac engine and trans and rear end. Even put tilt and power windows in it. The bike is my ‘49 Panhead Dave Mann tribute.



I had just past a little shop that had a sign the said welding. I was able to ride it by taking off in second and kicking back on the inside shift arm. I pulled into his drive, and the guy was under a car welding a muffler. After a few minutes he crawled out and approached me. I showed him what happened and we introduced and started talking cars and bikes and welding and stuff.

He was like a long-lost brother. He used his good wire feed welder on it and fixed me right up. His name is Larry DeWhitt. He would not let me pay him, just told me to help someone else down the road. Turns out he is the guy that built Stephen King’s gates. It has been ten years and we are still in touch. I hope he is well. I rode on.

I rode down and caught highway 1. At a town called Bucksport I went through Fort Knox state historical park. It was really cool. They started it during the war of 1812 and finished during the civil war. No one ever attacked there but they would have had a tough time if they had. Some of the original cannons are still there.

Fort Knox cannon.
Fort Knox cannon.



I rode on through Maine till about dark and found a little motel out in the woods and got a room. The next day was cloudy, but it didn’t rain till I got to Boston. I wanted to look around but I was cold and wet, so I rode on to Providence Rhode Island where I found another cheap motel. It rained all night.



The next day was just sprinkling a bit as I crossed the Hudson and the Delaware rivers. Those are serious rivers. About as big as the Mississippi. I bet Washington had a hell of a time in a rowboat. That country is still wilderness. It started raining harder. I holed up for three days in a motel in Milford Pennsylvania. I had to ride about half a mile to get something to eat. I stocked up on bread and baloney and waited it out.




After three days it stopped enough for me to get back on the road. I took I-84 to Scranton and bought a thick black hoodie to go under my coat. That helped a bunch. I rode south on I-81. It is the top of the Blue Ridge mountains. I have a cousin in Roanoke Virginia. It was much warmer down there and the sun had come out. I spent 3 days with my cousin. He is an old rock-and-roll guitar player so we got to jam a bit.

I spent 3 days here waiting for the rain to stop.
I spent 3 days here waiting for the rain to stop.



My son lives in Nashville, so I headed there. I had dinner with another cousin in Knoxville. I took the moonshine highway out of Knoxville. Old route 70 is the Kingston Pike in the song, The Ballad of Thunder Road by Robert Mitchum. I got another room around Crossville. The lady at that motel was beautiful and super friendly. Almost everyone in Tennessee is like that.



I wished I could have stayed right there. By that time, I had a pretty good sinus infection going on. I rolled through a car show in Sparta. Lots of cool cars in Tennessee. I hit I-40 In Lebanon and rolled on into Nashville and my son’s place. The next morning, he took me to the VA hospital ER and I got some antibiotics. I headed on home through Memphis and Little Rock. I got another room in Arkansas and rode on to Oklahoma the next day.

Other than the broken shifter, I had no trouble and it was a great ride. Almost two thousand miles. Laurie paid all the expenses and gave me six hundred dollars to get home on. I used every bit of it too.



--Bill May





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Reader Comments


Keep these stories coming! Another good job!

John Hoffman
Pahrump, NV
Saturday, February 6, 2021
Editor Response You made Bill's day...
--Bandit

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