After dinner the other night with our friends, Richard and Sherry, in Riverwoods, we lingered in the parking lot in front of the Carmike Theater when a woman in full leathers rode up on a Harley Davidson Road King. I was tempted to write that she was on a “Night Red Special,” or a “Street Bob,” or a “Fat Boy Lo,” because I like those names, but I would be taking serious poetic license, because I know for a fact she was on a Road King. Those other bikes are sportsters, not touring bikes.

“Are you from around here?” she asked us.

None of us lives in Provo anymore, but all of us have lived in Provo, and we said “yes,” in unison. “Do you know where there’s a Bank of America?”

“There isn’t a Bank of America in Utah,” Richard said, sounding like the Dex man.

It turned out she was looking for an ATM and didn’t want to pay a fee. “What about a grocery store?”

The four of us interrupted each other giving directions to Canyon Road.

Then two more women roared in and there were three of them abreast on Hogs: Diane, Marsha and Marilyn from Seattle. They were couch surfing their way to a biker camp in Colorado. One was a grandmother; all were fifty-something, and like the Wife of Bath, each had a gap between her front teeth. I was stunned by this synchronicity. Sometimes the universe hands us an aesthetic moment that can break our hearts: three jolly, gapped-toothed, middle-aged women on chrome bedecked Hogs. Breathtaking.

Have I said how much I love chrome? I danced on my toes around those bikes and petted the chrome. Marsha showed us the GPS in its compact Harley zip-bag. She pointed out how she wrote road directions on the bottom of her windshield with a marker and then wiped it clean. Richard said he was going to do that with his car.

Diane listened to music on her headphones, but Marsha and Marilyn talked to each other on communication headsets. “They talk about me,” Diane said. 

Tom asked if they had seen the cool Harley-Davidson store off I-15 made with the rusted iron salvage of Geneva Steel. They hadn’t. “You have to go there tomorrow,” he said and gave them pointed directions.

“You are so brave. I wish I had my camera,” I gushed. I loved these women and their bikes.

“Get a bike and come with us next year,” they said.”

I shook my head. “I’m a complete coward,” I told them. “You’d love it,” Marsha said.

And I do love the idea of being a woman on a Hog. I am good company. They are good company. It would be an unforgettable experience. It would change my life. But I couldn’t do it anymore than I could fly a small airplane or bungee jump from a bridge headfirst.

We exchanged email addresses and parted. They have kept me smiling all week long, these women who know how to stay alive all of their lives. Stay safe, highway muses.