In the heart of Pennsylvania Amish farm country sits the little village of Intercourse in Lancaster County. It was the scene of the 11th Women on Wheels® International Ride-In, in 1997. I rode Big Red, our first cross- country solo ride, to get there. It was one of the most memorable and best ever Ride-Ins! For the entire summer, Big Red and I clocked rolled 7,982 miles.
Along the way to Intercourse, I stayed over with friends in Arizona, Texas, and Georgia. In South Carolina, I visited with Millie, the wife of a motorcyclist I happened to meet in Oregon on my first solo ride the year before. Then I spent a glorious time with my daughter Asila and soon-to-be son-in-love David in North Carolina. It was then that I first met his lovely parents and gave them each a ride on my motorcycle. Before heading for Intercourse, I stopped in at my dear friend Peggy’s in Lynchburg, VA and took her for a ride, too.
A long ride into the night, on dark, undulating roads that wound through cornfields got me to the motel outside of Intercourse where I met up with my friend Trudy. She had ridden in from Bakersfield, and we would share lodging while at the Ride-In.
Intercourse is just east of Bird-in Hand and north of Paradise. The many quaint shops, bakeries, and restaurants lured us in when we weren’t kicking motorcycle tires and visiting with buddies in the host- motel parking lot. Riding those two-lane country roads, our iron horses juxtaposed against flesh-and-blood horses pulling black buggies, kept everyone supplied with stories.
One of the featured events of the Ride-In was a train ride. A rainstorm had been predicted, but hundreds of us women bikers made our way to the train station in Strasburg anyway. We parked our bikes and picked up our box lunches just before the rain hit. As soon as the train got underway, the torrents came, blowing sideways and drenching everyone, especially those in the open cars. Hairdos trashed and pasted to our heads and clothes soaked through, we still managed to laugh and have a good time. A huge surprise met us when we returned to the parking lot to find a few bikes downed due to the rain and high winds and our helmets full of rain and waterlogged. It took days to dry everything out.
Now, sixteen years later, when we get together with other WOW® members and reminisce about the Intercourse Ride-In, two things stand out: that train ride is one. “Remember that train ride?” someone asks, and we shake our heads knowingly if we were on it. For anyone who wasn’t there, we can describe it as if it were yesterday.
The other outstanding recollection is of the most awesome-licious banquet in the history of Ride-Ins. Those Amish cooks knew how to put on a banquet. Tables laden with delectable offerings of cooked-from-scratch comfort food and plenty of it delighted us all. Conversations go like this:
“Were you in Intercourse in ’97?”
Then simultaneously, “The FOOD!” accompanied by moans of remembered rapture.
The outstanding ride; the food, friends and fun; and the giggles over the name of the village make Intercourse a memorable place that belongs in my Travel Hall of Fame.
~ xoA ~