Change

To change and change for the better are two different things.

Driving into the Croom Motorcycle Area yesterday, after stopping by the ranger’s station and paying for our passes, I was pleasantly surprised to find a paved road to the campground instead of the clay road from years past. But not much else has changed at Croom since my last visit: my name is still etched in the cement on the men’s side of the bathrooms near the pavilion.

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Croom bathrooms circa 2000

We parked and unloaded without delay, ready to try out our new toys after weeks of waiting. Both bikes started on the first kick and we were off to find an area without too much sugar sand (ha!) so my boyfriend could get acclimated riding a dirt bike for the first time.

“The entire forest is sugar sand,” I told him, but we actually found a dry, hard pack spot with a few berms and even a single jump that we circled around and around for the remainder of the day. I followed him for a while and then we would stop and take a breather while I gave him a few pointers: “Elbows up. Try standing up down the straightaways.”

Then, we would take off again and I would pass him up, circling the loop fast for a few times. After a while, I just stopped and leaned my bike up against a rut and watched, realizing it brought me more joy to watch him, and that’s how parents must feel watching their kids ride. I felt proud, too, knowing I made it all possible.

Right around then, a family of four drove by, all on Hondas wearing BILT gear – the dad on an XR250, two kids on XR50s and the mom on the XR150. My boyfriend stopped riding and we sat there and watched the family circle the loop a few times.

“That’s going to be us one day,” I told him. He laughed and said he’s going to be faster than me soon. We’ll see.

Problems: my bike rebounds too fast and headshake is killer. His bike is leaking a LOT of oil. It also does not idle and likes to stall.

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