OK, after that rather vague introduction to things, what is this site actually about? Six years ago this summer I climbed onto a thirty-year-old Japanese motorcycle and rode it from upstate New York out to Colorado and back. That was a heck of an experience, and I planned to follow it up with more of the same in the next year or two. But, life being what it is, I haven’t managed it – until now. Some people can find the time to do trips like that every year. Others will never do even one. I’m somewhere in between. But the stars have lined up in 2013 and soon it’ll be time to go.
This time I’ll be going with my wife, where I was a bachelor before, and I’ll be on a two-year-old bike (and hers not much older), a far cry from my steed the last time. We’ll actually have cellular phones, we’ll have GPS, and I’ll have this slick iPad to write my accounts on rather than a circa-2003 netbook. Will any of this make a difference? Aside from the companionship of my loving wife, I hope not, though I suppose I could stand a little less time on the side of the road figuring out what’s wrong with my machine. (No, it wasn’t that bad…)
Sometimes we get into the trap of thinking technology makes our lives easier, when in fact our lives are just our lives, and our difficulties we make for ourselves due to our nature, not that of the physical objects surrounding us. The point of a motorcycle trip is to breathe in the air of life, to feel its breezes blowing across your face, to taste hints of freedom. It is to be minimalist and unencumbered – subjectively measured and experienced though those things are. If we’re fiddling with a smartphone or some other piece of technology rather than looking out at the world around us, the game has already been lost.
Anyway, here’s a map of our planned route:
On the way out to Colorado this roughly follows the path I took two years ago, which was so good I’d like to do it again. Then we’ve got to get up to Spokane to visit a friend, and since we’re already fairly north there it seems reasonable to try a Canadian route back – especially since we could get a taste of the Canadian Rockies right off the bat.
The whole thing is approximate, in fact doubly so. First we’ll pick the actual roads each day, depending on what looks good and what we feel like. Second we might make major changes (go through North Dakota instead of South Dakota, or detour to Utah), or even chop pieces out entirely if it seems like we won’t make it in the time we have. But that’s the way the best motorcycle trips are done. You’ve got to have the outlines of an overall plan to help you through the low days, not to mention getting you out there in the first place. And you need to freedom to follow the winds of fancy once you’re OUT there.