Lost in Place

20160317_182756_HDR[1]It’s easy getting lost in this big ‘ol world. Maybe not as easy as it used to be, but not that difficult either. There was a time when just packing up the furniture and moving without leaving a change of address would confuse a whole lot of folks, and if we didn’t have the telephone that hangs in the kitchen connecting us to the outside world, those same folks would drive over to see if you were okay. When did so many people care to know where I am? Nowadays, if your battery goes dead in your cell phone we feel like George Clooney in the movie Gravity as we float off into space with both the earth and Sandra Bullock fading away. The whole lot of us are lost in space for sure.

As a motorcyclist, we actually try to get lost when we ride. We look for those old blue highways to take us someplace – any place – that we’ve never been. But unless we are willing to dedicate a few days of riding to get outside of the circle of scenery we call our stomping grounds, we might as well accept the fact we’re going to be spotted by someone we know. Lost? Hardly.

We all need to let our minds wonder as we wander down these old blue highways.

But those old blue highways can always give us the opportunity to disconnect from the world we are so connected to. Even though I’ll never make it to the edge of space on my bike, by just throwing my cell phone in the saddle bag away from view and vacant from that pocket where vibrations are felt, I can disconnect my mind for a few minutes. We all need to let our minds wonder as we wander without feeling like we’re being followed.

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So until I find the time to break out of the box I call my daily routine, I’ll find ways to get lost in place. Look! Someone is sending smoke signals up to find out where I am.

 

 

Good Place to Start

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Why do we always need a place to go and is it possible to not pick a direction? When it comes to riding our motorcycles, we need to start somewhere, just anywhere to get this ride underway. Our desire is to go places we’ve never been, but it takes traveling down roads we’ve already ridden on to find them. A little known feature built into all motorcycles is a GPS. It doesn’t matter how old your bike is, or what kind of bike you ride, it is mounted right behind your headlight. This system of navigation has been around since the early days of motorcycling, it’s easy to use and a very effective way of either finding yourself or getting lost. You choose.

This form of GPS is also known as a Good Place to Start – you have to start somewhere, and this is as good a place as any. It doesn’t matter if you are a new rider on an entry-level bike or a seasoned rider plagued with miles of experience, you have to hit the starter button and go. Every ride begins exactly where you are, so what are you waiting for? Once underway, you’ll find it easy to follow your headlight wherever it leads you. Don’t put a lot of thought into it and stop fighting the urge to turn the other way – your headlight is never wrong. Sometimes it’s the pressure we put on ourselves to make the ride amazing we forget to “just ride.”

When you are so focused on “where” to go, keep reminding yourself to “just” go. Relax and take it all in even if the road is so familiar you can tell where you are just by the feel of the surface as you ride over it. I can’t remember regretting a ride, but I can remember regretting to not ride at all. Do not let the opportunity pass you by because of indecision on where to go, as every ride should be based on why you go, and instead of a gadget determining your global position, you should determine where you are and where you are going in this world.

We have to remind ourselves that it’s the simplicity of the motorcycle that draws us in. We ride for various reasons, with the most important of those reasons being the motorcycle’s ability of taking us anywhere. It can take us to any destination imaginable, and it’s capable of getting us lost at the same time. This is a Good Place to Start.

 

 

 

Anticipation

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I for one, ride a motorcycle to get away from it all. That’s the whole idea, isn’t it? Get on our motorcycle and ride, forgetting the emails, phone calls and whatever else is making all that noise in our ears and distracting us from our sanity. Too much really is too much. I can remember a time when I left my phone at home and lived to connect another day – that’s because the phone was mounted to the wall in the kitchen. If we missed a phone call they would call back – if it was really that important. Today we walk from room to room carrying our mobile device with us, (you know, just in case) when we used to stand or sit next to the phone in the kitchen while we talked to our neighbor. Most of our messages came in the mail box with a stamp on it, not instantly of course, but in 3-5 days. Now, in a world of instant communication, if our little black ball and chain we carry around with us isn’t vibrating or beeping every minute on the minute we immediately think no one cares anymore.

We have become so used to immediate information and constant connection, that we’ve forgotten about anticipation. As quick as instant stimulation comes along, we move on to the next without absorbing what just happened, almost to the point of losing it’s shock value. Good news or bad, as soon as we digest it, it’s gone and it’s on to the next tasty morsel of information. Whatever happened to waiting on a letter from a dear friend, or your next issue of Motorcyclist Magazine to come in the mail? Shouldn’t it be here already? Where is it? Don’t they care anymore? Of course they do. That’s called anticipation. I can’t remember the last time I had a phantom vibration from my mailbox out by the street.

Riding motorcycles gives us an opportunity to escape this high-tech jungle if only for a little while. I’ve seen it too many times though, as a rider pulls up to park his or her bike, the same routine will follow; pull up and stop, drop the kick stand, shut off the motor, pull the helmet off and then check their phone for any missed calls, texts or updated statuses. Really? I’m guilty and so are you. In my early years of motorcycling, we just left the house and if the phone rang off the wall we wouldn’t know it. There was actually a time when I didn’t have an answering machine! If the phone rings in the kitchen and nobody’s home, how would you know? You didn’t! Did time slow down and the world stop spinning because of it? Here is a simple test: How far will you ride back to your house if you forget your mobile device? 5 miles? 10 miles? The answer here is you won’t have to double back because not many would forget it in the first place. It’s that important to us and if by chance, and I mean a slight chance, you forget it you will ride 5 miles back home to retrieve in the kitchen where you left it. Hold on here, isn’t that where the phone was mounted to the wall when I was a kid?

I’m not beyond technology. I find the convenience of a mobile phone a great tool to have for any motorcyclist, and it gives a great sense of security while I’m out riding – but I also realize when I’m riding it can become a distraction from the whole reason I’m out here anyway. On my last trip to Sturgis, my phone went dead on day three and I was okay with that. Sure, I charged it up when I got the chance, but it didn’t seem that important by then. In fact, it was kind of nice not having to worry about missing anything of importance. Who am I kidding – I couldn’t take any pictures, send any humorous text messages or find out when everyone was meeting at the Knuckle Saloon. Time had slowed to a crawl and the world as I knew it was standing still, but I made it.

Given the world we live in now, it’s important to go with the flow, and it’s all about the balance of getting lost – but not too lost – on our motorcycles.

The Search

We spend our days searching. Searching for answers and places. Whether at work or on our own time, the day is filled with searching. Something to eat? Where will we sit? What’s on TV? Where is my life going? And most of the time we muddle through the food part and what’s on TV with out too much trouble. But life? That’s when I’m stumped.

Can’t find your keys? They will show up later when you aren’t looking for them. Shoe’s? They never get lost in pairs, but they will surface I promise. Friends? When you need them, they’ll be there. Not always easily found, and usually not the person you think it will be, but someone will be there for you. You may not realize it at the time, but they are there. Some random stranger that asks a question, or someone you wouldn’t consider a friend that suddenly comes up to you. Don’t worry, their intentions are good.

More often than not we have more questions than answers when it comes to ourselves. But the answers to most questions lie in each and every one of us. But those answers are to other people’s questions. We are the friend when someone is in need. And the one who misplaced your keys…