I often wonder what really rolls around in this head of mine when I’m on my motorcycle. I do quite a bit of thinking behind my handlebars but to pinpoint one single thing would be difficult. My thoughts bounce around to many different things and sometimes even come back to the beginning of when the ride started. I’ve said I do my best thinking inside my helmet and this still holds true, but some days it’s hard to find clarity even on a perfect ride.
I need to get beyond the familiar 22 mile ride to work. Although this daily ride is good, it has become the source of a mental block that I’m finding hard to get around. Even an additional 10 miles added to the trip or an alternate route might suffice, but I still need to head in a different direction – maybe taking the long way to Clarityville. Fresh scenery and different smells would do my noggin some good. I’ve been to Clarityville before and its a nice place to visit on your motorcycle.
Fresh scenery and different smells would do my noggin some good. I’ve been to Clarityville before and its a nice place to visit on your motorcycle.
With Sturgis right around the corner, plans are being made. As always, I leave the “Last Minute” clause open in case I need to pull the plug. Things can change right up until the night before I leave and you have to be mentally prepared to throw in the towel and admit you’re not going. Fortunately for me, I haven’t had to exercise this clause but that’s not to say I haven’t stood there at the 11th hour (or was it 11 o’clock at night?) the night before staring at the bike loaded down patiently waiting to hit the road thinking I would have to cancel the trip. Bummer.
As it stands now, Sturgis looks like it’s a go. I need a vacation for sure, but I also need to put some miles under me and clean out some cobwebs in my head. What better way than to see some new countryside through these tired old eyes of mine?
If you’re going to do it, it might as well be an adventure.
It’s not just the travels on our motorcycles that makes our life an adventure. We can spend many hours in the saddle finding the picture perfect view that is camera worthy, or challenge ourselves to go places that only a few have gone. Sure, it’s likely we’re not the first one to pass down this road or trail, but it can always be my first time. I have found we motorcyclists can be up for any challenge put in front of us, and even if it’s uphill both ways I think we’ll be okay. As long as there is some good scenery.
But it’s not always the adventure of riding that fuels our passion. It can be all that surrounds our passion which quickly becomes the challenge. We pour our heart and thoughts and emotions into what we love so much that it too can be quite the adventure. My good friend Jim Vota knows this all too well. While he and his crew at Outland Moto are passionate about the adventure side of motorcycling, they are also passionate about showing it to you. To channel the Spirit of Adventure and the dedication of something you love into a lifelong dream can only be a good thing. And it shows.
Look for amazing things to come from Outland Moto. Pictures, video, product reviews and so much more can be found at Outland Moto following the lifestyle of all ADV riders. I know for Jim, this is just as exciting as any adventure he’s taken on a motorcycle. But I also know that he would rather be out on some rock strewn path taking him up towards a summit somewhere. And if you want to see the results of his life’s adventure, check out Outland Moto. Of course, he wants to see what kind of adventures you’re on, so share some of your favorite photos with them. After all, it’s about the community and the stories behind every moment we experience that makes it all come together.
Thanks Jim, for all you do. And I look forward to seeing where your adventure takes you!
If you can’t go on your own adventures, follow Outland Moto on theirs!
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My, what you can see from the seat of your motorcycle. There is the obvious; people on cell phones and what appears to be cars veering out of control with the intent of doing you harm, or an occasional wild animal coming up on the road to get a better look at you, and then – the wonder of this beautiful world around you. Have you ever wondered where that jet in the sky is going? I’ve looked up and counted the jet trails crossing above me only to think of all those people in the plane looking down, also in amazement of this place we call home. For the last few years when I see the path of a jetliner it always takes my thoughts to a particular place.
Just as you settle in on a ride, you slowly open your eyes to the scenery that surrounds you. It begins with a deep breath as you find your rhythm and everything seems to fall into place. This never gets old. Sunrise, sunsets, valleys and hills. The feel of the wind as it pushes you around and you just know that your are really only along for this ride. I’m only a spot on the landscape in a much bigger picture, so with all this going on around me, where do I fit in?
When I’m on my bike I become a participant in a spectator sport. I am moving within the environment that I find so beautiful. As quick as I can appreciate the simplicity of big round bales of hay lining a fence row, I ride into a valley that was created over many lifetimes. A man-made road that leads me past beauty created by the Man Himself. How can I complain about anything when reality says to take it all in. You are here, you’re breathing in and out and life is good – everything else can go in a worry pot.
The motorcycle is my front row seat to the world before me. You may choose to see it from a boat or on the deck by a fire pit and I’m good with that. We’re all different in many ways but also similar in how we process beauty. We see things and translate them in our own language, but the end result is how it makes us feel. Like the feeling I get when I see a jet crossing the sky or the sun coming up, it affects me the same way – it puts me in a place to appreciate what it all represents.
I travel the same roads almost every day but it’s always in the same direction. As the seasons, colors and temperatures change things can look a little different but it’s the landscape and landmarks that we relate to. Some are only a few miles from home while others take us back home.
It’s the long way home. Some days it’s just required to take a different route – one taking us away from the well-worn path we’ve created between point A and B. Remember, it’s the regularity that keeps the grass down. We don’t always have time for a detour, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need. Just a few extra minutes to see some different scenery – you know, stuff you haven’t seen for a few months or years – to clear your head. We don’t do it enough and when we do, we’re always glad we did.
I travel the same roads almost every day but it’s always in the same direction. As the seasons, colors and temperatures change things can look a little different but it’s the landscape and landmarks that we relate to. Some are only a few miles from home while others take us back home. An abandoned house, an old bridge or a valley that has always made you look – and smile, are always there for us whenever we need them. As a motorcyclist, it can be hard to find a day in January where the long way home can happen, but it always seems to. Sometimes you have to just do it even if there is an internal struggle to follow the same old habit of taking the usual way home.
Why is this so important? It gives us a few minutes for ourselves. It can be just what we need to see our small little world that surrounds us and give us a different perspective on the day. It’s no different from taking a minute from our busy day to watch the sunset, or turning around on your way home to take a picture of something that catches your eye. It can be on a road we have traveled before, but for whatever reason we overlooked it every time. Maybe it’s the time of day that gives us a different light on the same old scenery. We win either way.
I’m lucky to be surrounded by familiarity and memories. For those who know me also know of the area around me. You are familiar with my landscape and landmarks as you know them as well. Take the long way home – not every day, but someday. Pull over and take it all in and let the scenery take you home.
Road trips can change you. The more time you sit in the saddle watching the miles go by, the horizon change and the sun move from one spot to another, you realize you are getting closer to something as you move further away from where you started. As the scenery changes so does our frame of mind, and as we stop and mingle with the locals, we realize we are all the same no matter where we’re from, and they are just as curious about us as we are of them. “Where are you from” is the universal question, but it really means “I wish I had a motorcycle like you.” We know deep down we will probably never meet again, so we say our goodbyes until the next gas stop where we start a new conversation about our origination and destination.
Reflections about days gone by and past trips come to mind, as well as images of people we’ve known our whole life and those we’ve met along the way. They become clear as the sky above us. Who we are and who we want to be is a constant knot in our head but it all seems to untangle on the road and sort itself out. The greater the distance we ride, the longer we have to sort the dirty laundry we call our life. It’s easy to say that when every trip ends we are neatly folded, with a clean and fresh outlook on each and every day. At least until the clothes hamper gets full again.
” The greater the distance we ride, the longer we have to sort the dirty laundry we call our life.”
We are determined to make each mile count because as all trips start, they too will end. “If only I had one more day” or something along those lines always seem to escape from our lips. No one hears it so it just seems to get lost somewhere on the way home. Where does the time go? A week at work lasts what seems like two weeks in non-motorcycle time, but a week’s vacation is like a weekend off. Every road trip takes us through a time warp where clocks stop and days disappear right before our eyes, only to reappear during the work week. Ah, so that’s where they go.
So as we get closer to whatever it is that is pulling us away from the everyday life we live, we know, that at some point that everyday life will win. We return to a normalcy we so tried to outrun; to a place where time didn’t matter and the water tasted different. Boy, do I need to do laundry.
A bridge can be quite the silent structure. It’s there every day to make sure you get to where you’re going and doesn’t ask for anything in return. We take these strong, silent structures for granted and we assume that they will always be there, waiting for us to cross. Think about what happens to our daily routine when a bridge is out, or there is a detour because of construction or high water – it’s aggravating!
But we cross those bridges each and every day of our lives. We have expectations that every day will go smoothly and without interruption, and as we get comfortable with those expectations, the next thing you know there is a bridge out or a detour in front of us. Even though we can see where we need to be, there is a chasm in our way and without the bridge to get us there we feel that this short distance we need to travel might as well be a million miles. Sometimes those bridges can take us places we’ve never been before or bring us back to places we need to be. If there is one thing that stays the same, it would be old bridges.
What makes a bridge what it is? Sure, location is important because it is allowing us to get over something we normally would not be able to get over without it. Strength, to get us and our heavy loads across without fail is also important, so we don’t have to worry about what might happen. Classic scenery doesn’t hurt either with a nice slow-moving creek below it. I like scenery.
We all have friends in our lives that over time have become our bridges. Some strong, some silent but always there when we need help getting across that difficult point in our lives that we couldn’t get across alone. They are able to carry the weight of our burdens so we have nothing to worry about when that time comes. They also take us places we have never been before and remind us of where we came from, no matter their location and without asking anything in return.
Remember that those bridges in our lives that have been there over the years are there for a reason; some we have yet to cross and others we are afraid to cross for fear of the unknown. Many of these bridges we cross daily without a hitch and life goes on, but don’t be afraid to go places you have never been before, after all it will always bring you back to a place you need to be.
Living in a rural community in Kansas, it’s not hard to travel the “back-roads.” After all, you have to take these quiet highways just to get anywhere. In about twenty minutes these two-lane roads around home can get me to any of the neighboring communities while throwing in a little bit of scenery along the way. Sure, in some parts of Kansas you can see the next towns elevator or water tower in the horizon, or maybe it’s wheat fields and sunflowers for miles. I truly can find the beauty in this being from Kansas and all. But as I travel these roads almost daily on my way to work or running errands, sometimes I just let it roll by without taking it in. We bikers always talk about taking the long way home or we listen for someone to speak of an interesting road they were on that we have yet to find. I have found that if you have the same predictable pattern of where you ride, these roads become stale and a bit boring. Sure the seasons change and that will give you a different perspective, and we all know every little bit helps.
But what would happen if we just reversed the route in which we take? How about taking the long way to work? Hey, I’m a creature of habit, and the long way home after work always leads to, well… home. But what about taking the long way to work? Sure, it can be done. I just have to get up a little earlier and be mentally prepared for wild animals and unfamiliar corners that sneak up on you. Who knows, maybe by changing my route to work I can convince myself that this back-road is a new, untraveled road that I can tell my friends about. Of course by changing my route, those that I regularly see on my way home or to work will wonder where I’m at, while the new route will bring brand new people to wave at and curiosity will make them think a biker has moved into their community. Just like the family that lives near the train tracks, after a while you don’t hear the train. My new route will have people thinking a train is coming! Come on, my pipes aren’t that loud…
So make this a “back-road” summer. Take the long way home or the long way to work. Change it up and make it interesting. Do what you would normally NOT do. Be different. But make sure you do the one thing you want to do-RIDE.
And so life rolls along. Like the miles we ride the years also pass by. Some blurry, some as clear as the images in a photograph. They keep passing by none-the-less, taking no effort to recall. The miles and years we travel through are worn on our sleeve for all to see, and are a direct reflection of who we are. Young and full of life, or old, dusty and tired, it doesn’t matter. Only the road we’ve traveled makes a true difference to the images in our minds.
We can pick any road to travel on, and in so many ways life is the same way. To some extent the path is already chosen for us, but it’s the little detours and curves and the bumps in the road that can alter the direction at any given time. So we press on to find out “where” we’re going all the while not knowing if it’s the direction we “should” be going. Lost in America, looking for the meaning of “The Road.”
Some have the “balls to the wall” mentality while others are more cautions and calculated. I’m along for the ride no matter what. Age dictates the speed and recklessness for which we travel through life, but as I get older the days go faster than I want them to. But whether we like it or not, the journey happens every day. Headed down the road or getting through the day, it’s going to happen. We can choose to sit and stare straight ahead, or take in the scenery. You pick, after all it’s your life. Me? I’ll be taking in the scenery.
The need to get there. You know…over there. Someplace you are not. We bikers are real bad about that as we are constantly searching for the “new” perfect road. Even as we travel the same old boring rides over the years, there is a pit in our stomach that there might quite possibly be a more perfect way of getting there. You know…over there. Better trees, curvier curves, more scenic bridges and more hilly terrain. I think you get the idea. And so the search continues.
Just when we think we’ve found our utopia, we realize it’s just not enough. Like a kid is to sugar, we bikers are to scenery. Our drug of choice is the feel of the wind and the sound of our bikes as we ride down another less congested highway to somewhere we’ve never been. Sounds easy right? Right. But life can be that way. We should always be searching or at least looking around with our head up instead of walking in circles looking at the ground. We should be wanting to discover things and places we have never experienced. Some people do and others…well, do not.
I must admit when I take on a new day I’m just as much in a rut as the next person. But once in a while I do wander out of my little world and take life on. It’s exciting to be somewhere new and to talk to new people, experience new things and make some new memories. But the searching I speak of is different. It is the horizon that we just can’t get to. It’s always just over the next hill. You know…over there. It’s that constant drive and curiosity that keeps us in motion. And besides, what would we do when we get there?