5.09.2006,10:31 PM
A Path With Heart

“No matter where you go, there you are.”

It has begun.

This has been a long road. Full of bumps, hills, potholes, winding and twisting, slippery and out of control in places, on cruise control in others. The Road of Life. We arrive onto that road, pushed like a car being jump started, coughing and gasping for air, out of the womb. Into a metropolis mix master of human traffic with no directions on where to go. While finding our way, we dodge debris and try to grasp and enjoy the pleasant scenery as best as we can. Some drive, some are merely passengers. Some are early statistics; some wander the roads and never reach a destination, always missing the landmarks. You can yell directions at them, and they still never hear. Many would have done better if they had left the road before their time. Such is the Road of Life.

Never assume that the ground you stand or travel on is stable. Constantly changing, it can propel you along the Road in gentle waves so you never totter. Or the ground can open up and swallow you without warning. We all have our potholes along the way, a few bumps, lose direction a time or two. But we keep going. We get ourselves unstuck, dig ourselves out and continue on. We might even take the long way ‘round.

After many decades of by-passes, bridges, turnarounds, wrong turns, smooth sections of highway, and an occasional driving off the road, it’s time to get back on again and take the long way ‘round. This time, a very long way ‘round. It may be my last chance; I could not live with myself if I let it pass by. A large sign looms in front of me that says “Turn Here”. And turn I will.

Ever since I was little I dreamt of throwing a big saddle roll over my horse and embarking on a long walkabout. A journey nowhere in particular, but everywhere and elsewhere. During my adult years I have occasionally lived that dream, traveling in spurts around the globe, always having itchy feet. All different, each journey has formed my perceptions and consciousness like willing putty made of sponge; they have made me who and what I am. Most of these journeys have been alone, others in the company of friends or a mate. Yet through all these roads and journeys, no matter with whom, the one common denominator has been a solitary reference: myself. I’ve learned on this Road that the only one that I can rely on to pull myself out of a rut, propel me through storms and operate the controls is………me.

After a year or two of traversing potholes of personal tragedy and trauma, uprooting and moving my household several times, several physical ailments and another impending academic funding drought, it is again time to look at that sign looming in front of me. During weeks of pondering, rolling thoughts in my head, looking around me as I move through my day, waking in the middle of the night unable to turn off the calamity in my head, little tidbits of an idea tumbled into place. Remembering my childhood dream intermixed with pragmaticism of today, blurry pieces cohered into a plan to go on that walkabout.

Well, I have a horse now, but both of us are too old to ride around the continent with a bedroll. And, frankly, it would take too long to cover the territory I want. So I have discovered a new steed, an alternative way to meander: a motorcycle. Although my past journeys have been on four wheels, or in the air, this time two wheels will supplant the four legs of my horse, still carrying a bedroll, and I’ll sit astride many horses between my legs. The horsepower of a motorcycle engine.

Realizing that my current bike is inadequate, I began investigating options. The choice of a bike would be dictated by my limitations, needs, and demands of the trip. I want the capability of off-road travel, off the main roads that everyone blindly travels, whizzing by and never seeing, smelling, hearing all that surrounds them. I want to explore roads off the well-worn path, just like the rest of my life. I want to grasp and experience the nuances of the life that everyone passes by.

I want a bike that is nimble, quick, has guts and power, but can be tamed when conditions demand and be maneuverable. It has to be light but solid, able to carry myself and my gear up and through mountain passes, yet maneuver easily in city traffic. We must be able to lean into corners and spring upright at a moment’s notice. It must be responsive. And it must be comfortable.

After reading and talking to many long distance and adventure riders online and offline, I decided an adventure touring bike would offer nearly everything I need. Narrowing down the candidates to two, I found what I want for sale. Soon it will be my steed and we shall begin the journey together.

The first leg of that journey is preparation. Nevertheless, it is part of the process and it starts now. This is the path I choose to follow, a path that has heart. It is my Long Way ‘Round.

And no matter where I go, there I will be.

posted by Macrobe
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