Monday, November 1, 2010

Fountain of youth

 Anyone who has ever ridden a motorcycle can tell you it's an exhilarating experience.  There are countless "WA-HOO!" moments that make your heart beat faster and plant a permanent grin on your face for the rest of the day.  More important than this, I think riding keeps you young.

Whether you ride a sport bike, a cruiser or some other iteration, the simple act of participating in the sport of motorcycling keeps you moving, out of doors and off the La-Z-Boy recliner.  The planning and preparation for any trip is an exercise in anticipation and it gives us goals to achieve in the near, or not-so-near, future.  That's why, with our season winding down here in New Hampshire, I'm thinking ahead to next year.  I want to have goals to achieve, mountains to climb.

I think I've mentioned this before.  In years past, at the height of winter doldrums, we've repaired to "The Bunker" with some cold beer and hot pizza, to throw out ideas for the coming year.  That was how we came to ride to Sturgis in 2008.  Someone put a stake in the ground, a target or goal, for us to achieve.  Mentally, we had already accepted the fact that we were going to embark on this cross-country tour.  Everything in-between became a step in that direction. Now, I think it's time for loftier goals. 

I recently read an article in American Motorcyclist magazine, the free magazine from the AMA, about a(n older) guy who visits all 49 contiguous American states with each bike he owns.  His latest acquisition is a BMW, perfect for the short "run" from Ohio to Alaska.  All it takes is planning, cash and some free time.  I'm still a long way from retirement age but, I like the idea of spending the next ten years or so, squeezing in great trips around work, until the time I'm free to travel the country (or planet!) like a wandering fool.

In the coming year, I want to get back to Nova Scotia, to ride the Cabot Trail again.  This time, I'll take my time and enjoy the ride and not try to break some sort of land-speed record.  I want to complete a Saddle Sore 1000:  1000 miles in 24 hours.  It would be great to achieve this one with some good friends.  Then, there's the Italian Alps.  How can one not drool over the prospect of riding The Alps, on a rented Ducati???  I also want to circumnavigate the continental U.S., taking in as many coastal areas as I can.  I have "a thing" for beach communities.  How about Australia, mate?  We could ride "down unda" during our winter, when the northern hemisphere is covered in snow and ice.  So many rides to consider, so little time!

Obviously, health issues will dictate when I will no longer be able to ride.  Interestingly enough, though I've often admitted to myself that at some point I won't be able to drive, I've never considered a day when I won't be able to ride.  I suppose, at best, those two days will come at the same time.

So, where are you going?  What will you do, in the coming year?  A cross-country tour of breweries sounds like a good start.  How about a New England perimeter ride?  What about a BBQ tour?  Or a covered bridge tour?  Or a state park tour?  Or Federal Park tour?

The season may be short, but my imagination is long and I can dream about all of the wonderful places that two wheels and a tankful of gas can get me.  Maybe you'll be along for the journey?

A low slow wave,

Joe Rocket