The calendar has progressed to the month of May, always a time of renewal and hope to me. As late as April 20th we awoke to snow-covered ground and things were looking dismal and frustration was running high, but that's all in the past now.
In the northern parts of the U.S. May doesn't just gradually arrive it bursts onto the scene, in an explosion of green leaves and yellow daffodils. The weather suddenly ends the radical swings from below freezing to temps in the 40s or 50s on warm days to a steady diet of absolutely delightful days in the 60s and 70s. It's still bug-free and it seems that the whole world has undergone a thorough spring-cleaning by the rains of April. It's a new world; fresh, clean, good smelling, warm, beautiful, and nigh on perfect.
And of course one of the several outdoor activities that riders cram into a busy spring is motorcycling. The bike has long since been cleaned and polished, the oil changed, tire air pressure topped off, riding gear cleaned and made ready for use - as soon as weather conditions allow. Well, they now allow, and it's time to ride!
I find planning a trip or ride very enjoyable, whether it's a car trip with the family or a solo motorcycle ride across the continent. Anticipation and planning truly are part of the adventure for me, and many others I know. My solo rides never go exactly according to the plan or schedule, but that's fine. I enjoy plotting a route but also know full well that I might meet a road that I just can't say no to. Several years ago I was on my way to the Barber Museum in Alabama when I saw a sign near Nashville for the Natchez Trace - a historic road I had always wanted to ride. Well, then and there I changed my plans and instead of ending up in southeast Alabama I ended up four days later in Natchez, Mississippi, after riding the Trace. It was incredible and I don't regret the snap decision for a moment. From there I continued west and had the opportunity to also ride the Talimena Scenic Byway in the beautiful Quachita Mountains of eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas. It's an incredibly scenic area with roads custom made for riding, and I might not have ever rode them had I stuck to the script.
Sometimes I feel like we motorcyclists share a secret that no one else knows or has access to. Our sport is so awesome and I feel so fortunate that be able to participate that I sometimes wonder why everyone doesn't jump on the bandwagon. But of course not everyone can nor wants to, and that's as it should be. It's great that most of us are fortunate enough to pursue the things we enjoy, no matter what it is.
I was talking with someone the other day and he asked if I was going on a motorcycle 'vacation' this summer. The word vacation struck me as odd because I never thought of riding as a vacation, but rather a physically demanding adventure. I think of laying on the sand on a Florida beach for a week (yuck!) as a vacation. It's relaxing and involves very little physical activity. I view a week or two on a motorcycle as an adventure the same way as I might view a week on a white water rafting trip or a hike through the wilderness. It's time away from the routine of life, but it's not a vacation in my view - - it's better and more fulfilling than that.
Having said that I have 2 or 3 major adventures planned for the summer. A ride to participate in the Rolling Thunder celebration in D.C. over Memorial Day is the first of the multi-day events, followed by a trip around Lake Superior, a ride west, and some other multi-day adventures. My aspirations for this riding season are high. Hopefully real world realities will see it my way and cooperate.
So whatever it is in life that you love go pursue it with a passion. Time waits for no person and the unimportant things will always be there demanding your time and attention.
As no doubt more than one wise person reportedly wrote - no one on their death bed has ever said "I wish I had spent more time at work."