I remember the last time I rode an 8 hp motorcycle, of course it was lightweight (like 80 kilograms, with a full gas tank) and with yours truly on board who is a light weight myself, it was mighty fun. God I miss that Suzuki AX100 two-stroke so much, I could readily buy another one.
Last year I pointlessly bid on a W126 on BaT. I won. Then I checked the location.. "Where's Walnut Creek, CA?" After COVID devastated the shipping industry, there was only one option: Fly n' Drive back to NJ. Plans changed on the way, and it turned into a shift-driving cannonball, but it was still fun to say "I can't believe we were in Utah yesterday" when we were only 12 hours from home.
I love to travel this way. I like spontaneity and the things I've discovered by not setting a tight schedule have brought me a lot of happiness. I especially like that I quite often miss the touristy things and see more of the less advertised and real sites. Making sure of the least chance of breakdown is always of first importance. Once you've done that whatever happens happens. Roll with it.
Right on!!! My motorcycle tours spanned the ages from leathers to textiles, paper maps to GPS's but the sheer pleasure of heading out to a destination with no other plan than a starting point and ending point over some time period was nirvana!
Yes, Because the underlying point is to Take A Drive. The scenery & appreciation of the expanse become the bonus, as the resulting perspective unfolds and provides balance. I find my clearest and most satisfying thinking on the open road, both hemispheres of the brain engaged and firing as though a neuro-biological Porsche 911...(I'm not arrogant enough to say 917, haha)...
First wife: Plan everything, reservations, times, meals, expenses, etc, etc....... Scheduled Boredom. Current wife: "lets go!" 27 years and counting, the trip is more important than the destination (if there is one). Life is what you make of it.
Good article. Gotta say, though, I agree with your wife on the planning aspect. Every time I don't thoroughly plan a trip, I end up missing something that I have heard of, wanted to see, but did not know was on my approximate route. By planning intensely, do I miss some things that a free-form traveler might see? Maybe...but I don't know about those, probably never learn about them, and those have no regrets. I am an inveterate planner (and not just for trips), always have been, and probably always will be; it brings me great comfort.
As for the Grom - well, aside from the ridiculous looks of the bike, and of an adult on one, I would be quite worried about modern fast, distracted traffic, if I was going so slowly. I used to take 20-40 mile rides on a Honda C70 (Passport), top speed just over 40 MPH. I was younger and (probably) more foolish then; now, I just stick to our local road, and lots, pastures, etc. Any further, I take the motorcycle!
Sam, excellent. I am planning a lap around the country to see friends, scenery, and relive some old memories when I was on the road. I'm doing it by car, and I'm going to buy a cheap computer from Wal Mart so that everybody on the Left Coast will know where I am. Reason: I'm 83 years old and have some physical issues. It will be great, no maps, all by memory, I pretty much know where I'm going and if I don't I can talk to people. Not a screen. Thank you for this.
This was a great article, especially as we (some of us) are starting to get back to a pre-Covid world. A road trip without any plans (or computer screens or smart phones) sounds like just the recipe for some real joy right now. I'm in Canada but look forward to when I can cruise back down to Oregon like my wife and did a few years back. Astoria and Cannon beach were amazing!
My trip to San Francisco from Michigan was like that. It was summer so I took the northern route. Other than that there was no set schedule or plans. Hit a bunch of national parks, watched a guy jump off a 1,000+ cliff with his hang glider in the rockies right after building a snowman in late July. Lots of interesting stuff along the way even if it was two or three hours out of the way. Met many interesting people. Screw the internet!
Not really sure what type of psilocybin Mr. Smith is ingesting, but I sure hope he keeps at it. His lyrically altered perspective on reality is one that we all need a regular dose of, and his museful prose is indeed masterful. Inspirational and truly evocative of the way things should be. Road trip as life. Now, if I only had a motorcycle......
My wife plans everything very carefully. I don't. Like Sam, I like to plan my travel lightly, leaving a lot of room for improvisation.
When I was 18 I drove a Rambler station wagon out toward California from New Jersey. At the time, California was the paradise for any boy who loved warm sun, hot rods and girls in bikinis. But the car's flat head six had poor compression. My father had to bump start the thing for me when I left. I had to park it on hills when I stopped to sleep, in order to get it running. Naturally the car didn't make it to California. It blew up outside of Dallas. But I got to California ( and Mexico) and back. What an adventure it was!
That trip shaped my vision of what an adventurous vacation should be, except all of my vehicles are now well serviced. That was a great story that rang a lot of bells for me, Sam!
When I was young I would get in the car and end up somewhere; Toronto, New York, Key West, the middle of Kentucky. I had a 1988 Ford festiva that I could fill up with ash tray change. Later, I joined the army and they taught me to plan in great detail. A handy thing when a trip gone wrong could end up needing close air support, or hasty re-supply, or an alternate rally point. Now, retired,I know I can plan if I have to; check block go. I also have a real appreciation for the United States and the ease of first world living. With that in mind I have happily returned to ending up somewhere.
That is the point, no? Too many people fret over too many things that really don't matter; they have neglected to remember that this isn't our "practice life." We only get one shot at this and we owe ourselves a good time whenever the opportunity arises. Ride on, Mr Smith, ride on.