Yesterday’s temperatures started in the lower 40s but quickly escalated to nearly 70 before lunchtime. It was a great day to take the Mistress out, so I jumped on the chance to participate in the annual breakout ride with the local Harley Owners Group chapter and get some miles on the old girl. About thirty bikes participated on a nice leisure ride of a couple of hours through counties of Indiana’s empty fields and little countryside traffic. Lunch was found at a small town local bar who had opened early for the influx of leather clad riders and passengers who would make this stop their food and watering hole for a couple of hours. The company and service was great…the food was lousy. Two out of three isn’t too bad.
Conversation came around to my upcoming Alaska ride, in which one of my fellow HOG members asked if I was getting excited about my “vacation” that was fast approaching. This question got me thinking on the ride home…was I really going on a vacation to the northernmost state? Or was it something else?
To me, a vacation is a location in which one goes to do the three R’s: rest, relax, and recuperate. It’s lying on a chaise lounge over the hot sand, inches away from the lapping waves coming up on the beach. A cold drink in one hand, a book in the other, and quickly growing sunburn. A vacation is not caring what time it is, what your plans are an hour later, or the completion of minor commitments. When getting back home from a vacation, a person feels rested to the point that they can go back to work and deal with the stress of their employment and family for months to come until the next vacation comes due. You sit at your office desk, the sunburn long changed to a dark tan on the body, and recount tales of cold beverage drinking and expensive excursions with your co-workers.
What is a motorcycle ride to Alaska, if not a vacation?
Well, to start with, ten thousand miles on Harley in bad weather and worsening roads isn’t what I would call a vacation. It’s not in the same realm as dancing over hot sand as you make your way to a chair to take a nap in. No, a trip of this magnitude is what I would call…an adventure.
An adventure is one of those trips of a lifetime. It’s planning a general way to get someplace overall, but not worrying about where your head will touch a pillow every evening, where your next meal will come from, or even caring whether to turn left or right at the next intersection. An adventure is full of self and worldly discoveries; moments both of pleasure and pain; maybe even times of momentary terror and experienced bliss. One goes on an adventure excited and seeking…and comes back home exhausted yet fulfilled. An adventure tests a person’s fortitude, patience, and their willingness to overcome pains, long hours, personal handicaps, doubt, and declining weather patterns. Challenges are presented to the adventuring soul and decisions lead to one’s destiny.
The adventure awaits.
The countdown clock trickles down…