September 4, 2019

Wanderlust is the Sweetest Poison

I miss riding with Steve, that's for certain.
I was never a motorcyclist who liked to travel. I was a traveler that liked to ride a motorcycle.

This has always been a hard distinction for me to grasp, let alone explain to others. It wasn't until I was completely off two wheels that I realized what I was and wasn't missing.

I miss leaning into the turns of a canyon on a sunny afternoon, straining my mind to gauge the next turn, rolling on and off the throttle and feathering the clutch, testing my skills. More than the physicality of riding, I miss how it challenged my intellect with the calculations of traffic, speed, gravity and centrifugal force. I miss being entirely alone with my motorcycle, connecting to the machine which connected to the never-ending ribbon of possibility that is asphalt, the intimate connection to "being there" that only comes on two wheels.

A part of me even misses the challenges of harsh weather, long days, exhaustion and frustration. I thrived on pushing myself to my limits, if only to see where my limits actually lie. The truth is that the challenges brought about in me a new manifestation of myself, a person I have always known yet couldn't step into. At some point I stepped off of my motorcycle a stronger, greater, more fulfilled version of my true self.

However, I don't miss the physical toll motorcycling took on me. Perhaps that toll came from riding so many miles in such a short period of time. In my first year of riding I rode over 16,000 miles, culminating in 68,000 miles in less than 5 years. I didn't listen to my body when I should have and now I need surgery to correct some of the damage I did to myself.

I have to wonder if the constant pain I live in wasn't somehow subconsciously, yet intentionally, inflicted. Why was I punishing myself? Why was I so certain that beating the shit out of myself made me more worthy as a rider? What was I hoping to accomplish?

Now I know that a great deal of that motivation came from my desire to travel. I feared that I might become stationary without the motorcycle, so I needed to keep riding to stay on the road. Like any other drug, I had to suffer to feed my addiction.

I drove my Chevy Suburban "Jupiter" from North Dakota to Alaska and back to Washington this summer. 7 weeks of camping, 7,000 miles. 

One of my favorite sights on the Alcan Highway were the bears. This black bear and her cub were casually crossing the road so I pulled over. Don't bears always have the right of way?

Now I travel without a motorcycle. My addiction is fed, my wanderlust addressed and my life in perfectly chaotic movement. Just enough new to keep it interesting, just enough comfort to continue.

But the satisfaction is slipping and I can feel something new coming on the horizon. I'm ready for whatever comes.

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