I took my last ride of the year today. It was a short one. Just shy of 100 miles, but pretty nonetheless with golden tamaracks standing out against a sea of firs and evergreens. This has been another great year of riding. Several short trips surrounding my long trip through most of the states in the western USA.
That trip to Colorado had me riding against backgrounds of snow and desert/plains in the same day more than once. It was everything I had hoped it would be and now all future trips will be measured against that one. Only a slight mechanical difficulty marred an otherwise excellent trip. Great company, great music (Telluride Bluegrass Festival), great roads, and great scenery. I know not all trips end up hitting high marks in all categories, but for me, this one did in spades.
Why is it that riding a motorcycle has such an appeal to me? Is it the risk? I think that is one component - the knowledge that to ride aggresively but safe requires skill. The practice that leads up to that skill adds to the enjoyment. When I'm taking a corner and I hit the apex perfectly then power away smoothly, that is something I work for and when I get it, there's an "ahhhhh" moment. Connecting corners gives me that same feeling I used to get snow skiing in knee-deep powder. Is it the scenery? Well I could get that in a convertible. On a bike though I definitely experience it more viscerally. What about the adventure? For me that is a pretty big component. Seeing new places, riding roads I've never ridden before, and sharing it with others who want to see it from the seat of a motorcycle. I suppose it is all of the above and something a bit undefinable, perhaps "gestalt" is the right word to use. Whatever words you use to describe it, I love riding and will continue to do it until I'm just too dang old to do it any more.
So the bike is put away for the winter and I will make plans for next year. A possible trip to Death Valley in the early spring has been talked about by my brother and that holds great interest for me. But that is tempered a bit by the fact that two of my three kids are getting married this year so motorcycle adventures will probably (properly) take a back seat to those two events. We'll see how all this meshes together in 2015!