By Larry Feinstein
“I have chosen to go miles out of my comfort zone, habit monger that I am, and take Frost’s less traveled road. Every day will be completely different than the day before. Accepting the uncertainty of each moment will provide one lesson after the other.” Sept. 16, 2015
This is a long story with too few words to do it justice. On Sept. 16 last year, I picked up a Harley Street Glide in San Francisco, Calif. It launched a journey I had started planning nearly a year before. I had decided to celebrate 70 years of remaining upright, by taking an epic solo adventure on the Mainland.
I proceeded to plan a detailed trip, taking me from San Francisco, east to Yosemite, traveling in a counter clockwise circle up into Oregon, over to the coast and back down to San Francisco.
I wrote to my sons, apologizing for making a quiet ride into a little bit of a circus, but I’m sure they weren’t surprised. I got some sponsors, created a “guess the total mileage” contest with KONG Radio and even had a damn poster! Decades of marketing work made it impossible for me to do less.
Concurrently with sincerely wanting to celebrate my longevity was the desire to share this solo journey with people who were beginning to read my blog, mindandthemotorcycle.com and my monthly column in For Kaua‘i.
At times, it felt like I was producing a little show to draw attention to the ride and the writing. The truth is it was an incredibly personal adventure for me. Words from one of my early posts on the ride, “The near overpowering discomfort of pushing my limits was never too far away, but, my God, I saw the face of beauty every single day.”
My virgin voyage began with a seven-hour torture, half of it spent fighting my way through San Francisco’s killing traffic. I was very anxious on a totally unfamiliar motorcycle, way bigger than mine. I ended up under a dark, cold sky, on a narrow, forest road, climbing to Yosemite. I was scared most of the way. The next morning, I was in heaven, comfortably cruising through the park, feeling a way that only a biker knows. It’s why we acknowledge each other on the road. The rest of the ride was like that, extreme highs and lows and not much in between, great fodder for a writer. I wrote to readers as if they were silent passengers on the back of the bike.
I want to tell you something amazing and I swear it’s true. I posted every day, sharing both the outside and inside experiences of my trip. The only way I could possibly write this anniversary piece was to go back and inhale the ride all over again, something I have not done since my return, never having read a single old post until this week.
The ride has completely come back to life. Reading my stories, I can effortlessly conjure up the sensations that felt so overwhelming back then. I really want to tell you about it all, but that is for another time. It was a precious adventure and I am so fortunate to have lived it and shared it.
In one of my last posts, I wrote, “We haven’t changed the world with our ride; all we have done is taken a break, gotten away from all that is familiar. What we choose to do with this experience is up to each of us. There is more up ahead and while our ride has come to a close, the journey continues and I hope we get to spend some of it together. Thank you.”
Oh, my God, what I got to experience!
- Travel back to Sept. 15 last year on com and take the ride for the first time.