By Larry Feinstein
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
– Robert Frost
I have absolutely no idea what is in store for me when I pick up my rented Harley Davidson Street Glide on Sept. 16 in San Francisco, Calif. Some of you likely know about my planned solo ride through northern California, southern Oregon and the Pacific Coast.
Journeys on the road have long been a metaphor for under the skin, internal travel. For months, I have been busy making arrangements, dissecting maps, booking accommodations, generating lists, buying gear and writing, with the sole purpose of creating a perfectly seamless adventure.
My meticulous planning is about weaving a quilt of comfort that I can draw up over my head, keeping the inevitable unpredictability of the road at bay. The covers will get pulled off when I board the plane in Lihu‘e. Early the next morning, I will load the bike and head south to the San Mateo Bridge. My first stop is Yosemite Lakes, about 140 miles east of the official start.
I am around a month out as I write this. The next couple of weeks will be filled with even more quilt weaving. Names like Russian River in Cloverdale and Salmon Run in Neskowin and the idea of sleeping in a safari tent in Coos Bay will tuck me in at night. The route will get ironed out and put into a map graphic, tracing my daily progress. There are only a few things left to purchase, like a flashlight and toothbrush.
I love my habits here too much, getting up at the same time, doing a 25-minute meditation, brewing a cup of black coffee, followed by an unchanging yoga routine and a 40-minute run. Throughout the day, my patterns get repeated in a thoughtless manner and time slips by, familiarity deadening awareness.
A couple of years ago, I was feeling smothered by the repetitive nature of my life and I decided to move to Costa Rica. I had poured my soul into a business with great possibilities, but it withered and slipped away. I had gotten all wrapped up in trying to make a difference here, feeling a little like Don Quixote in slippahs. Island self-sufficiency was my mantra. I worked to create a downtown food hub for local produce and beef, but the status quo windmill was too sturdy and the frustration tired me.
We take ourselves with us wherever we go and after only four days on the Nicoya Peninsula, I purchased a return ticket. The romantic idea of the expat quickly fell away, replaced by the harsh realities of a third world country, so I came home to the island I love.
The progression of the ride has been entertaining, at least for me. In the beginning, it seemed like a grand idea, deserving an equally grand presentation. I was going to purchase two GoPro cameras, mounting one on my helmet and the other on the motorcycle. The edited version would get entered in documentary film festivals across the country. What was I thinking?
During the course of a year, the ride has shrunken into a more personal journey. I have had time to think about it and its significance at this point in my life. 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. My meticulous travel plans will likely get disrupted more than once.
There are now even some of you who are following this adventure of mine, something I never imagined at the outset. When we meet next, I will likely be in Yosemite, anxious to recount the beginning of my journey to you.
Go to mindandthemotorcycle.com to make sure I don’t leave on my ride without you.
- Email Larry at firstname.lastname@example.org to become a passenger on his ride or visit mindandthemotorcycle.com to sign up for daily updates.