By Larry Feinstein
I knew at some point, I would actually be writing to you while on Larry’s Somewhere Under the Rainbow Motorcycle Adventure, a name I gave to this extravaganza of mine before I left. I have been writing about my planned journey for quite a few months on my blog. It has managed to find its way into this column enough times as well. I can’t even count the number of people who would ask me if I just got back or when I was going.
Originally, the idea for the solo ride through Northern California, Southern Oregon and down the Pacific Coast, returning to San Francisco was kind of a lark, with no thought given to what I was getting myself into. It was a great story to tell people and I love telling stories, in case you haven’t noticed. However, the more I learned, the more concerned I became about actually doing this thing. I had no experience on a heavy bike like the Harley and I was totally unfamiliar with open country, two lane speedways and winding mountain roads.
There was no point in speculating how it would all go because I knew there was no way to plan for this kind of experience. Sure, I got the maps, bought the gear and booked places to stay, but this was going to put me in uncharted territory, emotionally and physically. I didn’t know if I had the riding skills or the stamina.
Regardless of what day you think it is, it is Monday, Sept. 21, and I am in the stunning Townhouse Motel in Weed, Calif. I am sprawled out on the bed, propped up by two pillows, legs straight out, the computer resting right on top. Like every other day so far, it has been unique and filled with surprises, unforeseen at the outset.
Today’s challenge was riding through Lassen National Park with a gas gauge dancing around the big E. My mind was stretched between admiring the stunning vistas and wondering what the hell I would do if I sputtered to a stop. Even thinking about it from the safety of this bed churns my stomach.
Convinced the end was near, I pulled off at a rest stop, an unmanned edifice with bathrooms and not much else. I spied another bike and waited for Fred and Brandi to finish their Coors. They were from Medford, Ore., and heading the same way. We made it to Old Station, a small town on 89. I filled up and then promptly dropped my bike, which was bound to happen at least once.
It seems like this ride began so long ago, but it has been less than a week, having started Sept. 16 in San Francisco. Every day feels like a lifetime and I am not kidding. From the moment I get up, each minute is different. All of my mindless habits are gone. Every single day is a new creation. One of my early lessons has been to accept change and move with it. I have to be present all the time, especially on the motorcycle. Riding 90 mph on the two lane roads that rocket through national parks or holding the speed limit around mountain passes keeps me hard focused. I have sat on the bike for hours at a time, something I didn’t know I could do.
I knew that whatever I wrote to you this time would only be a fraction of what I have been experiencing on this journey and I apologize. It is like being at a banquet and only talking about the peas or the mashed potatoes. I often find myself overwhelmed and without words. I don’t know why, but the last sentence has me crying. This life we are afforded is such a privilege and so often, we just let one day run into the next, something I cannot do on this ride.
Visit mindandthemotorcycle.com to find out about life after ride.
- Larry Feinstein has spent a lifetime in marketing and wondering what we’re all about. Visit com for more.