~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

To Ride Or Not To Ride

I've been puttering around a bit on the Gold Wing, riding with Dave and some other riders I've gotten to know through Facebook.  All of us from this area are trapped in the same sort of motorcycle doldrums, that is, we live in an area where there is a dearth of interesting roads and to get to the few fun roads in Arizona means at least a 250 mile ride.   Last weekend three of us wandered up to old copper mining town of Globe, AZ to have Mexican food only to find the restaurant was closed.  Oddly enough, we found their other location in the town of Superior to be open.  Food was good. Yum.  I love Mexican food.

But apart from  the meanderings I have not done any meaningful rides in a long time but I'm thinking about it.  A friend up in Edmonton, Alberta (1800 miles north of me in Canada) is getting married this summer and would like me to attend.   I could fly up there, it's a cheap ticket, or I could make an adventure out of it and ride.  Along the way I'd pass through Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, and other scenic points that I've yet to see in person.  I've especially always wanted to see the Grand Teton Mountains by bike. 

Funny thing is, flying to Canada would be a lot cheaper than riding, riding would be at least a four day trip up there plus hotel rooms.   And the ride back would be via the aforementioned scenic spots and several days longer.   So what's the issue?  Well, the first one is money.  I racked up some doctor bills in December courtesy of some kidney stones and the bills are still arriving for that special torment.  Side note:  Drink lots of water, you don't ever want to get kidney stones.  I thought I knew something about pain having broken assorted bones over the years, had a couple of head concussions,  and suffered second and third degree burns on my arm in a motocross crash in ancient times.  Kidney stones, especially ones that won't come out all on their own, are a special kind of pain.  Someone said kidney stones are the only pain equal to giving birth to a child.  I wouldn't personally know about birth pains but I know women often decide to have another child while no one ever wanted kidney stones a second time.

Anyway, I've been pondering the whole ride-to-Edmonton thing and trying to decide if I really want to do it.  I'm retired so I have the time. Goodness knows the Gold Wing is the right machine for the ride.  At 1800 miles it's not even that far, I did longer rides on lesser machines in days gone by.  By June the doctor bills will be paid off and I'll have a few sheckles put aside again for whatever.   I've always wanted to see Yellowstone, Banff, etc.  I have not been on a long motorcycle trip since about 2001 so I'm overdue.   What's holding me back?  I dunno.  I turned 63 in January and while the doc says I likely have a lot of good years left in me, it's not like I have an abundance of time to waste either.  None of us do, when you get right down to it none us are guaranteed even another day.  And yet I am reluctant to commit to the trip for reasons not clear to me.   I know it will be fun and of course I could get a whole bunch of blog entries out of the trip.   Too, there is the wedding, seeing friends I've never actually met in person, and I admit I enjoy good cake.   Decisions, decisions.


Canajun said...

It sure sounds like a trip worth making - even without the cake. I know I've missed a lot of motorcycle touring years (did a lot 30 years ago, but not much since) and I'm also at *that* age where time is winding down, so I'd be hard pressed to say no unless there were real extenuating circumstances.

WooleyBugger said...

If your able to do it, do it. No telling if or when you'll ever get to again. Sometimes I plan a ride then begin getting cold feet, but after going on with it everything falls in place with no regret.
For travel stay on a budget there is this place. Not tried it myself but been checking them over for some time. Sounds like a very good way to have a safe clean place to stay along the way.http://www.motorcycle-travel.net/

Trobairitz said...

Sounds like a worthy excuse for a road trip. And the roads through the rockies are stunning. The Jasper Parkway from Banff though the high road to Edmonton is beautiful too.

I can understand the hesitation to commit. Once committed you feel bad if you change your mind, so it is nice to leave it open ended until closer to the date. See how you feel, what the weather is like, etc.

Yikes on the kidney stones. Painful once with the stones, painful again when the bills come in. No fun at all.

D. Brent Miller said...

Doug, your comments resonated with me, especially this: " What's holding me back? I dunno. ... And yet I am reluctant to commit to the trip for reasons not clear to me." It's the same feeling I have been having about long-distance motorcycling. Let me ask this: Would you make this trip in a car to see your friends? If not, then perhaps it's the wedding. If you would take the car, perhaps it's the long-distance bike ride.

Something to think about.


Learning to Golf said...

WOW! I could have written this as I am making excuses for why I need to stay home this summer. But, I have to say being 63 is the perfect excuse.....to go! This year is the youngest you will ever be! Who knows how old 64 will feel!!!

Unknown said...

I've ridden from W. TX to Canada four times. Three times on a 'wing and this last summer on a Multistrada. The journey is worth every penny you pay out for motels, gas, food, etc. Although everyone needs to ride Yellowstone once, the last time through it was a damn parking lot for all the RVs pulling cages stopped to see an elk a half mile off the road. But Beartooth Pass was absolutely magnificent. Glacier is a place you've got to see before the glaciers are gone. I recommend riding east to west as the traffic riding up the west side caused my 'wing to overheat.

Jac Brown said...

How long has it been since you have flown on an airline? It is really painful these days and I wouldn't do it at all if I didn't have to for work. On the other hand, a bike trip is not only an adventure, but much more pleasurable, especially if you take your time.

Now as for local rides, you guys need to go a little farther. There are some excellent riding roads in east Arizona. Ok, this was in a rental car, but last weekend I went from Goodyear, Az, through Globe and Clifton, up the Corornado Trail to Show Low on Saturday. Sunday I drove down 60 to Globe, up 188 to Payson, over 260 to Verde Valley, before hitting the freeway to Kingman. Your loop could be a lot shorter and still get in some great roads.

Doug Klassen said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. Everyone makes some good points and generally the comments fit with my rambling thoughts.

Jac, I flew to Newfoundland last year and yeah, the flight wasn't fun or even pleasant.

"go a little further"? I'm finding it hard to work up the enthusiasm for a 400 mile day if not an overnight weekend ride which is what you're describing. 250 miles is fun, beyond that the miles turn into some work now. Or maybe it's more a mental block than a physical one.

That may be one of the hold-backs about riding to Canada. I don't want to buy off on a series of 400-500 mile days and arrive up there exhausted. And believe me, I'm just the sort who will grind out the miles to meet a deadline.

Really, it comes down to money as much as anything. It costs to be gone these days, road food is more expensive than at-home food, hotel rooms, gas, and also paying someone to watch my dogs adds hundreds to the cost. I should do it "just because" but can't quite convince myself to do so.

Drifter said...

Money is a concern I agree but I am sure that can be overcome somehow. If your health permits I think it is better to go. Inertia (of not riding long distances for years) may have a lot to do with the dilemma :). Once you start, things will fall in place :). Cheers.

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