Tuesday, August 3, 2010

There and Back Again

"It is good to have an end to journey toward;
but it is the journey that matters, in the end"
Ursula K. LeGuin
I find it amazing how consumed I can be with preparations for a trip. First you get the idea for the trip. Then you look at Google Maps and a road atlas for possible routes. No interstates for me and I prefer county roads and state highways to US highways. You may even need to revise those route plans when circumstances change. You need to decide what clothes and baggage to take. Because of hot weather, maybe a small cooler would be a good idea, for water, gatorade and munchies. I have been planning a little trip with Max. It will be the longest trek I have ever undertaken by myself on two wheels. Okay, so it's not a monumental amount of mileage to many readers. And it's not a great deal longer than the trip I took up to the Topeka area last fall. But since most of my riding is in the form of commuting with some occasional weekend excursions, it will be very significant to me. When planning you might consider tools to have along. I keep screwdrivers, wrenches, fuses, and many other things (like rain gear) on Max anyway. But one item I didn't have was a flat tire repair kit, so I purchased one this morning. Will probably never use it, but just in case...... (Jack Riepe is partially to blame for this added cost after he recently posted an excellent article about fixing a flat.) I need to change the oil before I go. I am only a little over halfway between scheduled oil changes, but the trip will put me way over, so just to be a bit anal, I will change it before I go. I'll be sure to check other fluid levels as well maybe tighten a few bolts. Max also needs a bath. A few days before I go you can see me constantly checking the long range weather forecasts. If it looks really crappy, I might cancel out. But this time of year I can almost guarantee that it will be hot and sunny with little chance of anything else. That's okay with me. And then, what accessories do I take? Make sure to have the cell phone. I downloaded the GPS program to the phone thinking it might be handy. Must not forget the cell phone charger either. I could listen to music from my phone while I ride to pass the time, but that can run down the battery. Should I get another cell phone battery? Ahhh, I like to hear the world around me anyway and don't want the potential distraction of the music. I can always hum a song if I want to. Done that before. Then there is that old nemesis for me, camera batteries. I seem to always find a way to have them run out of juice on me. I have already purchased a new supply. The trip I took last fall was pretty leisurely. I stopped a lot and took many pictures. This time I need to be a bit more determined about rollin' down the highway, so picture stops may be a bit less frequent. But pictures will be taken. Part of the excitement to a trip is the unknown. Places I haven't been to before. Will the people be nice? Will the food be good? What's the scenery like? Will I, like Sarah Palin, be able to see Russia from my destination? The circumstances are that I don't even know the exact date of departure, or for that matter, the exact destination. There are various possible scenarios and I have routes and contingencies planned for each possible outcome. There is a particular need to be flexible with the plans. It is a bit challenging and exciting at the same time. And I am okay with all of that. I think the reward will be worth it. It's just a two day trip, there and back again. I will cross a state line and it's not the closest one. And there is a very definite goal and purpose to the trip. It will be exciting. It will also be freakin' hot! But as you can probably tell, I am getting more than a little excited.
"The Journey is the Destination"
I recalled this quote while composing this post. I wasn't even sure where it came from or who said it first. Turns out, after I Googled it, there are a lot of quotes like it attributable to various people. In this case the destination, even as yet not exactly determined, will be a blast. The company I will keep will be first rate. But the journey itself will be just as important and fun no matter which route is taken. Many people may not understand that. The more I think about it, the more I believe and understand the quote. Other people have had it figured out for a long time.


  1. Wot? You anal? Don't forget to haul along a really worthwhile travel book underneath the kitchen sink strapped to the scooter. To keep you company by firelight of an evening. Much better than riepe's stupid co2 gas (he's full of it anyway).

  2. Great post!

    I can relate so much, in many different ways, to this post. The planning for my normal road trips in the UK for a few days often means hours of thought, consideration of what to take, planning of the routes and preparation of what to take. My wife laughs at my constant list making, sometimes telling people that I make a list of my lists so I don’t forget to write any. And then there is getting the gear ready the night before – all laid out in the house, so nothing is forgotten. My wife laughs at this too, but then she is the one that forgets things!

    Selecting the right electrical gadgets to take is important. Do I take this one, or that one? Do I need a spare, or will I be able to buy it in the places I have never been to?

    You said the journey will be important. I find not only that to be true, but in a strange way, for me, the planning is so important as well, for that is where the roots of the journey are started and get that planning wrong and the journey will suffer. In this respect, here is a quote for you... “Failing to plan, is planning to fail”.

    Oh, my job when I was working? Planning how to do things!

    I hope that the journey you are about to make turns out to be a good one!

  3. Conch,
    LOL, I don't consider myself really anal, but sometimes worry about silly little things. For one, I worry about places to get gas. My fuel capacity allows me to go 100 to 125 miles and I had to stop in a small town last fall at a station that didn't have premium gas. Yes, Max likes the more expensiive stuff.

    But I really will travel pretty light. Just 2 days, so don't need lots of clothing.
    But I did opt for the tire repair kit with the CO2 gas. I figure that there is a small town every 20 miles or so and the CO2 should get me to the next place where there is such a thing as an air compressor.

    Thanks for building my confidence,


  4. Gary,
    The planning has been fun. I haven't even made a list (many times I do), but did print out a bunch of maps. You just reminded me to take them home and get them ready to go. Max has most of the "stuff" ready to go all the time, so just need to get clothing figured out the night before, and definately try and remember that cell phone charger. (I feel a list coming on.)

    You definately sound like an engineer with your quote. Maybe some time I'll tell you my joke about the engineer, the salesman and the accoutant.

    I am really looking forward to it.


  5. Jimbo/cpa3485:

    I am like you. I make lists, revise lists, add, remove, trim, lay everything out, repack, delete. Then there are the electronics to sort out. I have come up with a way to charge most of my batteries using one USB charger which is self contained and is solar powered with lots of cables and adapters to virtually charge any 3.6v single cell lithion Ion battery. So when I am in the middle of nowhere, with no cell service, my phone will be ready as long as the sun is shining

    Wet Coast Scootin

  6. I'm still waiting to take that first long long trip. I was raised in St. Louis, Michigan and now live St. Louis, Missouri. When I bought the Symba it did occur to me that traveling from St. Louis to St. Louis on 101cc bike sounded sort of epic. Who knows perhaps one day I will, but the reality is I'm just not much of a traveler. My favorite part of every trip I've ever taken was getting home. That said, riding the Symba and driving my car are such different experiences. I could identify with your theme, "The Journey is the Destination". Riding for me is much more about the process of getting somewhere than driving. With driving I'm rushing to get to destination. So, who knows perhaps traveling is one more thing waiting to be transformed by me wee chariot.

    I have great confidence in your resourcefulness and in Max's reliability. Enjoy!

  7. Bobskoot,
    You are the king of gadgets! I have always read your gadget posts closely and even though I am not as gadget oriented, I do learn from you and respect how you do things. Me? I'll survive with my cell phone and lack of tachometer just fine. If I did more touring, the answer might be different.

    Thanks for stoppin' by


  8. Keith,

    Probably 90% of my riding is in town with some occasional short weekend excursions. I complained to Jack Riepe one time about my jealosy of him riding on longer treks with his BMW buddies. He answered back and said I should just pack up a sleeping bag and a small tent and head out somewhere, spend the night and come back the next day. I have yet to really do that, but have become less fearful of a longer trip than I used to be.

    If I did more touring, I'd probably get a bigger machine, but for now, Max is perfect. Great gas mileage, very competent in town, and adequate out of town as long as I stay off interstates and really fast highways. Your Symba would probably be fine as long as you don't get too carried away with it and recognize the capabilities and limitations. Only comes with more and more riding.

    Thanks for being a regular on this humble little blog.


  9. cpa3485,

    I can sympathize with you, I may spend all week going over maps, paper and digital, just for a one day to lunch and home. If you lug around the tire repair kit all the time you may never get a flat, but leave it home just once...

    It's nice to have a destination, but don't hesitate to take a detour along the way.

    Have a safe trip.

  10. Art, Gordon
    Murphy's Laws always have a way of applying to me. Will probably never need that kit, but will be darn glad I have it if I need it. The planning has been fun and the reward should be worth it.


  11. cpa3485:

    and to expand on the thoughts of 682202 plan to bring an umbrella and all your rain gear.

    I am still in the dark about your final destination. I wished that I lived closer, I could shadow your every move

    Wet Coast Scootin

  12. Bobskoot,
    The date of departure and destination were finally determined last night. I leave in the morning (Thursday). And rain is a possibility. Don't know if I care about the umbrella as much as the rain gear, but it's ready to go. The final call as to whether I take the famous Canadian Subaru or Max will be made in the morning. The rain, if any, will be hit and miss and I am now betting on "miss". Unfortunately my wife is still betting on "hit" and she is very worried about that.
    Those long range forecasts drive me crazy sometimes. Fortunately, the temperatures are supposed to cool off a bit. Upper 80's and low 90's never sounded so good. We have had 4 days in a row above 100 degrees(american).
    Want me to email you in the morning after I decide which vehicle I am taking? I'll leave about 4:00 your time. Better yet, should I call?


  13. Safe Journey. Rain keeps the dust down.


  14. Dear CPA3485 (Jimbo):

    The trials of work have had my face glued to this keyboard of late, and I haven't felt much like playing around with bike stuff. Now I'm afraid you will have already departed on your epic before I have added my good luck wish.

    I was looking at the packed version of your scooter in a previous post, and I was amazed a the limited amount of space you have to deal with... Even for a two-day trip. And 600 miles in two days is certainly a bit of a poke. I can't image buzzing along on a scooter -- doing 55 or 60 mph, all day. There comes a time when I am compelled to twist the throttle mnd hake the red line dance.

    Here is my indispensible list for a long ride:
    credit card
    cell phone/charger
    clutch cable
    spare headlamp bulb
    flat tire kit
    first Aid Kit
    canvass sun hat
    liter Sigg fuel bottle (filled with rum)
    Mini-Mag Flashlight (LED)
    liter Sigg fuel bottle (filled with water)
    motorcycle jumping cables
    a complete tool kit for your machine

    This crap doesn't put a dent in my storage space. But there is nothing more aggravating than finding yourself stuck someplace because you killed the battery, or because a a stupid cable snapped, or because you got a small puncture in the tire. And there is nothing more maddening than finding yourself in the dark because of a shitty flashlight.

    If you think you might find yourself in a situation where'd you'd pay a million bucks to have the right stuff, why not spend $40 and save $999, 960 worth of swearing?

    I bet dimes to donuts that the first time you use that plug kit is to bail out a friend.

    And if you have a rare or unusual tool required to service your rig, get three of them. One for the tool box at home, and two to carry in the bikes's kit. Because you might two of them to correctly loosen a bolt.

    The farther you ride from home on two wheels, your chances of a slight mechanical challenge increase. I think you are to be commended for your preparations. And knowing what you have lets you ride around with a lot less concern.

    Have a great trip, Jim. Rip up the asphalt.

    Your pal...
    Jack • reep • †oad
    Twisted Roads