In 2012, as my 65th birthday approached with gathering speed, I began to see this event as a significant milestone for reflecting on the journey of life so far. It was, perhaps, time to take a break from my daily routine and set about reflecting on life, relationships, past goals, future goals, and the direction for the next phase of my journey. Ideally, I could enter a period of decompression that would dissipate the day-to-day stress life saddles us all with and obtain physical and spiritual relaxation of mind and body. Lofty goals, huh?
Consideration of this idea led quickly to the thought that since I have spent virtually the whole of my life connected to all aspects of motorcycling both in my personal and business life, a motorcycle should play a part in the process.
Suddenly the pieces started to fall together as I recalled the Australian aboriginal practice referred to as the “Walkabout”, an occasional interruption of regular work where one goes on a long walking journey in the bush far from towns and cities. For the aborigines of Australia, taking a break from routine in the solitude of the outback in order to seek inner tranquility is a spiritual tradition that’s been handed down over thousands of years. Native Americans also ventured into the wilderness on solitary “vision quests” to meet their spirit guide and find direction in life.
The “RideAbout” was born of the merger between the walkabout concept and motorcycling. A further combination with my impending birthday led to “RideAbout65”.
Interweaved with the RideAbout concept was the collection of roads to ride and places to visit I had been collecting over the years and including in my personal “Bucket List”. Thus, my blog sub-title “Emptying Buckets” was coined.
RideAbout65 was conceived to be a “four corners” journey, that is, the four corners of the USA. Each corner would be a separate trip from Tennessee so as to make the time issues more manageable…four separate trips would be easier to accomplish and would allow each to build on the “lessons learned” of the last. Nova Scotia was chosen as the Northeast corner even though it is beyond the US border, “just because”. Just because I had never been there and Nova Scotia has a reputation as a good motorcycling destination. Key West, San Diego, and Seattle were chosen as the obvious remaining corners. Each trip was to be made on back roads to the greatest extent possible with the major portion of route planning done day-by-day with no imposed schedules other than a general, “I’ll be gone for about XX days”, (12 days, 20 days, etc).
RideAbout2010 was the warm-up and shakedown ride out to one of my bucket list destinations, Devils Tower, Wyoming.
Four Corners Fun:
The Four Corners concept also aligned with various shades of Four Corners Symbolism, as in:
- The Four Material Elements: Earth, Water, Air, Fire
- The Four Cardinal Directions: North, West, East, South
- The Four Natural Colors: Green, Blue, Yellow, Red
- The Four Basic Characteristics: Cold & Dry, Cold & Wet, Hot & Wet, Hot & Dry
- The Four Physical Orientations: Left, Behind, Front, Right
- The Four Day Times: Night, Dusk, Dawn, Noon
- The Four Moon Phases: New Moon, Waning Moon, Waxing Moon, Full Moon
- The Four Earth Seasons: Winter, Fall, Spring, Summer
- The Four Lifetime Periods: Old Age, Maturity, Birth, Youth
“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.”
– Anatole France
Small curvy road – Highway 65 in Jackson County, Alabama about 20 miles South of the Tennessee/Alabama border.
Large straight road – Nevada State Route 375, the Extraterrestrial Highway about 100 miles southeast of Tonopah, Nevada.