Its funny how it can take time for the simplest idea to sink in. Then, when you finally figure it out, you find there are many there ahead of you. You know how you sometimes read or hear a word for the very first time, a word you did not know, and then suddenly you start to hear that word used often by others. This started with a trip to my granddaughter's birthday party in Alabama. For some reason I decided, the heck with riding at 75 mph to get there at a specific time, I would leave early and get there when I got there. I stopped on the way to see the dam at Pell City, to watch a bunch of enthusiasts race miniture race cars and took the time to walk through a very old grave yard, reading the headstones and wondering who these people were and what their life was like. The "When are you going to get here." telephone calls from my son were met with "I'm coming." To just ride. To be able to enjoy it without trying to stick to a schedule. To be able to stop whenever something of interest caught my eye. It was the best ride I had had in a very long time.

But that ride changed my whole perspective on motorcycle riding, and though it happened a few years back, I am still learning to adjust to it. Our whole life is filled with planning, goals, destinations, time constraints, deadlines and pressure that we go through life without even seeing the roses, never mind smelling them. When we ride we tend to carry this over to our riding. Habits are hard to break. We had planned a trip to the Florida Keys in the spring and I began to feel the group out about using the Keys as a direction rather than as a destination. About just riding south in our own time, smelling the roses on the way, and not worrying about getting any place specific every night. It took some time for the concept to sink in, the planning kept getting in the way. Very slowly we managed to agree on a trip that had a general direction with no real plan or time constraints. We had five days so we would ride south for two and a half of those days, and ride north for the other two and a half days. Now you might think this was easy to do, but its not. Our daily habits driving forward and achieving ket getting in the way. Although we were not entirely successful in becomeing complete vagabonds, we gave it a good try. The results were amazing. Two of our group coming from Alabama overslept and forgot that they lost an hour because of the time difference between Alabama and Florida. I got an apologetic call to say they were going toi be late. I reminded them tghat they could only be late if they had a specific time to get to where we were going to meet up, but since they did not, they could not be late. This was met with an "Oh Yeah!" My buddy Kelsey and I had lunch, tooled around town looking at everything and just relaxed. No anger. No upset feelings. When they finally arrived, they called and we met them and sat and chatted until they had finished eating. When they were done, we just continued south until it got dark and slept.

It took a while, but the rest of the ride slowly relaxed. When we hit heavy traffic going through Clearwater and got hung on the bridge over the sound for over an hour. No sweat. We were not going anywhere so if we had to be somewhere, why not here. In staed of frsutration, we just enjoyed the sunshine and the view off the bridge of the boats and activivity in the bay. Delays and the odd mechanical problems were no linger irritants. They just became part of the ride and part of the experience.

I am trying to apply this concept to all of our rides, but it is not as easy as you might think. But the rewards if you can manage it are well worth the effort.

When you are not going anywhere, it makes a huge difference to your whole attitude and changes the whole nature of the ride. Just a shame that I cannot apply the same principle to my work life.


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