Monday, December 31

Happy New Year!

To all my regular and occasional readers, to family, friends and the lurkers out there, I'm hoping you had a safe, sane and spectacular time ushering out 2007. I'm wishing you a full body jump into 2008!

Another year has come to a close. I can't help note that the older I get, the faster the year seems to complete its cycle. I have no resolutions to share here but I can't close out the year without remembering a few joyous highlights.

Many highlights come directly from my readers, many of whom have their own motorcycle blogs. Thank you! I've enjoyed reading you and getting to know you in cyberspace. You have kept me challenged and informed. Mucho thanks to D. Brent Miller for the podcast interview he did with me on the Lake Superior Circle tour and for indulging my incessant chatter at the BMW Rally in WI. Our paths shall cross again. I haven't met Crusty, yet, but I feel I know him a bit. Like me, he's a map lover. He's influenced me and I think I've influenced him a little (he's picked up a GPS!! Yay!). I'll never forget that Crusty found a frozen dairy treat named "Sharon" while out on a ride. He kindly bought and consumed some--that act melted my heart a tad! Crusty's business is motorcycles; he has little patience for those who woefully neglect their machines. Queenie has benefited from the sage advice he dispenses on his blog. Vinny, thanks for poking your head in now and again. When you settle in Ann Arbor, MI, run out to get William Murphy's book, Motorcycling Across Michigan, you won't be disappointed. I don't know most of the others I regularly read but stopping by their blogspaces has been interesting diversions as well. Among the many non-motorcycle blogs I enjoy, my favorite is Claire's--always fresh and eclectic and guaranteed to entertain and inform.

Other highlights from 2007 include my day rides and weekend motorcycle jaunts that always produced an afterglow that made other suspicious of what really transpires on my outings. "How can anyone have that much fun alone?" I've been asked that more than once. Few things gave me as much pleasure as rising early and cranking up Queenie. I need "my" time. Time to be alone, time to explore lands near and far, time to reconnect with myself and even time to renew my trust in others. Taking photographs of things I wanted to remember from my trips (but know in my heart I will never forget) awakened an old love of photography that I'm working hard to relearn.

The Lake Superior Circle tour was a hoot and a half! When I'm out there on my own, it puts an exclamation point to living free and being self reliant. Solo riding makes me feel that no matter how scary things may feel at the start of a long journey or how small I may feel in this great big world, I can persevere, I can get through...Each trip reinforces a "trust your intuition" approach. I expect the best (but prepare for the worst). I met lots of neat folks in Canada, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and of course, Illinois. All of them are now part of my life experiences, good or bad. Believe it or not, I'm pretty much a loner so getting out there, engaging others, trusting others, and stretching beyond what is comfortable to me, is a huge deal, personally.

The best "highlight" of all is having finished a year of safe riding. In a good way, I still feel like a newbie. I hope to maintain that novice disposition because it keeps me grounded. I do not take riding for granted. I try never to mount my bike without realizing that the ride could end in a way I don't want or it could be my last. That thought alone and the realization that no matter how well I ride, some things are beyond my control. This knowledge never deters me; it reminds me to stay alert, to manage the risk, to control all that is within my control. As Zen masters remind us, we should be forever mindful of every moment, to focus on the task at hand, to treat each minute as a new, never before experienced minute. Good lessons for both riding safely and living free.

While I'm neither glad nor sad the year is over, I am mindful of this: I now probably have fewer years ahead of me than I have behind me, which is all the more reason to live life to the fullest, to do no deliberate harm to others as I travel through space and time. I work with others so I am tested on this daily! I'm human. I will fall short sometimes, but I'm trying and when I spin out of control or push myself over the line, it is riding that helps reign me in and provides that shift in perspective we all need on occasion. Perhaps I make too much of this riding thing, but that's me. I'm telling you, it is because of riding that I've not acted on any of the many homicides I've mentally constructed and planned to the most minor detail. Just kidding. Well...sort of...

I have huge plans for the next riding season. I've come to realize that much of the fun is in the planning. It gets me through the fog and snow and cold of my Midwestern existence. If I embark on half of the trips I plan, I'll consider myself lucky. My big adventure next summer is the Canadian province, Nova Scotia. Don't yet know how I'm going to pull that off, but I'm going to give it my all. If I don't make it there, so be it. At least the planning and research will be fun--and anyone wanting info on such a trip can benefit from what I share here.

Lastly, wishing all who drop by here, the year of their dreams! May 2oo8 be gentle to you and yours! May all the roads you travel in life inspire you to do good and live well. May you and yours always return home safely to share your adventures.