Itching with Motorcycle Travel Bugs


Lieback’s Corner (#8) / 6.24.2011

On a short, early-morning ride today aboard the VFR, a few bugs hit me – both physically and psychologically.

The first few as I traveled my self-described “Mountain Course” were physical bugs, which spotted the Arai’s visor with cream-colored splats, followed by some greens and reds.

But the others, the psychological ones, affected my outlook much more than the dirty visor. These bugs are the ones that seem to return especially in summer, itching me to get out and travel the great American roads via motorcycle.

These bugs really began to pest me after I witnessed a middle-aged man loading up a Jeep Cherokee with what appeared to be some camping essentials – the normal tent, the plastic blue cooler and some yellow and red sleeping bags. He was apparently packing for what I assumed to be another great American road trip.

This packing away stuff brought about many memories of how I got to my current status as a solo motorcycle traveler. Back in my early 20s, a good friend of mine and I would take off for three consecutive weeks every summer, traveling various rural routes from Pennsylvania to California via car. Then there were the (now-defunct) Honda Hoot motorcycle trips with my riding friends.

But as we grew older, so did responsibilities, and the freedom to just wake up and roam with buddies ceased. Nowadays, I still have that spirit, but it’s mostly four- to five-day trips alone on a motorcycle.

Alone? Yes. It all began with substituting a motorcycling trip for hiking. Back in the day, I would set aside three days a year for hiking a local trail by myself, leaving all communication devices at home. This cleared my head out, bringing me back to a simpler way of thinking.

But three years ago, I substituted the hiking for a motorcycle trip due to a story roaming in my head, a story about searching for one’s soul through the thing that always brings me back to simplicity, motorcycling. Let’s just say I haven’t hiked since…

And that story of searching has turned into a book idea. And of course the need for more stories, which means more solo motorcycle traveling.

This was all I thought about as I pulled the VFR into the garage, the image of that unknown man packing things away for a trip enraging these traveling bugs. I then performed my usual post-ride ritual of placing my Arai on the seat and cleaning the visor with a Microfiber rag, listening to the V4 ticking to a cool.

As I looked at the helmet, I thought now that the visor is clear of the physical bugs, the next step is to clear my head of the psychological traveling bugs. I then headed into the office, scouring Google Maps for the next unknown journey.

Let the summer motorcycle trips begin…

Stay Twisted; Throttle yr Soul
– Ron Lieback

Lieback’s Corner is the Online Editor’s weekly column, which delves into RL’s recent motorcycling mind breaths and wanderings.