I have often read of riders that pack up their bike and just head out into the wide unknown, all alone. I've always wondered what that experience must be like. Now that I've done it, I see that it really is not a very big deal. The key, as with most things, is planning. I like to play it loose too, but having an itenerary helps the folks back home keep up with you. And with all of todays nifty little cell phones, I can't imagine leaving home without one. I never turned mine on, but it was there if I needed it. It did not always get a signal once I got out into the mountains, but it is still better than nothing. The last thing I did was to make a small card for my wallet with emergency contact numbers. I placed it prominently in the front of the wallet so that if some one found me laying on the side of the road, it would be easy for them to find. These few precautions taken care of, I was free to relax and enjoy the ride.
One of the things I really like about riding motorcycles is meeting and riding with other people. But riding alone is also quite fun. It is nice to be able to forget about everything and everyone and just concentrate on the task at hand. I've no one to keep track of except myself, which can be quite a hassle at times. It is also nice to have more flexibility in the plans. I doubt if I would have been able to get away with the first day marathon ride to Northeast Alabama if there had been other riders with me. Between the nasty weather and the night time fog, they would have wanted to stop for the night. Changing plans did not require a conference and a vote, I just did it. I think this adds a little to the sense of adventure. I'll definitely have to do this again.
The rallye was fantastic. I met some old friends from last year and met some new ones. Just don't ask me to name them! I have decided that on future trips, I will have to make the extra effort to get peoples' names, even if I have to write them down somewhere. While the roads were great and the scenery incredible, it is really the people I encountered along the way and at the rallye that made the trip so much fun. So while I will continue to soak up the riding experience itself, I hope to get better at paying attention to the people.
So another excellent trip has come and gone. Already I am scheming for the next few, how to get time off, when to buy the next set of tires, blah blah blah,... Until then I'll just have to enjoy the slightly hilly and moderately curvy roads in my neck of the woods.