re·set | \ (ˌ)rē-ˈset \
Definition of reset
1: to set again
2: to change the reading of often to zero; reset an odometer
Dad here; as I was prepping for this trip, I originally planned to take it alone via motorcycle. Although it will become obvious in future posts and podcast episodes what a mistake that would have been, I did agonize long and hard over what path to take. John Steinbeck said “we don’t take trips, trips take us”. A trip is not just a lark, an escape, an adrenaline fueled cry for attention, but is often a “reset”.
I once encountered a lone woman on the Ozark Highlands Trail back home in Arkansas. Her tiny form was partially obscured by the huge backpack of camping gear she was toting through the backcountry. She was a recurrent foster mom out of Houston who would take such long solo backpacking trips after a foster child had left her care, in an effort to both clear her head from the grief of seperation and prepare herself for the next challenge when she got home.
Anyway, although I’ve been riding bikes for years, you can never assume that you know everything. Zig Ziglar once said, “if you’re not green and growing, you’re ripe and rotting”. So I enrolled in an online riding course, really convinced that sitting in front of a computer was not going to affect my performance out on the road. And especially after I elected to forgo the motorcycle in favor of the tiny SUV and the dogs.
As is so often the case, I was wrong.
The first segment of the course was dedicated to the mental aspect of riding and racing, how to ensure that your head was truly “in the game”. It started how the greatest riders all have a mantra, a physical or mental act that signifies that they are fully involved in the transition from two feet to two wheels.
Hmmm… good stuff so far.
But the thing that really hit me was the concept of “re-setting”. Mistakes happen. Sometimes they’re tiny; you swing wide through a turn, you let your tire touch the yellow line, small mistakes that no one else would notice but can bore into your head and affect your performance for the rest of the ride. But sometimes the mistakes are critical: mis-calculating fuel needed between stops, not planning on having a spot to stay for the night, or doG forbid, actually piling the bike into the ground.
Whether big or small, most of these mistakes, while unpleasant, are survivable. Just like the previous sentence with it’s three commas; I know that it’s not correct but I really just don’t care; incorrect punctuation and run-on sentences are simply the red headed step-children of English composition and need acceptance and protection from the grammar Nazis as well, lest they fade into unwarranted oblivion and are cast into outer darkness with weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.
Where was I? Oh yeah; reset. The only way to ensure that any mistake doesn’t negatively affect the rest of the ride is to immediately put the mistake behind you and reset the start of the ride from that exact moment forward; the time for self-examination and reflection can always come later.
Even the best journeys consist of seemingly endless stretches of boredom, angst, and self doubt occasionally punctuated by fleeting moments of miraculous, incredible, even spiritual, experiences; sounds a lot like life in general.
We are now six days into this particular trip, and countless mistakes have been made and as a result, just as many resets have been necessary. And so far, every setback has been offset by such incredible “chance” meetings that it literally has left me stunned in disbelief. Or not disbelief, but belief, as I do believe that something great is always around the next bend in the road; the secret is to keep rolling.
Where do we go from here, not just in life but on this particular journey? Yesterday was Father’s Day and I had an acute attack of “gohomeitis”, as that would have been the “Dad” thing to do, but now I’m not so sure. The wildfires out here have closed the Carson National Forest to any camping, so we relented and snagged a motel in Raton last night in an effort to regroup. The dogs, especially Charlie, are whupped.
But Raton is a crossroad; and sometimes a crossroad is actually a different type of reset. The possibilities are endless; north back into Colorado, west and south further into New Mexico, or east towards home and Mom, the Jude Bear, Kat, Zach, Tara and the rest of the inmates of the Casa del Whackos.
And that’s a pretty strong attraction to overcome.
We’ll see you on the road…