Friday, August 15, 2008

The Road Not Taken

My favorite piece of poetry in existence is Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" which begins and ends thus...

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both...

... I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Until I started to ride, that poem moved me because it called to me to challenge the sense of familiarity and comfort that kept me driving on the same roads all my life while wondering where their various forks might take me. I was that way literally while out driving, but inside myself too where I always took the safe route no matter how lackluster it might have become in being repeatedly traveled. I sat back since college, half a lifetime ago, thinking about what it might be like to take Frost's less traveled road, but without the courage or gumption to turn my figurative wheels in its direction to learn for myself if indeed it would make all the difference.

The bike has taught me that I can make excursions down the less traveled byways and taste the freedom they offer until invariably I loop back to the main course of reality. I wonder, though, at times, what might be if I just keep on riding without seeking to turn left or right before it's too late to find a road that I've known all my life I can follow home. All the difference. I find myself longing for it.


Marc said...

Hey, with a GPS, you could take whatever road looks interesting, heavily traveled or obscure, and never get lost.

New roads are fun, getting lost in the middle of nowhere - not so much.

Joe said...

I have a nice Garmin. So nice, in fact, that I'm too wary of trying to jerry rig a mount that might jostle it to smithereens or from which it might escape. I carry it in a pocket on my backpack if I'm venturing farther or wider than usual which might, overall, be better than trying to read it and ride at the same time.

I was, though, writing more figuratively than literally here, and no GPS in the world could make a difference.

Marc said...

"I was, though, writing more figuratively than literally here, and no GPS in the world could make a difference."

True, but it's sometimes nice to hit a road just to see where it goes. But, it's nice to be able to return to civilization when you're ready.

RAM Mounts,, makes all kinds of mounts for different GPS systems. Since the GV250 doesn't have naked bars you would want one that mounts to your mirror stem.

I'm sure you are aware that both TomTom and Garmin make motorcycle-specific GPS systems (designed to be used while wearing gloves and waterproof), but you would be fine with your standard unit.

I've even read about people fastening a zip-lock bag over top of their standard GPS and being able to use it in a light rain.


More questions... How long have you had your GV250, how many miles do you have?

How long was your longest ride? Ever do group rides, scooter clubs, that sort of thing?

Joe said...

It's not a GV - it's a BV250.

I've had it since last October and I'm coming up on 4,000 miles.

Longest ride? To the Poconos and back - well over 100 miles round trip.

Nope on group rides. I'm not sure if I'd enjoy that sort of thing. My life behind the blog is complicated enough as it is and I'm not really looking to make a whole new bunch of friends.

Marc said...

Sorry, BV250. I knew that. Temporary brain break...

That's a pretty fair amount of riding for 10 months in a state with a 9 month riding season. I see Craig's List listings that for things like a 1986 Honda 150 Deluxe with only 4,500 miles. Of course, it's more challenging to rack up the miles on something below 200cc, since they can't hit the highways...

Group rides: that's half the reason I want to get a scoot. I work from home and it's challenging to make friends/find fun things to do. The shame of it is that my wife wants nothing to do with a scooter...

Paul said...

I love that poem. It is certainly one of my favorites for the message of individuality within it. Of course, Robert Frost had a bit of a rough life.

Earl Thomas said...

I love Robert Frost! I often carry "Mountain Interval" with me in my saddle bags to read during those quiet moments when I am alone in the woods, just me and my bike.

I'm a different breed of cat, however, when some people think that getting lost in the middle of nowhere is no fun at all, that's just when things get the most interesting for me. I thrive on that! It's also one of the reasons for riding the style of bike that I own. One of the most rewarding parts of "Getting Lost" is finding your way out, whatever that might mean for others.

On taking chances or perhaps the road less traveled, I took a very challenging path in my youth to become a professional pilot and to do it on my own. I struggled, not only with the finances of flight school (not cheap!), but also with the challenges of keeping pace with the brilliant kids that I studied with. Over the years, I had climbed up the ratings from student pilot to private, onwards to my commercial rating and my eventual goal as Airline transport pilot. Six months after achieving my goal, at the age of twenty four I lost my license on a medical issue and all that I had achieved was gone. Yes, there was depression and a broken heart (not to mention a lot of debt), but in the end, do I regret trying? Not anymore, it's a part of my history, I too took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

I've taken the road less traveled, and yes I've gotten lost many times while on that road, but I've always found my way home and that in itself, is it's own reward.

Great post Joe

Ride Well