Motorcycle Touring – Riding Off Your Google Map

Touring on my motorcycle during fall is my favorite season to ride. There’s nothing more spectacular than untraveled roads dusted with flame orange sugar maple leaves.

With new GPS systems, Dirt Bike Tours Chiang Mai has become more about technology, and less about exploring the outdoors. Do you miss the freedom of exploring? Do you remember what if feels like to be lost?

Life is stressful at times, and overwhelming at others. You know the drill: up at 6:00… dogs for a short walk… kids up at 6:20… cup of coffee… email… shower… kids to school… work… kids from school… practice (volleyball, football)… house (car, yard) maintenance… homework… dinner… bed. I’m getting stressed just thinking about it.

Who has enough time to explore? We all should!

With rain predicted for Friday, and fall colors at peak… Thursday was penciled-in as David’s Day.

With no GPS and only a simple Google map in my tank bag, I began my tour. My plans were simple: to find the curviest roads… with the most spectacular fall color… within 250 miles of home. Heck, I figured I had enough map to head some south and a-bit east. No worries, right?

After a great breakfast, Mike headed to work — something about a meeting to discuss astronaut training on the International Space Station — and I continued my ride solo.

I had no schedule, no timetable, no detailed map — and that’s the way I wanted it.

For some reason I was drawn to the roads that led west. And before I knew it, I was at the edge of my printed Google map. It’s hard to describe the feelings of freedom when I ventured off my map.

With only the inclination of the sun to guide me, and an interstate to bound me, I continued west.

As the state roads turned to county, the path became more rural, and more interesting. The maple leaves glowed red, the osmanthus shrubs smelled intoxicating, and I had 5 more hours of freedom.

I was living off a blank schedule. My plans included nothing more than the next curve in sight. At every intersection, I made a real-time decision: left, right, or straight.

My life began again at 6pm with a Lego Robotics meeting at my house. The sun told me that home was east, so I started searching for a road in that direction. I knew I-65 was the quickest way home, and I knew I-65 was east. How far? I had no idea, and I loved it.

I could have asked for directions, but I didn’t want the feeling of ‘being lost’ to end. I turned east on Highway 69, and thirty miles later I found the quick-way home.


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