I had been on the road for three days, riding my motorcycle from New York to Montana. I had seen the corn of the mid west, the plains of South Dakota and the mountains of Wyoming. Now I was out of gas, 30 miles from the nearest town. In my good fortune I met up with a 19-year-old hitch hiker named Jimmi Harsted. He introduced me to the techniques of hitch hiking, and more importantly, how to camp and not get caught.
So I stowed my bike, we hiked up a hill, jumped a barbed wire fence, and set up camp near the peak. This was the most fun I had had for my entire trip. This was the thrill of adventure.
After I got up I bought some gas from a local, for the economical prices of $14 a gallon, and got back on the road.
There is an essay I’ve been trying to write for years. It’s the one about how going slow is better than going fast, the old journey not the destination cliche. I could never write that essay because I was always too impatient to take the scenic rout. I have “getthereitus.”
But on this trip I’ve been trying to combat that by getting off the interstate. It seems to me that the more famous something is, the less interesting it is. Take I-90 for example, it runs from Boston to Seattle. It is a straight shot and makes any trip faster; but what do you see? Trucks and concrete embankments. In the spirit of adventure I stepped off the free way in Iowa and followed the Great River Road up the Mississippi.
At first I was hesitant to explore because local roads are foreign and I felt lost off the free way. But the best bit of riding I did was off 90, whether it was a back road in Indiana, a trek up the Mississippi or cruising the bad lands of South Dakota.
Whatever your proverbial I-90 is, in my experience, it is best to get off and explore. Its the only way to enjoy life as a journey instead of a destination, and you’ll have more fun than you think.