GRMA: Final Reflections
My annual fit of wanderlust has been satisfied again after nearly six weeks on the road, most of which was spent traveling through some of the greatest scenery North America has to offer. The Great Rocky Mountain Adventure, as everyone who followed this blog knows, succeeded in circumnavigating the most prominent and best known mountain range in North America. I am the Magellan of the Mountains (but better since he was killed by island natives halfway through his 1519 trip).
I hiked, I kayaked, I fished, I ate pie, I met kind and caring people, I saw and photographed gorgeous scenes and amazing wildlife, and I rode my motorcycle. Yes, by any definition, this was a good trip.
Nearly everything went my way on this trip. Although I donned rain gear on the first day, the last day, and several days in between, the weather mostly cooperated, allowing me to see and experience the mountains in all their grandeur. No serious mechanical motorcycle issues marred the ride, and I stayed healthy the entire trip (except for the time I battled The Ferocious Giant Trout and smacked my head on the rocks in Wyoming). Even the economy was on my side as gas prices were lower than expected and the U.S./Canadian exchange rate extended my spending power in the land of Loonies and Toonies.
Did I learn anything on this Great Adventure? When I first started planning this trip I thought I would use it to learn about the geology of the mountains. I certainly returned with more geological knowledge than I started with, though somewhere along the road the trip morphed from a journey though a geology classroom into a scenic and wildlife photographic adventure, including some useful tips and instructions from a fine amateur wildlife photographer who happened to share the same shooting spot with me in Hyder, Alaska.
I find on these trips–Alaska, Newfoundland, the Rockies–that I always meet friendly, interesting people who, added to the sights and scenery, make the sum of the Adventure greater than its parts. These are not people I expect to meet again or with whom I will develop life-long friendships, yet their brief appearance in my life makes it better, fuller, richer. Maybe that’s one of the primary reasons I go on these Adventures. The unplanned, unscripted, unscheduled chance encounters make the most lasting memories that I turn to when I pull stories of these trips from my cache of travel tales.
These yearly extended excursions also afford me an opportunity to do something I like to do though I claim no expertise in its art: Write. I’ve written academic articles, journalistic tripe, various marketing and business plans, and web site text for several sites. But nothing has given me greater pleasure than writing this blog and sharing my travel experiences with friends, family and fellow travelers (the latter in the literal sense, not the political sense). The feedback I get–verbally and in written comments–is unfailingly kind and uncritical. Thanks for that. I’m fortunate, I know, to be able to travel to semi-exotic places and meet uniquely interesting people, the uncommon common man. I’m also fortunate to have the time and the resources and the support that allow me to do what many others dream about and envy me for doing. And I plan on taking full advantage of my good fortune, as long as it lasts.
When I came of age in the 1960s this cultural mantra was the rage: “If it feels good, do it.” Well, what I do every year on a motorcycle feels good, really good. And I’m going to continue to do it. And I’m going to continue to urge others to do it as well. Find something that feels good and do it. (Hint: It’s usually not spelled w-o-r-k.)
With all sincerity, I hope blog readers and their friends join me again next year, either on the road or online. Until then, be safe and be happy.