The Ride

A man said to the universe:
“Sir, I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“That fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”

— Stephen Crane


I don’t really know how to begin this story, so I’ll just be blunt. This is not some long-awaited grand expedition. This is not a youthful bout of restlessness, adventure for adventure’s sake, throwing caution to the winds and setting course for new horizons “because they are there.”

No. Although I wish it were. The truth is, I am just fed up.

Maybe it was the winter. The northern prairies have a special way of wearing a guy down during the dark season. Maybe it was the realization that the Wild West is gone, with the glory days of the North Dakota oil boom becoming more of a tame, monotonous drudgery. Maybe it was the seemingly instantaneous passing of five years spent mostly away from home, missing out on life while chasing riches in mines and boomtowns. Maybe it was a girl, or maybe some perfectly twisted concoction of all of the above.

Whatever it was, it finally got me.

You might call it depression, or an early mid-life crisis, and you might be right. I don’t know, and don’t pretend to. All I do know is this life will kill me unless I do something to change its course. A man much wiser than myself once told me, “Play the cards you’re dealt, and if you’re losing, change the game.”

So I did. I resigned from my job, moved out of my apartment, and made a plan (if you could call it that) to skip town on my motorcycle. There is no timeline, no ultimate destination, no charted course. The only thing I know for sure is that I won’t stop riding until something feels right. The people I meet tend to think of it as a vacation, but it’s really more of a last stand, a reckless charge borne of desperation. If I blow the dam and follow the new river, maybe it will lead me to a greener valley.

Maybe. I’m betting the world on a pair of fives.

The general, tentative plan is to leave Saint Paul, Minnesota sometime in May, and ride wherever the road takes me, visiting friends and family along the way. The map page is where I will post location updates, photo galleries, and GPS tracks. The blog is where I’ll post text updates and share stories from the road.