Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Roads I Didn't Take

tenaja roadJust pick a road and follow it, is what people often say.

A road doesn't offer any promises, doesn't claim to take you where you plan on going, doesn't guarantee any smooth sailing. It is only what it is, just a road.

It's a road less traveled, one that few ever want to ride, but seemingly combines glorious views of pristine Southern California wilderness, the trickle of running water, the songs of birds, and the aroma of wildflowers, yet it does so along a narrow, bumpy, sandy path filled with tight turns that kept me riding slowly between first and second gear.

I could have spent time admiring my surroundings, but the technical nature of this road demanded more attention, and left me wondering why such a road that offers such serene beauty, demands one to look at only pavement.

tenaja road creek
And it seems like that's how everything is, in opposite extremes that compete against each other. Whether it's beauty and ugly, rain and sunshine, love and hate, right and wrong, it's always a struggle to find our comfortable balance between the two. Did I choose this road to get someplace, or was it because I wanted to indulge my senses?

Another road up ahead comes into view and I wonder if it's worth following. I turn my head and look down as I pass it by to see if it might go somewhere or just dead end.

I'm already half-way along this route but decide to turn back and see where that other road goes. Will I find more beautiful scenery? Will it take me someplace memorable? Or will it disappoint and cause me trouble? Am I better off sticking to the road I was on?

I guess I'll never know if I don't check it out.

Perhaps if all I had to worry about was myself, it wouldn't matter. If I didn't have other commitments, or didn't make other promises, I'd have all the time in the world to take a chance on a different road, and uncover the mystery of what lies behind the next curve.

But I'm really only adding pressure to myself with these thoughts, ending up only confused, and constantly at odds with deciding what to do and where to go. Perhaps in life we pass by many roads that we chose not to take; the balance between keeping focus on the road, looking at all the wonder around us, and even the constant reevaluation of our decisions, leave us to second-guess or to justify our choices.

As riders always say, "It's not the destination, but the journey".


  1. Very nice! This is the way my hubby and I ride all the time. Sometimes we just pick a direction and head out. Those are the days we let our curiosity take the lead. We've had to turn around and backtrack many times, but we've also been rewarded with finding very cool places that would have stayed hidden if we hadn't taken the chance to see what's down that path.

    I loved this post!

  2. What you decibed is one of the great joys of biking, discovering stuff that the average car driver never sees. Of course you often end up having an adventure in the process.

    Well written post. Excellent.

  3. Well written, sometimes I wish I could just follow a road and never look back but family, kids stop me from following that road.
    Love the last picture.

  4. You know, You hit it right in the head. I am dirt bike rider, street bikes, and I love the good rides to no where and back. You can find a lot when You are not looking anything. That's how I got Married:) But really this is another great Blog By You my Friend now I have to check them all out. See how this works, go, not looking for something and find some really cool stuff. Thanks again.

  5. I enjoyed this post very, very much. Read it three times. Made me think. Got in my head. I'm going to think about it some more, I'm sure. But I wanted to comment. It is really amazing.

  6. Those are the best rides, when you've got nowhere to go and all day to get there. Just wander the back country and see what you see.
    Good post.

  7. @George F, and isn't that the two extremes and the struggle to find a comfortable balance between the two?

  8. Wasn't sure how to reach you so sent my message through comments: Dig it, I can relate. Have a passion for motorcycles, yoga and a few other random things. I added a link to your blog on my site under "good vibes" to share with others if that is okay.

  9. What a great page. I found you when looking up Santa Barbara Mortorcycle Routes for a trip I am planning for friends this June. You were the first thing that popped up. Our trip is planned and I am Pimping your page to friends in my invite.

  10. I'm learning to ride so I can go on adventures like this.

  11. I try to take a week or so off every summer just to ride away from everyone... you said it.

  12. That's the way of it, I think, you just ride. If you ride enough there isn't really any concern. Eventually, all those crazy winding sidings become familiar, or sort of familiar. My philosophy is to ride away from any roads I know, then try to guess where I am and what road I'll come out near. It works well enough. At the very worst I've got a flexible employer and a credit card.

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  13. Beautiful pictures. It makes me want to go there.

  14. With options like those to choose from, looks like you can't go wrong!

    Looks like I've posted here before... keep blogging something fresh! :)

  15. That was a real good read man. :)

    "Mabuhay!" from the Philippines

  16. So,

    It's been a year since this post. A year today.

    How has the "other road" been? Do you like where you've been, and where you're going?

    Sometimes, listening to that small, still voice within is all you need.

    You're the best writer I know.


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)