My Insatiable Wanderlust

Wanderlust is a word of German origin meaning a strong desire to travel—and believe me, I’ve got it. This is nothing new, mind you. I acquired my strong sense of wanderlust at a rather young age. When my sisters and I were kids, shortly after the earth cooled, our Aunt Erminia used to toss us into her station wagon and drag us to various parts of North America for weeks at a time. By the time I got through high school, I had been to most of the contiguous United States, a fair number of Canadian provinces, and Tijuana, Mexico.

As a husband and a dad (I shall refrain from using the word “adult” because I do not care to exaggerate), I felt a strong desire to do similar things for my own family. I lacked the abundant vacation time and discretionary income that my aunt seemed to enjoy, but I more than made up for that with my enthusiasm and a seemingly insatiable desire to travel.

When I took up motorcycling, I quickly discovered two things. First, that contrary to my initial assumptions, just riding around town would never be good enough for me. But second, and perhaps more significant, that a bike with bags is far better than a bike without. So I added bags to my first bike. Two seasons later I upgraded to a bigger bike with bigger bags. Then I added a trunk. Eventually I acquired a “full dresser” touring rig, my 2012 Victory Vision Tour, which I named Miss Scarlett.

Not long after I outfitted my first bike, I began using it to take my kids Teresa and John places, first on day trips and then overnighters. One or the other would be a regular fixture on my pillion for a number of years. When they came of age, both kids took the state’s Basic Rider Course and acquired their “M” license classifications.Eventually they went halfies on a small bike of their own to ride, but that soon got sold and my son acquired a mid-sized cruiser, outfitted for touring of course, and we began going places side by side.

And let me tell you, we’ve taken some humdingers together—Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and most recently, an epic journey out to Oregon. I’ve done more riding with my son than with riding clubs or on my own, and I’m grateful for that, if only because I know it won’t be that way forever. In part this is why I make a point of documenting our trips together, in words as well as pictures.

Although I do not consider myself to be a very good “alone” person, sometimes I take solo trips. These are not so much epic journeys as excursions of one or two nights, just long and far enough to let me get away from others while letting me get in touch with myself. So far I’ve toured parts of Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan on my own. But as I’ve said, I’m not a good alone person, so my solo trips have inevitably become stories and photos to share with others. Sorry, I guess I’m just wired that way.

I was a preschooler when I got my first motorcycle ride, and immediately became a lifelong fanatic, but I was in my early forties before I acquired my first bike. For over thirty years now, I’ve been blessed to have a wife whose sense of wanderlust matches mine, mile for mile and day for day, but Karen does not ride. Still I regret nothing, because despite this, she has been a diehard supporter of my involvement with the hobby, even to the point of having kept me going with it after I had crashed a bike and, however briefly, considered giving up riding altogether.

From time to time my readers enjoy two-wheel road trip stories featuring excellent photos that I could not possibly have taken. That would be the work of my close friend and pillion passenger of choice, Ann, who is herself an avid motorcycling fan and who has known me just slightly longer than Karen. We all went to college together, back in the days of land line telephones and cameras that used film, but I digress. Ann and I have taken a number of road trips together, not only with Karen’s blessing, but also her guidance—remember, my wife is a seasoned traveler—and I suspect readers will see more and more of this. I do indeed lead a blessed life and will never take that for granted.

And so my wanderlust continues, checked only by the limits of my discretionary time and income. About a week ago, I returned from an epic journey of roughly 4,800 miles, to Oregon and back. In less than a week, I will be embarking on another, much shorter road trip of roughly 650 miles, this time with my friend Ann on board. I’ll show and tell you all about that, as time allows, so please stick around.

Thanks for coming along.


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