Get Lost!

Aug 03, 2012 View Comments by

Sometimes the best road is the one yet to be discovered, the wrong turn, or the road with the most interesting name. All these have in common is that we didn’t “plan” on going there. These can be the unlined roads; no white or yellow lines, the ones not on your map,  or roads the GPS can’t find, which in my opinion, are the very best roads. Often, there are those days when I will try and get lost, this will start with only selecting a general direction, in my case there are only two choices: north or west. If I go east I run into lake Michigan and a dead end of sorts, south will take me into urban blight and subdivisions—not an option.

So, it’s west into farm country, or north into lake country, both a good choice. The only rules are to stay off all expressways, four lane roads, and most county highways. Also to be avoided are subdivisions and strip malls. Small towns are preferred, no towns are best, or towns with the “welcome to” and “you are now leaving” signs on the same post are a win-win. Often I will select my road by the signs on it; one that shows lots of curves and 25 mph speeds are a good choice for some “lean to” riding. Another good “sign” is the yellow and black tractor silhouette, noting farm traffic. Street names can also be a tip off; Old Mill Road, Sunset Drive, Harbor Drive, or, one I had to try…Bare Ass Road, (no comment).

The whole object of this sunny day game is to “get lost”. Finding yourself on roads you have never been on, in places strange to you, it’s called discovery. Best thing is, I have never been totally lost, I may end up doing a 100-200 mile circuit, but I always end up on a road I know. Speed is never a factor, as most of the side roads are curvy and the scenery sublime, heck you want to take your time and etch these places into your subconscious. Sometimes you can end up with a patchwork quilt of roads you know and ones brand new to you, with the destination completely a surprise. Now that’s riding!

So, next time someone tells you to “get lost,” thank them, and remember, “Not all who wander are lost.” Ride on.

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About the author

A Wisconsin farm boy, I learned how to ride a cow, before a horse and way before a motorcycle. I first started riding on my 16th birthday and I took my first real ride at my party: I pulled a wheelie and dug a trench in the lawn, which sent the bike in one direction and me in another. I was irrevocably hooked!