Over the last few years as my stress levels mounted I found myself taking timeouts in the form of motorcycle trips. Last spring I was struggling with a particularly virulent episode of stress-induced depression, and being without insurance, I did the only thing I could—I rode. That ride essentially became a mental reset for me, helping me out of the darkness I had almost been lost in. Those trips I've come to call “mental health rides.”
As much as last year's ride staved off darkness and got me back on the right track mentally, it didn't do anything to reduce the continued strain that built up over the next year, and by May I decided another mental health ride was in order.
Planning was everything. I would have to ride on the cheap and after May 15, when I would put another issue of the magazine I work on in the hands of the printer. A related event was scheduled for June 22 through 25, which I would have to be at, so the logical choice was to hit the road on after May 15 and catch the event on the way home.
I looked over maps, trying to pinpoint places I had not been, which looked interesting and different from the type of places I'd been before. The West looked promising, but I had read so much about riding in the Southwest that the idea of going there was like the negative end of a magnet pushing a negative me away. But I love the mountains, and I had never been in the northern Rockies, even by car. They became the positive pole drawing me to the area, and a plan was formulated to take me to the Colorado Rockies, a place I had been many years ago with my family, and then from there, I could work west and north into unknown (to me) territory. Given the stops I wanted to make and the timeline of the VJMC National Rally in Indiana my leave on date was adjusted top June 8.
On 7 June, I was back and forth from the computer, wrapping work up, to packing the Bonneville, stuffing every thing I could conceivably need into the already bulging luggage. By the evening the responsibility for the issue was out of my hands. When I hit the sack all I had left out for morning was my riding clothes, having packed away everything else on the bike.