It was a spectacular week of riding in San Diego’s North County. Back-to-back pacific storms passed through last week in typical spring fashion. The broken skies that came with these storms highlighted the beauty of the area in ways a solo blue sky just can’t. I rode six out of seven days last week, with rain making just one day too prohibitive to ride.
I was reminded last week of a travel tenet that’s proven true my entire life. As I age, and as I look for more meaning from simpler things, I’m coming to appreciate that this rule of travel is just as relevant even when I’m not far from home…
The best and most enduring moments, when I reflect back on any of my travels, have been just taking in the view.
As I rolled past acres of freshly turned soil waiting for tomatoes to be planted, as I saw snow covered mountains with citrus orchards and avocado groves in the foreground, and as I saw skies of blue highlighted by clouds of black, gray, and white, I thought about my late client and friend, Otis.
Otis was as well traveled a man as I’ve known. He had lived in South America early in his life, set foot on every continent except Antarctica, and could discuss the history, politics, and geography of any region in the world, with locals and travelers alike. Sometime around 2012, Otis took a 3-week cruise through some of Pacific islands. When he returned, I asked him what he enjoyed most about his trip. His response took me by surprise…
“The fact that I never left the ship…”
Wait, what…? A three-week Polynesian cruise and he never left the boat…?
Otis explained that he spent his sea days reading, occasionally looking up at horizon and taking in the magnificence of the ocean. When his ship was in port, rather go ashore and do touristy excursions — that were generally crowded and exhausting, he stayed behind to sit on the veranda of his cabin, still reading and intermittently looking up at the magnificence of the surrounding landscape — and all the people scurrying on the streets below.
“Each port of call was like a different television channel…“ he told me, “or like a painting of a different landscape…“
Hearing Otis describe his enjoyment of just sitting, taking in the view, and being entertained by the activities below, got me thinking about my own travels.
Just a few weeks after that conversation with Otis, I found myself on a ferry from Athens to the island of Mykonos — a 5 hour journey, stopping at a half-dozen lesser islands along the way. That remains one of the best days of my life, though I never left the boat. I just sat on the deck of the ferry, all day long, with my feet dangling over the side, taking in the view. The beauty of the Aegean sea and the aesthetics of the many islands we passed along the way were all the entertainment I would need. I was in Greece for three weeks, visited many of the more popular archaeological sites, and a handful of the lesser ones, yet what I remember most are the views from the ferry that day.
I’m not a globetrotter, but I’ve had the privilege of visiting all 50 states, some very pretty places, and a few foreign lands. When I think about any of my travels though, the moments which stand out to me most aren’t the things I’ve done — the buildings I’ve visited (ancient or modern), the foods I’ve eaten, or the even people I’ve met along the way.
When I think back on any of my travels, my fondest and most enduring memories are the many views I’ve been blessed to enjoy. Views of lakes, hills, rivers, deserts, coast lines, and so-on, remain as memory shots, etched in my mind forever. Pick a vehicle — train, jet, ship, car, or bus, and I’ll be perfectly content just staring out the window. There may be something waiting for me at the destination, but I’ll remember the view the most.
Of course travel is all about experiencing different cultures, languages, foods and entertainment, and I’ve certainly done all of that. However, the view from the hotel room, from the restaurant patio, or from the ridge overlooking the canyon or the horizon, is what has captivated me most, often stopping me in my tracks and sending chills down my spine.
And from this rolling perch I get to ride each day, I get exercise, mental clarity, and even burn some calories. The best part though — the best part of riding a bike is the view. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And my own front porch…? That view ain’t too bad either.
This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb
This week by the numbers…
Bikes Ridden: 6
Mph Avg: 15.0
Seat Time: 10 hours 45 minutes
Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Dave Graney ‘n’ The Coral Snakes. Enjoy…!