Day two: Decompression.
That is the word that has lingered in my mind since then. Decompression. That is the best way to describe the start to one of these trips imo. The anticipation has reached its climax and the first few days are just getting the hell away from home and forgetting everything about where you’re coming from and you think only about the road ahead. The tarmac stretches on and on ahead of you, and all the tension of life in general and sorting your **** out to be able to make this trip in the first place fades away. You decompress. Your brain is emptied of everything and filled with the drone of your engine and the subtle but overwhelming feeling of complete freedom. The bright blue prairie skies, the mountains in the distance, the tarmac ahead, the air rushing past you, and the entirety of the world within reach…freedom. Epic, spectacular….freedom.
You should keep in mind for the rest of this write-up that I have a fuzzy memory now of where I started and ended on the various days or even where the hell I went. I really just sort of had a general direction of “South West” and the destination of ultimately meeting up with friends in Southern Cali. Everything in between in either direction was just sort of deciding where I wanted to go at food stops, gas stops, and sometimes just when I saw something shiny down a side road.
But on this, my second day of riding, I did hit the US border and cross into Montana. I ended the day’s ride in Missoula. On the way there, I detoured through what seemed like my own private road. For a couple hours I worked my through a gravel road that was a secondary highway on the map. It looked like it went through some interesting terrain, so I went with it. I’m glad I did. It was a brilliant way to spend the second day. I only saw one other motorist the entire time I was on it, and it was a fellow on a V-Strom that caught up to me and passed by me while I was stopped having some water. I made a mental note that I really have to commit to buying an adventure-touring mount. All I could think of down this road was how badly I wanted to just say “to hell with it” and just turn off the road and get straight at all the scenery that made up the backdrop of the landscape.