With a 2,300 mile ride coming up on Wednesday morning, I’m starting to get a little edgy to get on the road. To take my mind of the fact that the trip is still three days away, I’ve been prepping the bike. Nothing serious, of course, since I believe it to be well-maintained by yours truly:
- cleaning and oiling the air filter;
- draining the carb;
- checking primary chain and drive belt tension;
- taking a look at tires and tire pressure;
- checking my route on a map.
How I love maps. Even if not going anywhere, I can pour over an atlas for hours at a time. In East Africa I had the only map of the area — a Michelin road map, believe it or not, that showed no actual roads, but only trails. To this very day my faith in their maps remains inviolate, particularly as their accuracy pertains to that part of the world.
Occasionally in a book store I’ll pull out the most recent version of that old Michelin map, open it up and discover that the old routes haven’t changed any. They’re still marked as trails, and trails they were, heading mostly north and south and plied by camel caravans and nomads on foot migrating from point to point depending on the season and passing by our campsite, stopping only for water.
I miss those old and still-familiar days as though they were only a yesterday away.