There’s a quiet collection of 9 4×6 photos in carefully mismatched frames in one of the bookcases in the living room. Each one is a picture taken of Linda and I during our annual travel event – the special one that usually involves motorcycles.
The photos became a ritual as I neared 50 and started (like everyone else) thinking about fleeting Time and how someday photos and memories will be the last things we’ll have. It seemed vital to document those travel days, the days that mattered. That’s why the 9 photos are in an unassuming corner of the house; they’re documentation, not braggadocio.
Each year, the days that matter require us to try and go somewhere we’ve never been before, with the exception of Slovakia and Hungary because they’re wonderful places and they never get old.
But since we had to rule out Europe as a destination this year (though we’ll fight for it next year) we had to decide where to go in the U.S., with Linda on her Vespa.
As our past motorcycle rides show, I’m a sucker for roads with names – the Blue Ridge Parkway, Natchez Trace, Lincoln Highway, Going to the Sun Road and the Cabot Trail are just a few we’ve traveled.
“Find me a road with a name,” I said to Linda.
We talked about taking Highway 1 down to Key West and the southernmost point in the continental U.S., or riding to Tennessee and North Carolina for the Dragon’s Tail and Cherohala Skyway.
And then she sent me an e-mail: “What about this Navigators’ Route near Quebec?”
I looked at the map, saw how the Route ran along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River and looped around the Gaspie Peninsula and I thought: that’s perfect.
It’s ambitious, but we’ll ride north again this year, farther than the Cabot Trail, about 2,600 miles according to the mission profile. With luck, we’ll see Quebec and the St. Lawrence and take the ferry from Baie-Comeau to Matane and ride clockwise around the Gaspie.
The ride will take about 16 days and we’ll try to make them days that matter. And document with the 10th photo.