"Don't let perfect get in the way of good."

There's something to be said for putting some planning into your motorcycle trip. Where will you go? Where will you stay? What cool places will you visit while you're there? It's all too easy, though, to overthink your way into not going at all. Plans aren't quite finished to your satisfaction, and if you're too picky they never will be, so you never go.

Shadetree Surgeon was falling into this trap with his plans to visit Niagara Falls, New York, on his $2,000 Honda Gold Wing. From his home in Florida, that's a 1,300-mile trip. I've been hearing about his plan to ride "across the country" (admittedly, the short way) for quite some time now, yet his work and his Brap Star Garage project have taken up most of his time. Then, one day, he woke up early, and said "Screw it, I'm riding across the country today." As you do.

Contrary to those of us who overplan our trips, Shadetree did zero planning whatsoever. He'd only put about 500 miles on his 1980s Gold Wing since he bought it, and suddenly he was asking it to go 1,300 miles. He planned to ride the whole trip in one shot, perhaps scoring an Iron Butt SaddleSore 1,000 in the process if he could be bothered to collect all the paperwork, which he couldn't. He didn't even have a place to stay lined up for when he got there. He just wanted to get to Niagara Falls, look across the St. Lawrence River to Canada, and know that he had just ridden across the country.

This is not how I'd take one of my trips. One thousand three hundred miles of superslab does not sound like a good time to me, even on a flying sofa like a Gold Wing. I can't fault his thinking though, or, in this case, a complete lack of it. My own motorcycle trip to Nova Scotia's Cabot Trail wasn't quite as unplanned as Shadetree's trip, but it was pretty close. A sudden layoff left me with a block of time I could use to spend a week on my motorcycle now before I began the search for a new job in earnest. I went for it, even buying the tent I needed for my trip along the way, and it turned out to be my favorite motorcycle trip ever.

If you've been thinking about trying out motorcycle travel, stop thinking, and just do it. As Shadetree says, "Once you affect failure as an option, you set yourself free." This isn't Apollo 13. Lives aren't on the line if your bike breaks down and you don't get to your destination. Stop worrying about what might happen, and just go. That's when the adventure begins. Why wait?