Look where you’re going…

“So where ya headed” the woman asked…

“I dunno” replies the nameless wanderer. “Guess I’ll know when I get there…”

And with that, our story begins…

It was 1969.  The car was a Dark Green, 1957 Chevy Bel Air station wagon. A Nomad “wannabe” I suppose but this wasn’t the average grocery getter your mom drove down to the K&E Market…  no, this Chevy wagon was dressed to kill.

She had Big Block 427, 4-speed, with a tri-power carb setup and packed 435 HP!

(insert a nice  Tim the Tool Man grunt here)

I was barley 6 years old. Wide eyed, hands at 10 and 2, sitting on my fathers lap, and driving this very beast. To this day it remains one of my earliest memories. I remember exactly where we were driving on Highway 36 between Barry, and Pittsfield, IL. I vividly remember coming up to these S curves and my Dad said to me…

“don’t look right in front of the car… look down the road where you want the car to go.”

That’s me on the left with my older brother Kelly circa 1969.

I’ve never forgotten those words and they’ve helped me be a better driver… and rider.

These words are even more true when it comes to riding a motorcycle. “Look where you want the bike to go” is a constant theme rolling around in my head when I ride… and it’s saved my tail more than once.

What’s been surprising to me is how much more important this is when riding a motorcycle off road.

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When you ride across terrain that looks like this your natural tendency is to look RIGHT in front of you. Mainly because you’re dodging giant rocks, sands, rodents, trees, and just about everything else you can imagine but…  you HAVE to look “where you want the bike to go.”

Ride planning is kind of like that for me too. When I ride I always plan (look) ahead. I map the route, book hotel, estimate stops, etc. before I leave. What I’ve found in doing this is I get to experience more of my surroundings because i know where I’m going. By looking where I’m going both on the bike and in my ride planning I have more time to capture moments like this…

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Genesis at the Utah/Wyoming border
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Sunrise in Vermont
Silver Lake on Carson Pass in Sierra Nevada Mtns
Genesis at Grand Teton Nat Park
Exodus on the Apache Trail in AZ
Me and Exodus on a foggy Blue Ridge Parkway
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Genesis at the Lost Coast, California.
Genesis in Napa Valley
Pacific Coast
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Leesville Road in NorCal
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Genesis at Alice’s Restaurant (where you can get anything you want)

Every one of these photos came from a planned ride. I knew where I was going but naturally I didn’t know exactly what I was going to see until I got there. Because of the lesson from my Dad and most certainly the Grace of God, I’ve also managed to log over 100k safe miles on a motorcycle.

Have rides always been perfect? No. Have I had to re-route? Yes. Have I regretted “looking where I want to go”? No.

Great movies don’t just “happen” but the really good ones make us think they do. Movies have scripts, plans, direction, and the director knows exactly where he wants to movie to go.

Sometimes life unfurls magically like the opening of a great movie… the sun rises, a shadowy figure moves slowly into frame until the silhouette of his chiseled chest and broad shoulders make all the girls flush.

But sometimes life unfolds like a Nightmare on Elm Street and you think you’re living next door to Freddy Kruger!

How is your life unfolding right now? Like the star of a movie or more like Freddy is sneaking up behind you?

You have two options in life.

You can either walk aimlessly like our “nameless wanderer” and hope for the best or… you can DECIDE where you want to go.

If the direction of you life is headed for the ditch may I suggest you start looking where you WANT your life to go?

Make a life plan…

Make healthy choices.

Maybe purge some friends.


Eat right.

Pray more.

Worry less.

Life will always go where your eyes look so make sure you “look down the road where you WANT your life to go” and you’ll get there.


11 thoughts on “Look where you’re going…

  1. As a rider, I have often thought of the parallels between riding and life. This is one of the best. Thanks for the reminder. And the great pics.


  2. Great advice for both riding and life. While I may not plan in as much detail as some people, I always have a destination in mind to keep me moving in the right direction.


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