Setting up the Ultimate Adventure requires lots of groundwork, such as prerunning the trails and finding the cool backroads to find them. Unlike many souls I enjoy taking the most obtuse and backward route to the destination—I already know where I’m going, I just want to find the neatest way there. That doesn’t mean the shortest, quickest, easiest, or most direct, either, yet that is often what I’m offered when I ask for information.
Case in point. Last month I was in Oregon looking for a way into Idaho. Most normal people would have simply plugged in their Garmin, Lowrance, or Tom-Tom GPS and blindly followed the moving icon across the freeways and highways. And while I love the GPS ability, it doesn’t know what I want any more than the guy at the gas station or convention bureau does. Not knowing the area as well as I should, I kept asking the local populace which would be the most challenging and interesting way to go, the way that would offer spectacular views through the beautiful countryside. Without fail I kept getting the answer about taking Interstate this or main highway that. When I pressed home the question to a certain route by pointing to a small, dotted black line on a map, I invariably got the answer, “You don’t want to go that way.” Really? Why not? The answer was usually, “No, you don’t want to go that way.”
Once I started my journey across the great unknown, of course I went “that way.” They hadn’t said a bridge was out or snow was blocking the road I picked, just that the regular roads they suggested were quick, easy, and smooth, with plenty of McDonalds, gas stations, and restrooms for a pampered trip with no thought or imagination. That is why I didn’t go that way. Call me crazy, but those things don’t figure into my scheme of life unless I need to get to an undesirable event, like jury duty. (I wouldn’t mind jury duty if they ever actually picked me instead of three days of waiting around for nothing). No, I enjoy a trip where I actually have to think, plan, and overcome any obstacles in my way, where the unknown and the sense of adventure reign supreme. It’s what keeps me alive and wanting to continue, the quest for the great unknown.
Needless to say, the bridge was out, I got stuck in the snow, and I had to backtrack 40 miles to a different dotted line. It was an excellent experience, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I do want to go that way.