Allen and I went for a motorcycle ride today, to particpate in a Poker Run for charity. We got our first card and a map, but neither of us had a good place on our bike to hold the map. I’ve got plans to get a tank bag with a map pocket but haven’t done that yet, so we decided we’d just follow someone else.
Allen suggested a rider on a Triumph Sprint ST who had his map taped to his tank, but I chose otherwise. We’d talked to a Honda rider who was pulling out as we were ready; he seemed to me to be the sort of guy we might enjoy riding with, so we dropped in behind him. In some regards, I was right — he rode at a good pace, not too fast nor too slow, and was choosing good roads. He seemed to be taking a diffrent route than I remembered seeing on the map, but I figured that was ok; maybe he knew a better set of roads to the first checkpoint. After several miles, we realized that wasn’t the case and we pulled over and to figure out just where we were headed. It turned out that he wasn’t riding to the checkpoint at all. He had just stopped by the ride’s start to talk with some people, and was riding with a completely different destination in mind.
We got ourselves turned around and were able to re-join our group at one of the checkpoints, and had a good day’s ride. It’s an important lesson though, for riding and for life: If you’re going to follow someone — even should the journey be going well — it’s important to know that they’ve got the same destination in mind. Also, if you’re unsure, stop and check. On our motorcycle ride, that meant consulting the map. In other cases that might mean a good talk with your mentor or a return to reading The Good Book. It’s never too late to get back on the right path.