Reading has never been one of my favorite items to do. Seldom in my life, including during high school, have I picked up a novel and read it for pleasure. In fact, I can name both books I have read from cover to cover, The Chrysalids and The Deep. But throw a map in front of me and I can get lost in it for hours.
My interest in maps started at a very young age, we had an encyclopedia set at home sitting on a bookshelf. It wasn't unusual for my dad to tell me that I needed to do some reading in the evening. I would never grab a book, I would always head over to the bookshelf and grab the atlas. Occasionally he would say to me, "you need to read something else other than the map" so I would grab one of the encyclopedias and read up about the area I was looking at on the atlas.
Today, I would consider myself a modern-day motorcycle explorer. I want to see as much of North American as I can on my motorcycle. That leaves me with little choice but to spend many hours looking at a map looking for different routes.
It has allowed me to touch every state west of the Mississippi on my motorcycle. Although I have ridden a motorcycle in many states east of the Mississippi, I have not yet conquered them all.
It has taken me on many adventures that I would have never gone on without spending the time to looking at a map first. While riding through New Mexico on our Route 66 trip, when I discovered we were just hours away from Madrid NM. What motorcyclist wouldn't want to visit the location where Wild Hogs was filmed. Quickly our route was altered to include visiting Madrid. If you're a fan of Wild Hogs and ride a motorcycle you really need to visit Madrid, it doesn't disappoint.
I have been told that reading a book is an escape, an escape from reality. I can understand that, but that is what reading a map does for me. I can get lost imagining what the view is like riding down highway 89 in Utah. One big difference is that I have gone there and lived that dream afterward. How often do people get to live what read in their novel?
Even with today's navigation systems on my phone, I still plan my route using the map first. Sure I may plug in an address to figure out where I am, but I don't plan my trips via the GPS system. It gives me more choices that I can control what I want to see while still getting to the same destination.
I should probably get back to my map and continue working on my dream trip of 48 states in 48 days!