What makes the best memories? Is it the people you’re with? Is it the motorcycle you were riding? Perhaps the location where it all took place? Most times, the best memories are a culmination of variables that fell into place in just the right way. We enjoy reliving those experiences. The feelings they gave us, the sights, the sounds, the entire damn thing, we hold these types of things near to our hearts. It’s healthy to remember, but it’s also easy to get caught up in the past.


We experienced a Baja of which few know exist.

Just this past Thanksgiving, I was on day four of a seven day, thousand-mile ride through Baja. Just over halfway through our adventure, I’d already had my mind blown by the scenery, food, and the atmosphere of it all. Endless miles of sand, embedded rocks, and all kinds of flora that would stick you just as soon as look at you. That night we were all at least a few sheets to the wind, celebrating what we had accomplished, enjoying Thanksgiving together, and looking forward to what lay ahead. The trip ended smoothly (for the most part) and will absolutely be one for the record books. I can admit that I find myself daydreaming now and again about being back down there. Way down in the heart of the Baja peninsula where my only care about the next day was getting up, putting on my gear and saddling up on my dirtbike. What’s that? I have a column due today?! Okay, gotta keep writing.


A table of legends in their own right.

Some months ago, I was seated among world-class motorcycle journalists at the table of a restaurant near Lake Como. GP legends and current racers at the head of the table flanking the CEO of a major Italian manufacturer with a storied history. The food was divine. Some of the best Italian in memory. Was the food actually as good as I remember? There’s certainly a chance it was. Then again, it may have been bolstered by the anticipation of riding a new motorcycle the next day, by the people in attendance, and by the history that was ever-present as I walked by the old airplane hangers dimly lit in the Italian twilight, the moon reflecting on Lake Varese. It’s something I’ll never forget.


This sunset with the long-tail boats floating in the bay is burned into my memory.

In Thailand, on my honeymoon, I sat across the table from my beautiful newlywed wife. The weather was perfect. The humidity had subsided slightly as the day gave way to an unforgettable sunset, the warm tropical air giving us a warm embrace. She had pineapple fried rice served in a freshly split and hollowed pineapple for dinner. The fire dancers off to the corner had begun to warm up – literally – for their performance. I don’t remember what I ate that evening, my focus was on her and the time we spent together.


I can never remember: Is it the vise-grips that go on the left or the screwdriver for a proper place setting?

A few days into a two-week solo motorcycle trip, I found myself riding into Mammoth Hot Springs Campground. It was November, well after the adjacent town had shuttered most of its businesses for the season. I quickly realized I would be dining on whatever I could snag from the local convenience store before it closed. With a can of franks n beans and some firewood I had procured, I hurried back to my campsite. After an evening hike as the temperatures plummeted I began to work on the fire. With a nice blaze going, I pulled back the easy-open lid of the beans and set it on the grill grate over the fire. Using vise-grips from my tool kit, I eventually pulled the can of beans and mystery meat from the flame only to realize I hadn’t packed a spoon. Oh well, it was time to improvise. I bent the discarded lid into a spoon (or what would pass for one) and carefully ate my legumes and weiners all the while trying not to slice my lips open with the lid’s questionably sharp edges. The bitter November cold of Yellowstone and the warmth of that can of food are etched into my mind. I can still taste the slightly metallic tinge in the beans as I ate them from that makeshift spoon.


“Just a little further back, guys!”

These memories are examples of multi-faceted experiences that are stamped into my mind. Experiences I hope to never forget. As meaningful and vivid as they are, I don’t think of them often, but when I do, they bring a nostalgic joy. In my opinion, those are how they are best kept. I don’t want to do the same ride in Baja again, go back to that table in Italy, that beach on the Phi Phi Islands, or relive that cold night in Yellowstone. I don’t want to try to recreate those perfect moments in my life.

It’s important to remember the past, but to look forward to new experiences. To not dwell in your memories, but to think of them fondly without becoming lost trying to relive them. It can lead to disappointment or frustration trying to chase those feelings. Something like an addict chasing the feeling of that first high. It will never be the same. Don’t spend too much time looking back, it’s easy to become lost in your memories and miss out on everything unfolding in front of you.