Several years ago one of of my aunts was moving. While I was helping her move she gave me this old canvas map. I haven’t even unrolled it until recently. It always made me nervous touching it or moving it because pieces would flake off.
She told me it was an old map of Perry County, Pennsylvania. I’ve seen plenty of old maps of Perry County before. But they were always old paper maps. This map is made of canvas. As I unrolled it I finally saw how large this map is. It measures approximately 5′ x 5′. Then after closer inspection I saw the date of the map, 1863. This map dates back to the American Civil War (1861 to 1865)! What an awesome piece of history I have in front of me!
I just don’t know what to do with it though. I love history and this map is very cool, but it’s in very bad shape. I’d like to find a way to preserve it.
You can view more photos of this map on my Flickr set.
The weather this morning really got my mind working on what riding a motorcycle means to me. It is still Winter, but with a warm day I am reminded that Spring is just a few weeks away.
One thing I thought about is that riding is at it’s simplest not a convience. Grabbing your car keys, hopping in your car and driving away is a convienence. Choosing to ride adds complexity to transportation which makes travel an adventure every time.
I enjoy looking over my motorcycle before a ride. Checking the lights and tire pressure. Knowing that I have the tools to fix almost anything that could happen on the bike gives me a sense of responibility. I enjoy lacing up my boots, slipping into my riding pants, pulling the riding jacket on, slipping the helmet over my head and pulling my gloves over my hands. Pull the bike off of it’s center stand and throw my leg over the seat. Turn the key to the on position, pull in the clutch and hit the start button. The engine of the BMW purrs to life ready to take me anywhere I want to go.
There is no protection from the elements when you ride. That’s why it is important to be ready for anything. I carry my rain gear with me and have pulled off under an overpass more than once to pull this rain gear over my riding gear. Then I continue to ride. There are places to go and things to see. No need to wait for the weather to clear. The looks from the people I pass as they travel in their cars and trucks, protected by a rood and windows, is simply priceless. And better yet, passing a group of riders who are huddled under an overpass waiting for the rain to stop. Just ride!
After doing a lot of work around the house yesterday and waiting for my new mobile phone to arrive I decided to head off for a ride to Perry County. I wanted to visit “The Pond”, which is land that has been in my family for a very long time.
I knew I would go north on route 15. But then I decided to stop and plug in “shortest route” to Ickesburg. It was basically the same route I usually take until shortly after New Bloomfield. My GPS found me a wonderful dirt road towards Mansville and a few other roads that I was not familiar with. It was a nice change from taking the “fastest route”.
Unfortunately on my way back I headed for a dirt road that I remembered from when I was growing up. To my surprise it had been paved! Damn. The search for dirt roads gets more difficult. Maybe I should look at trading the F 650 GS on a BMW R 1200 RT instead.