When there are so many fabulous faraway places to see Why should Spain and Tahiti and Rio, just be only names to you and me? I feel certain there's people we'd be glad to know there So tell me why don't we get up and go there Go to those fabulous places where we long to be Fabulous Places - Bobby Darin Backroads has been around since 1995. In those 27 years I have been fortunate enough, along with my best friend and, many times, old and new friends, to have traveled to some very amazing places. Even before my traveling on two wheels, I did quite a bit of domestic and international trotting with my family. The large map hanging in our hall has numerous pins to remind me of where I’ve been and what is still to come. The term ‘Bucket List’ seems to have been brought to vogue by screenwriter Justin Zackham. Back in 1999, while compiling a list of ‘things to do before kicking the bucket’ he realized that this might just be a good premise for a screenplay. Thus the movie ‘Bucket List’ was written and the term became entrenched in popular consciousness. There are a few places/events on my bucket list: The Isle of Mann during race time, the Kentucky Derby (just once), seeing the cherry blossoms in Japan and the tulips in Amsterdam, and seeing the Mets in a World Series (maybe this year?) as back in 1986 I watched on TV rather than in person. Funny story/sidebar about that series: I was at Cooper Union, with friends, and making our way to Madison Square Garden to see Billy Joel (WAY before he was ‘in residency’ there). We were walking (poor students) and stopping at every appliance shop along the way, all having the Series on their window TVs. A crowd formed at every window – this was one of the biggest things to happen in NY – well, at least for Mets fans – in a long time. Needless to say, we arrived at the concert a bit late, but I think Billy did as well, being the Mets fan he is. He played ‘Meet the Mets’ to a standing ovation. Diametrically, there are places I’ve been that I never need to visit or see again. We’ll call this the F*#k-It List. Funny thing is, some items on this list I have been to more than once, and that just reinforces the belief that I never need to do it again. It could be as simple as a bad restaurant, a nasty overnight establishment or a concert venue with really bad acoustics. A bad restaurant may be given a second chance if it was rated as such for bad service. Everyone can have a crappy day that may be passed along to an unknowing customer. But bad food or atmosphere are things that, unless Robert Irvine gets involved, are usually not going to get any better. I have been to lodgings that, after new ownership has taken over and shaken out the carpets, become downright homey. Then there are places and roads. At the very top of my list is Passo dello Stelvio in northern Italy, bordering Switzerland. I know that ‘bagging’ the passes in the Alps is on almost every rider’s bucket list. I do enjoy this too, but I have an unnatural fear of the combination of tight hairpins and tour busses. Brian and I have ridden this road a number of times, both ways. I think the first time I was on a K75 and it was very early in my riding career. Being younger, I was fearless and took the turns with relative calm. Subsequently, and with passing years, it became more difficult for me. I would insist that Brian go through the turns first and report back ‘ALL CLEAR’ as he went ahead. Needless to say, this was a ridiculous situation for both of us. Our last trip to this part of Europe was with an Edelweiss tour on which we had about two dozen Backroads friends and readers. What I do like about the Edelweiss trips, and many of the other organized tour companies, is the choice to go with the tour guide or head off on your own. On this particular day, seeing that the route was going over my dreaded Stelvio, I asked Brian if he would mind NOT doing that but picking another more benign road to enjoy. Being the loving and understanding husband he is (and not wanting to deal with my stupid inadequacies) he agreed. While my Bucket List gets cut down, I sincerely hope that my F*#K-It List does not grow. There are too many fabulous places in this world to revisit those that disappoint.