Yes, you can leave the island!
I am not normally directionally challenged. My family will attest at my remarkable ability to find my way without a map, leveraging only my instinctive skills to safely arrive at the defined destination. Even my youngest son, Brandon, once exclaimed, “Dad do you have a map in your head?”
With my navigational prowess as background, it becomes a funnier story when, in the middle of my first bike ride on Bainbridge Island (Seattle), I had to admit I was ridiculously lost. I had completely lost my sense of direction. Worse, I drove off the island without giving this act a second thought.
Now I know how Gilligan must have felt. What started out as a 32 mile bike ride — a simple loop around the island — turned into a 42 mile adventure.
Now for the rest of the story and my tips to help others avoid losing their way:
Always trust your instincts. When I got to a point where I wasn’t certain where to go, I decided against my first instincts and took the other path. It took at least an hour for me to realize the enormity of the mistake; but, I overrode my gut and took the wrong road.
Never lose your sense of direction. Going around an island can be a wonderful experience until one confuses north with south. When that occurs, all kinds of trouble ensues. I thought I was headed south, when in fact, I had started heading north. Nothing better than heading full force in the opposite direction.
Remember what an island is! Taking a bridge over a very large body of water is likely a clear indicator that you may be leaving the island you are on. It is even more likely that this is an indicator that you are leaving the island if crossing a bridge was not on the original route. Despite this obvious flag, I proceeded on my journey as if everything would work out. After all, I am the master of direction with a map in my head.
When you feel like you are going in circles — ask for help! Unfortunately, it took me an hour to decide I was lost. Fortunately, I was willing to ask for help when it was obvious I was in trouble. When I asked a couple of fellow cyclists the best way back to the ferry — an sensible, popular island landmark — they looked at me with a very puzzled look. With that, I knew I was in trouble. When I called my nephew and asked him for help, the enormity of my problem was clear — “Uncle Dave you have left the island!” With that news, my phone died. As if it couldn’t get any worse.
It was official. I was lost. I was not on the island. And, I needed to find someone who could guide me home.
Fortunately, I found a fellow cyclist who, when asked “Do you know the way to Bainbridge?” he exclaimed “Yes, I do” and proceeded to guide me back to the infamous bridge that returned me to the island. Whew!
I signed up for adventure on this trip. Little did I expect so much on a simple bike ride. Despite all the excitement, it was a great workout, a scenic ride, and a fun story. Tomorrow I will tackle the island again – this time paying closer attention to my instincts, bridges, and any other warning signs that may derail or detour me.