What a refreshing and wonderful experience!
I just took a long ride over the past few days with two other friends. We traveling through parts of northwest Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and northeast Louisiana. It was a long ride that was originally planned for two days. However, when unexpected delays arose, the trip extended into a third day. We rode "hard," meaning that we traveled a great distance each day and pushed ourselves to test our skills with each winding road.
We saw buffalo next to the highway in Oklahoma, rode through a cloud on a scenic ridge road in Ouachita National Forest, climbed the snaking switch-backs of Mt. Nebo and cruised around swampy lakes of Louisiana and Texas. The sights were breathtaking. No only that, but I learned a great deal about "touring" on a motorcycle, and feel that I'm wiser about the bike that before. It developed in me a passion to pursue this even further, accessorizing to make a passenger comfortable riding with me.
It was a long ride, but well worth it. Even the inconveniences that resulted in our delayed return were learning experiences that any seasoned rider will say are necessary to really develop a love of the road. If it could have been said that I had "the riding bug" before, it's ten times more so now.