Monday, December 26, 2011

The First thing to Prepare for Motorcycle Touring...

... Is your Choice of an Attitude for Motorcycle Touring.

It carries over into general day-to-day living too!

"They are the peaks one needs to recognize, and then down the valley we go to climb back up again... If it were only peaks we would never know what the taste of balance is"

The words that Ara wrote in his comment on this blog the other day say a lot don't they?

Pretty much the old story that the Shining Times don't shine, without some dark times to contrast 'em with. Without those dark times, the ones that shine would just become a dreary... average... right?

I find my self  "coming down into the valley... off the Peaks" each winter it seems... and sometimes... in the summers too!

A lot of folks (Myself on occasion!)... curse those that tell us, seemingly too easily, to grin and bear it... Those "cursers" find the grinning a tough job in the face of what's coming down on 'em. Been there/Done that so I understand that feeling, I surely do. But... what other option do we have?

There is an option... I understand that too... but... as low as I might get... I'm not willing to ride that one way road... I might grouse and complain, I might rage and wail... but, in the end... I'll climb back on... twist the throttle and put it back in the wind... I keep on ridin'.

Truth be known... hidden in amongst all that easy to say/hard to live; "you've gotta take the good with the bad" common advice that's given with too little thought... a road does exist.

If you search with an open mind, an unfettered imagination... and a Strong Heart... there is a road that will roll you through the low valleys and back up into the Shining Times among the peaks. It's potholed and confusing at times... but it's there to be found if you only Don't Quit Searching...

I've been on that rough road. I say this with Much thought... and personal experience. Finding that road  IS a Choice.

For instance... let's talk literal for a bit... Rain.

How many riders curse the rain? Their bikes sit parked if the sun ain't shining... they let the weather dictate to 'em... I wonder how much of their LIVES are dictated to 'em... by the "Weather" around 'em?

Before I left to roll two wheels up the Alcan a year and a half or so back, I'd happened across a video of a guy, sitting on a dock, somewhere on the Alaskan coast...

He was disgusted, cursing the weather. Him, and those with him were abandoning their Alaskan ride, 'cause it rained... It rained a lot. So, they simply abandoned the ride of a lifetime they'd dreamed about for years... because they let the weather decide for them... rather than Living the Life THEY chose.

Well Surrrrrrrprisssseee! and Welcome to the Yukon and Alaska!


To them and that sort I say; You Just don't Get it... so don't talk to ME about "Drinking the Wind" or the "Healing Power of the Open Road"... 'till YOU understand what it is you're talkin' about!

Yeah... I know... I'm bein' kinda hard nosed here. Well, guess what? Life is pretty hard nosed at times. Cowboy Up! Figure out how to deal with what comes along and Ride! If you duck and run every time it whacks you... ya'll ain't gonna get very far.

I rode the same roads. I got rained on... A Lot... For 3,000 miles, nearly 24/7 it rained. You know what I did? I grinned.

OK... a few folks along the way calculated that meant some sort of mental deficiency... and... I kinda agreed with 'em... though my thought was the deficiency wasn't in ME! ;)

Sure, I'd prepared before I went, and had good rain gear. So under the rain I was dry. But I rode all day in the rain. I set up camp in the rain. I ate supper in the rain. I slept in my good Hoodoo tent in the Rain... got up in the rain... had breakfast in the rain... packed up camp in the rain... and then... rode all day in the rain...

and sure... a time or two I started whining...

Until the advice of someone I have long forgotten came back to me.

"If you fight the weather it will crush you. You have to embrace the weather, and go with it."

I didn't really understand that... then...

"Go with it." you hear that a lot... "Roll with the punches"... "take the good with the bad" What the hell does that mean?

It doesn't mean you just accept the status quo... not totally. You make proper preparations, to deal as best you can with whatever you might expect going into whatever it is your Going In To... and then Savor... whatever it is you GET in to.

Like the rain... I could curse it... or... I could make sure I had rain gear to keep me dry... a good tent to shelter a warm dry bed...

and then revel in the Freedom of the Road I was riding.

I could be there, On the Alaskan Highway on a fine motorcycle, Drinking the sweet scent of the rain freshened Wind... or... I could be warm and dry... standing in the confining aisle of a hardware store, breathing stale air and selling plumbing parts to some townie cager that really had little understanding of how to put 'em together!

It's not easy. You have to focus your energy on what you're doin'... and you have to develop a tougher "Hide"... but the rewards are... You not only appreciate your Scooter more... You Learn to Taste Life Better.

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

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Share your stories and opinions;
*Tell us Which you think is the... The Best Touring Motorcycle
*Share...  Your Personal Motorcycle Philosophy with us!
*Tell us about your...  Great Motorcycle Roads

Sunday, December 18, 2011

To Renew the Dream...

... and Drink the Wind...

The last year has been the best... and it's been the worst, but really, how can I complain?

In the past year and a half, I've ridden my Raider to Alaska and back. I've rolled her along the Pacific Coast Hwy in Oregon, and on San Juan Island in Puget Sound. I've run the twisties of the Goin' to the Sun Road in Glacier Nat. Park up in Montana... Twice! She's been through Yellowstone, over Lost Trail Pass in Montana, and into Flagstaff for some BBQ!

She's taken my to Mt. Shasta, Payson and over Mingus Mtn. to Jerome. We've ridden the Flaming Gorge country of Utah...

I've run to the Black Hills, and over the Beartooth Pass on the Chief Joseph Hwy. I've ridden Hwy 12 on the Escalante and Arches National Park in Utah.

I've toured Yosemite, the Arizona Desert and the High Rocky Mountain Skyway of Hwy 550 through Silverton in Colorado. 

It's been a hell of a year...So... How can I complain? Aw, I ain't really! ;)

The thing is... lately, the negative, downer crap that seems to be piling up in the world faster than a man can shovel or outride it, seems to have caught me, a bit... and run me off into a rut. It's sorta contaminated my thinking. It's something we all need to fight off... and Keep Living! We all need to Keep it in the Wind!

I live in a way that I'm sure many riders find enviable. I work for no 'Bosses' any more... just myself. If I want, any time I want, I can just step outside the rig, climb on the Raider, twist the throttle and ride!

But... the feeling that I Need to take care of business has wormed its way back into too commanding a place... once again. It's regained some power I thought I'd taken away from it some time ago.

I worked myself into the lifestyle I live now, 'cause workin' for the man, Slaving for the man, was just no longer a tolerable way of livin'. I managed to build my two websites... which led to the publishing of my fiction... and they are a major part of what keeps me on the road... and a major and growing thing that supports the Freedom that I get to live in.

... and THAT... is where the rub comes...

Without meaning to... that Freedom I've enjoyed for more than a year now... seems to be getting a bit tarnished by that pressure and worry to Take Care of that Publishing Business... that contributes a heavy % of our living.

That pressure has come, I believe, from the doubts that the world around us can infect a mans head with. It's come from the unending drone of bad news everywhere you look.

That's the dicey part... Finding the balance 'tween maintaining the Freedom of the Road... and Taking Care of Business... so that I can STAY, on the road... in the face of all the Damn doom and gloom that we're beaten down with...

If a fella isn't careful he falls back into the same old trap of workin' all the time... and not Living. It happens so slow you don't see it coming until one day you look up and you're gettin' full circle, falling back into the same rut you worked so hard to climb out of.

To avoid that, a guy's got to pay attention to the Dream too! He's got to use just as much discipline to protect what he's workin' FOR... as he does, takin' care of the work he does for the necessities of life, that supports that Dream.

Work should ALWAYS be secondary to LIVING. It's only a TOOL... to provide what's needed to LIVE.
If the Dream and LIVING... starts having to be sacrificed to take care of secondary "Business"... then it's my opinion that I'm doin' it wrong and I need to back off a step and take a fresh look... and figure out how to do it right! I need to put a fresh shine back on the Dream.

So... the next few weeks, as I finish out this year, and start off in the new... are to be spent re-evaluating what I'm doin' and how... for the purpose of putting things back into a better balance...

... so that the next year... sees as many, and hopefully more miles splittin' the Wind with the grin of Freedom decorating my ugly bald cowboy biker brain pan, as the last...

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

Return to the Home page of Motorcycle Touring on Freedom Road
Visit our sister site goin' RV Boondocking

Share your stories and opinions;
*Tell us Which you think is the... The Best Touring Motorcycle
*Share...  Your Personal Motorcycle Philosophy with us!
*Tell us about your...  Great Motorcycle Roads

Friday, December 2, 2011

Just Realized I didn't Post the Motorcycle Ramp Video I Promised

A couple of posts back I mentioned that I'd changed how I load the bike a bit... I have to load it, 'cause I live/travel full time in a fifth wheel. Either I load my Raider or leave it... and Leaving the Raider behind... ain't an Option!!!

Though it's been on my You tube channel for a short while I hadn't linked the loading update video here... OOPS! Bad Biker Cowboy! No Beer!

If you look at the first video and this latest one you can see the changes I've made on the truck bed as well that have things quite a bit snugger and more crowded, which doesn't simplify anything. ;)

Everything I thought of to "fix" the problem seemed expensive and to tell the truth, I wasn't sure I wanted to spend that money on more mods to this old truck...

As it turned out... very few dollars for a couple of planks and a bit of cheap hardware and my problem loading the Raider is all fixed!

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

Return to the Home page of Motorcycle Touring on Freedom Road
Visit our sister site goin' RV Boondocking

Share your stories and opinions;
*Tell us Which you think is the... The Best Touring Motorcycle
*Share...  Your Personal Motorcycle Philosophy with us!
*Tell us about your...  Great Motorcycle Roads