When I was kid my dad had a dirt bike and I had my own helmet. It was one of those retro three-quarter jobbies with bright gold sparkles; for a 3-year-old it was boss. I would tool around with my dad on that bike for hours; through the woods, over trails along the country side, through the weeds – no fear, just go for it. When mom got rid of dad and dad got rid of the bike, I got rid of the helmet but not the want to go; that stuck with me. As an awkward teenager, I fantasized about running away from home by packing all of my necessities on a bicycle and just go. Not even anywhere in particular just anywhere but where I was. If someone were to look up my plans after graduation in the yearbook they would see I had planned to do nothing. Not, undecided – very decidedly, nothing. I wanted to get a VW Westy or something and go until I ran out of money for gas in some town and get a job waitressing until I got enough to migrate on to the next town. Travel, rinse, repeat; until I found somewhere I liked. Who needs direction anyway?
After graduation, I fell into a social group of similar crazies, their brand was on motorcycles. Their online message board contained members from all over the country, and some parts of the world. Each as awkward as the next with a particularly abandoned sense of humor. Can you think of anything better than a large gathering of antisocial motorcycle nerds who have never met, with a penchant for beer, breakfast, and bullshit? Neither could we. So, after a decade of knowing them, a convergence was planned in Colorado. It was exciting to get to meet everyone, in my own back yard even. Watching their progress toward town was exciting. Photos of camp sites set up and shots from gas stations, each geographically closer than the last. The build was galvanizing.
The rally was cool enough. Breakfast, rides, adventures… I think we got kicked out of a popular tourist destination, I made a ton of food so we could BBQ every day of the rally, a lot of people drank a lot of beer… it was a rally. We called it Ragnarok, because I said they are nerds.
One of the guys, Ghost, had a ZRX 1200r that he was taking on a walkabout to the tune of about 8,000+ miles that summer. I think we were both feeling antisocial that day so we escaped on a day ride. He talked about his trip, where he was going, where he’d been and it was captivating. I had always wanted to just go somewhere but I never put “motorcycle” and “roadtrip” together for some reason. Probably because sometimes I’m oblivious. I knew that kind of travel existed but I never really thought it would be something I could do. But Ghost was doing it, all the others were doing it… I kinda want to do it, too.
It was definitely enough to make an impact on me. In all fairness it changed my life. I really started thinking about what was keeping me from doing something like this. I never really thought my motorcycle was reliable enough and I have no idea how to pack something bike shaped – or what to put in that pack to begin with.
I tried to buy a tent once at a garage sale for 6 bucks and when I assembled it the zipper was trashed and it smelled like some kind of animal died inside. A mammal to be specific. Clearly I needed to learn everything about this. How do I afford this? How do I sustain this? Do I need to learn how to share this, monetize this? Did I just start a business to do this? Where do I go? Everywhere, see everything? I should learn how to take photos, probably video… am I talking web page now? I guess I need to learn how to code now and edit now… It blew up; logistics – everything logistics. What do I pack? I’m probably definitely going to need a better tent.
As all of these ideas started soaring at me my direction started to take shape. I will spend the rest of my life trying to figure out how to be a master at all of this. I never will, but it’s going to be a hell of a ride trying.