January 2008


I have this observation about me: Things have to hit bottom before I’m open to the messages the universe is sending. I need to achieve a state of privation, either imposed or from within, before I can really hear the music that’s been playing like back ground noise all along. Or, to quote “When it’s dark enough, you can see the stars”.

We can’t be helped until we embrace our need for it. Like an alcoholic reaching to an outside power for support, we have to accept the fact and only then can we open up like a night-blooming flower. The problem here is that everything teaches us that as Men – and I mean the gender, not as in mankind – to extend your hand palm up is tantamount to failure. I have to learn to be better at accepting gifts of kindness.

Pride is one of the Deadly sins. I often picture myself as one of the heads on Easter island, proud and independent standing strong against the assaults of the elements.   Taking this trip is a way for me to try and strip away everything unnecessary and get to the bones of it. To live for a year off the back of a motorcycle. Grateful, appreciative and open out of necessity, to the gifts both good and bad that come my way. To stand barefoot in the dirt, arms outstretched, and feel as alive and present as possible. I want to go to my grave feeling thoroughly used up, having cracked the bones and sucked dry the marrow of life.

I found the essay below (click “more”) on NPR. In my head, Kevin’s theme is like a gumbo, all mixed up with Papa Neutrino (google), Chris McCandless, Buddha and Jesus Christ. Like comfort food it’s homey and nourishing.

Kevin finishes with this thought:

And I am working on being more grateful. I’m aiming my thanks at the thousand of things we take for granted, things that would be a miracle if they only happened once. I noticed a pigeon the other day. It had fantastical colors, incredible bearing, and shimmering feathers. I feel sure that if there were only one of these specimens alive in the world, we would all agree it would be the most beautiful bird in the world. We’d push and shove to see it. Almost every moment in our lives is a pigeon overlooked.

(more…)

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

W. B. Yeats

Shannon picked up his bike for for the trip this past weekend. He’ll stop in tomorrow and we’ll try to get a general rout and timing set. I’ll try and get a map with dates up after that.

Shannons KTM

A KTM 950 Adventure.
2005 KTM 950 Adventure
10,270 miles
H&B Crash Bars
H&B Gobi Side Cases
KTM (Shad) Top Case
Gel Seat
Renazco Racing +1″ Seat
Stock & Touring Windshields
Billet Bar Risers
Leo Vince Exhaust
Moose Hand Guards

Click for the full gallery 

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Sir Edmund Hillary died today. A self effacing bee-keeper, he was best known for a walk he took with his friend Tensing Norgay. But thats not what he wanted to be remembered for – nor for the time he drove his tractor to the South Pole. What he wanted to be remembered for was the humanitarian work he did. Setting up a trust fund for Nepali Sherpas helping them build schools and assisting them in their “retirement”.

The things Hillary accomplished were deemed impossible by the world he lived in. And yet what he was most proud of was something within the reach of us all. He said
“You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things – to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated.”

He was an amazing man and I’m ashamed to say it’s taken his death to bring him to my attention. A stop in the library is on the agenda for tomorrow.

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Theories abound as to why cold or temperate climes produce happier people than warm, tropical ones. My favorite theory is one I call the Get-Along-or-Die Theory. In warm places, this theory states, life is too easy; your next meal simply falls from a coconut tree. Cooperation with others is optional. In colder places, though, cooperation is mandatory. Everyone must work together to ensure a good harvest or a hearty haul of cod. Or everyone dies. Together.

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but interdependence is the mother of affection. We humans need one another, so we cooperate — for purely selfish reasons at first. At some point, though, the needing fades and all that remains is the cooperation. We help other people because we can, or because it makes us feel good, not because we’re counting on some future payback. There is a word for this: love.

Excerpted from The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner. Reprinted without permission from Hachette Book Group, USA.

img_0003.jpg I finally have all the pictures from my Christmas trip posted.
Check ‘em out.

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Sunday Shannon, Geoff and I went on a little ride to visit my old friend Elizabeth on her farm in Marion. This was my first ride on the new bike and I was pleasantly surprised. On the interstate I was cruising at between 65 and 80 and it really handled well, on forest service road with street tires I felt good – but on dirt, not so much. I was spinning tires bad on leaves and wet clay and riding with Elizabeth on the back I hit some soft mud, spun out and fell over. No one was hurt and now the bikes been christened so all in all it was great day.

Shannon took some pics.

good catch

Twice last night I woke up after dreaming that I had big fish on the line. The first time I landed the fish and the focus seemed to be on how beautiful it was. A flounder that was mostly white with warm brown markings. I admired the hell out of this fish. I was going to eat it and I knew it was gonna be good.

The second dream was of a fish on the line. It was big and running in deep, black water, spooling out line like I wasn’t even there. I was trying to put my finger on the side of the spool to slow it down. I knew better than to put too much pressure and break the line. Just let him run and let the drag tire him out. This dream seemed to be more focused on the fishing pole. It was short and stiff, white with red thread holding the guides on. The gear I had was up to the task and I was relaxed about the upcoming fight.

Someone once said that dreams are postcards from your subconscious. If thats the case I like where mine’s vacationing.

Good hook-up