Motivation comes in all shapes, sizes

This was going to be a story about inner motivation, but seeing that I know very little about the subject, I don't see any reason why I should let that stop me.

Inner Motivation: motivation that is from the innards. The guts. Not one of my strong points.

Outer Motivation: motivation forced on you by Evil Acquaintances who can't understand why you don't have the exact amount of Inner Motivation as they, and they're dead set to set you straight, come hell or hell.

And that's exactly how I became a year-round motorcyclist.

A long time ago, despite misgivings from every fiber in my wife's petite little body, I bought a motorbike with all good intentions of making it my sole form of transportation.

With all bad intentions, an Evil Acquaintance proclaimed that come winter, I'd change my mind.

Change my mind.

A challenge. A dropped gauntlet. A chance to prove that I'm more than I give myself credit for ever thinking I might be despite feeling pert near positive that I'd never be more than I could be, or something like that, ya know?

That was way back in 2004, and I've been riding most days ever since.

Yes, when it's icy out I don't ride. When the bike's in the shop, I don't ride. When I'm sick in bed, fantasizing about my next-door neighbor's fairy biker step-godmother and how she'd bring me chicken soup, a beer, and rub my aching body with her strong, tattooed hands...

I don't ride.

But other than that, I'm out there in the rain, and snow, and fog, and sleet, and hot summer days (107F) and cold not-so-summer days (18F), and every time I get to where I'm going, the angels sing alleluia, and I get a little miffed about it because I would've thought they'd have a bit more faith in me.

Yes, Inner Motivation is mentally healthier for most people, but you've got to admit, sometimes a challenge can work wonders, too.

Which means I probably owe my Evil Acquaintance a debt of gratitude, a handshake, and a sincere thank you.

(Right. Not in THIS lifetime, bucko.)

I'm not listening, I'm not listening.

This is my "Inner Voice."

He says I'm too old to go on an adventure.

He's very persistent.

I try not to listen to him.

3.21.15 Full Metal Alchemist

Rainy-day Haiku

Rain, rain and more rain
ain't gonna rain on my day's
parade, no siree.

I like birds...

... that get up before dawn whistling as if it were Friday and they have big plans for the weekend.

T-minus 70 Days: For the record, I'm getting in shape

It's very possible that I'm not in the best of shape to spend 75 days riding across America on the back of a motorcycle.

I'm not overly obese, but I could stand to lose a few pounds.

Somewhere between 10 and half a ton.

I can drive a loaded school bus two times a day without losing my ever-loving mind, so I think my concentration skills are at a professional level, but it's possible my upper body strength needs a bit of tweaking (which, for you young folk, is not the same as twerking).

I can sit for ungodly amounts of time on the couch, so I think I can sit for ungodly amounts of time on a motorbike, but I'm not sure my grip is up to pulling at the throttle for that long. And after a day of riding, if I'm too weak to hold a mug of cold beer, I've got to ask myself is this adventure really worth it?

Well, yes, but I guess I'll just have to start a get-fit regimen. And the sooner the better.

A few sit-ups for tightening up those muscles that hurt when I try to sit up.

Extra reps of weightlifting cast iron skillets before frying my eggs.

Walking is good for something. I'll try some of that.

And I guess I could eat a bit less.

A bit.

All I know is I got 70 days to make some life-changing changes to my life, because June 1st, ready or not, I'm heading out of town for an adventure my wife hasn't approved of yet, but she'll come around.


Photo of the Week

Just another day at the office.

2.26.15 Cattle Bustlin'

I'm taking one photo a day, throughout all of 2015 (as long as I don't quit). Wanna see all the photos I've taken so far?

Here's a link to my 365 Album on Flickr.

My wife likes her coffee... strong, it'll shoot you in the kneecaps before it ALLOWS you to drink it. (I just beg for mercy and have tea instead.)

Chasing America, Part II

How serious could a wannabe motorcycle adventure rider really be if they never read Ted Simon's "Jupiter's Travels"?

Not very serious, I reckon.

So, seeing that I had a few quarters left over from payday, I decided to up my game a bit and purchase the book. In fact, I purchased that and his photo book "Jupiter's Travels in Camera."

And what a surprise when they arrived...

...Ted Simon had autographed them!

3.7.15 Jupiter's Travels

Yep, that was a good day.

Chasing America

It's all Ted Simon's fault.

Back in 1973, with nothing else better to do, Ted Simon hopped aboard his Triumph Tiger 100 motorbike and rode it around the world.

Four years he rode that bike, from England to Africa to South America, up through the U.S., over to Australia, Asia, and the Middle East, until he got back home and wrote a book about it. A very popular book. A book that inspired Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman to hop on their BMW motorbikes in 2004 and...

...ride them around the world.

McGregor and Boorman rode the Long Way Round heading east through Europe, to Mongolia, through Russia, across the U.S. to New York City, and then back home to London, only to head out again in 2007, this time going the Long Way Down from John O' Groats, Scotland, to Cape Town, South Africa. They were very popular TV shows. TV shows that inspired ME to hop on my 2005 Honda VLX and...

...ride off to work, because that's all I could do.

Well, that and dream about heading around the world on a motorbike.

And dream I did.

I imagined what bike I'd take, how long I'd be gone, the weather, the smells, the food, the cost, and which route I'd take.

Europe? No doubt! Russia? You bet! China?

China, maybe not so sure.

In all my "research" for the "big day" that would come sometime well "in the future," I read Buck Perley's blog The Great Ride of China that pert near gave me the impression that me riding through China would be pert near impossible.

(Sometimes I say pert near pert near too much.)

BUT, I did learn something from his blog that made me sit up and think, "Holy Cow! I could do that!"

In 2013, Perley and Amy Mathieson rode 34,000 kilometers across China to break the Guinness World Record for the Longest Journey on Motorcycle in a Single Country.

I still don't know how to measure kilometers, but I CAN sit on a motorbike for a long time, so again I thought to myself:

"Holy Cow! I could do that! Maybe not break any records, but sit, and enjoy Chasing America."

And that's where things stand at the moment. Me making plans to ride across America, meeting my neighbors in different states, and riding those iconic "bucket list" motorcycle roads that we bikers drool about.

There's no haiku like snow haiku

Hey Mr. Show Plow
dance like nobody's watching.
Dance this snow away.

*   *   *

Texas snow ain't snow
like way up north Boston snow
and that's fine by me.

*   *   *

Slow snow 
and ice blankets 
my old F-100, out lounging in the yard,
in the same spot 
for years,
as if it were yesterday 
and sunny.

(Okay, that last one wasn't a haiku, but it mentioned snow, so sue me.)

Photo of the Week

This week in Texas has been Spring Break out the Umbrellas cuz it's Monsoon Season and the rain ain't stopping anytime soon.

Well, it did slow down to a drizzle on Wednesday, just long enough to not rev up my motorcycle for a few minutes because it wouldn't start, and it was drizzling so I couldn't find out the problem, so I thought I'd wait until the next day to tinker with it, but then it REALLY started raining, and now I'm stuck at home cuz the driveway's a cry me a river that hasn't got a single fish in it, and, well, that's all I've got to say.

3.9.15 Spring Break out the Wellies

I'm taking one photo a day, throughout all of 2015 (as long as I don't quit). Wanna see all the photos I've taken so far?

Here's a link to my 365 Album on Flickr.

A pot of Zen Soup...

... can't be made with ingredients, but with your mind, stirring away the self until you are the soup and the pot is empty.

I didn't get the memo

By the time I had gotten the message last week that there was no need for me to come to work, I was already there.

So, I fixed me a cup of tea, ate some Ramen for lunch, watched a movie or two, and basically had a very quiet day. Later in the afternoon, the roads cleared up and I was able to ride home.

2.25.15 Unintentionally Hard Core

So much for planning

Well, the recent cold and rain didn't care so much that my daughter and I had made plans to backpack along the Ouachita National Trail. Right now, at this moment, we were supposed to have been almost to the end of our 50-mile journey, but instead, we never got started.

As a pilot, there is always the time you have to decide to go, or not to go. If the weather's too bad or beyond your skill level, you never even get in the plane. And that's what we did concerning our trip. Seeing that it was going to be a pert-near miserable experience for both of us, we decided it was a "no go."

And we're both bummed out about it.

This calls for ICE CREAM!

3.8.15 Cookies 'n Cream

Ode To a Cast Iron Skillet

O, my cast iron skillet,
black and round
and heavy
(my lord, oh so heavy),
how you sit flat
and firm
on my stovetop,
unlike that cheap Teflon crap
that gets all wibbly wobbly
over time
and can’t fry an egg properly
if its life depended on it;

Oh, how you heat so evenly
and refuse to be lukewarm
about any recipe
I choose to cook in you,
although I can tell
cabbage and broccoli
is not your favorites,
but do you complain?
Nay, not you;

Oh, how easy in the hand you fit,
making me wonder:
if my wife ever had to
beat my brains out with you,
would she enjoy the experience better
knowing your smoothness
would not chaff
her delicate hands?;

and Oh, how relieved it is
to know you will last
a lifetime and beyond,
giving me something worthy I can pass along
to my offspring,
their inheritance, if you will,
seeing that I'm cash poor,
but cast iron rich.

O, my lovely cast iron skillet,
black and round
and heavy,
ne’er would our meals
taste the same without you,
but you already knew that.

I can tell.

Some times I make oatmeal...

...for supper, but I call it porridge because I'd feel like such a loser if I ever fixed oatmeal for supper.

If all goes as planned...

... my daughter and I will be heading up to Oklahoma this Saturday for a five-day backpacking trip along the Ouachita National Trail.

Of course if things do NOT go as planned (weather too cold, rainy, etc.), we'll be staying at home and crying that we're not on our five-day backpacking trip along the Ouachita National Trail.

Oh well.

In anticipation of us getting to go, we've been working out, hiking around the neighborhood, eating right, exercising, testing out our equipment -- you know, all the good things you're supposed to do before you go out into the "wilderness" where the squirrels and rabbits do play.

Where seldom is heard...

So, even if we don't get to go, we'll be in good-ish shape, and isn't that a good thing?

Well, I think it is.

Our last backpacking trip was to the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico. You can read about our backpacking adventures here (just a few, and I really didn't write all that much), or you can wait and read about our Ouachita Trail adventure when we get back.

If we go.

Wish us luck.

Chores Haiku

Sunday morning chores
always get done right before
Monday morning chores