04 October 2015

Traveling to (and in and from) America... Part Two

"If you end up with a boring, miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it."—Frank Zappa

In that vein, click here for a very interesting Ted Talk about "multipotentialites", those of us who had or will have many different careers.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”—Neale Donald Walsch

"Man is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived."—attributed to The Dalai Lama
During my recent trip to the Americas, I had two full days between adventures 1 and 2, so I put both the DR650 and the Royal Star Deluxe Classic

up for sale (unfortunately, it's the end of the riding season in the PNW and both are still available at very reasonable pricing); sold a few other items; visited with a number of friends; and ate a LOT of peanut butter and dark chocolate.

19 August—This time I got the early start I planned on, so I was able to take a leisurely two days to ride the 538 miles to the Canada West Horizons Unlimited Travellers' Meeting in Naksup, BC (I am using their spelling for "Travellers")

stopping for the night at a campsite in Grand Forks, BC.

where I got to spend my first night in the awesome Redverz Atacama Expedition tent. I bought it for only $300 from another adventure motorcyclist via the ADVRider flea market. The tent will sleep three AND has a garage (the area between the two brown stripes) for your motorcycle!

As I rode through the Cascades, the smoke from the season's raging wildfires was heavy in the air, though only enough to irritate, not enough to make riding dangerous. It cleared up a bit the second day as I climbed into the Kootenay mountains toward Nakusp.

The Travellers' Meeting was one of many held yearly around the world and, if you ride a motorcycle, I highly recommend attending one. Or more. They offer a huge smorgasbord of 40- and 80-minute seminars on everything from changing a tire in the middle of nowhere to "bodging" (repairs done making due with what you have at-hand) to "dancing with your motorcycle" and more.

Shortly before the Meeting I submitted a proposal to make a presentation to the group about my project to donate motorbike helmets to the children of Đà Lạt. My proposal was accepted and was relatively well-attended. Before the end of the Meeting, participants donated CN$60 and US$20 toward the purchase of helmets, allowing me add five helmets to the existing order that afternoon. Thank you to all who donated.

When I originally signed up for the meeting, I paid for a camping site, all available meals, and a Horizons Unlimited "The (international) borders are only in your mind" t-shirt. Because I gave a 40-minute presentation, they comp-ed all of it and gave me a full refund. I used the money to buy the HU five DVD set covering all aspects of Adventure Motorcycle riding. What a deal!

I also volunteered to help other presenters with the technical aspects—basically a 21st century version of the AV nerds in high school. The downside of that was that the head nerd got there first and grabbed all the prime presentations and I therefore missed a couple I really wanted to see. I could've bailed on my commitment and sat in on the presentations anyway, but that's not me.

There were attendees from pretty much everywhere. I was pretty sure that I'd be the one who traveled the farthest, and then I talked briefly with a guy from Italy. I'm pretty sure that if you added up all the countries in which someone there had ridden a motorcycle, you'd probably tick all 192 at least twice... a very interesting crowd with a lot to offer! I'm glad I got to go.

Since, upon arrival, I was unable to find the brand-new camping chair I bought at REI, I walked into town to look for a chair to use at the camp site. Sitting outside the local thrift shop was an old webbed folding chaise lounge with a $4 price tag. I bought it immediately and carried it back to my campsite. Over the next three days, at least four people stopped by and asked me how I carried that on the motorcycle :-)

As I was leaving Sunday morning, I used one of my new ROK straps (GREAT find!) to secure it to the top of my luggage, rode to the thrift shop, and since they were closed, left it leaning on the door with the $4 price tag still on it. I hope they can sell it many more times!

One last thing before leaving Nakusp... back in the early 00's, I decided to design and build a teardrop trailer for camping and even had a web site documenting the build in excruciating detail from day one. Back in 2009 I wrote on the Home Page of that site that, "Although I love camping, I'm DONE with sleeping on the ground." Six years later, thanks to my Thermarest LuxuryLite UltraLite L camping cot,

also purchased second-hand from another ADVRider "inmate" through the Flea Market, I'm camping in a tent, yet still NOT sleeping on the ground. It disassembles and rolls up into a 15"x6"x6" package that easily fits into one of the panniers; sets up in three minutes; and is worth every penny. I'm pretty sure it's the reason that after sleeping on it for five consecutive nights, I was sorry to see the camping end. That's good news if I decide to start long-term adventure motorcycle traveling.

Heading home... 583 miles with detour.

The original return-to-Tacoma route was planned for Highway 2 though the heart of the Washington Cascades. As I approached, signs warned me that, due to heavy smoke from the wildfires, the road was closed about 15 miles down... so I stayed on US-97S toward Wenatchee. Just before the intersection with WA-17, I saw signs for Bridgeport State Park that included the icon for camping. It was late in the day and I was tired, so I headed down 17 toward the park. Good decision!

Bridgeport State Park sits on the edge of a lake formed by the Chief Joseph Dam and it (the park) is a green oasis in an otherwise dry and brown part of the state. The Ranger at the check-in booth assigned me to one of three outstanding tent sites overlooking the lake and away from everyone else.

After setting up camp, I headed into Bridgeport in search of dinner and a beer or two to take back to the camp site. I ended up riding through pretty much the entire dismal town and finding only a couple of quick mart-type shops scattered like fallen leaves among the mostly shuttered businesses. Then I found Maria and Kenya's Tacos truck at the corner of Columbia & 11th.

The food was so good that I asked if I could take a few photos and mention her in my blog. Her English was good when I ordered food, so I started talking with her in English. After a paragraph or three I took a breath and she said, "No English."


I restated as best I could in my very rusty Español and, with a little coaching from the guys sitting at the table, I got my point across. She smiled and said, "Sí!" So here she is...

When you're anywhere near Bridgeport or the State Park, stop by for some great food... and please tell her "John dice (dee-say) Hola!"

After stuffing myself with Maria's cooking and hitting the bodega across the street for a six-pack of Negra Modelo and a lime, I headed back to the campsite. At 7:55, as I enjoyed one of my cervezas, I had a front row seat for the local coyotes' beautiful twilight serenade across the lake... the perfect end to an outstanding evening.

Lunch the following afternoon was another great and memorable experience because I got to eat with Donna and Bob Olsen and their daughter Debie. I've known Donna, Bob, and Debie, as well as son/brother Steve since 1962 when my family moved to Cincinnati and across the street from them. Sisters Carrie and Kristen came later and now all live in the Pacific Northwest where both Donna and Bob grew up. It was way too long since we'd seen each other and we had a great lunch together. When they heard about my self-assigned project to provide helmets to Dalat's children, all reached for their checkbooks and made generous donations. Thank you!

Next: "Friends & Family 2015"; Dubai; RTW at 35K

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