Every time I get on the phone with my brother in Ohio we talk until the time difference forces him to go to bed, one of our cellphones dies, or one of us runs out of beer. Running out of beer usually isn’t the culprit, and after enough of them my brother will oftentimes start bemoaning his responsibilities of fatherhood, being a husband and business owner. “I just want to go back to when I was 22 and all I had to worry about was how much money I’d have left over after paying rent and bills to buy beer with,” he’ll slur, and I swear I can almost hear the tear rolling down his cheek. Needless to say, he doesn’t get to go on many adventures without an age-appropriate destination (his kid turns three in October).
So, if you’re already in a similar situation, you know how important it is to take advantage of time when you have it to get out and enjoy life – especially on motorcycles with some good riding buddies. For those with time on their hands, take it from my brother, don’t sit around wasting it.
10. Embrace Being A Tourist
Where CA 1 and HWY 101 converge at the small hamlet known as Leggett there’s a sign for Drive-Thru Tree Park where you can ride through a living fossil. We couldn’t resist. The 2400-year-old Chandelier Tree stands 315-feet tall, is 21-feet in diameter and has a six-foot wide by six-foot-nine-inch high hole cut through its base. Was it a great photo-op for our Adventure Touring Shootout? Of course it was, but we would have taken the short detour regardless. Don’t miss these types of silly opportunities on your adventure.
9. Unexpected Adventures
Global Positioning Satellites and their corresponding devices have taken a lot of the surprise (bummer) and danger (good thing) out of adventure-touring but there’ll always exist an element of unexpectation. Thankfully we were prepared for our flat tire episode with a handy tire plug kit so the instance was nothing more than a minor inconvenience. Turning a corner at the end of our dirt riding day only to find a gate blocking the road required more effort to solve, but our adventure story wouldn’t be as good had it not happened. Expect the best, prepare for the worst and roll with the punches.
We’re not sure who is responsible for the crime wave of stolen urinals in Seaside, CA, but the Wendy’s we stopped at for lunch isn’t taking any chances. “That was the most random photo I’ve ever received,” said Troy Siahaan after texting him this image. Adventures almost always provide WTF opportunities.
7. Letting Your Guard Down
After a few days on the road, you’ve forgotten about all the pressures of work and home life. When the weight on your shoulders is but a fraction of what it normally is, it’s easy to strike a stupid pose when someone points a camera your direction.
Selfies have become so ingrained into modern culture Apple created a Selfie album in the Photos app of its new iOS9. They’re easy to take and are better than a snapshot of some random location without a human presence. Keep your friends and mom entertained and safe with knowledge you’re OK by updating them with selfie photos. Beats just sending them a text and no photo.
5. The Great Outdoors
If you’ve gone down the rabbit hole of a chemically induced mind trip, you can comfortably stay within your four-walled world and have the adventure of a lifetime. Otherwise, having an epic adventure requires going out of doors, away from your neighborhood and, to some degree, outside of your comfort zone. Motorcycle camping brings with it a particular variety of encumbrances, but sleeping on the ground can oftentimes be preferable than some cheap, crusty hotel room with unseen fluids only a black light reveals.
4. New Eateries
In our own version of feasting on asphalt, we rolled into Gualala, California, with barely enough time to stop the kitchen at Bones Roadhouse from closing. Sean Alexander, MO’s resident BBQ authoritarian, proclaimed it some of the best he’s ever sampled. It’s always a gem to find a delicious, friendly eatery inhabited by colorful locals. It can be hit or miss when it comes to an unknown restaurant, but discovering that perfect blend of good food and good times is usually worth the effort.
3. Making Mistakes
If someone in your group isn’t making a mistake you’re not doing it right. Mishaps such as Evans’ mud bath on Usal Road provide opportunities for everyone to stop and laugh. Being able to laugh at yourself is a prerequisite of an adventure. If you’re unable to do that, do your friends (if you actually have some) a favor and stay home. As long as no one gets hurt, mistakes are usually fodder for great fun during the adventure and for years afterward. If everything went perfectly, it wouldn’t be an adventure.
After a long day in the saddle, nothing beats a fireside BS session fueled by hotdogs, Dinty Moore Beef Stew, camping beer (in this case PBR) and a little nip off a bottle of Rebel Yell. When you have a group as large as nine riders you’re gonna miss out on daily happenings among the pack who is either behind or in front of you. At the fireside roundtable, you can catch up on who overcooked a corner, the deer alongside the road not everyone saw, or the vigilante in the truck who blocked part of the group after the first few made what he considered an illegal pass.
1. New Friends
Each day of an adventure presents the opportunity of meeting a person, or people of interest. At a gas station in Bodega Bay, California, we met Sam, who had traveled from Farmington, Maine, on his 1979 Suzuki GS850. Talk about an epic adventure, Sam epitomizes the phrase!