Thursday, March 7, 2013

Getting One Step Closer to the Road Trip

Step One towards our 6-month motorcycle road trip is complete. We moved out of our apartment in San Diego and put our stuff into storage. We're technically homeless right now, though for the time being we are staying with Sash's relatives about an hour north in a suburban, though somewhat rural area called Menifee.

We still have some business to take care of before we can embark. We're still on target to leaving in mid-April.

Meanwhile, I spent the day today riding to Arizona for Drupal Camp Phoenix.  It's supposed to rain tomorrow.

Next week, Sash is flying up to Seattle. Her marketing business landed a contract with a national dental charity to attract donations from big companies like Proctor & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive.  All throughout this year, including during our 6-month road trip, she'll have to attend dental conferences and trade shows.

It'll make for some interesting logistics.

That is, she'll need her formal wear and business clothes for the gigs, which we won't be packing on the road trip. So when she needs to fly out somewhere, she'll have to have someone retrieve her gowns and suits from storage and have them FedEx'd to the hotel she'll be staying at.  And when she leaves, she'll fly back to where I am, and her stuff FedEx'd back into storage.

Otherwise, I don't really have anything philosophical or deep to share; I'm too tired after all the slab I rode today.

It is nice to ride a motorcycle in Arizona.  Not having to wear a helmet reminds me of riding when I was still in my teens, before California passed the helmet law.


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Monday, March 4, 2013

Finding Inspiration in France

Two and a half years ago, I met Gary France. He was on the last day of a 5-month long, 21,000 mile journey across the United States on a Harley-Davidson. And when I first got a look at him, he had every one of those 21,000 miles on his face.

Today, his book, "France in America", goes on sale...

The extraordinary 21,000-mile journey to explore the hidden corners of 27 American states unfolds through a down-to-earth record of what he saw, who he met and what he felt on the road, backed up with an impressive photographic inventory.

We met in Oceanside, CA. Stopping for a bite at Pizza Port in San Clemente, my friend Jack and I picked Gary's brain about motorcycle riding in jolly old England. From there, we took him along Ortega Highway, ending at Lookout Roadhouse for a view of Lake Elsinore. And that was it. He had to get back on his way up to Los Angeles, which was only another hour's ride north, to finish the trip.

At the time, I had written a blog piece about meeting Gary entitled, "The Unwritten Language of Motorcycling".

Subsequently, Gary wrote a blog piece about riding with Jack and I, "Motorcycle Philosophy and the Ortega Highway".

I can't help thinking about Gary's trip across the United States as I'm a month away from taking a 6-month road trip my own.  Maybe someday I'll make it across the Atlantic to ride with him in the mother country.

Here are some photos of mine I took of the meeting...

Gary France motorcycle

gary france san clemente

gary france ortega highway

gary france the lookout

gary france motorcycle

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Biker By Any Other Name...

Shakespeare once wrote, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet". Would a biker smell just the same?

Considering the recent talk in motorcycle media about Oxford Dictionary adjusting its definition of "biker", it's interesting to read people's take on the connotation.

Previous definition...

"a motorcyclist, especially one who is a member of a gang"

New definition...

"a motorcyclist, especially one who is a member of a gang, or group."

With a stroke of a few keys, the number of bikers in the world increased ten-fold.

So does anyone put credibility into the hands of Oxford Dictionary or Merriam-Webster Dictionary?

How many times have you heard someone say, "It's a real word, it's in the dictionary"?

As if somehow, a group of uptight lexiconians in wool suits and tobacco pipes are sipping tea and nibbling on crumpets can decide how each of us as individuals will be classified in social rankings.

Does a word have to be in the dictionary before we're allowed to use it?

Labels only serve to judge others.  Yet, groups who publish dictionaries make their living defining the labels, and have the power to affect society, if we choose to give them that power.

How did the idea evolve that "biker" is associated with black leather and half-helmets, while "motorcycle enthusiast" is associated with ATGATT and day-glo colors? If a motorcycle gang member wore ATGATT with a chartreuse jacket, does that mean he doesn't kill people anymore?

A guy photographed above is a friend of mine.  If you didn't know him, you'd probably stay the Hell away from him.  But if you did, you'd know he's as gentle, educated, and well mannered as the best of us.

If you're comfortable with who you are, you'll make your own rules.  We don't need Oxford Dictionary to decide what's proper.  "Rider", "biker", "motorcycle enthusiast", "motorcyclist"; it all smells just as sweet.

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About Steve

San Diego, CA-based motorcycle rider who likes long road trips, old rustic bars, craft beer, and tough women. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, writing about the mysteries of life. (Read more...)