Riding down from his camp near Quartzsite, AZ, a cowboy biker with a big bushy mustache took a roundabout way to meet us in Yuma. Brian Gore, the blogger behind Ribbon of Highway, met us at our hotel and then the three of us rode to The Pint House Bar & Grill in downtown.
Now focusing his time writing a series of Western novels under the starry skies of the Sonoran Desert, Brian told us stories of him roping stray cattle in the Santa Rita Mountains during his school days.
"If you managed to rope one of the cows, she'd take off running and pull you across the desert", he said in his cowboy-like voice. "I come walking back to camp with my saddle over my shoulder, and there's the gelding standing right there." he added. "Whatcha doing with that saddle over your shoulder?", one of the other guys told him. "Well if you knew my horse came back without me, why didn't you come looking for me?, Brian said.
It wasn't much money for the young buck, but somehow I figure money wasn't the point.
Somewhere along the way, after a detour through Vietnam, he took up riding motorcycles.
At one point, Brian ran a business as a leatherworker designing fancy leather goods, but gave it up for the more solitary, introspective craft of writing novels. But before all that, he rode Rodeo and worked in the mines.
In 2010, Brian and his wife sold off their ranch and took a three-year tour of the United States as RV Boondockers, pulling a camper and motorcycle with their pickup truck. They earned an income from book sales, ads on his blogs, and driving shuttles at NASCAR races. Today he and his wife own a store in Ft. Collins, CO, while he finds inspiration for his novels with howling coyotes and Saguaro cactus.
In fact, after spending the evening chatting with him, I come to realize that he and I are similar in that we just do whatever gets us by and keeps us in control of our lives. We didn't grow up mastering one single career path that we would ride to retirement. We just have faith in ourselves to survive and choose from the opportunities that come by.