I’m a third of the way through my one month solo motorcycle trip across the USA. Today I hit the 2,000-mile mark and entered my 6th state, New Mexico. I feel pretty good and I’m having a great time, but adventure travel can be an emotional roller coaster. It’s anything but comfortable. Here are some of things I’m dealing with on a daily basis.
By far the weather has been my biggest concern so far. I’ve spent the last few days in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, which is mostly high desert. Tonight, I’m in the little town of Milan (New Mexico, not Italy) and it was a high of 94 today. Tonight the low is supposed to be 45 degrees. As a result, I freeze my ass off in my tent at night and then bake in the hot sun all afternoon. Along with the heat I have had to deal with high winds. Some of the gusts push me around the highway pretty bad because I am loaded down with camping gear that creates extra resistance in the wind. Initially it freaked me out, but as the days go by I’m getting more used to it. I’ve learned to move with it, rather than resist. It’s a good metaphor for life. I guess you could say I’m adjusting, just as we do to most things in life. I’ve learned to get up at 4:00 AM so I can be on the road at dawn and avoid the extreme afternoon sunshine and winds.
Food and Drinks
I’m not caring any sort of camping stove, just a few select snacks. I have beef jerky, trail mix and dates. A couple of days ago, near Phoenix, I realized that all the M&Ms in my trail mix had melted and now the whole thing is a big solid clump. I have to break off chunks to eat it now. It’s kind of like a granola bar instead of trail mix, but it curbs my hunger in a pinch. I usually stop for one meal a day, sometimes two. I try to eat healthy, but there are days that’s it’s pretty much impossible. One night for dinner I had beef jerky and beer. Once, when I was in the middle of nowhere, I ate nothing but left-over huckleberry licorice for lunch. That’s life on the road. I do have a camel bladder full of water that I stuff in my tank bag so that I can drink from it as I ride and don’t have to worry about stopping to stay hydrated.
I can’t imagine making this trip without my smart phone and laptop. I ride with my earbuds in so that my smartphone provides me with GPS and music. “ Mona” gives me audible directions over the sound of my music while I ride. I’m carrying two extra battery packs and always charge my devices at night. I also can charge my smartphone by connecting it directly to my battery tender. I realize that being stranded without a working cell phone could be a potential safety hazard so I’m also careful to be prepared.
The people I meet
The people I meet are a fascinating bunch. Since I’m averaging about 350 miles a day I’m pretty tired at night so I really haven’t done much socializing, but the few people I have met have been very nice. I do sometimes get a lot of weird comments, like one day in a grocery store a guy asked “where are you guys headed?” I told him there are no “you guys”, just me. Sometimes people ask me if I get scared. I ask them if they get bored. One guy made a rude remark about my “leather effort”. I kept my patience and reminded him that it is safety gear, not a fashion statement.
What I think about
Believe it or not, I spend most days philosophizing. I’ve been thinking a lot about human suffering and the main causes of unhappiness. I’ve narrowed it down to an acronym: BADJEE. It stands for Blame, Attachment, Denial, Judging others, Expectations and Ego. I think most of our misery stems from these things and I’m making a conscious effort to avoid them in all my dealings, even when people make weird comments or stare at me funny. Who knows, maybe I have the start of my third book. Maybe it will be non-fiction this time.
I’m glad I’ve made this trip. I’ve seen some of the most incredible sites and I’m learning about myself and gaining new skills. I’m so blessed to be experiencing such a wonderful adventure. Life is a journey, join in!