June Moto adventure
Remember you are going to die!
We’re arriving at the west coast by 8:30AM. My excitement has fully taken hold of my mind. I’m nervous, exhilarated, and ready for a needed week off the grid.
I occasionally yearn not just for a trip, but for something really different: unplanned, unscripted, and most importantly, something new.
After finally arriving in Costa Mesa, we see our two new friends. These two new friends will be with us all week. For those of you who have never ridden motorcycles, there is a connection between rider and bike. Just with any relationship, there is some time of getting to know each other.
While I have done some epic bike trips in the past, I am rolling with a new friend, Drew. Drew has been around our world for a few months, helping with various projects. And since he is a friend who rides regularly, I have access to some awesome bikes from Indian and we are taking advantage of it.
We decided to make our way North to the Valley via the PCH. I mean, if you’re going to ride bikes out West, the 1 is something that needs to be discovered and digested. While adding about an hour to our ride North we skipped the hassle of the freeway in exchange for chiller vibes, beach views, and more stop lights.
We made a quick stop for a cheeseburger on the beach. Oh, the food this week will be fun: diners, burgers, tacos, and gas station treats.
This is like courting. First getting to know how we rode together and getting to know a bike I haven’t ridden before, and secondly, shifting gears mentally to embrace this ADVENTURE we are starting.
This first ride is always a bit all over the place, feeling a little clumsy navigating with these big bikes. But the first date is always a little off right? You’re not sure what to say, stepping on each other's words a bit, and trying to match our dance moves. I have done this enough to know that by day 3, the bike and I will be a team, connected by something deeper than whatever you get from a car. Maybe it's respect because you’re both in it and not just riding inside of your climate and sound controlled bubble.
We made our way to the valley with no hiccups, and arrived in style at a long time friend's new house. Like 2 days new. I happily set up my hammock in the tree to hangout since there was no furniture yet.
This lack of TV, furniture, created a great opportunity to spend that time outside in the yard catching up and blazing our way through a lazy afternoon.Tomorrow is still a bit on the books as far as our plan goes.
We headed back south in the AM to Long Beach for a podcast then spent the rest of today making sure we are set for the week. I now need a new pair of gloves as they disappeared to the freeway yesterday out of my hoodie pocket. The road giveth and the road takers away.
ADVENTURE - the unknown
The first toe in the water of adventure during this trip was partaking in the hood ride poker run. I have never been part of a large group ride, I have assumed this would be my thing. But at this point in life, I am done assuming what I will enjoy and not enjoy. I have been way too wrong too many times to exist that way any longer. Have the experience. Or in other words, BUY THE TICKET, TAKE THE RIDE.
We left out of the valley at 6:30AM, hitting our first taste of cool, calm, California perfection. There indeed is gold out west, and it’s experiencing this incredible beauty of this state at its best. On a motorcycle is second to none. All the luxuries of a car make it a pretty sterile way to experience a landscape. When you’re on a bike, you’re in it. You’re active. You’re fully present. In a car, you’re never aware of dynamic temperature changes in just a few miles or just how exhausting battling a cross wind can be.
I owned a bike in my early 20s, and on paper, was a super fucking dumb choice for 20 year old me. But as I see it as a pattern now, I chose to do things my way. No one could stop me from buying a motorcycle so I bought one and learned to ride. In that order.
This was a fucking great decision. It was another time I went against others' “good” judgment and I trusted myself to not die. So many people let fears divert their choices. What’s even wilder to me is letting someone else’s fears dictate the decisions I make in my life.
Fast forward 20 years, I get to use this experience again. It has always paid off learning how to do awesome shit. Riding a motorcycle is fucking awesome. It feels badass, and makes you 40% fucking cooler instantly. I have been able to take these trips, and create content last year with Indian because I was able to say yes to going on a bike trip with my friend Stefi two years ago.
That simple skill and the willingness to say YES to a scary or dangerous experience has made me a few hundred thousand dollars to boot. So MOM, who was right that learning to ride a motorcycle was a great idea?
***Self high five***
The poker run wrapped up in Solvang.
Ate some corn dogs,
Saw some rad country.
The bike rally at the end however wasn’t my scene. The vibe is great. It’s all a bunch of people who are into a thing that makes them weird or dangerous or whatever. IT WAS NOT NORMAL. Even though it’s personally not my vibe, I VIBED WITH IT HARD.
This has been perfect west coast weather. Dry, 72 and sunny. However, it feels freezing in the shade at speed, so the warm sun is awesome all wrapped in helmet, gloves, hoodie, and jacket. Helps to be head to toe in black as it heats me up and helps express my rage. I’m on a fucking motorcycle, of course dress the part. Enjoy the costume change and let it rip.
After punching out, we decided north toward going to visit my mentor Kelly up in San Rafael. First stop was for a reload on tacos in Guadalupe. As we inched closer to the coast, the fog rolled in and the temp dropped to the mid fifties. We enjoyed our lengua (beef tongue for you uncultured ding dongs). It rules. Don’t be weird about it. Try everything.
We found our camp for the night. Found a spot called Franklin Hot Springs for our campsite and … WHAT A TREAT.
It’s a concrete pool with a rock mud bottom that’s filled with warm water. It’s about the most Hispanic version of Iceland’s blue lagoon I have been to.
I think we are the only English speakers having a swim and I fucking love everything about this place. Dogs running around. Pretty loose regulations it seems, and kinda sketchy. It gets five out of five for adventure.
I’m now laying on the ground in my bivy tent as the sun goes down. I love this. I'm not sure why but I do. It feels like an adventure. I had no idea where I would be sleeping tonight when I woke up, but I damn sure didn’t guess it would be this. I'm damn glad it was.
Today was great. Did a lot of new things and all have been awesome. The more things I can do the more options I have to say yes. With 1136 weeks left, I want to be able to yes as much as I possibly can to opportunity and adventure. I don’t know what’s coming but I promise it won’t be boring.
The tiny bivy tent worked like a charm. I mean, it’s like a tight fit, sleep-in-one-position-all-night type of charm. My old bones needed a bit more support. I tucked my backpack and duffle under my legs outside the bivy tent. This created a way for me to stay on my back and elevate my legs.
It’s also probably time to start figuring out how to get this hip fixed. This is not something I’m looking forward to.The rehab, surgery, and recovery will be fine. That part I can do and will likely enjoy in some strange way.
It’s the other bullshit. Finding a surgeon in STL, getting scans done, having prepped meetings, having post op meetings, etc. For my knee, I drove back and forth to NOLA so many times in those three years. These pre and post op meetings would eat up 3-5 hours of my day. The one hour drive, at least an hour of waiting, then another 30-45 min waiting in the secondary room. Then 10 minutes of my doc saying it looks great and then move on.Then drive home after some PT.
This is such an inefficient system. It is this part of our system I’m avoidant of. The bullshit side of our medical system. I’m not a huge fan anyway and prefer to stay as far from doctors and hospitals as I can. Too bad I can’t manifest my hip into healing.
As with the rest of my life, where the anxiety lay meant that was the direction we go.
I digress. We all woke up and got moving. It was a big ride on the bike to cover the 4 hours to SF. The plan was to take the 1 through Big Sur, but due to landslides and road closures, we had to make alternate plans. Instead we hit the coast around Salinas then through Santa Cruz, where we again are hit with the cold coastal temperatures. Our bones were rattling, even with all our gear on. We hammered up through Half Moon Bay, Pacifica, and then through the city.
The older I get, the less I have interest in big cities. The chaos of it all does nothing for me. I see panicked people, stressed faces, and signs of a broken system. With part of our “glorious “ urban sprawl being converted to tent towns. Is this the start of us having townships like SOUTH AFRICA? I don’t know how we solve the poverty crisis or the mental health crisis that keeps people living on the streets in this country. This further division we are doing and trending toward is not looking good long term. The gap between have and have nots is widening.
We are so consumed with the pursuit of success and more (stuff). The value in our lives is focused on the things we have and not who we are. This creates a sense of hoarding and Americans love to have more shit than they could use or need, like having trophies to show your worth. Storage units and garages stuffed to the brim with bullshit that hasn’t been used in years. Convincing people that the old adage of “he who does with the most toys wins” is the truth.
It makes me sad to see people trapped and owned by the inanimate things they collect. You see this extend to the homeless population as well. Many avoid the shelters because they can’t bring their “STUFF.” This keeps many out of getting help at the bottom, and I damn sure know it traps people at the top the same way. Make sure the things you choose to purchase are for your enjoyment.
We’re now rolling into San Rafael at about 2pm. We timed our arrival almost perfectly with Kelly’s daughter's high school graduation party.
Kelly and his family have been more influential in my life than they can imagine. He is my brother, mentor, and best friend now for almost 10 years. Our adventures have brought us white water rafting on two different continents, 5 days of mountain biking in the Utah desert, and countless mindset altering conversations. Kelly, thank you for always having an open door for me. You are without a doubt, one of the most important people in my life. Thank you.
This graduation party was held at the Super Cube (Kelly’s office). Another incredible spaceship, just like DOPE. A place for him and his people to be their best. Outside was a taco cart and Sergio was serving up street tacos and tortas. After hammering through a dozen tacos and a few sandwiches, the party came to a close.
With graduation week happening and this being a surprise drop in. We chose to stay and sleep at the office and let them reclaim their house after a few gnarly weeks of life.
The following morning we collected our gear and made our way to the house for the sauna and cold. But more important than both was coffee and conversation. I have a few new books to dive into, new ideas, and a completely filled heart. It’s people like Kelly and Juliet that refill me. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but simply being in their presence makes me better.
I recognized this feeling ten years ago when we first became friends. Since then, I knew that feeling was something I needed in my life. Seeing them on a quarterly basis for the last ten years has helped shape my life more than they know.
When you meet someone with this energy and connection. Don’t sleep on it. Figure out how to be around them. Figure it out. Learn how to be a great guest and someone people want to talk to a second time. Part of that trick is doing awesome shit in your own life, and never asking for anything other than the ability to be in their proximity from time to time.
Kelly introduced me to hot and cold, created opportunities for adventure, exposed me to ideas and information I would have never found, and loves human performance as much as any human on earth.
To the Starretts, thank you for everything. You are my family as much as any humans can be. I’m honored to be able to say that.
Leaving San Rafael, we pointed toward Yosemite. It was quite an adventure getting out there. Road closures took us two hours the wrong direction, introduced us to twisty mountain roads I was never supposed to meet, and continued to show us why CA may be the coolest landscape on earth.
From the beaches, deserts, and mountains, it has everything and world class versions of them all. Nothing controversial here saying CA is amazing. People aren’t wrong. It deserves the attention it gets.
Driving through wind causes you to lean the bike toward it. Like shoving your way through a crowd. Sometimes riding is peaceful and zen and it can instantly become demanding of all your attention. The temperature dropped outside of the city for about an hour and I was back to freezing.
Soon we escaped the wind of the bay and hit the mountains and some heat. Now in the mid 80’s, I’m sweating and earning a sunburn on these exposed arms. Going through Stockton trying to avoid being slapped by a Diaz brother, we finally hit the mountains. Taking 120 up toward the entrance to the park, we soon realized our mistake and saw the road closure. Our destination now just changed from 15 minutes away to over two hours. The sun was setting so I grabbed a quick Airbnb.
The last 2 hours of riding for the day were almost perfect.Twisty roads begging you to ride better each turn. Throwing these big bikes around hairpins and hammering up inclines, you start to feel in the zone. This flow state returned and was amazing.
Easy to start wanting to push the machine and yourself to get faster and more efficient through these sections. Self control comes with understanding how little a motorcycle crash helps any of the goals I have in my life. I will happily stay well within my skill set here and embrace the flow.
With the LCD sound system blaring things for a moment are perfect. I think about the people in my life and all the trips I have been on. I think of how they have all changed me in some way. Maybe it’s in that flow state that change is occurring. When you are so deep into the present that your mind is free of the constant noise we experience. No mixing of what to come or what has been. Just doing the thing fully. Body and mind are one. Often I feel disconnected from my machine. But when it lines up, nothing is better for me.
We found our cabin, avoided the rain, shared our stoke on the day’s adventure, ate a few gas station sandos, and called it a night.
Tomorrow, we enter Yosemite and hopefully can find a campsite in the park. If not, we will figure it out. When you’re capable and experienced in adventures, you don’t need as strict a plan. You can play a little jazz.
Well, we were shit out of luck in the park.
However holy fucking dramatic environments BATMAN. Yosemite is raging. It was cold and moody all day in the valley. Just the top of the valley was visible in the clouds. Fog. Mist. You know, dramatic moody weather.
For coming to a bike trip in CA for the summer it’s been fucking cold. We didn’t quite prepare for sub 50 degree weather. While we haven’t crossed the mark, it’s been on edge and the wet makes it extra special.
Flash back to Epic Pursuits we shot in the PNW. It rained on us for 4 days. Not some bullshit mist, but downpour, completely soaked to the core. I vividly remember shivering for over 5 hours one day. I’m wondering if you can acquire hypothermia in the 40s. That trip in particular was one of the most challenging experiences I have ever done. On the backside of that challenging experience I get to choose how I go forward. The project was a success, but personally for being able to manage my energy and not freak out, I got a barely passing grade.
What did I learn from it?
I am capable of riding a bike through shit weather. That trip pushed my comfort level to the absolute extreme. Previous to that, I have very little to no experience riding in rain. Huge fears of losing control. That trip crushed me with anxiety for about 14 hours a day with concerns about my safety and the safety of my incredible friends who trusted me and took time away from their lives to be part of the project.
Now riding another road trip on a motorcycle, no plan of direction everyday, no plan of where we will sleep, no room for a ton of supplies. There is no stress at all.
I am leveled up. That feels fucking rad. Thanks for doing hard stuff. That choice provided future me with options for big adventures. Remember this in the future when things get overwhelming.
Snapping back out of reflection:
The previous two trips I have spent in Yosemite, it was hot and all the big falls in the valley were dry. Two years ago we hiked Yosemite Falls and swam at the top of it. That day was a scorcher. Our Canadian friend Derrick was as close to combustion as a person could be.
Remember not that long ago, people thought spontaneous combustion was a thing. We don’t know shit. The future will prove current us to be morons. Or at least it should when you learn from mistakes instead of choosing to double down.
Shit I’m high as balls. Focus Vincent.
Today the river was going off. Absolutely huge water ripping through there. No fucking way it is boatable. I have seen sections of water that look that way but not nonstop miles of huge drops and holes. Nope, dead as fuck, frigid water.
Whole valley was flooded, and boggy. Bridvail Falls was blasting. Such incredible power reminds me of how insignificant I am. I like that feeling. Takes away a lot of stress. Creates freedom for me. Makes me think life is a lot less serious than we take it. What a gas the whole thing is.
El Capitan is overpowering. Just looking at that sheer slab of granite. It so fucking impressive to me to think humans the same as me walked toward that and said “yes, that way.” I mean vertical fucking hiking. We are an interesting species. I love how completely carried away passions can be. Even more fascinating is the seemingly impossible feats people accomplish when they line up that focus on passion and obsession. Completely unreasonable and inspiring.
Yosemite falls in its full raging glory. No beautiful sunshine to disguise it. Dark spooky clouds just above the top. What an incredibly daunting scene. It looks like what they would show as the way a hero has to go at the beginning of some legendary tale like Lord of the fucking Rings. Climbing that thing would be like trying to fight an aircraft carrier. It wouldn't even know you were fighting. It would be so uninterested in your attempt to conquer it.
Our search for camp was futile, and we almost got the bike stuck in a sloppy parking lot. Stoked I didn’t dump it over in that puddle and spend the rest of the week with wet shoes. And gloves probably. Thanks to the universe for looking out for that one. Glad my ego didn’t need to blaze through that hole. The work to push the bike back out took care of my issues of being cold. Nothing like trying to pump this thick bastard out of there an inch at a time on some soft gravel. But at the very least, disaster avoided.
As we crushed through the rest of the park, we snuck out and found a campground at the Mariposa Fairgrounds. It looked like a lot of places I would have used to compete.Perfectly run down in all the best ways. There was a small grass space for tents. Even some picnic tables, which if you have ever wild camped on a long term basis, are a fucking luxury. A convenient place to sit and put your shit. We are traveling light. No chairs or anything.
The bivy has been great. Stoked to now know I can manage in it. Is it comfortable? It’s fine. I can sleep in it. Same goes for the hammock. I have simple options for adventures. This opens the doors to more bike packing and overnight hikes. I want to see earth where few are willing to go or even want to. Not every night is going to be comfortable. I have slept plenty of bad nights in really expensive beds as well. I sleep my best when I’m tired and empty from the day. This trip provides that. Mix it with 50mg of THC, boom.
Sleeping pad helps widen the hammock so your shoulders don’t crush in. ENO hammock, Therma rest and my bougie North Face sleeping bag I acquired in Alaska last summer.
While chatting and winding down, we got visited by another camper Justin. He is a heavy equipment operator and has been around that business since he was three. He will be living here in a tent for the next three years. He lives in Redding but is on a job here burying power lines. He has five kids and a wife back in Redding. Was great talking to him and sharing a smoke around camp. Talking about his passion for hunting, and his kids. He is living a very different life than me. I hope that guy enjoys his life.
Punching out of the Yosemite area we had our fill of cold and wet roads. The next location was to go and explore the Giant Sequoias of Mariposa Grove.
These trees are magical. As though they have survived from a forgotten time. Prehistoric monsters that demand attention whenever you come across them. This reminder of not just how small I am, but how short my time on earth is brings me mental freedom that is hard to explain.
I am motivated by how little I matter. My ego wants to believe I am a great part of this world and possibly even important. The truth is the illusion of self importance and ideas of destiny don’t chub me up. A younger me would fall in this trap.
Now with countless miles, defeats, and win’s under my belt, I see it differently. There is no inherent value to my existence. The magic is all in the opportunity to chase whatever passion and purpose I CHOOSE AS IMPORTANT.
This takes away that sense of I “SHOULD BE. “ in my life. My focus is on the things that I can be my best at, and the things that bring out the BEST in me. This is what makes me valuable. The pursuit of my BEST self.
Experiences, adventures, and challenges have the opportunity to change who you are. That only happens if you integrate what you learn into your daily life.
I hope in this life if nothing else I was able to inspire people to be their best selves and do it on their terms. Quit waiting for permission. Take on challenges and if you occasionally get beat. GOOD. You get to understand how little it matters.
Sitting in a small coffee shop and digging through maps to find possible camps. After a few years of experience finding camp, it’s always part of the daily adventure.
Tonight’s camp was located on the edge of Pine Flat Lake. With direction set, we put the hammer down. New beautiful roads out of the mountains and into central California orchards.
California has everything you could want in a landscape and world class versions of it. These winding farm roads brought us past free roaming cattle, a wandering coyote, and ground squirrels seemingly playing frogger with traffic.
The forest and magnificent trees yielded to golden hills. Temperatures rose from the low frigid wet 50s to the mid 80s. Cruising in a T-shirt, tossing the bike around turns, and silversun pickups created a perfect soundtrack. Flow state has been abundant this week.
Thoughts drift from brand ideas, books ideas, and a lot about it starting to be time for hip replacement. Not something I’m looking forward to and truth be told, I’m scared of. My last round of surgeries were a lot to say the least. Diving back down that road feels daunting. But that is the direction we are going to have to go.
I think about my life now and what it was a mere five years ago. Everything is different. Everything is what I dreamed it could be. I am proud to have created this life. Sharing it with my beautiful wife Bonnie has made it all the sweeter. Thinking about our futures a lot and all the adventures coming our way, both the known and unknown, I know we are down for all of it.
Camp was set up on the hill and overlooking the lake. Lake is down considerably as most things in our country are. The quickly evaporating lakes look sad, and I wonder just how long the world will look like this? I am glad to see it while it’s here. Change is part of evolution and everything will continue to change in time. This is not something we can escape. I embrace the temporary nature of everything I come across. Thankful to having caught it while I had the chance.
This night was my first attempt at spending the entire night sleeping in a hammock. I’m very stoked on this. My aging achy body has let fear keep me from trying this camping option. Dropped my sleeping pad in it, grabbed my bag, enjoyed some of the west coast's finest indica, and let the relaxation take hold. The hammock is now a full option for camping. Time to get moving more. Overnight hikes, bike packing, and easy lightweight packing. When you need less, you have more options for doing.
If I need a tent, a cot, a shower, a stove, fresh clothes, a toilet, etc my adventures will be limited. For the next decade of my life, I want to experience as much of this earth as I can.
Travel has changed for me over the last two decades. What started as food motivated, I searched for all of the mouth pleasure I can find. This has shifted to less about the things and food and more about the experience and time outside. Cities are less interesting to me.
Mountains and lakes have taken hold of my imagination. The wild 20 year old who dreamed of living downtown, walking to bars, and wasting countless weekends on brunch and mimosas is pretty dead. I’d rather have instant coffee at a picnic table in the middle of nowhere. That season was a good one, but it has passed. Now is the time for real exploration of this world and into myself. Nature has provided more perspective shifting moments than pontificating over drinks ever has.
Here’s to being in a place where solitude is very comfortable. I really like being me. I’m proud to feel that way, as it hasn’t always been the case.
Night 8 is upon us, and like that the last day of adventure is here. The main goal is a bit of riding and getting to camp early. For the last night of the trip I hope to get settled, and have an evening with my favorite medicine (psilocybin) .
Camp was perfect. A little stream was creating the ambient noise, and there was a fucking hot spring. Nothing makes a better campsite than hot springs. More natural the better. Things started to blast off as I lounged in the small pool of perfectly warm water. As the trees and moss came to life, I felt surrounded by love.
I had visions of people in my life I wish were with me at that moment. People from every chapter. Past friends I don’t see as much anymore, family I don’t see enough, and my lovely wife. It’s these moments of perfection you find in an adventure that can only be accessed from finishing an epic or slaying a dragon. This week's journey was indeed, epic.
The medicine was really strong and friendly. Reminding me of the incredible abundance I have in my life and gratitude for the continued abundance that will find me.
One big takeaway was this. There is a part of me that thinks for a trip of any type to be valuable, I have to reach some type of darkness along the way and uncover unknown truths about myself that need attention. For the medicine to be doing work, there has to be some suffering on my part.
If I’m honest, I want to find the worst parts of me hiding in the dark. There are some parts of me that wants to share in those big traumatic reveals, but I guess the blessing is they haven’t been found or don’t exist. Not all growth has to come from suffering.
Great experiences without unlocking hidden trauma can be just as powerful. I’m not in need of fixing old wounds all the time. Sometimes the value is realizing how incredible things are. Let that energy multiply to the point of euphoria and bathe in it.
This is the perfect time to manifest exactly what I want to come my way, and to choose the moves I make when I return from this epic. I thanked the universe for all it has done for me. All the lessons. All the hard times. All my fuckups, missteps, all the loss and heartbreak, all the failures equally. I thanked it for all the great things and gifts in my life. From my physical abilities, the discipline I have, the complicated creative mind I have, and the ability to trust myself over anything or anyone else.
I eventually drifted off into sleep, tucked in my floating cocoon. Hoping to wake up a new man, new goals, and more conviction to accomplish what I set my sights on.
I love my life and I want to be intentional with how I spend my time. Chase big goals, do things that scare me, and disconnect from the limiting factors I allow to stand in my way.
This trip has been one of the best I have experienced. I hope each trip continues to feel this way.