Day 1 - Start in Southern California
3 hrs in and the confidence is starting to build. I’m starting to feel how this machine operates. It was about this time that I stopped thinking of me and the bike as two separate things. We finally bonded a bit. Brakes, throttle, and turning is all feeling intuitive, but there are still levels to this. I’m still on our first date. But, it’s been a good one. I’m glad all the awkward getting to know you is out of the way.
The brakes aren’t touchy feeing, the throttle and clutch are smooth and responsive. It’s always nice to make a new friend. As the 5 of us, Mat, Stefi, Hayden, Sean (our guide and rad human), and I hit the road for the day, cutting through the desert as the temperature quickly began to rise. The temp peaked at 109 °F a couple of times, so we all ditched our jackets, rolled up our sleeves, and powered on. Eventually, we stopped for waters, Monsters, and fuel.
These Indian Challengers are a beast of a bike. Fast, stable, comfortable, and so much fun. I felt myself getting carried away by the curves of the road, wanting to chase that dragon of perfect turns. When you nail it…. (Angels sing).
However, to truly stick it and get that rush, it takes high risk.
Once I realized I was doing this, I backed off and decided to be smart. I'd rather enjoy the trip at 5% slower speed and take in the incredible drive.
I'm was stoked and grateful for that shift in mindset, as I had started thinking about long term goals. None of those would be accomplished easier with me seriously injured from an avoidable motorcycle accident. Because once I'm home and reflecting on the trip, hitting that turn perfectly wasn't going to be the highlight of the experience.
We made it into SLO at about 8 pm, grabbed a beer, pizza, and some gyros. After we refueled, I stretched my stiff body while Stefi trained for her upcoming boxing match. I have a ton of thoughts on this incredible, little, firecracker of a human, but I'll dive into that later.
Another thought for anyone reading this that would love to ride a motorcycle but won’t due to any of the following reasons:
People get hurt.
My wife/husband/SO/mom/dad/kids won’t let me.
I don’t know how.
It’s dangerous and scary because you haven’t ever done it, and you’re letting fear dictate your life. Competency and repetition eliminate fear. Learn how to ride. Find a friend. Rent one. If you want to learn, then you can figure it out. I bought my first bike, a Yamaha R600, when I was 22. I never had a close call. I rode fast but never like an asshole (other than finding a top speed of 167mph).
With bikes, there is a controlled risk. I had never ridden before, like ever. I had never even thrown a leg on one. I did figure out a few things, though: I'm not a moron, and I learn quick. I'm glad it all workout, and it's a skill I'm very proud to have.
Most people can’t drive a standard automobile anymore, much less a motorcycle. I don’t want to fit in. I want to be able to say yes to all the rad shit possible till my time is up. Do things that scare you. Do things that make you uncomfortable.
Now, time to hit the road.
The next few hours were amazing roads and views. I got two hours on a beautiful machine riding though the Central Valley of California with no shirt on. Not to mention, I was sharing the experience with some rad people.
We hit a wrong turn that changed our route, so we made the call and headed to the Indian Dealership in Hollister, hoping this was where Hayden’s bike can get sorted out. We got there a bit too late. They were closed by the time we arrived. A bit SOL.
So off to Monterey and down the coast. That feeling of coming around a bend or over a hill, smelling the sea, and feeling the temperature change is one of the best experiences I know. I'm just coasting, and soaking all this in. It leads me to more reflective moments. I can’t believe I get to do any of this.
Do more rad shit.
If this thing went as planned, then that’s a Disney world trip.
I want adventure and unique experiences.
THIS IS AN ADVENTURE
Day 3 and Conclusion
Here is what happened I didn’t expect. This long ride was one of the strongest emotional and therapeutic days I can think of. It's by far the most I have experienced without the help of psychedelics. I would rank it up in my top three therapeutic days. I spent a long stretch of the ride crying.
You are 100% alive in that moment.
Once we got back on highway, we just set things on cruise control. This stretch was hot, flat, and straight. Feeling major temperature changes in short distances forces you to feel like part of the environment. During this stretch, I had a few 15 min sections where I didn't need to touch the handle bars.
Another peculiar part of the experience is riding with the group. We're more like a pack of animals than cars. Our movements seem coordinated and in sync without us sharing a word. Your senses are overloaded. The wind noise is loud The wind is blowing on your skin. The bike is rumbling.
While you’re sharing the experience, it is very individual. You’re in your helmet, behind goggles, and alone. There's a lot of time behind the ears. I could feel a small part of this sensation sneaking up during my Bryce Canyon run. But with the motorcycle ride at double the time what the run was, it changes how in tune you are with yourself. There aren't great ways to distract yourself from your own thoughts.
You are still ON.
You’re very aware.
But it’s not requiring accurate attention to detail unless you’re driving for increased performance. After this trip, I wanted to share it with everyone. I want everyone to feel it. It’s one of those situations where I know everyone would just enjoy if they tried it.
If you could get in my head, it would be clear. You’d realize following a great life isn’t a risk. It’s always worth a shot. You’d understand. This is why I have to leave on trips. This is why I have to find new experiences. I need the fuel to propel me forward with ideas and more dreams.
I don’t sit around waiting to be inspired to do rad shit and create. I go and find it. I actively pursue doing the coolest shit possible.
Stefi Cohen and I spoke at length about other things we need to figure out. We are both uncomfortable swimming in open water. This is a common fear we both believe is due to the unknown and lack of experience. If we learn to scuba dive, I wonder if this goes away. So that may be in the plans. We could easily get to Miami and go to the keys or Bahamas. Scuba is as close as I’ll ever get to space (I hope I’m wrong) .
I need to see as much cool shit here on earth as I can. I’m interested in doing hard things that scare me, not in an adrenaline rush type of way, but to get more skills and to be more capable as a human.
There is an endless number do things you can choose to get better at everyday.
All of which offer value. Progress is simply committing to reps consistently to make improvements. I want to see the best version of me. I’m not sitting waiting talking about living my best life like some bullshit meme. I’m out getting dirty, getting sun burnt, being scared, doing new things.
I’m about that fucking life. I want to live a great life. The things I’m going to do will require me to be fit, healthy, and capable.
What are you doing right now that makes you uncomfortable?
Seek out what scares you and figure out how to conquer or control it.
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