Back on the bike. Since I last wrote a significant post, Melissa and I were on the West Coast. Many events have transpired since then. For one, Melissa has arrived to Thailand and I have entered the Grand Canyon region. I will briefly touch base on what has happened in these few short months and promise to write at least a post a month from here on out. Hmmmm, where to begin. Nearing the end of the tour with Melissa, we bike south towards Oakland in four straight weeks of rain. EVERYTHING was wet, damp, or moldy. My paper notebook was covered with smelly mold, the tent was in a constant state of grossness, and many of the packs on my bike were in need of some dry, sunny weather. My spirits were even damp…it’s crazy how much the weather can affect ones soul. But, through and through, day by day, we shortened the distance to Oakland.
Melissa, Ave, and I arrived to the hip town of Greenbrae which is due north of San Francisco. Since I was a lame duck and was pretty much over biking, we caught a ferry to Fisherman’s Wharf. From there we caught another ferry to Oakland where we stayed with Trevor, a good friend of ours. Oakland…is scary at night, let alone during the day. I love aspects of this area but would rather be somewhere else. Trevor’s place was in a sort of compound. From the outside it looked like a prison, however, once inside the ghetto metal door, the world transformed into an art space lined with abstract paintings and plants. The courtyard in the center of the compound was littered with eclectic art, beams of sunlight, and large plants happily chillin in the daylight.
We stayed with Trevor while my parents made the trek out with their motorhome to meet us. We would be hitching a ride with them back to Salt Lake City for the holidays. It couldn’t have come at a better time. The Burley Nomad trailer I used to haul Avenue the 2,000+ miles broke the same day as my parents arrived. It would end up taking a while to get through to their customer service and get the replacement parts for the trailer. Word of warning…Burley makes decent trailers but their warranty process is a nightmare.
We did take one stop on the way back home. The Hendry Winery. Mom was insistant on visiting the winery and with good cause, we share the same ancestors. There was a couple there who was referred to the winery by Trip Advisor. They said it was supposed to be the best wine tour in the area and they were right. Two hours later after hearing about the Hendry heritage, vines, wine process, and grapes we found ourselves drinking wine, learning about how wine tannins and fat in foods alter the taste of wine to the tastebuds.
This brings us to the holidays in Salt Lake City. Well, basically they are like any other family’s holiday. Family and gross amounts of food. Thanksgiving and Christmas soon passed and I was growing anxious to do something, anything, to get a fresh perspective on life in place of being cooped up in a basement. I took a short tour up Emigration Canyon with Avenue to meditated in my newly bought Mountain Hardwear Trango 3.1 tent. This filled my canteen with a small amount of adventure but there was still something missing.
The next small adventure I took while in Salt Lake was with my best friend and confidant in life, Tim Harden. A quick note for my living will, Tim, if I just so happen to be creamed by a diesel on the open road, or fall off a cliff…you my friend get my bike, all my gear, and Avenue. You may have to fight my mother for the dog, but my last wishes would be for you Avenue to live out the rest of her life with you.
Anyway, on the adventure note…Tim and I took a trip to the Canyonlands area where we camped in ankle deep snow in negative 12 degree nights. Mmmmm winter camping. On this trek we went climbing down some slot canyons, in fact we were in the same area as Aaron Ralston. Tim and I did some epic rappelling into some of the most beautiful canyons I have ever seen. The quietness of the open expanse of nature led me to reinvent my idea of adventure. This realisation led me to request a fulltime position at the company I currently work for. Long story short, and after countless hours of decision making and asking people for advice, I ended up almost taking a position, buying a Subaru, renting a place in the Avenue’s, and going back to a 9-5′er…but as fate would have it all this fell through and I now find myself writing you this post from Marble Canyon.
What I learned from taking that last trip with Tim, is that I love the open space of the desert. I love solitude. I love the peace and quiet of small towns, and that I don’t like Salt Lake City enough to live there. There is something that the open road teaches you when cycling it’s asphalt. Words cannot really describe what bike touring means to me but in short, it is a baptism into nature. Patience, respect, and gratitude towards Mother Earth is just second nature. I am forced to appreciate sometimes hard and difficult situations. Most importantly, I hope by living the lifestyle I have subsequently chosen inspires you to think outside of the box, to dare yourself to try something new, to live your life to the fullest and ditch the status quo.
I leave you with a quote from my latest readings from Manhood of Humanity:
Philosophy, law and ethics, to be effective in a dynamic world must be dynamic; they must be made vital enough to keep pace with the progress of life and science. In recent civilization ethics, because controlled by theology and law, which are static, could not duly influence the dynamic, revolutionary progress of technic and the steadily changing conditions of life; and so we witness a tremendous downfall of morals in politics and business. Life progresses faster than our ideas, and so medieval ideas, methods and judgments are constantly applied to the conditions and problems of modern life. This discrepancy between facts and ideas is greatly responsible for the dividing of modern society into different warring classes, which do not understand each other.
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