View Single Post
Old 05-12-2004, 11:57 PM   #108
Rogue 1 OP
Walking Nike Ad
Rogue 1's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2004
Location: New York City
Oddometer: 659
The Odyssey

"Took a Little Ride" ... in the beginning...

"A journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step."
Lao-tzu (604 BC - 531 BC), The Way of Lao-tzu

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer."

Frank Herbert (1920 - 1986), Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear, "Dune"

"A successful journey includes a safe return."

May your travels be joyful, your resolve firm, your traction solid and your beer cold.

The following is a record of the events, adventures and misadventures of a ride I took a year ago. I kept a daily handwritten journal and transcribed it as I traveled to send out as email updates to friends, family and many of the people I met on the road. The email list started with about thirty names and topped two hundred when I returned home. I have expanded and edited it as time has passed.

I hope you enjoy the story.

__________________________________________________ ______________________

At some point in 1994 and hundreds of times since I have said "Someday I'm going to ride my bike cross country."

Most of my life I have said "Someday I'm going to do/see (Fill in the blank)"

Since I was a pup, I had said "Someday I'll go to the top of the WTC."

The meaning of the words "Life is what happens while you are making other plans" hit me like a sledgehammer at the end of September of the year 2001. My occupation for the last 7 years had essentially been that of "Expediter of Dreams."

I made a living equipping and advising people and prepping them for their dream adventures. I sent more guys and gals out into the wilderness of life than I can count and when they eventually returned they were better in every way for having done it.

I could see it in their faces, in their eyes. I could see it in the way they carried themselves and the tones they spoke in. It all came down to "Nothing you can throw at me can faze me and I am absolutely ruined for a desk job."

I would say "Someday, someday."

There are inumerable 9/11 stories... I don't like talking about mine... and I ache when I hear someone elses... so we are not going to go there... it happened and it changed everything...

No more on the subject.

I left my company in October because the job was essentially gone, and spent the next five months trying to figure out what the fuck I was doing with my life. Some how or another I blinked and had time-warped from my twenties, with all the time in the world, to my thirties. I was shocked to realize that all those dreams I had were still just that... dreams.

It was time to stop BSing myself and face facts; I wasn't any closer to achieving my goals than I had been 10 years ago and if I didn't get my lazy ass moving I'd blink again and find myself facing fifty with the same problem and even less opportunity to fix it.

The following tale is the result of the realization of one of those dreams and the profound influence it has had on my outlook on life, my resolve to go for the brass ring and my ability to overcome my own fears.

In January '02 I make a few resolutions. One of them is to return to school and get my degree. The other is to take that "Long Ride" I had been dreaming of for the last eight years.

Ride first.

I needed to go to all those places, see all those sights and ride all those roads; Rushmore, Sturgis, Vegas, Grand Canyon, the Capitol, Copper Canyon ME, Deals Gap, PCH, Colorado, Utah and so many more.

After four months of unemployment, unable to find work in anything even closely related to what I had been doing previously I manage to procure a lucrative bartending position in the city.

I was doing pretty well, paying off my debt and setting up the bike for the trip. My mind slowly found peace. Subsequently my body found health and without even trying I dropped 25 pounds of stress induced fat. Time passed and my soul healed as well.

I planned and planned and then I planned some more. I talked about my plans with friends and customers at the bar. More time passed. People started asking me when this big trip was supposed to start. I couldn't say exactly.

"Soon as I have all my ducks in a row" or "Just saving up enough money" or "Right after I get such and such settled," were just some of the answers I would offer.

Before long it was June and I realized I was stuck in the rut again, only slightly closer than I was in February. I knew I needed to get moving. I was unconsciously procrastinating. Like so many of us tend to do, I was always coming up with another excuse why I wasn't gone yet.

It is so damn easy not to do it, whatever it may be.

Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of taking a chance; of going out on a limb and trusting in ones own abilities. Fear of failure.

The Nike campaign became my mantra. I had to "Just do it."

I needed to set a date and stick to it no matter what. Some of my family would be meeting in North Carolina in September. I would make that run the start and see where the road led me.

I had to set a date. September 11th was a no go; rating a 10 on the tacky scale. I could leave on the 13th. Uh oh... nix that. No way am I going to launch on Friday the 13th... bad karma.

Okay... I set the date for Saturday the 14th and etch it in stone by telling everyone that will listen. I tell the bar manager and he says I have a job when I return (major load off my mind). I tell my mother and she is remarkably supportive. I tell friends, family and strangers on the street.

I turn the fear I have around and use it as a tool for my own good. I tell so many people that what motivates me now is the fear of embarrassment if I don't leave.

By August everything is coming together. I have about five grand in the bank to cover my nut while I'm gone (rent, bike payments, insurance etc). Discover Card, unbeknownst to them, has volunteered to sponsor my ride (in a way).

Karma has seen fit to bestow upon me a brand new account with a 15k limit and 0% interest for a year. My bike is prepped and perfect. She is running like a dream.

I have all the gear I expect to need and then some: Jesse Panniers, PIAA 910 lights, Garmin SPIII, Tank bag, Dainese Gortex jacket, Autocom Pro3k sound system and a loaded Creative Labs 20gig Jukebox3. I've got a Seal Line waterproof duffle to hold my tent and camping gear. I have Eagle Creek cubes for my clothes and incidentals. I have a Cannon Digital Elf, the waterproof case and almost a gigabyte worth of CF cards. I have a MiniDV camcorder and I with the help of B&H Photo I have a rig that will allow me to mount either camera to the engine bars to document my travels.

I am sooo ready.

August 29th

I total the bike.

Upon exiting the Battery Tunnel on the Manhattan side a Lincoln, seeing the 40 foot break in the plastic lane dividers, crosses the solid white line, enters my lane from the left and comes right at me.

I hit the horn and steer right. The SOB hears the horn and starts to turn back into his lane. He sees the orange plastic lane dividers in front of him, decides he would rather hit me than them and cuts his wheel hard right. As his passenger side door slams into my left leg and my left hand guard tangles up on his right side mirror I am aware of two things. The first is he is looking at me like he is pissed off. The second is that I am about to be in a lot of pain.

I almost think I might be able to skip right and get clear. Yeah right, and pigs will fly outta my butt. The handlebar turns to the right and I high side over them. He turns back to the left now that he is clear of the very dangerous plastic lane dividers and I have a birds eye view of my bike somersaulting away from me; sparks flying on the multiple impacts.

Ouch. I hit the ground on my chest. I skid. I don't tuck and roll. That would be bad. Jeez... I have way too much experience crashing.

I manage to keep my face from scraping along the ground. My leather gloves work great. My custom Vanson is ruined. My face is OK. My knee is ruined. My bike is ruined.

Some guy is talking to me like I did something wrong. A Port Authority cop is asking me if I am ok. A Port Authority cop is holding me back and telling me to calm down. A PA cop is helping me out of the lanes of traffic. While I wait for the ambulance I look at my bike and a tear runs down my cheek. This sucks.

I am supposed to leave in 16 days and my bike looks like a friggin' pretzel.

Nutshell: My knee is banged up but it's nothing that won't heal in time (I hope). The bike is totaled. A word of advice; if you are going to take a hit, do it in front of a cop. The jerk was summonsed at the scene for a dangerous/improper lane change. Thank you PA Police!

I call his insurance the next day and they say that their clients statement puts him only half at fault and that I should pursue a claim through my own insurance. PUH'LEASE!

I call a friend in the NYPD and he pulls a few strings to get me the report and record of summons. I fax it to the offending insurance carrier and they essentially fall on their knees and promise me the world.

Remember Inigo Montoya? You keel my moto... prepare to die.

They pay off my loan and all the accessories within 5 business days. I scramble to find a bike and I upgrade to a GS Adventure. I get all my accessories transferred from the wreck and the dealer manages to get the bike prepped and ready for delivery on the 10th of September.

Amazing how situations work out. Just when things are darkest the silver lining appears.

... thanks for reading my story... and thanks for all the great responses...

More to follow
``~~~=o&o> Rogue1

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Frank Herbert , "Dune"

"I never drive faster than I can see... other than that it's all in the reflexes..." BTILC

"Remember the face of your father." Roland the Gunslinger

"T.A.L.R. Redux 2007" HAS BEGUN!!! Visit the "I once was lost..." Website

Rogue 1 screwed with this post 04-30-2008 at 05:09 PM Reason: bugs still
Rogue 1 is offline   Reply With Quote