More and more people are coming to me with questions regarding prepping. Preparedness once was something that was done by the average American much like squirrels gathering nuts. It didn't have a name, it was simply part of life. As time went on and the typical American family departed from the majority being on or near farms, the ideas embedded in us for storing up for the winter, preparing for planting, readying the harvest were lost among, iPhones, internet, and bustling streets with produce from Argentina and clothing from Indonesia.
Today we find ourselves in a restless nation. We have those who believe a different view of law and order and a different method of keeping it. Basically the idea of law and order is now a moveable dial depending on whether it has good optics or not. The reality is defending the law is sometimes an ugly business, and due to it being managed by humans, mistakes will always be made. Period. But, historically as a society we chose, as a collective, to deal with the injustices and hopefully right the wrongs along the way so there maintains a balance between keeping the peace through force and over arching dictatorial rule. An entire section of society today has determined it to be ok to commit certain law breaking as long as it is in the guise of protest. It is ok to break a law as long as no one gets hurt, scratch that, killed. It is ok to fight the law because it is now known that the law won't always win, and they are all racist anyway. This has triggered more and more of the very thing that the movement was supposedly trying to reduce. By fighting the law, it escalates the need for the law to fight back... And so it goes. All while citizens are killing citizens at an alarming rate (while the media ignores it) while law enforcement is on its heels trying to figure out what they can and can't enforce not based on laws but based on the elected officials who have suddenly become experts at law enforcement.
That leads me to this article. For those who are concerned with where we are going as a nation, regardless of who ends up in the presidency, this is for you.
When considering Prepping many images may come to mind. My family went on Doomsday Preppers (Season 3, Episode 13) back in 2014 and I even had a website dedicated to prepping years ago. I decided to go on DP in order to show that normal people not just the crazies should be and are preparing for a natural disaster or worse. The reality is, for the most part, while some good information can be gleaned the majority of the DP franchise is made purely for entertainment. Given Hollywood's tone of late it was likely produced to cause the average American to view "prepping" as fringe and therefore silly. Just another conspiracy theory, don't dare do it if you want to be like normal people. It is after all a "reality show". So some things should be taken with a grain of salt. Even my episode. We did the best we could going up against the director at times but, well, it's a reality show. In reality we started preparing due to what we saw changing in our government during the Obama years (yes on the show we said it was for the potential for new Madrid fault activity. Ok, legit issue but not my reasoning but sounded a lot better on national TV than the reality at that time). Predictably when 2016 rolled around things got quiet from a prepping perspective nationwide and it seemed most breathed a sigh of relief and realized maybe things are going to be ok. And then 2020 happened. Would you have ever thought that you couldn't fly out of country at any time you desire? Or travel to another state without being placed in quarantine? Or not be able to open your business you know, for business? So based on all the changes that have happened in such a short amount of time...
We are embarking on a new time in human history that will potentially be remembered much like many of the major shifts in humanity be it world wars or plagues or when space exploration became known as possible. We are currently writing this history but rather than bringing us together as a species, we find ourselves being torn apart. Not by the disease but by the discussion of it, with the very technologies that were supposedly to bring us together.
Science now tells us that the actual death rate of the disease is quite low, .05 or so percent given current data (including asymtomatics) but the changes we continue to make to society will never likely be undone, not entirely. The changes we choose to allow be it government control, restricted connections, tracking, limited beliefs of what is possible is not who we are. Through all the years there have been wars that have killed millions. Tyrants who have wiped out huge swaths of people due to ideology or race or simply the desire for power. Some not that many years ago. Our history isn't pretty but sanitizing history has the profound ability to allow us to repeat it. Now our history can be deleted with the ease of the delete key. Is it too much to believe that the bad side of human nature didn't drastically disappear over 50 years but has simply been quietly waiting to reemerge? If millions could be manipulated into being loaded onto train cars to meet their demise only 50+ years ago is it so hard to believe that it couldn't happen again?
The old adage the pen is mightier than the sword could not be more true today. Combine that with the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words then that makes a video worth a million and you see how powerful the media has become as well as the tech giants who now filter what we see and hear and as a result think. We, as a people, are losing our ability to debate based on core logic and critical thinking and rather connect every decision made with feelings in spite of facts. We hold to our ideals so tightly that anything to the contrary is labeled as something horrible, while it could simply be a different idea or perspective. Even powerful awakenings such as the Me Too movement have been first weaponized by the Kavanaugh hearings then sabotaged by elevating Biden to democratic nominee even with plausible accusations.
Beliefs from anyone with a dissenting view of the mainstream ideals being presented are quickly being "fact checked" as wrong or simply pulled from the main media distribution. Not because they were factually incorrect in many cases. Even those with qualifications to to present such ideas are being censored and discredited. All because they didn't go along with the current viewpoint pushed by the powers that be. We no longer need a fire to burn books. It can happen with a simple algorithm. And its being applauded as great because it doesn't apply to our "community standards". Standards being chosen FOR you, not BY you.
Life is not easy. Life can not be sanitized. Bad things happen to good people no matter your religious beliefs. Why? Because its life. There will always be the poor, the sick, the in need. There will always be war, strife, pain, sorrow. One can never appreciate happiness if they never feel sadness. One can not appreciate a body without pain without having at some point felt it. Such is the human experience. This doesn't mean we should be callused at the reality of such predicaments such as we find ourselves in today but rather we should always work to do what we can to support each other in times of need. It also means we must reflect on the good that happens in the world every day rather than only concentrating on where we fail. For every video that pops up showing someone being angry with a fellow human there are instances all over of videos NOT MADE of a human caring for another without questioning it or being concerned of the potential views it would get if recorded. Bad news gets good ratings.
We will always fail. In one way or another it is part of the process of being human as well. Our country was formed to be a "more perfect union". The goal was not perfection because that is impossible. Perfection isn't where we find our strengths. We grow because we fail. We fail because we try. We keep trying and therefore we succeed. If we never fail then we are likely not doing something right. The question is will we learn from our failure? Not if we burn the evidence of it. Our history both long term as well as 2 months ago. The computer models used to predict the death outcomes from this contagion were wrong. The epidemiologist who made the predictions was wrong. The use of ventilators is being proven to not be an effective treatment. Anti-virals because they were mentioned by Trump were met with scorn. However, more and more doctors are coming out speaking about what they are finding with their own patients through their own experiences. And it doesn't jive with the public message that we are all going to die if we don't hide from each other. They are finding therapeutics that work and are cheap. What are we willing to destroy in order to maintain a false premise? Does all this mean the virus is a hoax? Absolutely not. But it does put into question our response to the virus. Again, if we don't have the guts to modify our response based on continuing mounting evidence we are doomed as a nation because the precedent will live far longer than the virus ever could.
We are more than the what is represented through the keyboard in front of us, through the FaceTime camera that connects us. More than the masked version of ourselves we currently present to the world. We are as limitless as our belief in ourselves and our fellow person.
There is evil in the world. There always has been. Always will be. Just because a person has a degree doesn't mean they don't have an agenda. Just because a person has money, doesn't make them evil. Just because they have a non-profit, doesn't make them God. Bias cuts both ways. Facts cut through lies. Critical thinking helps to determine facts from lies.
Are you willing to shift your belief or mindset in the face of new information? Are you willing to research further than your favorite news station to determine if what you are being fed is actually truth? In my 20's I looked at politics as something that didn't really matter because both sides went back and forth and whined and cried about the other side but in the end it really didn't affect me as I could always go do whatever I wanted to do and make money however I wanted to make it (within reasonable legal limits of course) and it really just didn't matter. So I ignored it. After 911 I was pissed. I wanted justice. But then issues raised with 911 caused me to question the narrative. The War with Iraq happened and the promises of WMD which never materialized. I was pissed again. But not at a radicalist across the world but at my own government for invading a nation with our soldiers on a false pretense (WMD). This ultimately kept us at war from then on. I voted for Obama in 2008 because it was time to stop the war machine. We wanted "change". Unknowingly I aided in a carrying on of villianous actions (many just now coming to light) and the change we wanted was far different than what we received.
I voted against Obama in 2012 in fear that we were slowly losing our country through poor decisions and outright determined actions to destroy our nation. Over the next 4 years I continued to awaken to the reality that what we are being sold has a darker truth. The media has become a propaganda machine not for the government but simply one side of the government. Perhaps not even a side.. But an undercurrent, a dark force that is determined to bring this country down at all costs.
In 2016, I placed my bet. Many don't like Trump. Many absolutely love Trump. I personally like the policies for the most part he has implemented. I cringe at some of the tweets. I completely agree with his foreign policy. From tariffs to wiping out a terrorist, I'd do the same thing given the shoes. I would prefer not to have all the name calling although at this point, I'd probably do the same. I'm not a racist. I have black friends, asian friends, Mexican friends, you name it. I do believe there is racism in America. I also believe racism can go both ways. I also believe that everything that happens is not automatically racist and that before labeling a person as such you better be damn well sure you are right. I believe gangs are bad, regardless of their skin color. I believe a child trafficker should be skinned alive, on tv. It will never happen but I guarantee you it would reduce the occurrence. The Super Bowl is the number one event for human trafficking in the world. If the rich celebrities were really worried about children from 3rd world countries they would help stop it. Putting a knee to the flag, or buying box seats doesn't cut it. I have no empathy for a gang member who drives by and kills innocents or forces young people who have lost hope into their memberships. I have no empathy for Coyotes who cross our border with children paired with adults who are not their parents because our immigration laws are stupid. I believe that we should continue to have the right to succeed and fail in America. Because it is that push that makes America great. I believe that there should be a safety net for those who against all efforts failed and found themselves in bad situations. I believe capitalism is good. I believe the current implementation of capitalism is destroying America. I believe socialism will never work, history proves it. I believe socialism is communism lite. We have texts from socialist leaders who tell us this. I believe we should believe them.
Having the ability to hold 2 thoughts or opinions in ones head simultaneously allows us to do the hard part of weighing them. If you no longer see the other perspective then the mental scales of justice in your head have failed you. And by doing so there is no justice.
I beg of you if you have followed me to the end of this to simply question the narrative. Regardless which side you are on because right now your "side" may be presenting the facts. And the scales of justice may way in your paradigms favor. But be warned, tides turn, and if you don't remain vigilant your thoughts become swayed to push someone else's agenda and then our republic falls.
With love to all who seek the truth and a dire warning to those who seek evil. We are awake.
I want to preface this article with the statement that infection rate, method of transmission, and many other facets of the COVID-19 virus at the time of this writing are still not nailed down. We do however know more than we did and more is coming out with each passing day and week. This article outlines some of the reasons why, as the CDC said, the virus could disrupt our lives as a result of its spread. And it still isn't the virus itself that could likely be the biggest issue however that could change in time. Americans (and there are many) over 55 the virus could be life threatening especially given hospitals will surely be overwhelmed so I don't want to under play this at all. There is a reason China decided to build a hospital in 10 days and it wasn't due to them announcing the issue this year. They had been fighting it since November.
The virus outbreak is something that while horrible, shouldn't come as a complete shock to many of us who have been preparing for such an event for upwards of 10 years. My family has been preparing for some level of breakdown in supply chains, food, medications, you name it since 2010. We were quietly (ok, maybe not too quiet given we went on a national tv show) preparing for what we hoped never would happen but knew, given the worlds reliance on each other, was a possibility. Whether it was a wide spread natural disaster such as an earthquake or something more invasive like a virus outbreak, we knew that the world-wide system we all know and love including next day shipping to your house, could fail. Just in time inventory is a large part of this fragility. Wal-mart doesn't maintain huge storehouses. Amazon doesn't either although theirs are larger than Wal-Mart. They realize that inventory costs money. And with the ability to receive shipments quickly from around the world and the complicated computer systems monitoring consumption, its easier to order as needed using prediction methodologies.
Before I continue I want to again state that I'm still not saying that we are on the brink of the inevitable. I still believe as summer nears that the virus will reduce and disappear. However, there is no guarantee it will and certainly no guarantee it won't come back next year. The symptoms are very similar to the common cold or flu. Infection rate seems to be much higher however. So next year, you get a cough and think nothing of it. Come to find you had COVID-19. From the time you thought you had a common cold to the time you knew you had COVID-19, how many people did you contact? You can see how this will be a problem until there is a solid vaccine out there assuming it doesn't mutate.
10 years ago we started preparing for what might be a disruption of our daily lives. We have food storage, weapons, water purification, the list goes on. 8 years ago we discovered essential oils and they became a core part of our prep. They changed our lives from a level of how we see managing our health. And for the most part it's worked. 8 years later we haven't gone to the doctor for a cold or flu. We use doctors when we need them but only when we truly need them. We have also not purchased over the counter solutions either. Prior to this shift in mindset and EO use I was getting strep 2 times a year, flu 1 time per year. So for those out there who don't believe, well, the earth is round too. There is too much science out to support efficacy of EO's to ignore their benefit.
Until there is a vaccine for COVID-19 the most of what the healthcare system can do for you is support your respiratory system, provide fluids, antibiotics (to keep you from getting something else - likely picked up in the hospital) and WAIT. Wait for your body to take care of itself. I'm not saying you don't need to get medical treatment in the event of contracting this. You do. For the sake of everyone around you as much as yourself. I'm saying the strength of your body and its immune system is the primary defense that will determine whether you succeed or fail. Oils help the body boost its immune system and prepare for the fight.
For those of you who are my friends and use oils (I know they are many) now is the time to be vigilant regarding use of diffusion in your home, using protective blends topically, stocking up on protective gelcaps (on guard +). Respiratory blends such as Breathe and Cardamom. Cleansing oils such as Purify, OnGuard surface cleansing options, OnGuard hand sanitizer (lots of it). Foundational support to give your body the needed nutrients so its not starving on a micronutrient level so its able to fight the good fight.
For those of you who have been following me and are curious what essential oils could do for you and your family, please reach out. Simply click on the Health4ADV logo on the right and you will have the opportunity to connect directly to us. If you want to learn what products we recommend to be using now, watch the video below. I can get into why I chose dōTERRA and why so many of the so called oils out there won't have the effects I'm speaking of but that is a topic all on its own. I CAN say dōTERRA has unique delivery methods that will be critical to support your body during this from nutritional supplements to gelcaps that target the immune system to natural hand sanitizers and surface cleansers that work better than more toxic options on the market.
For those of you who still think I'm crazy, well, you are always welcome to come over to the dark side, we have health :). If not, and you still think the government will save you. Good luck, you might need it.
Winter camping on a motorcycle has a few extra considerations to take into account or your time in the elements can be uncomfortable at best and flat out dangerous at worst. Motorcycle camping in any season tends to take a great deal of gear but adding the cold element add to the load. The potential for snow, short days, damp wood, bitter winds and more all are set to put a cramp in your camping style.
Fair weather camping sets you up for certain conveniences that allow you to skimp on gear or ignore it entirely. Winter camping can be far more brutal should you find yourself lacking in critical items. In the warmer months if you have less quality gear it might be uncomfortable but it certainly isn't going to be dangerous. Consider these as must haves for a comfortable winter camp.
1. 4 season tent. Most tents are not made for 4 seasons. Even when they say they are. If you find a tent that is comfortable in the winter most often that means you will burn up in the heat of the summer. My snugpak Scorpion 3 tent was an example of such a tent. It was comfortable in Fall, Winter, and Spring but there was simply no way to get enough ventilation to keep from getting hot in the summer. I upgraded last fall to the Hilleberg Nammatj 3GT and of course had to test it in cold camping as soon as possible. After camping in low 20's on the crest of a mountain with relatively high wind I can say this tent fit the bill for what I was looking for. The front of the tent has a large vestibule allowing me to store my gear and even due to the wind and cold and lack of decent firewood get in from the elements while still having the ability to cook hot tea and food. (precautions much be taken when cooking inside a tent but out of the scope of this article). Again motorcycle camping lends you to having more equipment especially in the winter so having a dry place to store your suit, helmet and other gear without having to crawl around it is welcomed.
I had the pleasure to meet up with Simon and Lisa along with Candida Louis and stay at a beautiful Bed & Breakfast at Penmerryl Farm right after Overland Expo East. Spending time with amazing people like this as well as Laura Pittkin (one of the owners and fellow rider) who joined us for the evening is truly what travel is all about.
This farm is tucked away in the Shenandoah Valley and has one of the most exquisite breakfasts I've had at a Bed and Breakfast. The owners love motorcycles and ride themselves. The area is only a few miles away from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Travelers coming either direction on the Blue Ridge can find rest at this wonderful location. It is surrounded by great rides and curvy roads are literally everywhere. You can stay comfortably and cozy in a cabin complete with a full kitchen or stay in one of the lodge rooms that is setup more like a typical hotel room.. Well, except for the amazing breakfast in the morning.
The property is complete with horses and donkeys as well as a lake in the back where a tall tree hosts a nest of bald eagles that if you are lucky will be in view. They don't provide rental horses but they do allow you to bring your own and enjoy the trails in the area. You can even choose to stay in your horse trailer if it is so equipped for a lesser amount.
They also have a tavern on the property complete with pool table and bar although the bar isn't in action just yet. They are working on it though so stay tuned.
I would say IF you get the opportunity to stay here you should, but it is more appropriate to say WHEN you FIND the opportunity because it really is worth the drive.
I look forward to spending time up this direction again. Beautiful roads and the nicest people, what more can you ask for? Click here and find out more information regarding this jewel located on the Blue Ridge.
Until next time, ride safe, ride far, ride on.
- David Mays
The next generation is almost always held with some level of distaste by the generation that currently has buying power. The “in my day” and “when I was young” almost certainly leads to some explanation of how it was then vs how it is now. And to a level many of those generalities can be linked back to some level of truth, somewhere.
The challenge is when we assume the entire lot is of a certain belief, mindset, or generally not ready to have the torch passed to it. I believe that growing up takes longer now. Several reasons for this: labor laws, helicopter parents, professional lawn care services lol, you name it, they all have changed the way our kids grow up. In many ways not for the better.
The Millennial generation along with those coming after it are the first to grow up with devices and internet at their constant disposal. You no longer have to go somewhere to learn something, you simply need to google it. This alone is not an issue. It’s very powerful to have the world literally at your fingertips. With great power comes great responsibility it would seem. We have all found ourselves more buried into our tech than we would like at one time or another. Device addiction doesn’t just hit Millennials but all of us in one way or another.
Happy Birthday wishes are flooding in from close and far friends from about every electronic platform I subscribe to. I'm grateful to all of those and feel loved by having so many reach out. It's become easier to wish someone a birthday wish than in the past, now its just a small slice of time but even then with so many things tugging at our focus, even that is something to be cherished.
As I wake up to the realization of being on this planet for 47 years I recognize I'm not the typical "party hard" for my birthday but I tend to go down more of a reflective course. Where am I with my life, who have I surrounded myself with, what connections have I made, where have I been, where am I going. Thoughts that could lead one down a path of self deprecation or perhaps a path of hope in the future. I choose hope. I have determined one never gets everything done they want either in a day or a decade or a life time. I find myself passionate about a lot of things, from filmmaking to photography to health to adventure in all forms. I also realize time is real and it continues to move no matter our best intentions of ignoring it.
What we do with the time we are given on this planet matters. Or at least it should. Who do we matter to, whose lives have we touched. Were we a positive or negative to that life. When it is all said and done, why were we here in the first place and would we be missed. What legacy do we leave behind. I just returned from an event where many of those I call close friends are literally 1/2 my age. Seeing life through their lenses is an interesting experiment and one that can invoke youth back in ones own thinking. I highly recommend it. Having the courage of youth with the wisdom of age is likely the best takeaway I could make to my real life character I am portraying.
In the book, The ONE Thing, it speaks of the path of mastery. "When you can see mastery as a path you go down instead of a destination you arrive at, it starts to feel accessible and attainable." At 47 I realize there is no destination per se but rather a journey that continues to blossom along the way. Wisdom comes from applied experience. Experience is typically what you get when you are not getting what you want. And there is the rub. If we don't fail, we can't succeed. Fear of failure can paralyze some while catapulting others. The beauty is, it's always our choice. The book also speaks of mastery coming from doing the one thing for 10,000 hours. The 1993 psychologist K. Anders Ericsson published "The role of deliberate Practice" stating that the 10k hours is a rule, not a guideline. Consistent effort over time trumps natural talent every time. Golf legend Jack Nicholas spoke of his body shape not being ideal but that his practice couldn't be beat. He practiced himself to greatness. His stubby fingers and stocky build be damned.
I find myself passionate about so many different things it is easy to feel overwhelmed on whether I will ever master any of them but instead be the Jack of many trades. I've never liked the term btw. But I press on and follow those passions and incorporate as many as I can into my life as long as they give me growth and enjoyment. Stretching oneself is likely the best way to never grow old. Once we believe (inaccurately) that we have arrived... We have lost. Once we believe we can no longer make a difference. We have failed. Once we believe that who we are is all we can be, we are forgotten.
I truly believe that anyone can achieve what they set out to be, do, become. It takes time, consistent effort, and a passion within to find what moves your soul. As I enjoy my 47th I hope to all of you who read this to enjoy your day as well and realize there will never be another day like today. Take it, love it, absorb it, record it however you must. But above all remember it. And take each day to grow just a little bit. And when you are 47 or whatever that number is for you, you will look back on all those days and discover how they were all responsible for making you who you are today. Hopefully someone you can be happy with knowing.
I am happy with who I am, where I have been (good and bad) and where I am going and especially who I have become in the process. I look forward to the next 10 years or even 20. Life is a mystery and our thoughts ultimately give definition to that mystery. The wave becomes the particle. (a topic perhaps for another time).
So, here's to 47! Cheers!!
I have been riding motorcycles since 1995 when I bought a used 1984 Honda Nighthawk. My wife at the time and I rode that bike with lame soft bags, t-shirts, shorts and tennis shoes all the way to Florida from Kentucky primarily for the economy of it. Needless to say I was unaware then of the concept of ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time). Years and many bikes passed by including a 82' Honda Silverwing, 97' BMW R1100RT, and a 00' BMW R1200RS, 09' BMW R1150RT. No accidents other than a dump drop here and there. Little to no damage. Nothing I would consider "OH MY GOD, these things are dangerous" type accident.
In 2014 I watched a TV series that changed many lives called "The Long Way Round" by Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman and the idea of traveling off road and buying a BMW R1200GSA was born. What better bike than one that claims to be capable off road but still have comforts of long road riding. The concept of off road motorcycling captivated my imagination as a kid and I remember my Dad and I going to the Honda shop and collecting brochures of dirt bikes, for years. Dad never owned a dirt bike. Dad was always fiscally responsible and so dirt bikes just never made the list. Ok, to be fair, Mom probably played a role. Like a "not on your life" type role lol.. His dream never died and neither did mine. It wasn't 6 months after I bought that Nighthawk that Dad bought a bike, too. Ultimately he ended up with a Goldwing and now at 83 he still has his Goldwing but polishes it and thinks about it more than rides it. He started late living his dream. I swore I wouldn't wait to live mine.
My dream of travel was first realized in 2015 on the GSA where I took a 5000 mile trip off/on road west, then north then back home camping most of the way. It changed me from then on and I knew my desire to learn and experience would only grow from there. Motorcycling, I have discovered, is the outward expression of an inward desire to experience life.
There is something unique about a motorcycle. The openness, the freedom, the fluidity it creates in travel. Want to stop and take a picture? Its a 30 sec stop if you want. You smell the flowers, the fields, the streams, you are part of the environment rather than watching it on a TV screen (known as a windshield). Everything that happens in the environment you feel, smell, even taste (for better or worse). People who ride get it.. Those who don't, can't. For some it is a matter of overcoming fear. For others it is mastering a skill that sets them apart from most. For others it is simply a way to belong. Oddly, motorcycling is considered a solo sport because no matter how many people are with you, you are still alone with yourself in your head. That was at least true until the proliferation of wireless communications. For me I enjoy both, although solo is still my favorite. It allows me to center, to find ME again. When its been a while since I've ridden I can feel it - that need to just watch some miles go by.
That's part of what made this year difficult for me. Over all the years of motorcycling, through all the bikes and well over 150k miles, I never had a wreck outside of tumbles off road (which are kind of expected). And then this year happened. I had just upgraded from my beloved 2014 BMW GSA to the BMW Triple Black 2018 R1200GSA. What a beauty. Bought it in late Oct 2017 and had a couple thousand miles on it when a friend and I were riding off-road in January and I was following him. Between a taillight covered in mud, a missed turn recognized late and stopping to turn back, combined with sun blazing at my 10 o'clock, the year of accidents began. How could this happen? Literally it was seconds and poof, I'm flying and bike is going one way and me the other. How could I be so stupid to actually hit him?
Fast forward, bike is fixed, good as new, friend's bike is fixed as well and we are back in business little to no injury thank goodness for either of us. I take the repaired bike out west for the Overland Expo West event putting the accident mentally behind me as one of those crazy things that can happen to anyone but that certainly won't happen again. At least not soon and not in that way. Always assume the person in front of you is stopping.. Lesson learned. Heading back from Arizona through New Mexico I'm stunned at the scenery and dying to take some pictures of the landscape, so I'm consciously looking left to see any legal road, dirt or otherwise, that would lead me up into the desert for some quality images. Finally. A dirt county road heading up to a crest of a nice size hill that should give a great view both ways for different shot options. Perfect. I traveled about 2 miles up the dirt road after crossing at least one cattle gate and coming to another expecting it to be the same. Cattle gates are everywhere and expected. I assume this gate will be like the others. I goose the bike a bit to take the load off the front wheel due to some wash out in front of the gate. Suddenly I'm flying through the air and landing in front of the bike. Wait.. What? How could this happen? What did I even hit? I'm alone for God's sake. How could I be so stupid? Wait a second.. This wasn't on me this time. It turns out a rancher, unhappy with the reality that a county road went through his land, decided to place a guide wire across the cattle gate and lock it to a post on the other side. No signage, No warning. No nothing. Thankfully the wire caught my front forks rather than higher which could have decapitated me. It body slammed my 25mph 700+ lb motorcycle picking the rear end up and slamming it in front of the bike while at the same time ripping the post out of the ground and whipping it around over my head to the other side of the bike. Yeah, it could have been worse.
I'm getting up off the ground and seeing parts of the bike laying around me and an internal rage began to flow. But then a second reality. No cell service. But no injuries. Well, can't use the SOS button. Just embrace the suck. Then reality sets in.. yeah, the bike had issues but, could it be ok? Sure enough. Still works. This is why I ultimately bought another one. These things can take a beating and keep on ticking. After taking lots of pictures I righted the bike and rode the bike out. Found an officer, filed a report in hopes the rancher could be charged. The fence was illegal by county ordinance. In short, because of no injuries, insurance didn't pursue further.
Rode the bike all the way home only to find the damage sustained totaled the bike. Wow, 2 accidents and one bike down. Surely this is the end of my bad luck streak, right? This is when the loving non-motorcycle riding friends started to say... "Um.. perhaps you should take up a less dangerous sport?" I get it. I love you too, but it doesn't work that way for me. Let's just get another bike, shall we?
Enter 2018 BMW Triple Black GSA #2. 200 miles on the clock and I'm loving the new bike I'm feeling confident again (having to ride the GSA 1 1600 miles home did a lot of curbing the "nervous feelings" of throwing a leg over after an accident). My wife Holly and I plan a trip to a cabin a few hundred miles away as a belated anniversary get away combined with a work trip and as a break-in for her getting to ride on the new bike. 30 minutes from arrival at the cabin and a blue truck waiting to turning left across my path whom I made eye contact with, yet he decided to make a go of it anyway. Traveling about 45 mph I slammed on the brakes and just before slamming into the side of the truck told Holly in a probably too calm of voice, "We're going to hit". She had already slammed into me from my braking, so upon impact we both went simultaneously off the bike and toward the truck. I hit the side of the truck and she bounced off of me and back onto the ground. Thankfully, I learned a few lessons from the years ago "shorts, short sleeves, carefree riding style" on the Nighthawk. All three accidents this year I was dawning top level Klim gear and Adventure boots and Holly equally equipped with BMW gear. We both sustained injuries but compared to what it could have been we were fortunate.
8 weeks of therapy (Kudos to Dr. Corey Idrogo at Centerpointe Health and Wellness) and healing from a knee injury and Holly with bruised ribs and other bruises gave us some time to think. Do we get another bike? Are we mitigating risk as much as possible? Is it worth it? What about our 15 yr old son? Is it selfish to do this activity knowing that at any point something like this could happen and have long lasting results?
And then I thought, what would I teach him by giving it up? Yes, I love it but, better not do it because there is risk? What in life can you do and not have risk? Can you really eliminate all risk, and if you could, would you want to? Isn't the risk part of what drives us forward? To press ahead aware of the possible negative outcome but hopeful for the prize? Overcome the challenge?
The motorcycle industry has been shrinking over the years and all the manufacturers are still scratching their heads trying to figure out exactly why. The adventure market is the only segment that has remained steady and you are seeing manufacturers such as Harley Davidson enter the market in hopes of reviving their own market share and take on the younger generation of riders. Many look at stagnant wages, job uncertainty, or perhaps the reality of far more distracted drivers on the road today (hello cell phones) as being the culprit. While all of these certainly are factors I believe there is a fundamental shift that is happening in the US and perhaps the world that I see to be far more devastating not only to motorcycling but life in general. We, as a people, are losing the ability to dream. To shoot for the stars. To do something not because it makes a buck but because you just need to do it. In the world of warning labels on everything from straws to vehicles we are programmed by the media to fear everything. I still believe all things are possible and I believe that everything has risk and I would rather do what I love and mitigate the risk as much as possible than to live to a ripe old age thinking about all the things I chose not to do because I was scared of what "might" happen. Fear is a matter of perspective. The same thing that gives a person sweaty palms, fast heart-rate, dilated pupils and is explained as terrified is the same physical response described by a person who is excited and ready to take on the next challenge.
So which is it for you? What do you want to do? How do you want to live? Do you choose the stars or are you satisfied with setting your sights lower. I choose the stars.. I also chose to get 2018 BMW R1200GSA 3. I may miss the stars but if I do it will be a beautiful view on the way down. This life isn't a practice session. It's the real deal. You either make it what you want or you don't. Choose wisely!
Anniversaries are something to be cherished and celebrated although for some reason Holly and I seem to have something scheduled on top of our anniversary every year. So each year we promise to take a little time away specific to the celebration but many times, if not most times, it never quite happens and another year slips away.
This year would be different we said. Although we missed again celebrating on April 25 we had plans to do something special that was just for us. Deanna Naddie, a friend of ours through dōTERRA (how we earn our living) reached out prior stating she had a cabin for rent that had openings during the six week blueberry season. I love blueberries and love staying in a quaint cabin where internet and even cell phone service can't pierce the tranquility. However, this time we would find that lack of communications was not freeing at all on this trip. Regardless, we were in. Although it was a couple months after our actual date, Holly and I were excited to be actually celebrating 17 years of marriage, and although not a "special number" 17 is a lot of years together.
We made all the necessary arrangements to have our son stay with his cousin, get the cats taken care of, and all the typical running around you do prior to leaving even for a few days. I'm reminded how complex life can be even when you fill it with good things. Things still require attention. A thought to ponder at another time perhaps.
We successfully dropped off Nicholas and were off on our Anniversary adventure. A note about adventures, they are never guaranteed to be what you want, only they are guaranteed to be...an adventure. We were hungry and decided to head to Pandora's Motorsports on the way out of town as they had a hotdog stand there for the day and I thought it would be fun to see everyone before we left town. After all, this was our first voyage on the new replacement BMW from the total not long ago. We limit our intake of Hotdogs as you might imagine given our healthy lifestyle but as we tell those we consult with, live the 90/10 rule where 90% of what you do is healthy and the other 10% is what keeps you human.
From there we were checking the weather as there was a line of storms coming through and it was pretty nasty so we decided to make haste and attempt to reach downtown Chattanooga where we could enjoy the downtown while waiting for the storm to pass. We were so close.. But didn't make it before the bottom fell out and we had to seek shelter under an overpass. Met a fellow bicyclist while waiting. The storm passed quickly and we were on our way.
We said our goodbyes to Bill and headed west toward our secluded cabin. Outside of the hotdog we ate hours ago, we hadn't had anything to eat that day and were finding ourselves very prepared to eat. It is about that point when the thought of hunger hit me that everything started to go a bit wrong. While only 30 minutes away from our cabin traveling west bound on Hwy 50 nearing an intersection to the on/off ramp for I65 an east bound pickup truck decided to turn left in front of us. I slammed on the brakes and truly thought I would be able to stop up until about 15 ft away where I said through my coms to Holly, "we are going to hit". It was at that point where my brand new 2018 BMW GSA with around 516 miles on the ODO struck the right rear quarter panel of a blue GMS Sierra pick up truck. Luckily most speed had been bled off and the strike likely was around 20-25mph but enough to cause significant damage to the bike and to find us separated from it. Some recall is a bit blurry and we have had to stitch the memory back together based on bruises and other memories that came in pieces.
What we did know, is our trip had significantly changed. So many things goes through your mind prior to an accident assuming you have time to calculate it and this time was no different. Denial I have to admit was the first thing that hit my head. Surely, this isn't about to happen again, to me, on this bike. You see, this bike was a replacement bike that I had just got loaded up with my extras and lights and top case etc. The vinyl wrap was scheduled to occur the week after we got back home. This replacement bike was due to an identical bike that was totaled in New Mexico as a result of traveling on an open county road where a rancher, whose land the country road traversed, wasn't keen on travelers being on the road and decided to solve the "problem" by placing a taunt thin/yet strong steel cable (like you see as guide wires for telephone poles) across the cattle gate without signs warnings or otherwise. I hit it and luckily it caught the bike under the fender and yanked the bike much like the bit does to a horse except without releasing. The result landed me on the ground and my bike suffering like an animal that had been put down. Luckily I walked away from that incident unscathed and rode the bike home only to find due to the damages the cable and the result "landing" had caused the bike to be totaled. And so here I was again, finding myself once again without a bike, but alive. More than I can say for many who have totaled bikes. The gear you were CAN save your life and at the minimum minimize your injuries.
This time was different. This time, my wife was with me. It is one thing for me to have an accident and feel as though I am in control (although if one thing I have learned we are never in control) and realize that if an accident occurs I'm willing to deal with those decisions and the resulting pain and suffering that can come with it. But when my wife, who trusts me to protect her and take care of her as I promised to do 17 years ago, is part of the accident and resulting chaos I feel the responsibility on a far different plane. She would of course have a different opinion as she would say she knows the risks and happily accepted them. Regrettably that doesn't lighten the emotional load.
After the impact and once we came back to the accident mentally we started taking inventory of body parts, aches, pains, moving toes, legs etc. Amazing how little you feel directly after an accident, even the next day. It is as though your body shuts it off and says, not yet, deal with your surroundings and make sure you are safe, you can hurt later. The second interesting fact is the sheer amount of information that comes in during an accident and the processing limitation you have for that amount of information. The brain generally takes in 2000 bits of information per second and when things move really fast the issue of tunnel vision reduces the number of the 2000 bits recorded to be what the brain at that moment believes is the most important for that point in time. This is why eye witnesses can have drastically different recollections because in a traumatic event it is your focus that determines what you actually record. As a result, Holly and I didn't have clear memories of how we actually got off the bike. While we were at the accident neither of us thought we hit the ground or even left the bike. But neither of us could remember how we got off. From bruises and injuries it was later pieced together that Holly did in fact hit the ground although we are not sure how or where, and I don't think I hit the ground but rather hung onto the truck after impact. Our injuries seem to support that conclusion.
Moments after the accident I was found staring at my "dead horse" in both shock and anger and Holly was quickly on her feet with her helmet off so I knew she was ok to a level but unsure what injuries she may have had. While standing staring and likely yelling sweet nothings at anyone who would listen the driver of the truck was kind enough to request that I sit down. Come to find he was a paramedic, what are the chances. He was very apologetic and was very helpful in calming me to the point where I started feeling pain again. My shin took a hit and my knee was starting to hurt. On a side note, the paramedic, my accident dance partner, was wanting to take a look at my leg and the only option I had was take my riding pants off. Without hesitation I did only to realize I was left wearing nothing but my MotoSkiviz. Yes, likely would have been a great advertisement for them had anyone taken a picture. Considering I ended up limping around the accident for several minutes until the EMS finally told me to get on the stretcher it's likely I'm somewhere on someone's facebook in my undies. Oh well.. Ambulance finally arrived and I ultimately ended up for a ride of a different sort. Holly was also injured but she fell into the "take care of everyone else mode" and didn't realize how bad her ribs were till much later. If you have had cracked or even bruised ribs you know that every breath is a reminder of your injury. She had that to look forward to once the adrenaline as well as the pain patch they provided at the hospital wore off.
Both of us in gowns and placed in facing ER rooms we were realizing this would likely be an anniversary celebration we would never forget. The hospital verified what we had hoped that there were no broken bones but that I had a possible knee strain if not a tear. More testing would be required to know. Holly had bruised ribs although not broken but follow up would also be needed to be certain. Not how I intended to spend our time. But it is what it is.. The hospital provided a brace and crutches for my leg and they stated I needed to have it looked at further to determine if there was soft tissue damage. Having had tendon damage in my shoulder in the past I was not looking forward to any prognosis especially with my legs because that limits just about everything I like to do from hiking to photography to camping much less motorcycling. Hoping for the best on that one.
Now the reality of an accident while on the road away from home on a motorcycle sets in. Luckily Deanna was not far away and was kind enough to come get us and after a much needed dinner took us back to the cabin so we could figure out what we do next.
The cabin was exactly as described. Quaint, quite, and away from technology of all sorts. A place for introspection, reading, writing, and all in all recharging our natural batteries. Well, assuming you haven't just been in an accident. Since our plans had changed the recharging would once again have to wait as Insurance was calling our dead phones and emails were needing to be sent from non-internet and reality was we were going to have to get "life" back in order before relaxing any time soon.
We spent the majority of our time at Deanna's house where we did have internet and our cell phones were able to make calls through her wifi in order to get all the necessary calls and emails and pictures sent so Insurance could get moving on what had happened. I learned the hard way when I was in New Mexico that not taking care of a claim and all questions prior to leaving the area could leave you in a poor position to charge the appropriate party with the claim. Because I left New Mexico I was unable to get the local police to properly investigate the property where the steel cable was placed making it not possible or perhaps feasible for my insurance to go after the rancher for the violation of an improper gate. So the claim became a no fault rather than an at fault by other party. So I didn't want to make that same mistake again especially since this was another claim so close to the last one. Luckily in both cases we took lots of photos which told the story and backed us up in everything we were saying.
Day 1 1/2 of our 2 1/2 day adventure was now complete after spending a wonderful evening with Deanna and having an amazing lamb chop dinner late into the evening. Spending time with people is truly where I find the most adventure. Hearing stories by connecting with friends new or old and sharing our lives with each other is how we truly seat memories into our brain for later recall. Everything else, the travel, the adventure, the enriching of our experiences is just getting us to the point of either having a story to tell or listening to one being told. I find I relish in this sharing experience more and more the older I get.
The next day we were able to read a bit and even relax some. Since our original intention was to use the cabin as a base and go and ride around the area on the bike we actually weren't prepared to have our plans this altered. I also wanted to see the Blueberry farm and Deanna was kind enough to take us on a tour. There are 14 varieties of blueberries grown on this land and it is amazing just how different they can taste. From smoky to sweet the massive blueberries by all accounts did not disappoint in their flavor and fresh taste.
Grown without pesticides or toxic sprays it was comforting to pick the berries straight from the bush and eat them immediately to taste the different flavors as Deanna took us through the different rows on the golf cart. I've never had a blueberry with more taste or juice as these did. Amazing. If you are around this area during blueberry season it's worth the drive to purchase these beautiful berries where you can have them picked or pick them yourself. Unlike blackberries, blueberries are almost a pleasure to pick as the bushes are quite tall and there are literally clusters of them easily within grasp. Had we not just been in an accident it would have been fun to pick our own. We ended our evening exhausted from dealing with a peg leg or the inability to breathe deep but still managed to open a bottle of champagne I brought from Chattanooga in order to make mimosas that we shared that evening bringing back memories of the same we had on our wedding day years ago. We watched a movie which I had downloaded prior to losing internet and finished the evening exhausted but happy to be together.
The next day it was back to the issue at hand. We still had insurance issues to deal with, had to figure out a way to get home and still needed to deal with the bike. So we took Deanna's car to the body shop that hosted the bike to give it a look one more time and take a ton of pictures and take things from the bike like a garage door opener, phone charger etc. We had been instructed to leave anything that was part of the bike on the bike. I was careful to take pictures of all the add-ons I had done to the bike in hopes that I will once again get all that stuff for yet another new bike. Sadly we left the bike and went back to determine the fate of a rental car.
Rental cars in that area were not exactly dropping from trees. Enterprise was out of cars, U-Save had no one-way rentals so we went to a Hertz in town. Crutches and leg brace installed and hoping for some pity we came to the counter and explained we had been in an accident and needed a vehicle to travel back home. Regrettably, he stated they had no vehicles available at this time. Apparently a neck brace would have been required for true sympathy. Disappointed but not without resolve we thanked him and left to eat and figure out plan...D? During lunch we went to Expedia and discovered we could rent a car from Hertz and they had 6 cars available. Recognizing how little the attendant seemed to really care of our demise I questioned when we left if what he was telling us was accurate so we pushed the button and secured the car. Voila, email came and with reservation in hand we went back to the same attendant and with a chip in his step he was all but happy to help us and explained he would have a car right out to us. It was as if we were a different couple than who we were merely 30 minutes prior. I looked at Holly with likely blades piercing from my eyes and hoping she would bring sanity to my next move. In full self control and with key in hand (in order for him to not change his mind) I simply had to ask the obvious question. "So, when we came in 30 minutes ago asking for a car and none were available, how did that actually work since we were able to get one of 6 listed online. He gave a lame answer about not having real time inventory and that you could actually rent a car that they don't even have etc.. Um.... Ok... And we left. I didn't share that I counted the cars in his lot and miraculously the total came to six counting the one we drove off in. Regardless, I simply didn't have the energy to explain just how little that made sense and wrote it off as just another paragraph in a story.
Right leg in brace, I'm unable to drive so Holly takes the controls of our fashionable Nissan Versa and we are back at the cabin loading up our things now in grocery bags since the hard bags we originally packed in are still mounted on the downed bike. So we are off, feeling somewhat accomplished to having survived a collision and it would seem we will be back to normal within a few hours. We stop by once again to see Deanna and her beautiful blueberry farm and thank her once again for all the help she gave during our unique trip away.
It wasn't long before rain started and became quite fierce in different stages. This is when it would have been incredible to have a camera at the ready. Around 5pm, we had made it back to i24 from 840, the most direct route home, meaning we were on the road with mostly people who were tired from a long days work and were already mentally sitting at home ready to enjoy their evening. About that time I looked left and saw a vehicle who had been traveling to close to the car in front of him slam on the brakes and enter into a full on skid due to the lead car having to mash the brakes. The skidding vehicle stayed calm however still encroaching on the slowing vehicle to the point where I thought he would clip the vehicle in the left rear. This of course would have sent the nose of the vehicle into our lane and once again I would be making a call to our embattled insurance company. Luckily the car, while continuing to skid, gently moved to the left and into the median and came to a safe although "wrecker required" stop. Holly and I looked at each other and decided if we can just get home we might just stay there for a while.
We made it home without further incident and spent the better part of the day working to insure everything is being handled as it is supposed to with regard to our vehicles and medical etc.. That process we would find is not anywhere close to being over. I have discovered there is never a winner in an accident no matter whose fault it is. So much time required to deal with all the factors.
Even though this adventure did not go as planned we still made the best of it and above all did it together and we were able to come home together, for the most part, in good health all considering. To that we are both blessed and grateful.
Until our next adventure!!
So let's be honest.. We love to travel and get in hard to get to locations but at the same time we are dreadfully stressed over taking our gear into these same locations. It would seem through all the bag purchases that I have made no one bag ever fits my exact needs and so... I look for the "next" bag in hopes it will fill my needs. Then I have non-photography bags that fit certain needs for the function they were made such as hiking or climbing but not photography needs so I find myself moving my gear from one bag to the next in hopes of some compromise only to find some of my needed hiking/climbing/adventuring gear got scuttled in lieu of camera gear. The process is frustrating to say the least.
I may have found the ultimate solution and in doing so added security for my camera and gear while keeping the flexibility of different purposes whether it is on the bike, in a backpack, overnight hike, whatever. Flexibility along with padded protection for the sensitive gear is something we all look for but typically give up one or the other just to get the job done.
Enter Tenba.. I first discovered Tenba while I was staying with Simon and Lisa Thomas with 2ridetheworld.com in North Carolina when they were traveling through on their way to Mexico. They have the same issues any traveling photographer has except with the added complexity of limited space and potential vibration/jarring issues. They want to protect their gear in the smallest amount of room possible while still having reasonably quick access to their gear when they need it. Traveling on two motorcycles certainly adds to the challenge.
They carry the Fuji X-T2 Cropped frame camera system along with a host of fantastic lens (more than mine by far) so keeping all of that protected in as small a space as possible was critical. Once I saw their gear, I knew it was only a matter of time before I had chosen from the Tenba line what I would use myself. I settled, for now, on a couple different items. One to hold the camera and a few lenses and the other to hold flashes and accessories. I admit, I'll likely need to get one more small bag in order to round out my storage needs however, with these two bags I'm able to pretty much carry everything I need short of reflectors, tripods, etc that would never fit in a bag anyway. Being modular I can continue to add bags as my equipment investment grows.
So, what does all this look like? In two small bags I have now not only replaced my old bag but also split the weight load of my camera gear into two smaller bags that now can fit in whatever bag that I am using for the task at hand. Off for a hike, ride, etc? I can now stuff my minuscule camera bag in a day backpack, an overnight backpack, a tank bag, pannier, whatever best fits my needs for what and where I'm trying to go. The flexibility as well as the weight reduction is amazing! Plus, the benefit of protection.
The first bag which was the most difficult to select was the bag to hold the camera itself along with my primary lenses I tend to carry. I settled on the Tenba BYOB 9 Slim Backpack Insert. If you have a standard DSLR this bag will likely not be large enough to house the camera base much less with an attached lens. They make a standard size for that type of camera. One of the reasons I chose the Sony A7II was due to its size in comparison to standard DSLR's. This is one of the benefits of the mirrorless systems is their size advantage. Size matters and in this case, smaller is better. The other reason I chose mirrorless was for fewer moving parts which for a motorcycle photographer is critical considering it's impossible to eliminate all vibration and jarring.
In the BYOB 9 Slim bag I have housed the camera body attached to a 24-240mm full frame lens, 85mm full frame lens, and a 15mm full frame lens. In addition, I was also able to place a polarizing filter, a memory container and my tripod base along with lens cloths and some batteries. Those with a cropped body could potentially fit even more due to their diminutive lens sizes as compared to full frame. All snug which that alone tends to protect as well.
But wait, there's more! As any photographer would agree, much like motorcycles, when it comes to camera gear, you only need...one more. So in reality, having my base and lenses while being primary, isn't all of my needed gear depending on what I'm shooting. Accessories can be just as important such as flash, remotes, triggers, etc. This is where my second purchase filled the need. Enter the Tenba Toolbox 8. My goal for this bag was to secure my two primary flashes, remote trigger, and typical needed accessories. Mission accomplished. If I don't need flashes, I can leave the bag separate, if I do, it's an easy add-on bag to toss in. The bag comes with multiple configurable space organizers allowing you to configure the bag how you want or need for your purpose. I am a fan of speed lighting and specifically 2 flash photography so having both accessible was important for me. They have smaller toolbox options for those not needing the same amount of room. Fantastic.
The overall build of both cases is sturdy including quality padding, quality zippers with easy pull straps, and finally well thought out design such as clear top for the accessories and the custom designed zipper arrangement in the BYOB for flip down quick camera access. If you are looking for quality functional camera carrying solutions look no further than Tenba. You won't be disappointed.
Until next time.. Click!
Adventurist at heart, David Mays looks to inspire others to live their life with focus and purpose. Experience and expansion is why we are here.