Sunday, January 30, 2011
42 mobile dwellers showed up and joined Bob Wells of the cheaprvliving . com website to celebrate mobile life as well as trade stuff, sell stuff, learn and teach workshops about vandwelling and related things and just plain party! We had jugglers of flaming torches, women reading Tarot cards and men installing solar panels. Dogs roamed at will and all was mellow just like a bunch of dadgum hippies.
People came from as far away as Florida, British Columbia and Ontario, Canada as well as locals from Yuma and Phoenix area.
We camped together for three weeks on BLM lands with campfires every night and meals cooked and eaten together. Some folks like SunstoneKatie and GentleAlex did most of the cooking and we all helped at various levels. There were folks tending fires and folks giving seminars....we even had a great communal poop bucket and outhouse shelter for privacy....
Folks came and went and some were even working in the vendors areas in town...some folks were waiting for the "Big Tent RV" show so they could find summer jobs as campground hosts in the National Forests of the more northern states. Some got the jobs.
The workshops were: solar power, wind power, installing a hightop on a van, a couple "Women Who Roar" workshops for the women, work-kamping, living on public lands, health and dental care in Mexico, traveling in Mexico....with yours truly giving the latter seminar.
Jerry and Nelda came from Vancouver, OR and teased everyone with their Segway......what a machine!!!!!
My bearded and adventurous friend Paul showed up for a lot of it in his Lance camper and he and I plotted an escape to the Baja for a week or two and headed off into the Mexican haze....
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Sunday, January 2, 2011
There is cold, and then there is cold on a motorcycle.
Cold on a motorcycle is like being beaten with cold hammers while being kicked with cold boots, a bone bruising cold. The wind's big hands squeeze the heat out of my body and whisk it away; caught in a cold October rain, the drops don't even feel like water. They feel like shards of sharp bone fallen from the skies of Hell to shred my face. I expect to arrive with my cheeks and forehead streaked with blood, but that's just an illusion, just the misery of nerves not designed for highway speeds.
Despite this, it's hard to give up my motorcycle in the fall and I rush to get it on the road again in the spring; lapses of sanity like this are common among motorcyclists. When you let a motorcycle into your life you're changed forever. The letter "M" is stamped on your driver's license right next to your sex and weight as if "motorcycle" was just another of your physical characteristics, or maybe a mental condition.
But when warm weather finally does come around all those cold snaps and rainstorms are paid in full because a summer is worth any price. [Even with it's 110 degree blast furnace intensity.]
A motorcycle is not just a two-wheeled car; the difference between driving a car and climbing onto a motorcycle is the difference between watching TV and actually living your life. We spend all our time sealed in boxes' and cars are just the rolling boxes that shuffle us from home-box to work-box to store-box and back, the whole time, entombed in stale air, temperature regulated, sound insulated, and smelling of carpets.
On a motorcycle I know I'm alive. When I ride, even the familiar seems strange and glorious. The air has weight and substance as I push through it and its touch is as intimate as water to a swimmer. I feel the cool wells of air that pool under trees and the warm spokes of sun that fall through them. I can see everything in a sweeping 360 degrees, up, down and around, wider than Pana-Vision and IMAX and unrestricted by ceiling or dashboard.
Sometimes I even hear music. It's like hearing phantom telephones in the shower or false doorbells when vacuuming; the pattern-loving brain, seeking signals in the noise, raises acoustic ghosts out of the wind's roar. But on a motorcycle I hear whole songs: rock 'n roll, dark orchestras, women's voices, all hidden in the air and released by speed.
At 30 miles per hour and up, smells become uncannily vivid. All the individual tree- smells and flower- smells and grass- [smells of dung, hay fields just mowed or in bloom, and smells of car and truck exhaust and old cooking oil as you pass the greasy spoon; smells from the local bakery, smells both good and bad], smells flit by like chemical notes in a great plant symphony.
Sometimes the smells evoke memories so strongly that it's as though the past hangs invisible in the air around me, wanting only the most casual of rumbling time machines to unlock it. A ride on a summer afternoon can border on the rapturous.
The sheer volume and variety of stimuli is like a bath for my nervous system, an electrical massage for my brain, a systems check for my soul. It tears smiles out of me: a minute ago I was dour, depressed, apathetic, numb, but now, on two wheels, big, ragged, windy smiles flap against the side of my face, billowing out of me like air from a decompressing plane.
Transportation is only a secondary function. A motorcycle is a joy machine. It's a machine of wonders, a metal bird, a motorized prosthetic. It's light and dark and shiny and dirty and warm and cold lapping over each other; it's a conduit of grace, it's a catalyst for bonding the gritty and the holy.
I still think of myself as just another rider, but by now I've had a handful of bikes over a couple dozen years and slept under my share of bridges. I wouldn't trade one second of either the good times or the misery. Learning to ride was one of the best things I've ever done.
Cars lie to us and tell us we're safe, powerful, and in control. The air-conditioning fans murmur empty assurances and whisper, "Sleep, sleep."
Motorcycles tell us a more useful truth: we are small and exposed, [we are an intimate part of this world] and probably moving too fast for our own good, but that's no reason not to enjoy every minute of the ride.
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- Brian Many Wheels
- well, I am a 70 year old married man with a couple of sons and 4 grand kids and am currently wending my way around the planet in any way that I find interests me. I am a retired mechanic, certified motorcycle nut, ride a sidecar rig and practice living in the moment. I am a 31 year friend of Bill and Bob and have lived a life beyond my wildest dreams.