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Monday, August 21, 2017

Go with what you got

I used to teach a beginner's photography course at the Ocean Beach Free School. At the first class I would lay out several large 16x20 prints and my Canon SLR with some lenses. They would have their Nikons and Pentaxes proudly sitting in front of them. Everything they needed to start taking perfect pictures.

I would let them ooh and aah over my prints and then I would pull out an old Kodak Brownie from my camera bag and explain that I had taken the photos with it, not the fancy pro equipment. I then took out more of the cameras that I had found in yard sales and passed them out. I explained that for the first third of the class they would be using these to take their pictures. I explained that it was the eye and the heart that took pictures. The cameras were merely electro-mechanical devices that recorded their feelings.

Some of them got it, some of them handed back the cameras and left.

What has this got to do with motorcycles? No much but everything to do with the spirit of adventure. A fancy camera will produce only snapshots in the hands of a person who does not know what they are looking at. A person with the best adventure motorcycle will fail to find the experience they are looking for without an open heart and mind.

What is the perfect adventure bike? Simple, the one you are riding right now! One guy rode a Kawasaki Ninja to Alaska and back with only a sleeping bag tied to the seat. I know a crazy 17 year old kid who rode a Honda 50 from San Francisco to LA down US 1. then on up to Yosemite, and topped it off with a return to the Bay Area. Lois Pryce rode solo from Alaska to Argentina on a Yamaha XT225. And is still going ...

 Adventure doesn't mean far away places and months long trips. It starts by taking a different route home from the grocery store to see what is down that road you've never taken. Stopping for coffee at a place that looks nothing like the usual places you stop at. Setting aside Google Maps and Siri and looking at a paper map to plot your next trip. I look at bikes loaded down with gps and nav gear and wonder where the adventure is in being told what to do by a robotic voice. 

You're never lost, just misplaced. Look at the world with your eyes and your heart. The world is waiting for you.

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