Sunday, April 22, 2012

What to wear.

I will put all of this stuff on in the morning before I leave. as the day progresses some of it will come off and other items will be put on.

Comfort is essential to a focused ride 

The Day Is Done

The excitement of day one is still with me. Fierce winds, a couple wrong turns and a slow time are behind us. A great day nonetheless. We left Savannah in a chilling rain and ended our day rolling into Troy, AL in 30MPH gusting winds. Fortunate that no one was hurt. I mentioned to a couple riders that for me, this trip was filled with happy accidents. I'll think about that more tomorrow as I ride. I have a hunch it is important and merits a little reflection. This is turning out to be much more than two wheels rolling down the road. We are being transformed as we move through time and space. I'll cover that later. G'night.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Ashley got me this guardian bell. It is a bikers tradition to chase away road gremlins. It is mounted on the kickstand so it is as close to the ground as possible. That keeps the gremlins from jumping on the bike.  

Do Not Squander Your Life

Let me respectfully remind you,
Life and death are of supreme importance,
Time passes swiftly and opportunity is lost.
Each of us should strive to awaken,
Awaken, take heed! Do not squander your life.

Dogen Zenji

This gatha is recited at the end of every day in a zen meditation hall or zendo

One of the hardest things I have ever done (voluntarily) is a week-long Zen sesshin (meditation retreat). Most of the day was spent on a cushion gazing at a spot on the floor or wall in front of you. Then you just sit. You sit through aches and numbness. You sit through your mind rebelling against you. You sit through sleepiness. You may even sit through hallucinations. You just sit.

For most of 15 hours every day.

Advanced students would work on koans - unsolvable puzzles designed to break down the barriers to a deeper understanding of life. As a novice, I was instructed to just count my breaths. But only to four. That way it would not be a contest to see how far you could go. Simply a way to focus the attention and avoid daydreaming.

I never made it the full twenty minutes without the mind wandering. Ever. But as the week progressed, an inner stillness did just begin to take over and as I went back to daily life, my attitude towards myself and others was changed for the better (just a little)

As I have been riding, it has occured that riding is similar in nature to zen practice. You are sitting on a cushion. You endure discomfort in your body, especially your butt and legs. Your gaze is constantly on the road ahead, forging a safe path. Extraneous thoughts and a lack of attention are a matter of life and death. Literally. And at the end of the road, you are also changed a little. Hopefully for the better.

That makes this next few days sacred time. A rolling sesshin in the midst of ordinary life.

Thanks to Dogen for your advice.

And thanks to my fellow "monks of the road" Even if you don't see it as a spiritual practice it is an honor to ride with you.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

All my bags are packed I'm ready to go

Less than 24 hours till I leave. Should have been 3. But I'll wait out the tornadoes and nickle size hail in Texas. The first leg of my trip will be an attempt at an Iron Butt certification for 1000 miles in 24 hours and a second for 1500 miles in 36.

More about the Iron Butt Association

If I am successful I will get a patch, certificate, and will fully test my limits on the open road. Birmingham is the end of the road on Tuesday, a little over 1500 miles. Then on to Atlanta for a couple days and finally Savannah on Saturday.

Then the Cannonball begins...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Movie Trailer

The last Cannonball 2010

Watching this video helps make the reality sink in. At least for the second half of the trip. The solitude of the riding will be interspersed with the social aspects of the stops along the way. There is a forum for the ride and we are already getting to know one another. In two months from today, real faces will replace imagined ones. Two months from today!

Eastbound will be different. Just me. A little intimidating. Planning on doing 1500 miles in 36 hours, a little more intimidating. More on that in the next post.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

phone test

this is the picture I took while I was waiting for the guy to come home when I bought the bike. I'll be doing my posts from the road from my smartphone. this is a test this is only a test. :-)

First look

This is the Craigslist ad I responded to. Little did I know that the trike kit would pay for almost half the bike. Also made the license endorsement skills test a breeze.

Beginners Mind

In just about two months from now, I'll be riding my Burgman to Savannah GA. Turning around and riding back to San Diego and then home. Twice across the country over the course of two weeks. Solo the first half, then in the company of 60 fellow scooterists in the 2012 Cannonball Scooter Run. Lots to do beforehand including learning to blog.

Here we go...