Saturday, May 26, 2012

Motorcycle

My recent acquisition of a motorcycle surprised quite few of the people in my life, most notably my own family. Even I look back on the path that led to the purchase and find that its a bit confusing. I'll try then to lay out my thoughts on this substantial embarkment.

The most rudimentary source of my desire to own a motorcycle can be placed with the point at which I discovered the dazzling wonderment of true adventure.This can be found in the final summer of my university years. I had traveled with the school's foreign exchange program to Japan for one month. It was here I had my first taste of a completely different culture and people. After that short month I had learned to savor the excitement of trying new things not out of peculiar desire but necessity. Slowly learning a language, making educated guesses about even the food that I ate, and adjusting to the whole experience of an entire new world changed a major part of myself. The world itself had suddenly become much smaller. The people in it became not foreign, but human, just like myself. The seeds of adventure had planted themselves deep.

Of course this puzzle piece in no form lends itself directly toward the path of motorcycle ownership.It was a year or so later when I stumbled upon a TV series known as Long Way Round that the wheels truly began to be set in motion. I don't recall exactly seeing much of the series, other than it piqued my interest. Years later, at the beginning of 2012 to be exact, I would return to this series. Up until then, it had been a fond, faint, memory. Rewatching the entire run, thanks to that wonderment known as Netflix, kindled a new flame of adventure, motorcycle adventuring.

That is one hell of a jump, I know, but bear with it. Long Way Round and the follow on series Long Way Down follow the adventures of Ewan McGregor and his best friend Charley Boorman as they cross the globe on their BMW adventure bikes. To be specific they used BMW R1200GS motorcycles, and after watching them power through absolutely every sort of mud, river, sand and general insane road conditions that could be thrown at them, I became quite the fan. Another aspect of the show that appealed to me were the same realizations about the people and places of the world. The awe of cultures whose history can be described as ancient. More importantly though, the mutual feeling of common humanity that a traveler encounters as they interact with people who they had once thought of as foreign.

Okay, the major pieces of the puzzle are coming together now, I suppose. One final aspect is the abundant adventurism found in my natural environment, the Northwest United States. Especially here in Spokane one can reach a conservation area, a large state park, and even some National Forests with only an hour or two drive. Take that further, to a five hour drive, and now you'll find yourself in no less than three or four national parks. I've used this much to my advantage in my short time here and have traveled the Pacific Northwest coast and Glacier National Park. These were without a doubt road trips due to the distances involved and much of the camping was performed from my truck or strongly supported by it. So why not take a cue from the adventures of Ewan and Charlie, and even the whole of the motorcycle adventuring community and accomplish these summer stints on the back of a motorcycle, with all my worldly needs reduced and strapped to the back of the bike? That smells like an adventure to me.

So the time comes that I have to sit back and put together the pieces and ask myself, "Am I really going to do this?" This wasn't a mere act of want without plan. I think most people who know me well know that I'm a methodical person in some respects. There has to be some sort of plan, or at least some sort of risk assessment. The answer wasn't difficult to find, but that didn't stop me from approaching it from the various angles necessary to make sure it would be a secure investment. I think if you've reached this point in my somewhat bizarre explanation you'll realize my answer to the question posed was, "Yes".

With the puzzle complete, the revealed question answered, the time came to put that answer to action. That will be covered in Part Two.