Monday, December 1, 2014

I’ve been really enjoying my stay here in Texas this winter. One reason I don’t plan my life too carefully is that you never know what can happen in your travels. Plans have a way of changing overnight when things go wrong. Case in point is my current situation where I find myself having made a stupid mistake and getting arrested for drunk driving in the very county in Texas where Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) originated. Hmmmm. On a scale of one to ten where 1 is getting diagnosed with liver cancer and 10 is having your supermodel girlfriend buy you a new motorcycle for your birthday I would rate getting a DUI in Texas as about a 4. About the same level of stress as having my motorcycle confiscated in Colombia when an old man knocked me off my bike with his car in a roundabout and I cracked my collarbone and separated my shoulder. Not the end of the world. And of course definitely something that time will heal.

On a separate note, I had a wonderful Thanksgiving over at veriest1’s house. Actually he is living over at his in-laws place while I work on his house. His wife and mother-in-law sure know how to cook. I spend most of my days in solitude remodeling his house out in the country so it is always a nice change of pace to visit his family.

There is no wifi where I am working out in the sticks and no internet means I have plenty of time to think about life and what the future holds. Since I am currently 61 and will be eligible for Social Security in 6 months my current thoughts run along the lines of figuring out how to live minimally and travel for the next decade or two. I remember meeting Ratbike Mike down in Guatemala a couple years ago. He had turned 65 and bought a KLR with a blown motor and rebuilt it for little money and taken off south with no money other than Social Security that was direct deposited in his checking account back home. He would withdraw money at ATMs along the way, and if he got low on funds for gas towards the end of the month, just stop and live in a cheap guesthouse until the next check came in. Hmmmmm. It got me to thinking. Although I must say, I like traveling for 6 months out of the year and working the rest of the time. It is a nice balance and keeps me from feeling too much like a hobo.

I have to make my own entertainment out here in the country, so when going to town to pick up building materials it is nice to be able to stop by the public library and download podcasts and check my email on their high speed wifi. I always enjoy “Adventure Rider Radio” which is a weekly podcast where host Jim Martin interviews motorcycle travelers. “Wheelnerds “and “The Pace” are more general interest motorcycle podcasts and “Moterrific” is oriented towards women, but still interesting. Two other podcasts that have more of a general travel theme are “Zero to Travel” and “Amateur Traveler Podcast.” The latest episode of Zero to Travel was an interview with a minimalist traveler whose goal is to travel with little or no money without being a mooch. Because your basic travel needs are food, water, clothing, shelter, transportation, and perhaps friends and social interaction, it was interesting to see how he had reduced these to a minimum. Riding a bicycle, finding food in supermarket dumpsters, and meeting people in his travels on couchsurfing and another free accomadation network of bicyclists called “Warm Showers.” It took me back 40 years to when I used to hitchhike and bicycle tour back in the 70’s. I have hitch-hiked back home from Mazatlan Mexico on a shoestring when I lost all my money, so I know it is possible, but it is a rough way to go. Can’t say I have met too many folks who would choose to take minimalist travel that far.

You do meet a lot of interesting people out on the road when you are traveling. Some are making their way with very little money. Alas, for me, 40 dollars a day seems to be the minimum I require for motorcycle travel with current world gas prices.

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