Sunday, August 30, 2015

You don’t have to be a millionaire to take off for six or eight months and ride around the world. In fact it has been my observation that wealthy people have way less free time than I do. Being rich is a full time job. Meeting with accountants, lawyers, financial planners, insurance agents, business associates and a plethora of other service professionals becomes increasingly a necessary and time consuming activity as your net worth increases. Not to mention the time required to store, heat, house and maintain the cars, boats, swimming pools, vacation homes, luxury furnishings, etc, etc. The people I worked for in my earlier years rarely took off more than a couple weeks at a time to fly to Europe. If I was building a stone wall and patio in their back yard for a few weeks, I generally spent much more time at their estate during the day enjoying the beautiful views while they were busy working and out shopping. As I get older it becomes increasingly clear that none of these material things that people amass over the years pass with them into the afterlife as the Egyptian pharaohs surmised.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against people who spend their lives amassing a lot of wealth and material possessions. And yes, Porsche Carreras are fun to drive. It’s just that I now choose freedom over material possessions. I happen to prefer taking off for several months traveling every year and avoid things that limit my freedom to camp in the Patagonian wilderness and view the southern hemisphere constellations at night. In order to aquire those memories I have had to ruthlessly eliminate recurring monthly expenses and just say no to excess material possessions that tend to weigh you down like a boat anchor and draw you home like a magnet.

This is much easier to do when you are young and single in those magic few years after school before you become entangled with family and career. Or in my case if you are older and single, with no family responsibilities or pets. Not that you can’t travel for months at a time with children and pets. It’s just that I have met very few people with kids and pets that leave the country for more than a couple weeks. Which is why I enjoy other people’s pets and children but have none of my own. Although in certain countries like India where it is socially unacceptable to have no children, I have been known to invent a son who is a doctor and a daughter who is an electrical engineer. I do dislike telling polite white lies for social expediency though.

On a separate note, now that I have successfully completed my 3 month stint at the PWTBFCFNA (Poor White Trash Betty Ford Clinic For Nicotine Addiction) also known as the Johnson County Texas Correctional Facility where smoking is verboten, I was able to cut nicotine out of my recurring monthly expenses. Holy Cow! That was HUGE. And since I quit drinking last year when I got arrested for drunk driving, I am now down to food, water, gas and lodging as my only daily expenses while on the road. My addictions have been reduced to motorcycles, travel and blogging. It turns out that the Texas Department of Corrections, through fear, intimidation and deprivation is directly responsible for saving me hundreds of dollars this travelling season in South America.

I can’t wait to get back to South America in a couple months and see if I can travel for under $1000/month this year and live mainly on Social Security. I just got my first check automatically deposited in my checking account. It’s like money from heaven. Imagine if a rich Uncle (Sam) was depositing money in your checking account every month. Wow! In my younger years I honestly didn’t think Social Security would be around when I got old enough to benefit from it. And with gas prices dropping like a rock, the prospects for budget travel are suddenly improving in my little world this year.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Headed up to Tulsa Oklahoma from Texas this weekend. Two words you don’t want to hear are “rider down.”

Alas, when I went into town to check the internet last week I found that Ralph, known as JumpJet on ADVrider had been killed up in Tulsa when a car turned left across the path of his motorcycle. Although I didn’t know Ralph as well as some, I had worked on his house when I spent the summer in Tulsa a couple years ago, and helped him move when he got divorced. He was a great guy and I am glad to have known him. Since I now have a flexible schedule, there was no reason not to head up to Tulsa and honor Ralph’s memory at the memorial in his hometown outside Tulsa.

Tomski invited me to stay with him in the North Tulsa Oasis A.K.A. his house. Actually it is he and his wife’s house as he got married since I visited him last summer. Here is Tomski and his lovely new wife Stephanie:

I left Texas on Friday afternoon and got to Tulsa in the evening. The next day lots of ADVriders showed up at the memorial:

Afterwords everyone gathered for lunch:

I was about to leave for Texas and got a call. The masterlink let go on Tomski’s bike and he needed me to drive his truck back out to pick him up:

So I’ll be heading back down to Texas tomorrow instead. And I will have a sticker to take down to South America and put on my bike:

Monday, August 17, 2015

I am eternally thankful for the stacks of mail that came my way during my 3 month sojourn in the Johnson County Jail deep in the heart of Texas. It made my stay much more enjoyable getting mail from around the world and writing back newsy jail letters in the evenings. People sent me dozens of books as well. It was such a kind gesture you have no idea.

I was released a few days ago and it was much the same as flying back to the U.S. from traveling in a third world country. It takes a while to adjust to the much different culture. In fact, I would say that the minimalist motorcycle vagabond lifestyle is great prep for spending time in a county jail. I would classify the Johnson County Jail as somewhat like visiting North Korea. i Volunteered for a work detail so was able to spend my days outside mowing cemeteries and clearing storm damage trees from the wind storms. In exchange for the free labor I got out a few days earlier than otherwise. But I would have done it anyway, since it was much nicer to spend the days in the fresh air and Texas sunshine as opposed to inside the dormitory cellblocks all day.

I am currently back working west of Cleburne Texas and have come into town where there is wifi here at the public library. I have to tile a couple more bathrooms and another kitchen and workroom plus a few other odd jobs before heading back to Nebraska to mow my lawn and pay my taxes. Then it is over to Oregon to paint my sister’s house and down to Arizona in late October to park my truck and catch a plane to Uruguay where I will be reunited with my motorcycle and continue reporting from the roads less traveled in South America.