Friday, July 13, 2012

...Full Tank of Gas, Full Speed Ahead, Stream of Consciousness, Stream the Dream...

     Ever since I left for the Long Road about a month ago, my right hand's been pinning a throttle back and my left hand has been holding a camera to my eye. I actually have a bruise on my eye brow where my camera presses up against my face, sort of awesome. The speeds at which i've traveled and the distances i've covered are both impressive and insane-- 110mph on the freeway at times and 500 mph in the sky across the continent, all in all about 11,000 miles in just under three weeks. Moving and shooting choppers and people and stopping at gas stations, so many gas stations, and eating strange foods and shitting strange shits and sleeping on the ground under the stars along the oceans coast but also in shady RV parks where the down and out live trying to sleep for free, because spending 80$ for a few hours that you're not even awake is such a fucking rip off, and feeling freezing cold at 3 a.m. and waking up a few hours later boiling hot with every piece of clothing you brought with you on and loving every second of it. Thats the long and short of the month of June for me.

     But right now i'd like to try and tap into a very special thought and experience I had while I was traveling and see if i can re-create it for you there at home, so here goes nothing... There is this most excellent and eye opening moment that comes to you on every road trip where you suddenly feel ALIVE, like everything inside of you has been asleep up until this moment, and now it's awake and ready to roll and someone left it on full tilt and BOOM here it is fucker! It is a realization that you somehow managed to forget you've had before, but it alway returns to you like a whaling baby wrapped up in a wet cold blanket left on your door step. It is a moment you experience before you can realize you're experiencing it, before you remember that you've been there before. For me, it usually starts like this.... Somewhere along the second or third day, something small goes off schedule of not according to plan, or you get lost in bad traffic or your flannel broke loose from your bungie chords and is lost on the road and now you're tired and cold, and then naturally it rolls into something bigger like your bike breaking down or you're sitting in traffic in pouring rain and feel a hunger in the pit of your stomach that you've never felt before and all you want to do is get off that damned motorcycle and everyone in a cage is being a huge dick and you realize everything in your life sucks right now. Right there, right then everything is pure shit. You've reached the lowest of low on a trip that is supposed to be a "fun vacation" and you start wondering why you chose the path you did in the first place. An all inclusive cruise would be nice right about now. But that feeling subsides, traffic thins out, the sun comes up again, the steam rises from your soaking wet jeans, you stumble upon a phenomenal greasy spoon that fills the void in your stomach that only eggs and potatoes can do, and you are back on the road carving the canyon black top smiling from ear to ear because you're a million miles away from home crossing a mountain range that you've never seen before and everything at that moment is fucking perfect, and then it hits you: you're feeling the best you've felt in months! And then you realize that just hours ago, you were feeling the worst you've felt in months! One big roller coaster, going up up up and going down down down, and when you're down you've got to have faith it will rise again and when you're up, well fuck the rest of it, you're up! 

     The range of emotions one will feel in any given 24 hour period while on the road is unparalleled in every day life. All of the predictability of your familiar surroundings is way way back there in your rear view mirror, and everything that lies ahead is out of your control. You're not taking the trip, the trip is taking YOU. And when you reach the point where you turn over your own will and ego and anything else that you think you have a grip on to the thing that is this trip, you realize it'll all go much more smoothly. Who wants to stay at baseline anyways? We go day to day thinking "ah, that was a pretty good day" or "ah, that day was shit" but really we're just sitting in air conditioning eating our microwave meal watching the same shit TV and doing it all over again, and really it was pretty much the same day as the one before it, and it won't be much different from the one coming up either. The guy wearing the "same shit different day" comes to mind here. However, hit the road for any number of days and you'll remind yourself quite quickly what it is to feel a REAL high high and how low the lows can really get. But of course the lows and highs aren't like the highs and lows of every day life, because the ones you feel on the road are much less permanent, and they are much like the road itself; they only matter for about as far as you can see out ahead of you. The road struggles to rise above the mountain top and then it easily rolls out nice and flat into the west, and thats sometimes as long as that high or low will last. Living in the moment and with only the things you NEED is about as simple and sweet as this life can get, and doing it on a motorcycle has to be the best way to go about it.

     Spending the past month on the road covering the Long Road and the Smoke Out and Born Free has been a whirlwind of people and bikes and places and highs and lows of course. Its one month out of a 12 month year, but I gather enough footage and photos to keep this here blog updated for the next 11 months. Maybe you didn't know that, but shit, most everything I put up here is just samples of what I gather in the month of June. I wish I could do it year round, go out into the field and do nothing but shoot and ride, and maybe I will one day, but for now, the magazine still needs me here to put it all together and make sure it hits the printers on time, and reaches your mailboxes and your local store's magazine racks when its supposed to.

     All the things that really bugged me before I left are all the things that I take comfort in now. Coming home to the same spot every night, pulling in the same garage, seeing the same faces, doing the same thing, somehow seemed to fuel the fire for my leaving, but now that I'm home, they are fueling the welcoming blaze, the light shining brightly in the dark. Now more than ever does it feel good to see a familiar face and eat food you made yourself and not feel like you're watching cash just fly freely (against your will!) out of your bank account at every gas stop and restaurant and shitty motel and all the other countless places that want your money out there on the road. Being home now feels great, really fucking great, riding my own motorcycles, all three different flavors of them, and kissing my beautiful girlfriend at night does a fantastic job of reminding me just how lucky I am and just how good it is right HERE. And the more I think about it, I come to the conclusion that the highs and lows of the road I speak of can not be sustained by many men, if any, for a truly long period of time. Maybe thats what makes the trips so sweet. Getting sucked into this routine and then busting the fuck out of it makes the trip that much sweeter. But for now, i'll welcome the routine with open arms, so that soon here the busting out will feel good again.

     I took all three of my bikes for a ride yesterday, and it made me feel like the worlds luckiest man. The construction that was pounding away and causing such a headache just down the road is now complete, so now my springer doesn't even have to pogo once on the way to the art supplies store. Smooth as glass roads and familiar turns, hole in the wall beer joints where you could buy two huge pitchers of Busch beer for the price of one can of Bud Light out in L.A. (they don't even have Busch out there, and I'm not talkin' about Busch Light, I'm talking Busch HEAVY...) Los Angles, for all its glory and sunshine and palm trees and ocean views and curvy roads and beautiful women and righteous choppers, has burnt me out once again. Too many damn people. Takes you two hours to go 35 miles and risk your life more times that you should in one day. But I digress...

     Being home feels good, and being back is refreshing. Issue 122 just wrapped yesterday, so things have finally slowed down to a calmer and more comfortable pace, which is the main reason for this nice long ramble. Anyways, i'm back for some time now and look forward to catching you all up with what's been going on. In the mean time, I feel like sharing these photos with you, because 99% of the time I post almost exclusively my own photos on this here blog and never really say anything, and I hardly ever post pictures of myself or my bikes, so fuck it, here's a few from yesterday. Enjoy, and thanks for reading. 

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