What I learned

May 10, 2021 Comments Off on What I learned

I completed my Tour of Socal yesterday, a make-it-up-as-you-go-along kind of thing that started in Wofford Heights, went over to the coast through Bakersfield and SLO County, Ojai, Carpinteria, down to San Diego, over to Alpine, up to Julian, down to Borrego Springs, Salton Sea, Joshua Tree National Park, back across the park to the other side of the Salton Sea, back to Borrego Springs and Julian, then to Idyllwild, a brief detour to LA, back to Lake Isabella via Tehachapi and Caliente-Bodfish Road, then about three and a half weeks bivouacking around the southern Sierras in the Kern River Valley.

I rode a lot of miles but don’t know how many, drank a lot of coffee, saw a lot of breathtaking natural beauty, thought a lot, and even learned a thing or two, which I’ll list below.

  1. Wherever you go, you take your troubles with you, so try to go somewhere pretty.
  2. The fewer people you interact with, the easier life is.
  3. Relaxation is a function of your environment. Without exterior calm, you basically have to be a yogi to screen out all the junk so that you can clear your head. And I’m no yogi.
  4. The more you do, the more you can do. When my riding became more short-distance hopping from one campsite to the next, I lost a lot of endurance and strength. You have to push yourself 90% of the time or you rot.
  5. No one really cares what you do.
  1. Money ruins everything.
  2. What money doesn’t ruin, things do.
  3. People don’t really enjoy being outdoors. They enjoy buying outdoor equipment and carrying it around in their car/truck/RV.
  4. People are not mobile enough to do anything outdoors that requires significant mobility, exertion, flexibility, or agility. Campgrounds are basically nothing more than places to engage in 24/7 eat-drink-sleep-repeat.
  5. The single thing that determines all outdoor activities is, “Where can I piss/shit?” This prevents 99.9% of all people from doing anything outdoors or straying more than a couple of hours from what they deem to be an acceptable toilet. [Factoid: People were born equipped to properly eliminate without TP or toilets.]
  1. The easier it is, the less rewarding it is. But paradoxically, the harder it is, the more miserable you are.
  2. Solitude isn’t a state of mind. It’s the absence of other people.
  3. Water from a stream beats water from a faucet.
  4. Wool is the best fabric.
  5. The tanner and more rough around the edges you look, the wider a berth people give you and the fewer motorists flip you off.
  1. Don’t bikepack without a big, sharp knife.
  2. If you are outdoors long enough, you stop caring at all about how food looks, smells, or tastes as long as it’s edible. And your definition of “edible” changes radically, too.
  3. When you quit trying, you die. That’s why people in RVs and camper vans and cars jammed full of “outdoor” stuff all look so dead.
  4. 4×4 enthusiasts think that their machinery makes them tough even though they are too weak to hike the trails they drive.
  5. Natural beauty cleans you better than any soap or shampoo.
  1. Sometimes you have to give up the thing you love to keep the other thing you love.
  2. Some people want you to fail. Some want you to succeed. Most don’t care or even know.
  3. If you weren’t scared, you did it wrong.
  4. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to experience deeply, take someone with you.
  5. Know when to quit, then don’t.
  1. Few people will ever question convention. Fewer still will break it.
  2. You are who you want to be.
  3. Hot chocolate with marshmallows still tastes good at 57.
  4. You do what you want to do.


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