Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Small Adventure Leading to Many Big Adventures in the Future!

Arriving at the Horizons Unlimited Adventure Riders Event

Lots of like minded people to meet..

Mariposa at Night

One of the many fascinating lecturers... to learn more go to:

Dear Family & Friends,,,
I am off on another small motorcycle trip. A bit of a voyage of discovery... and a few days or R&R from work.
After 42 years in business I feel like I have run a 26 mile marathon and I am on the last mile, almost completely exhausted, and the last bit is all up hill...... I am really ready to retire....
Any ways I rode Thursday to Mariposa, a small town on Hwy 49, in Gold Country on the way to Yosemite. I am attending a three day seminar put on by Horizons Unlimited and it is all about adventure motorcycling.!! My passion. I am hoping to learn more about photography and better writing skills. I want to make my reports more interesting, but don't expect the spelling to get any better..... bad spelling is part of my charm..
Motorcycling is full of "interesting" people from all walks of life. Adventure riders are a sub-sect all their own.. I have never met people with such a passion for exploring new places, meeting new people, learning about new cultures, and attempting the most difficult rides imaginable! Most of them tend to be real minimalist traveling light and owning few possessions.. There are probably 500 people here from all walks of live, all ages, and many different countries. About a third of the attendees are women from early 20s to late 60s... One thing I noticed is none of them wear make up so when you see a beautiful woman she is really beautiful and very natural..
The first night was a couple in the early 30s from Belgium.  They talked about their last ride which was several months riding across Russia, Mongolia, and Kazatstain completely OFF ROAD!! A more difficult ride would be hard to find. Their talk was inspiring and the experiences with the locals was fascinating.  If you want to learn more about them go to their website:
Saturday morning I was one of the featured speakers.. I got to the hall I was supposed to speak at. I was schedule to talk about my European tour last year and present a slide show. The schedule said 9am and at 8:55 no one was there. I was beginning to worry no one cared, but in five minutes the people came pouring in and I spoke for an hour to a full house! It was fun and people seemed to really enjoy my talk. The nice thing is I could tell any story I wanted and any joke I wanted and NO ONE had heard them before!! A fresh crowd is good.. :) Afterwards I answered questions outside for another half hour. From that point on I was a bit of a celebrity at the event since I had given my talk and people knew who I was and that I am a serious rider...
I have also been attending a couple of seminars on photography which I found very helpful... 
One night I had dinner with a couple of old friends I had not talked to in years, Craig and Carol Vetter and that was fun get caught up on old times... A lot happens in 30 years...
That evening I listened to a great talk and slide show by Ted Simmons. He is an Englishman that in the early 1970s spent three years riding completely around the world on a Triumph 500c twin!!! Getting an old Triumph to run that far on pavement would have been an amazing fete but this man did it across deserts in North Africa and through the Middle East, through jungles of South America and more... He was a very intelligent and educated man and had great insights into the many cultures he met a long the way... He did this trip in his 40s and he is now in his mid 80s and extremely fit, mentally sharp and still riding motorcycles!! My hero! If you ever want to read his book it is called Jupiter's Travels. Even if you are not a motorcyclist it is a good read...
After a day a half of seminars and giving talks I needed a few hours off so I went riding around the Sierra Mountains above Yosemite. It was great riding and fun roads but between the fires and draughts much of the beauty of this area is gone...
After riding for 4 hours I decided to go to lunch in a small restaurant in a small town. There were only two other tables in use in the place so I sat down and starting reading the menu. The four men behind me all had thick Russian accents and all rode motorcycles so we started talking. They are very interesting men but one of them kept asking me who I was, where I lived, where I worked, etc... He was sure he knew me but nothing connected until about 20 minutes later and he suddenly shouted, "I KNOW YOU!!! Your the man the writes the motorcycle blog! You rode around Europe last summer. I loved your blog!"
I was in shock, my blog has had almost 17,000 hits but I didn't think any one actually read it!  The four men were so excited to meet me they all asked me to poise in pictures with them so I had my 15 mins of fame.. but it wasn't over yet. They then of course wanted to know more about me and what I did and as I was explaining my business to them the only other man in the restaurant jumped and I said "I KNOW YOU TOO! I buy parts from you in SLO!".. My 15 minutes of fame just expanded to 16.....
Saturday late afternoon I returned to the convention and went to hear Carla King speak. She is the person I really came to hear. What an amazing woman. I would guess she is early 50s, single and more of an adventurer than I will ever be! She has ridden alone all over the globe to the most remote parts of Mongolia, Africa, South American, and parts unknown. She rides alone and purposely picks unreliable motorcycles as she says, for the thrill of repairing them in the most remote areas and making friends while she does it....  All these adventure riders have such amazing spirit and confidence and love of travel and meeting people. They all seem to be well educated and just give up a conventional life to explore. Maybe in another life time I could have one this.... Any ways I learned a lot. Carla's specialty is teaching how to self publish and promote printed books, E-books, and blogs. I think I will sign up for her on line course, but I got a good start tonight.  I think what I want to write is a travel book that combines photography, humor, and philosophy... has that been done yet??
If you want to know more about Carla King go to her website:
After a great day I walked into Mariposa that night and had a terrific glass of wine and a great steak dinner. A fitting way to finish off the day. 
As a side note Mariposa is right on the Gold Highway and is a small tourist town on the way to Yosemite. Very charming and when I went out at night the place was hoping.  It was amazing how many different languages I heard spoken. People from all over the world come to California!
Tomorrow I am going to ride up Hwy 49 to Auburn then drop down to Granite Bay to visit my cousin who I have not spent time with in almost 50 years.. I am bad... but I am looking forward to re-establishing the relationship.
That's all folks!!

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