Epic Ride: A Little History

Epic Ride 2015 is in the books! Gotta say it was an incredible time. There’s really something cool about hanging with other guys and exploring the world on motorcycles.

Lots of people have started asking me how many Epic Rides there have been and how we got started so I thought I’d do a little post to explain the history and what it’s all about.

My brother and I started Epic Ride back in 2007 when him, a buddy of his, and I rode to Death Valley. Although back then, they weren’t called “Epic Ride”. After the first two, my brother couldn’t find the time to go anymore so I continued them and started giving them formal names. Here are the Epic Rides that have taken place so far:

Epic Ride 2007: Death Valley
Epic Ride 2008: Medford Oregon & North California Coast
Epic Ride 2009: Grand Canyon & Southern Utah
Epic Ride 2010: Cross Country
Epic Ride 2011: Canada, Eh!
Epic Ride 2012: Eureka!
Epic Ride 2013: Razing Arizona
Epic Ride 2014: Sturgis Edition
Epic Ride 2015: Portlandia

Each of the rides have generally just been 2 to 4 guys and in 2011 I rode solo and my daughter joined me for the leg into Canada. Since 2012, however, the rides have been growing each year with 2015 being the biggest group at 10 guys!

So how do I plan the rides? Well, my job is to make sure everyone has the opportunity to have a good time (whether they actually do or not is up to them!). So I plan the rides around the number of miles per day we have to ride (usually around 250-300), and then whatever happens between breakfast and bedtime is figured out on the road. I will usually make mental notes of some places I think will be fun for everyone to stop, based on what I know about the guys. But I find that having a destination and no other schedule keeps everyone moving but also allows for spontaneity. If you over plan, the ride becomes tedious, and nobody wants that.

So what tools do I use to plan the rides? Well, for discovery I use Roadtrippers.com and RoadsideAmerica.com primarily, but I also use TripAdvisor.com,  and I occasionally use the various state and city tourism web sites. For mapping I use Google Maps for planning the routes and then I recreate them in my Garmin Zumo 550 GPS for use on the road. I book all my rooms on Expedia exclusively because their phone support on the road is fantastic.

Are there rules for Epic ride? We’ve come up with just three simple rules for the rides because rules suck, but you gotta at least set the tone for the ride. Those rules are:

  1. Guys only. Guys need time away, just to be guys, and the road is the perfect venue for that.
  2. The ride must be at least 1000 miles. If you’re not doing that, you can’t really call it “Epic” now can you?
  3. No talking about work. The whole point of riding is to escape and nothing screws up a vacation like work talk.

There’s a few other traditions we’ve developed on Epic Ride as well. At the end of each day, we chill out with a beer and cigar. It’s a great way to wind down a long day of riding and exchange a bunch of laughs. We also like to seek out the craziest, off the wall crap to see while out on the road. Any Thing, Bigfoot museum, or Muffler Man is considered a must see.

Epic Ride has become a fantastic annual event; one I hope to continue until the day I die. Next year we’re considering a few options for the ride. We might go explore Montana. But if things line up just right, we’d like to do the entire Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. We’ll see what happens.

Well, enjoy these pics from Epic Ride 2015. It was certainly one for the books.

Virginia Creek Settlement

Every year for the past 7 or 8 years we’ve been getting on the bikes and heading over the Sonora pass to stay at a little place called the Virginia Creek Settlement. It’s a tiny little “resort” that has a handful of motel rooms, some tent cabins, and a few other cabins. It sits on Hwy 395 about a quarter mile north of Bodie and 10 miles south of Bridgeport.

We love this place. The food in the restaurant is dynamite and we would probably go just for the pizza, even if we didn’t stay. In the evenings we’ll sit on the porch and smoke cigars or light a bonfire and relax, shooting the bull about the day’s ride.

The ride over is also fantastic and takes us pretty much all day. Every year I try to find some cool new bar or restaurant to stop in on the way. The Sonora Pass is also one of the most beautiful passes to ride over, although it’s a bit challenging on the east side with it’s steep narrow, twisting roads and sheer cliffs. But that’s all part of the fun of motorcycling.

We just got back from our trip this year and I thought I’d post a few pictures. Enjoy! We’re already looking forward to next year.

Hollister Freedom Rally

So on the 4th a bunch of us rode up to Hollister, the birthplace of the American biker, for the annual Freedom Rally. We had a pretty good time hanging out but I gotta say I’m tiring of rallies. Same old over priced, crappy beer. Same old cover bands playing the same tired songs from the 70’s. Same old vendors selling the cheapest and cheesiest biker clothing made overseas (I swear if I see one more guy in one of those shirts with the sleeves cut off and the arm holes artificially frayed I’m going to freak out). It’s all becoming such a cliche.

We’re doing Las Vegas Bikefest in October and I think that’s going to be my last formal bike rally for a few at least a few years. I think just heading out and actually riding to interesting places with cool people is all motorcycling needs to be about.

Whole30

OK I know this blog is mess. I switched to Tumblr for a year and grew to hate it so I switched back to my old WordPress site and just dumped all those Tumblr posts. Anyway…. I’m back on track so here we go.

The Whole30 Diet! So 90 days ago I went to the doctor for my checkup and as usual he was just all pissed off at me. Well, not really pissed off but disappointed. Kind of like when you did something as a  kid to piss your mom off. Anyway, my cholesterol was high, my triglycerides were insanely high, I was 225lbs and drinking beer like a college kid on spring break. So he wasn’t happy, and neither was I.

Now I carry my weight pretty well, and I don’t eat terrible, and I do workout a few times a week, so in my head, I’m doing the right things, but when it came down to it, I wasn’t. I’ve always fought with fitness and that’s mainly because of two things: I love beer, and I love rich foods. But this time I had reached my limit. I was feeling awful. So I told the doc I was serious about getting it together and I wanted to come back in 90 days to recheck everything.

So the first thing I did was cut alcohol back to almost nothing. I was drinking every day and really slamming them back on the weekends. So I cut back to a few beers every few weeks. I also started really eating much better. But the alcohol reduction alone let me lose about 15 lbs! Woot!

Still even thought that was going well, I wasn’t feeling all that well. Then I saw a post from some friends about this Whole30 diet. Basically it’s a detox diet. They cut out anything man made or anything that can cause digestion issues or allergies. So no dairy, no wheat products, no added sugar. Basically it’s lean meats, vegetables and fruit, period. This sounded like a challenge and a good challenge is what I needed so I started on it with 3 weeks until my checkup.

It was hard at first. The first week was horrible as my body was flushing out all the bullshit, but week two got a little better and by the end of week three I was feeling dynamite. I went back to my doctor for my checkup and what we found was amazing! My cholesterol had dropped 30 points, my HDL was up, my LDL was down, and my triglycerides were down a whopping 152 points!!! For the first time in 10 years my blood tests were normal! The doc even took me off my Cholesterol meds! Oh, and as a side note…. my total weight loss for the 90 days was over 20 lbs. My doctor was freaking out.

I also increased my workouts to 6 days a week. I’m doing P90X3 which are 30 minute high intensity workouts so they are plenty easy to fit into my day.

So i just want to throw out my endorsement for the Whole30 and P90X3. I feel and look the best that I have in years. I’m pretty stoked to continue on and see if I can keep it up. I go back to my doc in 120 days for a follow up. I’ll post the results here.

Here’s a few links to the programs I’m on.

Whole30 Diet

BeachBody On Demand

My Town – My Motorcycle

On Monday, January 6th a group over on Google+ is having a special internet event. The idea is that you jump on your bike and go take some pictures of places that best represent your town with your bike in the picture. It’s kind of a fun thing to do in order to both promote motorcycling and promote your town. Besides, I always think it’s neat to see where other people live. So here are my shots! Enjoy!

You can also see these over on the G+ event page. [ Event Page ]

 

Old Blog Entries Restored

Well, I spent some time this morning getting my old blog entries back into the database. They go all the way back to 2007! I actually had blogs going all the way back to 2002 but I seem to have misplaced that data. Bummer. That’s the biggest risk of the electronic age.

It’s interesting going back and looking at old entries though. So much has changed with me in terms of maturity, political views, etc. On the other hand, so much is exactly the same. It’s very cool to have this history to look back on.

Who will tell your story? Might as well be you!

I’ve been reading a pretty cool book about the Jewish people called “The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels” [ Amazon ]. It basically talks about the origins of the Bible and the stories within it. And what I find fascinating about it is how it talks about how people recorded their history back in the day.

As I was reading this book I started to think about my family’s history. Who’s recording it? How will my grandkids or great-grandkids know who we were? I don’t really know anything about my grandparents and honestly very little about my parents when it comes down to it, and that’s a shame because it’s history lost.

Now I have been blogging for years so I have a somewhat public record of certain thoughts on issues of the day or accounts of family events, but what happens to that when I die? It’s all electronic. When my account becomes inactive some program will just delete this blog and everything in it and I will cease to exist.

The Standard MemorandumI find that sad. Very sad. So this year I started a few new projects. First, I bought a little notebook called “The Standard Memorandum” [ Website ]. It’s basically a tall, thin notebook where you just jot down a few sentences about your day. You also record a certain amount of personal information like what you’re driving, your measurements, where you work, etc. Nothing anybody could use to steal your bank account, just information that somebody in the future could use to form a picture of who you are. You use one for each year, just jotting down highlights. Then you store them in a box and someday when you are long gone, somebody will find this box and read through them and see what was going on.

The second project I’m doing is starting to write an autobiography. I’m not a great writer so I’m not going to worry about structuring it all nice and stuff, but I’m just going to go back as far as I can remember and just talk about my experiences. I’ll print the pages out as I make progress so I have a physical copy.  I think some day when I’m gone, my daughter and whoever comes after her will get a kick out of it.

And yes, I’m leaving all the bad stuff out.

Reboot!

Well it’s a new year! That means the holidays are over and we can finally have a full day in the office without being offered cookies, or cakes, or cupcakes, or fudge, etc. I honestly did pretty good this year. I weighed in at 211 today, which is definitely a lot heavier than I want to be but still exactly where I was before Thanksgiving. So I haven’t gotten any worse!

Today though we start our 5 day juice fast and I’m pretty excited about it. It will be good to shed a few pounds and flush out all the holiday toxins. Now that things will be less busy it will be easier to work out as well. I’ve been running 3 times a week on average and that’s good, but I’d like to get back up to 5 and 6 day runs and workouts. I can always tell when I’ve been lazy because my joints start to get stiff and achy and stuff. Getting old sucks! But I’m fighting it like a boss.

Anyway, if you want to do your own reboot, check out Reboot with Joe [http://www.rebootwithjoe.com]. It’s not hard, the juices actually taste really good, and it really does help fix up the body chemistry.

Authenticity

Well then… I posted a whopping 4 times in 2013. Let’s try and change that for 2014 shall we?

So it’s new years day and, as many do at this time of year, I’m sitting here nursing my hangover and thinking about life. And I’m thinking the usual thoughts… what about me sucks? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m thinking. What about me sucks so bad that I need to change it this year?

There’s a lot of things actually but as I was sitting here thinking about the real deep things that are wrong with me I realized that these things are the same things I’ve been fighting with my whole life. My friends and family don’t always see these things of course. They think I’m freaking awesome! But I know they are there. The problem is I can’t really talk about them because well…. do we really want to air our dirtiest laundry to those who think we’re freaking awesome?

Of course not. That would spoil the freaking awesomeness, right? And I like being freaking awesome. But that causes a problem. And that problem is that we have to put up a front to maintain the image of freaking awesomeness. And maintaining that image causes stress and inner discouragement.

So what’s the cure? Well who knows? I’m not a therapist. I guess we come up with resolutions and stuff, right? So I’m doing a resolution this year. Only one. And that resolution is to simply live an authentic life.

What does that mean? Don’t worry I’m not going to just become a total a-hole and just be cool with it. I think it just means doing the right thing and being a good person, all the time, In mind, body and soul. In public, but also in the privacy of your own mind. It means a lot of self examination and really changing daily thought patterns and habits. But I think that goal creates a positive daily exercise for the heart and mind.

Now I could have just picked a few things that suck about me and focuses on those, but I think focusing on the whole person is more productive and actually a better approach. If you want to be a great drummer you can learn to play songs, but that means you can only play those songs. But if you learn technique and structure and styles, that allows you to play any music. So, I’m going to try and focus on being truly authentic and by doing that I hope that the parts I have to hide eventually just cease to exist.

So that probably sounds like a bunch of nonsense but it is what it is. We’ll see how it works out. Oh, and I ‘m also going to try and blog more.

Happy New Year everyone!

The Key to 25 Years of Marriage

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Celebrating 25 years together

Today my wife and I celebrate 25 years of marriage. This is a real milestone. 25 years is an insanely long time to do anything. It’s an even crazier amount of time to actually live in close contact with somebody and still get along, much less love that person.

After we reached our 15 year anniversary people started asking every year; “How do you do it.”. And honestly I think that’s a dumb question. Does anyone go into marriage not expecting to be together forever? I think Michelle and I started with the assumption that we would be together forever. Period. No exceptions. Failure is simply not an option. This was never a spoken thing, but it’s ingrained in both of us. It’s part of our core beliefs, and I think that’s one of the attractions I had to Michelle to begin with. So that’s first. Expect that you are going to grow old together, and push every other option out of your mind. You can’t just give up when it gets hard. And you can’t just have something new when you get tired of what you have. Don’t be jerks.

The next part is the part people seem to have a hard time with, but it’s so simple; Just treat each other well. I think that means different things depending on the couple. Some of the things Michelle and I have no problem with would drive other couples crazy. We give each other a lot of personal freedom and honestly we spend quite a bit of time apart with our various commitments and interests. For us that works and is necessary for us to get along and not smother each other. For others that might not work. But the key is to identify what works for both of you, and do that more! Then, Identify what causes stress and don’t do that at all! It’s really not that complex. Don’t be jerks.

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At the alter in 1988

Lastly, extend some grace to each other. So many couples spend so much time trying to “fix” each other. Forget it! Know that your partner is going to be screwed up in some ways. And realize that you are screwed up too. Together you’re a screwy pair, and that’s what makes your relationship unique.  Respect each others wishes. Sacrifice for each other. Don’t be jerks.

So I could go on and on about marriage, but I think you can see I prefer the simple approach. Don’t be jerks!

So here’s wishing a Happy 25th Anniversary to my wife, Michelle! Thanks for hanging in there! I love you!

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