Epic Ride 2009: Recap

It’s back to the office today and I’m not ready for it. I think all vacations should have an extra two days of recovery time before one has to return to work. At least I got to ride my bike to work, so I’ll consider that some transition time. When I drive the car then I’ll be fully back to the grind.

So last week my good friend Robert and I took an Epic Ride. This is something I’ve done once a year for the past 3 years or so. It’s a ride that lasts at least 3 or 4 days and covers 1000 miles or so. This year though, was extra special. Here’s some stats from last weeks ride, just because I’m kind of a stats junkie. If I had time to make some charts, I totally would:

  • Time: 7 days
  • Miles: 2040
  • States Crossed: 4
  • National Parks Visited: 5
  • Altitude Range: 100 below sea level to 9800 feet.
  • Temperature Range: 45 to 109 degrees
  • Number of emails, Facebooks, or Tweets posted from the road, voice-mails listened to, hours of TV watched or newspapers read: BIG FAT ZERO!

That last statistic is probably the most significant one of the bunch.

I thought about transcribing my road journal (yes I keep a road journal and it’s awesome) in painstaking detail for you, but then I decided against it. My handwriting is so awful that it would be hard to do first of all, but then I decided that the dirty details are not important. Oh yes, I could tell you about breaking down in Death Valley, or petting a pit-bull while watching a bartender do a ho-down on the bar, or discussing with a perfect stranger how to sneak a Chihuahua into a no-pets hotel, but that’s not all that interesting is it? No, I think what’s interesting is what I learned about life on this little adventure.

What I learned is that life is way too complex, and it doesn’t need to be. We spend so much time purposefully bombarding ourselves with crap and then we wonder why we’re all balled up inside all the time. Think about it for a second. How many messages are we bombarded with on a daily basis? Think about the radio in your car, the TV, the web pages, the billboards, the emails, the voicemails, the newspapers…. it’s a continual stream of information bombarding us from every side from the moment we wake until the time we go to bed.

What do we need with all that info? What purpose does all that crap have for our lives? I would venture to say that 99% of it serves no other purpose than to get you to bend to somebody else’s agenda. Whether that be spending your money a particular way or backing somebody’s cause. And I did not realize how irritable this stream of noise makes me until I cut myself off from it for 7 straight days, and then re-entered the mix on Saturday. It was like walking into freeway traffic.

The second thing I learned was that work is not worth sweating. Sometimes we get so bowed up about what needs to be done and how important our jobs are. But in reality, people come and go, and organizations go on just fine. My company is over 100 years old. How many people have worked in these buildings over that time? Tens of thousands? Maybe even hundreds of thousands? Yet the place just keeps marching along. So why do we get so bowed up as if the entire world would collapse if we took a day off? Why do we put work before more important things like family & friends?

So am I saying we should all quit work and just ride motorcycles all day long? Yes. Yes that’s exactly what I’m saying! But obviously that’s not possible. I guess I’m just saying that I’ve realized I need to simplify life. The things we often think are important, are really not that important in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes it takes 7 days on a motorcycle to make you realize that.