Keep it Simple

| 12/17/2008 4:08:42 PM

alison and dog 

For nine years I was fortunate to live on a beach on Lake Superior and the kayak and canoe were part of everyday life when there wasn’t ice on the lake. Whether exploring the coastline near home, or venturing further, Superior was an integral part of life. One favourite mini-trip involved ferrying a vehicle to a landing 30km down the coast to facilitate a one-way trip – hopefully with a tail wind. On one such jaunt my girlfriend and I packed a good lunch, swimwear, and sun block, grabbed our paddles and lifejackets and sunhats and dragged our kayaks into the water. It was a marvellous, leisurely day of sun and water and fresh air. As we approached the landing we met a lone kayaker and naturally stopped to chat.  He was absolutely flabbergasted that we had just packed lunches and headed out - His kayak had been lashed to the top of his very fancy SUV for a three week trip circumnavigating Lake Superior. At this point he was within two days of completing his tour and this was the first time that the kayak had been in the water! His boat sported compasses (two) satellite radio, spare paddle, paddle floats, sea anchor, water filter kit, trailing rope, flares, and heaven knows what else… as compared to our kit of lunch and snacks and sun-tan oil. Yes, we lived on the lake and were careful about weather conditions, and our partners knew of our plans for the day – but really! He never planned to do overnight trips, but hadn’t even made it onto the water in days and days of driving alongside the lake! He said the conditions just weren’t right! 

What does this have to do with motorcycling you ask? Nothing really, but it does illustrate the slippery slope of doing too much research and having too much gear and being so prepared that actually DOING the activity doesn’t happen. Some days I fear that this tendency for gadget-wired, performance-enhanced  motorcycles will actually keep people at home for fear of all of the accoutrements not functioning as advertised. 

I keep a quote with me in my daily planner that reads in part -- 

  “to have a home, small but perfect in comfort, so that the business of existing is subservient to the joy of living” 

If applied to the world of motorcycles, the parallel is obvious.  If maintaining the trip blog and programming the GPS, and ensuring that the satellite phone is kept absolutely dry and keeping the weather scanner on the right channel, are causing angst – then some of the magic of travelling by motorcycle is being sabotaged by the very equipment that should free you to enjoy the trip. Where is the pleasure of the ride when mental energy is being spent on such concerns? 

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