Cheryl and I scooped handfuls of reddish goop away from the tires, mindless but necessary work to get ourselves out of a sticky situation. A thought struck me hard: “Freedom.” We were toiling to free the motorcycle, but it was the Africa Twin itself, a simple dual-sport machine, that evoked the feeling.
A few weeks prior, we’d discussed where to go for a winter ride. We had ignored Canada and most of the Continental U.S. because of the cold but wanted to explore some of Northern California, Oregon, and Washington in the winter. The allure of “NorCal” in particular called to us both. We prepared the usual list of things we’d like to see, then plotted routes to get there with the sole purpose of making sure we took that wrong turn. The adventure was, and remains, the unknown, and over-planning takes a bit of the fun out of it for us.
Our trip began with a ferry ride to Washington, then backroads to Astoria, Oregon. Along the way, Cheryl said, “Hey, let’s see where this road goes.” A moment later we were on a curvy one only a few feet from a straight drop into the water. Just offshore there was a shipwreck, a picture-perfect moment in which to pause and reflect.
The next day we were heading south in gale-force winds, the ride putting our gear, and our resolve, to a serious test. Traveling down the scenic Pacific Coast Highway was now an exercise in fortitude, the wind, cold and rain—a trifecta of conditions directly affecting our safety. In military parlance, we achieved a pucker factor of at least seven, with nasty wind gusts literally taking us from the centerline to the guardrail of every bridge we crossed.
When we reached Klamath, California, we met with better weather. I could not resist a road south of town, time for a wrong turn. Cheryl and I rolled onto Coastal Drive Road, which had the adventurers within us excited to get out to the coast. With easy curves, plus the odd pothole, we made it to the Pacific, where the road changed to hardpack still damp from the morning dew. We stopped briefly at High Bluffoverlook, the marine layer still present. The coastline beckoned to the photographer in me; I could literally have spent hours capturing images there, the light ever-changing, with the waves crashing hard on the rocks below.
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THE YOUNGEST TO TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD? JACK GROVES
In the age of electronics, hyper-communications, and convenience, it’s untrue that the world’s youth have lost the taste for adventure. There will always be an element within the human spirit that demands and grows from new life experiences—an instinct as old as Mankind. And you don’t have to look far to find it.
Alpinestars Tech 7 Enduro Drystar
Motocross boots have evolved considerably over the last 20 years, but that hasn’t been the case in the ADV segment, and we often have to sacrifice proper protection for dry feet. Meet the new Alpinestars Tech 7 Drystar enduro boot. We’ve been waiting for a boot like this for quite some time and, to this day, it still boggles my mind that it took so long.
SLIDING FOR ADVENTURE
For the last 25 years I’ve been riding off road on everything from a 450cc lightweight to a heavily laden 1200cc adventure motorcycle. Although I was usually able to handle anything through rough terrain at slower speeds, I struggled at higher speeds on loose surfaces. And the biggest pucker moments occurred while approaching tight turns on gravel roads at high speed—barely navigating them safely.
National Cycle VStream Sport Windscreen for Honda Africa Twin
There are many ways to improve motorcycle rider comfort, covering everything from bar risers to footpegs. Having done almost all of them, I decided to switch out my stock windscreen to see if it made a difference, especially on long trips.
TIN CAN TO TIN CUP A LONG OVERDUE TRIP
Long before the modern U.S. highway system was built, with rest stops, 24-hour fuel, and every imaginable packaged food choice on hand, there were the “Tin Can Tourists,” the original American motorized overlanders. As early as the 1900s, these wanderers faced many of the same challenges we live with today. But life was far simpler for the Tin Can Tourist traveling dusty, rutted tracks in meagerly powered vehicles, camping off roadsides in canvas tents, and eating cans of beans over Sterno stoves. Fifteen months ago, we sold our house to join this rambling lifestyle.
R&R for an RN IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
A mid the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, I needed to find the quiet serenity that comes on two wheels. As a nurse educator in a trauma-based tertiary hospital, I’m deep in the trenches, responsible for disseminating information and implementing health regulations to frontline workers. Inundated with fear from global news, increasing numbers of the infected, lack of resources, and a palpable universal panic as the world began to shut down, I needed to be away from it all for a while.
RAM Tough-Charge X-Grip Waterproof Wireless Charging Motorcycle Mount
RAM Mounts were first introduced in 1995, and over the last 25 years their ball and socket system has become the most ubiquitous way to mount devices wherever you need them. Recently they increased functionality to include Qi wireless charging with the Tough-Charge line of mounts.
HOW TO SURVIVE an Adventure Ride
I’m no expert endurance rider or a professional fitness instructor, but what I can do is ride my motorcycle continuously for five long days and feel physically content at the end of the trip. Okay, maybe after the celebratory beers, I might not feel as good on the morning of the sixth day, but at least my muscles will be relaxed. So, what can you do to prepare for an upcoming off-road adventure to stay strong, enjoy the ride and be able to dismount at the end of the day without calling friends over to pry you off your bike? Here are a few tips from personal experiences that will help you succeed.
Touratech Aventuro Traveller Carbon Helmet
Touratech has a long history of taking great helmets and adding their own features to make them stand apart. Their newest offering, the Aventuro Traveller Carbon, is no different. It’s built upon the Nexx X.Vilijord, a helmet not sold in North America but one that sits at the pinnacle of the Portuguese brand’s line-up. The Aventuro Traveller becomes its own with a full carbon shell, signature Touratech look, and easy accommodation for just about any communication system available.
2Up and Overloaded
Chicago to Panama
UNITY IN A WORLD OF DIVERSITY
BRIAN JONES explores unity in a world full of challenges and diversity. Through different analogies and his own personal experience with meditation, he finds effective ways to achieve unity through the silence of the heart.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
New ballpark lighting standards will help hitters and fielders see the ball better at the lower levels
A year of COVID
MY OH MY, HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED
The Dream Of The '90s Died In Portland
Once an up-and-coming city, Portland was destroyed from within by radical activism and political ineptitude.
Africa Tries Free Trade
Economic nationalism has plagued Africa since decolonization. In 2021, that is set to change.
From Magic Mushroom to Forbidden Fungus (and Back)
Half a century ago, Congress declared that there is no legitimate use for psilocybin. State and local governments are finally challenging that judgment.
The Mushroom Moment Manifesto
The saturday after voters in Washington, D.C., and Oregon voted to loosen legal restrictions on magic mushrooms, my girlfriend and I celebrated in the most appropriate way possible.
How To Take Shrooms
A concise guide to experimenting with psilocybin
The Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a 51-mile long canal that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
The Sea Trials of Minimus II
Since our first article about Minimus II, our minimalist, four-masted voyaging catamaran (SCA #117), we’ve taken her offshore for initial sea trials. On our second outing, we spent two days and a night offshore from the coast of Oregon.