A blizzard roars outside causing the house to creek with fear, the wind is relentless. My hope is that our pipes will not freeze this cold squally evening. With no electricity, I am on battery power and hope to put thoughts on paper before my laptop fades away. Just a few days ago the roads cleared enough to take my cycle for much-needed maintenance ride. It was a cold day, but that short trip on two wheels brought needed joy in the form of adrenaline to my mind and body. Winter never dies, it just fades away in Colorado. It’s mid-March, I thought the worst was behind us, but Old Man Winter is not done tormenting my soul. Motorcyclist are not bound by the rules of society or cultural norms, but a polar vortex will surely stop us in our tracks.
My hope was that the riding season was upon us, but I know now that my dream was just a fleeting glimpse of reality. Hope can be a wild beast to ride, but it’s a ride worth living. Hope drives us to find a better tomorrow and uplifts our spirits during time of need. Hope is one of the greatest motivational forces and is an immensely powerful force of good which can dictate positive action.
Another survival tactic that one can rely on is to dive into the situation fully immersed without dwelling upon the situation and its many negative characteristics. The Phrase “Embrace the Suck” epitomizes this theory of living. When you are in a situation where life is just bleak and miserable, and one does not have any control of external influences than sometimes the best track is to dive into the misery and let it become you. It’s about not wishing for a change in the environment but finding the good within it. If you are willing to open your eyes, most situations have something that one can be thankful for. “Embrace the Suck” goes deeper then that; one must be willing to fully commit to the situation they are in and put forth all effort to enjoy it without a logical approach of reasoning. It’s a mindset, a way to propel yourself forward by throwing yourself into the ugly reality and enjoying it.
Keep the rubber side down, the sun shall shine again as the new dawn approaches.
Arizona can be that early winter destination you are looking for. I have been immersed in cool nights, warm days and have even seen a few clouds drifting, as if on vacation in the arid desert sky. Sedona is the place that sticks out the most from my travels through Arizona. It is nestled in a mountainous, mesa filled topography that makes one feel like they are roaming upon ancient sacred lands. There is a certain feeling or vibe that emanates from the ground that induces pure thought and elusive peace. It’s just a great place to dwell upon thoughts long lost. The residents of Sedona call this energy, “vortexes” and after speaking with them, I found that tourist travel from throughout the globe to visit Sedona to bath within the energy that dwells in this majestic place. I spoke with my sister the day I visited Sedona. She asked if our father who has long since passed away would have liked the place? I immediately replied that I had a feeling that he visited Sedona at one time and thoroughly enjoyed it and suggested that he may have traveled through Sedona while hitch hiking across the country when he was a young man. It was just a feeling that was within my mind, not based upon any previous conversation I had with him. Her reply back to me was that both times she visited Sedona, that she felt that my father was along with her for the journey. It was just a spontaneous conversation that occurred between siblings via a text but now that I dwell upon it, both our feelings on the matter give that conversation substance and made my visit to Sedona that much more special.
Was able to visit the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument near Coolidge AZ. There is not much left to this ancient Hohokam Village but what remains is rather impressive given its 700 year battle against the relentless desert sun. Visiting sites like this give me pause to dwell upon the many footsteps that have tread upon the land throughout our human evolution. It is unfathomable to comprehend the amount of skill, ingenuity, and complete dedication to survival it took for these industrious people to not only survive in such a hostile arid climate but thrive.
I am always so proud of myself when I go to IKEA and buy a pre-fabricated table and successfully put it together. The Hohokam Peoples, hunted where animals did not dwell, grew crops where water did not exist and built a village with little to no natural resources other than dirt and tenacity. Portions of this historic settlement still exist as a monument to those who have refused to give up even when all seemed lost and hope was beyond reason. I can’t help but to think of the words of Winston Churchill who said, “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
So I have been riding a ton in the back country on National Forest Roads. Such awesome rides can be found in the dark green wilderness. No doubt these rides are great and I love some of the strange random sites I have seen. One such site was during a pre-dawn ride in the back country where I came across a car hanging out on the side of the road (the car was actually hanging off a big ledge on the side of the road). It was kind of crazy and reminded me of a scene from a horror movie. To this day, I am not sure why that car was in the middle of the forest. Here is the photo below:
Little Round Top is hallowed ground; it’s a place where courage, death, and valor met on a bloody hill. It’s a place where the extreme heroic actions of a few, helped extend the reach of freedom for those in bondage. Union men defended that small knoll and their sacrifice literally saved a young nation. Little Round Top served as the last Southern anchor point of the Union Army on the Second Day of the Battle of Gettysburg. If the defending soldiers were overwhelmed by the Confederate forces at this critical location, then the Union Armies Left Flank would fall. The Confederates would then gain the high ground and like dominoes, the Union Army would have toppled upon its self. If the Union Army was routed at Gettysburg in the Northern State of Pennsylvania, Confederate General Robert Lee would be free to march his Army south uncontested and force President Lincoln to capitulate to the Confederate Cause.
On the early morning of July 2, 1863, the high ground on the Union Force’s far left flank laid undefended from an impending Confederate attack. Without orders and on his own initiative, Union Colonel Strong Vincent, knowing the vital importance of the position ordered his Third Brigade to occupy and defend the high ground at a small hill called Little Round Top. The order to secure this vital position was given to the 20th Maine Volunteers Commanded by Colonel Joshua Chamberlain. Only a year previous, Colonel Chamberlain was a Professor of Rhetoric at Bowdoin College in Maine. He spoke more than 8 languages fluently but had little military experience and only became the Commander of the Infantry Company a month previously. Colonel Chamberlain was given the order from Colonel Strong Vincent to, “hold the ground at all hazards”. Within minutes of taking their positions on that little rocky hill, the 20th Maine was attacked by the 15th Alabama, Commanded by Colonel William Oates. Multiple attacks by the Confederates were thrown up that hill and were repulsed by the Union Troops. After each attack, the Confederates shifted their forces to flank and overwhelm the 20th Maine. After many assaults on their position, Union Forces found themselves stretched thin and without ammunition to defend against another attack. Colonel Chamberlain’s orders were clear, there was to be no surrender. Without hope of reinforcements, little ammunition nor men to hold the line, the situation was dire. At that moment, the Professor from Bowdoin College gave the order to those left in his Command to equip bayonets. With no other options available, Colonel Joshua Chamberlain issued the order to attack down the blood drenched hill. This action served to confuse and disorient the Confederate Forces and turned the tide of the battle. The Confederate forces never recovered from the Chamberlain’s bayonet charge and were driven from the field saving the high ground and the Union’s left flank.
Colonel William Oats, Commander of the 15th Alabama Infantry who lost half his force on that gory day explained, “the dead literally covered the ground”. Union Army Colonel Strong Vincent who ordered the defense of Little Round Top was mortally wounded while rallying his men. He was promoted to General while on his death bed before succumbing to his wounds. Colonel Joshua Chamberlain survived the three-day Battle of Gettysburg and continued to lead men into battle. At the Second Battle of Petersburg, Colonel Chamberlain was severely wounded and was suspected to die of his wounds and was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. He even out maneuvered death and survived the wound to live till age 85. After the war he served as the Governor of Maine as well as President of Bowdoin College.
The History that can still be felt at Little Round Top is palatable to the senses. Take the time to wonder the many monuments dedicated to all that fought there. My suggestion is to read the book “Killer Angeles” by Michael Shaara. Its not a long read but is informative beyond measure and written in such a way that is pure historical bliss. Reading the book will help you acclimatize yourself to the many facets of the Battle of Gettysburg and will give you additional information to help you more enjoy your visit.
Life is leading me towards one new Motorcycle and I can’t stop thinking about it. The 2018 Royal Enfield Himalaya haunts my brain while I am awake and my dreams while I sleep. Last night I awoke in a feverish sweat from a radical dream. In the vision, I was being chased by a King Kong size rodent with bunny ears. Luckily the mythical beast could not catch me as I raced around large shrubbery on my trusted Royal Enfield Himalaya.
Over the last few years I have followed this cycle as it was first sold in India and then later retailed to parts of Europe and Australia. I admit, there have been a few quality hiccups along the way, but Royal Enfield has been tweaking their manufacturing control measures to resolve these problems. From the research that I have read on-line, the initial glitches have been worked out after the first production year that the cycle was sold. I have never been an advocate of buying a first-year model even with quality obsessed Japanese based Motorcycles. The American Launch of the Himalaya in the Spring of 2018 will represent the 3rd Phase of Royal Enfield’s Distribution Plan and I hope the gremlins will have been fully worked out before it hits American Roads.
I have never ridden this motorcycle, but I love what it represents. It embodies freedom from pavement, freedom from dept, freedom from economic forces that keeps modest adventure riders from dirt trails and mountainous fire roads. With an expected base price of $4499.00, this is an “Every Man’s Adventure Bike!
Our everyday Heroes do not get the recognition they so deserve. These giants among men deserve to be celebrated; their stories should be shared with others. Their courage, triumphs, struggles and tenacity should serve as a moral compass for others to follow. Personally I have many heroes that have made a difference in my life and helped enhance my world view. From my mother who always supported me too Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain who commanded the 20th Maine and saved the Union Army at Little Round Top during the battle of Gettysburg.
Today I wanted to discuss my Motorcycling Hero, his name is Pierlucio Tinazzi. In 1999 in the mighty Alps of Italy lies the Mount Blanc Tunnel. At the time, Pierlucio Tinazzi, was a security guard with the primary duties of keeping traffic flowing through the tunnel. When he heard fire alarms from the tunnel he jumped onto his BMW K75 Motorcycle and headed into the flames. Tinazzi made numerous trips into the fires that day, each time leading wayward victims to safety on his motorcycle. On his 5th trip into the depths of the inferno, he came across an unconscious truck driver who he could not get on his motorcycle to drive to safety. Instead of leaving the unconscious man, he dragged him into a fire safe room within the tunnel system hoping that they could survive the blaze. Unfortunately, the fire lasted for more than 30 days and both perished under Mount Blanc. Pierlucio Tinazzi was credited for saving 12 people that fateful day on his motorcycle. His courage under duress is praiseworthy but his conviction to save others in need is implausible. His actions that fateful day are heroic and are a credit upon our two-wheel lifestyle.
Do any of you have a Motorcycling Hero?
I Took This Photo and Still Can Not Figure Out Why I Like It