My thoughts today turn to adventuring. I have not, nor have I ever been an adventurer. I have not gone digging for gold, hunting bears in Alaska, racing motorcycles, or any other of the multitude of death defying feats that have been performed by fellers like Evel Kneivel, Jack Kerouac, and Ernest Hemmingway. But at this late date in the timeline of what will eventually amount to a puddle of dust in a box, I has decided that I need to do some catching up. It’s not a death wish or a bucket list, but some sort of inner angst that compels me to understand what I have missed in life.
Maybe it is the culmination of the existential angst I have suffered with since adolescence. Maybe it is a death wish, who the fuck knows. But lately, I have been involved in a few activities that have edged me ever more close to the edge of edginess. It all started when I retired at the tender age of 59 and thought to myself, “I need to do that solo cross country trip that I always dreamed of”. Well I done done that and got a brief taste of some form of adrenalin rush. It took me about a month of driving across Louisiana, Texas, and California and then returning through Utah and Colorado to do the whole route. To this day, I still reminisce fondly about that trip. Maybe it was the camping in the Texas desert, or the nights in New Orleans, or the youth hostel in Los Angeles, or the yurt in the Utah desert, or the handful of edibles in Colorado, or the whiskey in Austin, or or or who knows what, as portions of the trip are still fuzzy today.
Subsequent adventures have popped up since that day, mostly around camping with my buddies. There was the trip to Maine and the long dreamed about ferry trip and circumnavigation to Isle of Haut, in which we mountain biked the whole island and nearly died on some of the descents. There were also a bunch of hikes and in the Catskills in which death was imminent more than once due to the fact that old farts have diminished balance.
Our next adventure is with my pseudo faithful companion Bob in which we will haul our dual sport bikes into the hills of Old Forge and attempt to kill ourselves on the off road trails there. Stay tuned for that one as the launch is imminent. We did do a preparatory ride through some mountainous terrain in the Catskills. I did fall on my ass once during one of the ascents and got a stick rammed up my ass. Fortunately, Bob came back, removed the stick, and helped me lift the bike off of the ground before my leg got irreparably burned by the hot muffler. I do need to say that the exhilaration of that ride is something I relive daily, and can only hope that the next one can surpass.
In an attempt at even greater thrills, I decided to order a full size Ford Bronco in signature OJ Simpson white. My faithful companion and I are planning a trip to Moab in Utah to ride the trails there in both the Bronco and on our dual sport motorcycles. Maybe that will satiate my need for greater and greater thrills, although I have doubts.
So now I ask, “Why?”. Why would a perfectly well off retired old bastard engage in such tomfoolery? I can only answer it with statistics. According the Social Security actuarial tables, I gots 19.63 years left. With that staring me in the face, I have to hurry up and fill those years with all that I missed in the first 63 years. Let’s face it, Ernie Hemmingway kicked off at 61, so I’ve already outlived him. Admittedly, his demise was premature due to an overdose of lead, but I do have some work to do to catch up with him in the next 19.63 years of my life.