Hello from damp and dreary WNC (Western North Carolina) for those of you out of the know. I’m 2 hours or 80 miles northwest of Asheville and just 10 miles from the Tennessee border. I’m here for a week with over 20 Quebecois folks that make up the most vivacious members of the BMW Motorcycle Club Quebec. Annually, 2 dozen of them leave snowy and below 0C Canada with their bikes on trailers and come here for 7 days of on and off-roading. I feel honored to have been invited along for the ride (literally)
<ah crap, there goes my carpal tunnel. Going to try a few different positions to get the pain to go away>
The only thing around me right now is a small squeaky ceiling fan and the whir from an old inefficient fridge compressor that comes on way too much for 55F ambient temperatures in this hunting camp lodge with satellite Internet and no cell service. We’re up here riding and last night, I left the group for a solo evening in Asheville. I promised to be back in time this morning to ford a river with the group but emailed them at 7AM saying I wouldn’t make it. After 5 days with them, I needed a day off. I’m not anti-social but my social cup has become full and needed to be emptied. I took my time getting back here and arrived at 12:30 to unload and finally go to the grocery store since I’ve been surviving on fig newtons since Saturday. I see an email an hour prior that they were having lunch in TN, an hour ride away. They likely had left by then so I replied that I’d see them tonight and went to the store.
<this extended arm position is helping>
It’s not that I didn’t want to ride with them today but I needed a night alone. I went to a hotel alone, rode around asheville alone, dined alone at a restaurant called Home Grown and their fried catfish was truly sublime! Then I went to 3 breweries to rate beers alone and this morning, breakfast at Biscuit Head, Coffee at Ultra Coffee Bar and quick stop at Eurosport Asheville to discuss some suspension issues I was having with my bike..no charge and that was my only human contact in 24 hours. It was really amazing.
After getting back from the store at 3:30, it’s been 4 hours. No one is back from riding yet. I read through 120 blog posts via my RSS REEDER application, processed and uploaded photos, achieved Inbox Ten from 30 unread emails that mattered since Sunday..10 more to go that really require being back in the office a week from today. Unfortunately, this aging Late-2013 MacBook Pro can’t handle the 4K footage from my video recordings and the dozen videos shot on iPhone aren’t syncing up to iCloud Photos and for some reason Image Capture via USB no longer works so for some odd reason these days you have to wait to send your data to Apple via a device you have on you only to download it from apple with a device a foot away to import into Final Cut Pro to edit. Why Apple broke Image Capture iPhone to MacBook over USB is a complete mystery to me. it’s a new world we live in..but it’s no matter, this aging computer couldn’t handle the video anyway. it’d take a full 20 days to transcode the 3 days of footage I’ve shot so far.
Oh, here’s a photo of me from yesterday;
The bike looks fantastic! I need to send this to AltRider. They asked if they could feature my bike and my riding story in an upcoming blog post. …
You know, that’s the sort of stuff I used to share here, back when I had the physical ability to write out posts every single day and wasn’t pre-occupied with living my life outside of this blog. I used to talk about things that may not happen but were exciting, like this partnership with AltRider. They’re making great products. I tell them about that and they ask me for product feedback now. That’s pretty cool! I wish more companies did that with really committed customers.
I’m definitely thankful to finally have this downtime. I’m also in a sort of mood that 3 days of riding is good. I’m ready to go home although I have 4 more days. The riding here…it’s not like a road-trip where every day is a different scenery. The mix of on and off road riding with a ton of windy roads, it’s fun, challenging, a full body workout but I don’t speak French and the scenery isn’t changing. I’m definitely one who likes to explore new foods, menus, places, photograph cool things and being stuck in one area for a week doesn’t feel new and amazing after a few days. I need to be on the move and the fact that the only restaurant here in town serves carnival food, I’m feeling like this isn’t a vacation. The day in Asheville was certainly great. Maybe tomorrow if the rain holds off, I go deep into Tennessee for some culture that side of the border….unless the Canadians are doing river-crossings then sign me up!
It’s been a short Winter in my opinion. I worked extra hard at my day job, took up some new business opportunities that I’ll talk about over the Summer..everything is moving so fast that I want to keep it all between me. But, I was happy to have received a small bonus this year and used it to pay off things I had bought for the house…just because something is 0% for 24 months doesn’t mean you pay it off at month 24 :P and with things like that, my personal metric of success “Monthly Cost of Living Churn” is reduced. This is something I established a year ago. What is the dollar value of living my life without any expenditures (hobbies, dining out, travel, clothes) month to month. A year ago, I realized that I could drop a lot of online services and bring that all in house. Self host Dropbox for example and a few other things. I also realized that lines of credit I opened when getting my home setup that were interest free were, if I lost my job, ‘churn’ in my opinion so I set to eliminate these ASAP starting with any line of credit with an interest rate attached to it starting higher interest first. I excluded my auto loan and mortgage for obvious reasons. I now just have a Best Buy card for which we bought an oven hood, fridge and a few other things with that will be paid off by August but every other credit account I had is now at $0 except my car loan, bike and solar panels all of which are an interest rate below inflation. I’ll continue paying double on my motorcycle though to continue another thing I started about 3 years ago
“Never being underwater on anything you don’t own outright”. Motorcycles depreciate very fast. For the first 2 years of ownership, I have to make double payments on this bike to keep from getting underwater which is a situation where, again if I lose my job, I can liquidate the bike to pay the remaining of the loan without owing additional money to the bank. My car, is worth $34,000 and I owe $18K I’m in a very good place. My bike is currently worth $18K which is a HUGE drop from the $24K it was worth in August when I bought it for which I paid $20,500 but I’m still ahead of depreciation on it. I’ll have to continue double payments for at least a couple of years to stay ahead of the curve considering I put 10K miles a year on it. The solar panels are a different story. 2% interest on a 10 year loan which is less than I ever paid in electricity to a power company and the solar panels have an added home value which the town assess me on BUT doesn’t tax me on so they assess the panels at around $10K in increase value but I don’t pay taxes on that added value due to a green energy program. I see this loan is a risk item if I’m unemployed however it’s just like a fixed electricity payment and one that wont’ increase over 10 years as electricity prices go up per kilowatt.
Anyway, I cut a check for $1,000 to Sears and $14,000 to a portion of the solar energy loan out of savings and I paid off a high interest card and am continuing to aggressively work toward financial independence from banks and such at least until I want to buy another car. Maybe this is TMI? I don’t know but I find the personal pride here in getting finances under control (not that they were out of control but buying a home, a car, a bike and financing solar panels in a 24 month span was crazy but manageable from a budget standpoint but getting all of that paid off is work and needs to be done) so I am happy and proud to share these things with my readers (for which there are probably only 2 of you these days).
<…ah, the Canadians are back from riding. I may have to cut things short…>
I continue to make good progress on my planning for the Trans-Labrador trip this July, which is such a reminder that I am doing a terrible job of blogging. As I sit here thinking of the dozens of things I can talk about and remember that I haven’t blogged in a more free-form way. Maybe once a day, I devote 10 minutes to sharing exactly what I’m thinking and planning. It’d make this blog more fluid, fun and exciting but then I’d for sure have those comments of “shit or get off the pot” that showed up on my blog back in the day. All too common when I spent a lot of time talking about ideas but less time executing. It’s shifted a bit lately for me and while professionally, this is good it does mean blog posts like this will inevitably posts like this get a few dozen page-views from Facebook for some reason. I have no idea who out there is sharing this post with Facebook or why. The really personal posts get shared there and my self-esteem tells me that these are ‘haters’ who enjoy making fun of me for opening up. It causes me to doubt the why when it come to this blog and go back into hermit mode for 6 months sharing ‘link-posts’ which do help you all understand where I am with reading and thoughts, it does paint a sort of photo around what I’m interested in but doesn’t really reveal anything personal that I’m doing with my life.
Oh well, my burden to bear or is it bare? I’m not going to Google that to figure it out.
The route for the trip is about 3700 miles. I start in Vermont and head North to Quebec City. From there, north until the road ends and starts going east all of the way to Goose-Bay. From there, south to Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and it’s 3 Ferries total until I’m back in Portland Oregon for the ride home. Some local friends are doing an opposite 4 day trip only to PEI but I want to do the whole thing…14 days of on / off road
I think it’s going to be a fantastic time. I tested out some of the things I need for the trip this week, mostly technical things, storage, luggage, spare fuel mounts and other things. The fueling stations are 250 miles a part which is fine for my bike but it’s good to be prepared in the event a place is out of gas. I have some dry luggage that was good to test and I’m not set on the tires I’m running now so it’s good to confirm that with the off-roading we did this week. I also have new suspension coming for my weight and luggage that arrives next week.
Lots of motorcycle events this Summer. Too many to list. I’ll try to remember to put photos here as they come up.
I think we’ll call this one good for now. I’m happy at what came of it and am happy to be able to share it all with you. Thank you for reading. This has been a blog post. Not proof-read though.