Two years ago, I’d never even spent the night outside, uncovered. Didn’t know how to use a compass. Had no idea that there exists a treasure trove of free, dispersed camping around the country. But my friends set me straight. They taught me what it really means to dirtbag, that having a stop-back can keep you from getting lost, and that it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s more important to just get outside.
One year ago, I’d never ridden a motorcycle. Didn’t know the brake’s on the right, clutch on the left. Had no idea that a dohickey existed or that a chain needs lube. But my friends set me straight. They taught me the joys of getting off the beaten path on dual sports, that with the proper care el moto can take you around the world, and that it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s more important to just get on the road.
I have a vision of the adventurer I want to become. Part Laura Ingals Wilder, part Jacques Cousteau, healthy dose Shackleton. Resourceful, adventurous, capable. The type of person who goes deep into the wild with confidence, and comes out alive on the other side. Who has a varied skill set and a flexible paradigm. Who knows which tool is best for the job and how to make do when that tool’s not available. I’m not there yet, but there’s always tomorrow.
I’ve already logged more than two weeks on the road, faced a bear, startled a moose and desimated a small army of mosquitoes. I make quick work of setting up and tearing down camp now, able to efficiently get the tent up in the dark, rain or wind. I’ve learned that overnight oats are a great treat, but overnight quinoa not so much. And that witnessing sunrise from your tent is the best because you can go right back to sleep. I haven’t cried yet, but there’s always tomorrow.
Early light cutting through the clear waters, reflecting onto the nearby wall, I have the hot mineral pool all to myself. I float without direction, a leaf in the current.
I’d planned to leave today – cross into Alaska, get closer to Anchorage – but Rufio has developed a rattle after yesterday’s excitement. My rider family advises that I get it checked out before logging major miles. Depending on the exact pitch and tone of the noise it might be a quick fix or it might be fatal. My engine ear still undeveloped, I need an expert to listen, school me in the subtleties of rattles, clunks, tik-toks and pings.
But today is Canada Day and everything is closed. So I float.
16 days down. Many to come.
Get Bonus Stories
Each week we’ll send you behind the scenes stories & pics from Operation Moto Dog.
Sign up below. –>