Living Simply

Since I’ve been on the road I have changed Little Wings oil, trimmed my out of control locks, and had a tire changed. Over four thousand miles traveled in a months time. Maintenance is my middle name. Little Wing has a small oil leak due to factory seals. Nothing bad, easily controlled by constant monitoring. Everday I check all the nuts and bolts to make sure things haven’t come loose, as they tend to do. Little Wing is a one cylinder making it quite the jittery machine. So maintain I do. I tighten the bolts, check the oil, adjust the tire pressure, and toss a helmet over my short doo, and life is good. Honestly though, despite all the maintaining, I’m almost the furthest I’ve been from high maintenance. I don’t shower regularly (though that’s not odd for me). I don’t often look in the mirror. My ears are un-bedazzled despite all the piercings they are speckled with. I wear the same clothes everyday without washing them often. I am totally grunge right now, bringing back the 90’s one dirty motorcyclist at a time. Grungy motorcycle, spattered in oil and dirt, and I am not too far from that description myself. My wardrobe consists of two t-shirts, one pair of jeans, two pants, two warmer shirts, a set of Under Armor, and the necessary socks, underwear and hats. Generally I consider myself rather dapper in my appearance, and now I find I’m grungy and loving it. My pants are men’s Wranglers that work wonderfully for riding and staying anonymous. They are my daily wear. The t-shirt that I also make a daily item is a Patagonia shirt. I bought it at an outdoor store out side of Grand Rapids the day I left. It is one of those wick-away-sweat, 100% cotton, shirts. It was an interesting story actually. I walked into the store about 11:00 am on the day of departure, after attending to all my necessary responsibilities that morning. I was sweating. It was an 80° day. One of those beautiful September days that started at 35° and warmed up quickly. I was wearing my Wranglers and my JC Penny bought band tee with Jimi Hendrix on the front. I had known that polyester shirts were an unwise idea for hot days, I mean I had been riding all summer. However I hadn’t yet purchased a good cotton shirt so Jimi was all I had. Needless to say, it was hot. So when I rode into Thousand Lakes, the outdoor store I was desperate to be less sweaty. I just kept wondering how I was going to survive in Arizona’s heat if I couldn’t even handle Minnesota’s. The store mostly contains fishing gear, but also has some camping gear, and a very nice selection of outdoor clothing. The sales associate, one of the owners of the business (the customer service there is awesome, just so ya’ll know) asked me what it was he could help me find and I told him I was searching for clothing meant for hot weather. To my extreme pleasure they had actually just put the summer wear on clearance that morning. He showed me to the women’s shirts which were all pastel colored, I wasn’t impressed. It isn’t that I dislike pastel colors, but when one is planning to wear a shirt day in and out while possibly sweating profusely light colors are the last thing they want. I was also looking for something a little more geared to the men’s pants I had on — more unisex. So I turned to the men’s shirts, seeng they had the badass black and grey colors. The sales associate asked my what I was looking for and I told him something darker in color. “How ’bout this?” I turned to see him holding up a black shirt with the picture of a guitar on the front. The guitar had only one string and under it were printed the words ‘live simply.’ “Yes, exactly,” I said. It was perfect. The shirt that embodied my newly chosen lifestyle for the next ten months or so. I went to the rack and picked the exact shirt I would be living in for months and paid for it. It was 30% off, so though spendy it was the best deal of the day. I am wearing my Wranglers and live simply shirt right now, and though grungy I feel rather dapper. My grungy motorcycle is parked, and when I look at it I see the “patina of my adventure” as one friend has said. The beautiful smudging of dust and grime mixed with oil. The generally shiny rainbow colored pipe is now fogged over from the time in the mountains when it snowed. Little Wings teardrop tank is scratched from my tank bag and my windshield is caked and layered with dead bugs. On the second day of my trip I posted a blog about the same day I bought my live simply shirt — my now moto shirt. It was about the day I took off, September 3rd, and the cleaning of Little Wing. The lovely feeling of closeness I had with him when sponging off all the grime. Since then I haven’t had access to the facilities to wash Little Wing. We both keep getting grungier and grungier, which actually gives me as much of a feeling of closeness as washing Little Wing did. We are two of a kind. My apparel is wonderfully mine. I look like a grunge master and I haven’t yet seen anyone dressed like me yet. I am one of a kind and so is Little Wing. However there are things to be high maintenance about. 1) Oil levels. One must be vigilante about the spots oil might be leaking from and how it is leaking. 2) Tire pressure and tire wear. With only two tires to fall back on one must be certain they are well taken care of. 3) Tightening of various nuts and bolts. One does not want the bike falling apart as they go down the road. 4) This ties into the last one quite well, safely securing commitments to bike. Having a loose piece of anything caught up in the tire spokes is a terrible thing to imagine. 5) Brushing ones teeth. I feel that doesn’t require any explaination. And there it is. Living simply is easy on a bike. That is as high maintenance as I get. Of course all five of those things are infinitely important, but that is much less than a list a may have made six months ago. Living simply. That may very well be the purpose of this journey on Little Wing.

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