Brain Dump: Riding Motorcycles and Campfires Help Me Think

Brain Dump: Riding Motorcycles and Campfires Help Me Think

When I’m riding my motorcycle, the thoughts that usually flit around in my head become so clear. Sometimes when I’m moving through my everyday non-riding life I have difficulty channeling my ideas in a concise way. They are much more jumbled and murky when I’m say, sitting on my couch, versus when I’m doing 50mph on the back of a Tiger.

Funny how that works. Instinctively you would think that when you’re in a vulnerable position that you couldn’t possibly relax. But, you do.

On Sunday while my husband Kenny was out riding trails, I was holding down the fort. In the early morning, after he’d set off, my dog Lilo and I just sat around staring while the kiddo was still in slumberland.

lilo watching over things

On Saturday during the ride up to the cabin, I formulated grand plans of spending all day Sunday writing down my thoughts and chipping away at story fragments that will never see the light of day. Not only do I have a mountain of drafts in my blog, but I have other writing that I do outside of the blog that gets tucked away for no one but me.

More and more I’ve come to realize that I have no idea how to be a good motorcycle blogger. I’m not sure that I even write about motorcycles. I mean, I do… but peripherally. That’s the way that they seem to make the most sense to me. Motorcycles enhance or deliver me to experiences but I’m not sure that they are the experience. I recognize that this state of mind has changed over the last 20 years.

Earlier this week I was reading a post from Ara on The Oasis of My Soul called: Adventure vs. a Journey, TX. While I don’t categorically agree with everything that he says in his post, I understand where he’s coming from. I found this particularly interesting:

There is a goal, there are numbers, calendar, a clock or two, there is pushing, overdoing. There is the constant inner flow of pumping information into the Social Media platforms as often the Adventure is not even pursued for oneself but for Facebook or Twitter or Google Plus. It is sharing no doubt but all more on the physical side and a “look at me banner” style of the ongoing.

As a result of reading tomes of blogs over the years, one thing I’ve come to learn is that even though words are shared, photos are posted – we still cannot know the true depth of a person’s mind and heart. Their reasons for doing things are unknown to us until they express them directly. And even then, it’s suspect. And so we apply our biases. We knit together our interpretations of someone’s motivations based on clues from threads in our own mind.

On the surface, maybe it looks like someone’s social sharing is nothing more than look at me banner waving but having never spoken to that person, we don’t know how their adventure truly shapes them. Some people don’t have the wherewithal, the ability or even the wish to show us more than the surface. Sometimes people aren’t even aware of how they feel about a situation until it’s long since passed. We all grow and change and elevate at a different rate.

This brings me back to my feelings about my blog. Sometimes I become frustrated by my inability to adequately share my experiences. I just don’t have that ability. I’m not a writer, I’m just another self-absorbed shlub with a Macbook. But… I try.

Sometimes I miss the mark and don’t round out my thoughts enough. Sometimes it seems like the things I find important enough to write don’t matter to anyone but me. And often, I hold back but I’m not sure why. And then – the most common misstep for me – there are the times when inspiration scuttles away because I waited too long to jot down my ideas. So many words go unsaid. I hate that one the most because at its root it is time wasted.

Though my blog is written first as a clearing house for some of my thoughts it would be untruthful to say that there isn’t a want to connect or to get some virtual high-fives. Perhaps that why it smarts when posts go unread or when you share something that moved you and it falls flat. A blog post is like putting a piece of your mind on display. When it is ignored, you’re ignored. When someone says what you posted is stupid, they’re saying you’re stupid. Of course that is an oversimplification – but that’s what it feels like sometimes.

Like Ara, I often wonder about social media or blog personalities. What makes one stand out from the others? If you look at some of the most popular accounts in the motorcycle niche, they’re highly visual. As it turns out, they aren’t my go-to reads. Yes, I appreciate them for what they are. But the folks who deliver the deep thoughts and the visuals? Those are the ones that I carry in my heart.

On Sunday, though I had grand plans to write and write and write I sat by the fire next to my dog, my kid and even my motorcycle and just… thought. All day. For the first time in as long as I can remember I was able to open my mind like I do when I’m riding. With nowhere to go and nothing to do I just sat there and contemplated a million things. I thought about other bloggers I’d like to meet. I thought about words and pictures and rides in the mountains. I thought about what I want to do with this blog, where I want to travel to, how much I don’t want to be afraid of showing my cards.

Maybe I even thought about you. It happens.

campfire at the cabin

15 Replies to “Brain Dump: Riding Motorcycles and Campfires Help Me Think”

  1. People don’t take enough time to just sit and think anymore. I know I don’t. There’s too much to do to just sit still. I think that’s why I enjoy road trips so much, on two wheels or four. I’m doing something, but I’m also thinking. Daydreaming, just letting my mind wander. Really SEEING the world around me.

    “More and more I’ve come to realize that I have no idea how to be a good motorcycle blogger. I’m not sure that I even write about motorcycles. I mean, I do… but peripherally. That’s the way that they seem to make the most sense to me. Motorcycles enhance or deliver me to experiences but I’m not sure that they are the experience.”

    What exactly is a good motorcycle blogger? Or a good motorcycle blog? If you wrote about the nuts and bolts of motorcycling, mechanical stuff, model comparison, etc. all the time, I probably wouldn’t want to read. Some people are really into that stuff, but I’m not one of them.

    I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head with motorcycles enhancing the experience, not themselves being the experience. I think good motobloggers believe that, too, or at least feel it. I never really thought about it that way. Heck, I don’t even know if I’m even a motoblogger or just another general interest personal blogger with no real focus and a blog that has no real value, but does seem to entertain or at least interest a few very cool folks.

    Who says you have to fit a certain label, or that your blog has to have a certain goal? If you enjoy it, keep doing what you’re doing, exactly the way you’ve been doing it. If you don’t enjoy the blog thing, stop. (That being said, I hope you don’t stop, because you’d be sorely missed.)

    There does seem to be a fine line with blogging and sharing stuff on social media. I pondered this a lot last weekend. You ever notice how motobloggers often include pictures of their bike? Do you think it’s weird or show-offy? I don’t. But I’ll bet a lot of people who don’t ride do think “Oh, God, there’s another picture of her motorcycle again. Does she always have to remind us that she rides a motorcycle?” They don’t get the fact that when we’re off riding, the bike is a part of the experience and should be included. Lots of other people don’t get the fact that finding roadside oddities is actually fun, or think it makes ANY sense at all to drive 300 miles in each direction to take a picture of a wooden Indian head, or to prattle on and on about riding around one’s state to see silly LOVE things…

    I don’t get the sense that you share images of stuff and do things just to impress people. I don’t think any of the bloggers I follow do that. You’re sharing your experiences. Every now and then you and others share stuff about your family, your travels not done on two wheels, pets, etc. Not to impress or achieve a goal, but just because you want to share. Because you know there are at least a few people out there with similar passions and interests that understand why you like big, old fiberglass men, who care that your white gear is all grubby, who look forward to seeing where you’ve been and what you’ve seen and know you had fun getting there to see it.

    Lord, this comment is almost as long as your post. I bet you can tell I didn’t do it from my phone! LOL.

    It is a let-down when folks don’t comment. Sorta like talking to a room full of people, but no one is listening. I don’t know the cure for that one. I think a lot of people are just too busy, don’t have anything specific to say so don’t say anything. I do hope you keep plugging away though. I enjoy your adventures. I love your pics. You make me laugh. The blogosphere would be a dull place without you.

    1. What exactly is a good motorcycle blogger? Or a good motorcycle blog?

      I don’t know. But clearly i have some expectation in my mind that i can’t quite articulate. And it seems like it is a standard that I am applying to myself that I don’t necessarily apply to others. I guess maybe i’m confusing the term good with something else. What i think of as “good” or important to me isn’t necessarily what i see splashed everywhere.

      There are times when i want to approach my blog differently, mostly because my feelings about things just change or evolve. But i think i get stuck in a rut.

      “Oh, God, there’s another picture of her motorcycle again. Does she always have to remind us that she rides a motorcycle?”

      😆 Yes, i do think people who don’t ride would think that.

      I look at the motorcycle as something of a stand-in for the person taking the photo. Do i think it’s showing off? Most times no. But i do often think that some people who pose and perfect themselves in their sharing seem desperate for strangers to “love” them. It seems like a common occurrence for women in particular. Like we need to be told we’re beautiful all the time. But that could just be something I’m making up, interpreting the selfie generation. Maybe they dont really feel that way.

      To be honest, i don’t get how people don’t get the riding around to see something. What has happened to us that we shut the whimsy off in our lives? Sometimes the “thing” is just an excuse to exercise the planning & riding muscles. At least for me. While the end result is important, a lot happens in between that is a valuable part of the experience.

      No, I don’t feel like i’m out to impress anyone. I’m not sure i have the confidence for that.

      Regarding commenting – i’m terrible at it. I struggle greatly with it, actually. Often I don’t feel like i have anything of value to add to what the writer has shared. Saying things like “cool picture” or “great post” seem trite and dumb to me, so I don’t say anything. But i read tons of things and truly appreciate the time and effort the author has put in to sharing them. I wish more wordpress blogs used their “like” stars. that is a nice way to let the author know what they’ve shared mattered. While i don’t feel bad per se when no one comments, it can be hard to gauge whether or not what you’re doing is of any value to anyone else. Sometimes it isn’t, but sometimes i’m sure people don’t know what to say. “Cool post, bro.”

      I also have a hard time commenting with my phone. I think you mentioned the same. Sometimes i’ll write something out, click post comment and … nothing. That is infuriating.

      Thanks for being my friend, Kathy <3 🙂

  2. and then i remember all the stuff i wrote since 96-97 – and how frequent i used to do that and how seldom i’m doing it nowadays – and i remember lately the videos i’m uploading to youtube and the almost unmaintained corner at wordpress… it’s obvious that is good to have people interacting with you, and that sometimes works like a virtuous circle, but that isn’t (or shouldn’t be) the main reason/target – getting audience. i write because i want to write. i do my stuff (songs, writings, videos) because i want (and eventually perceive how “avant-gard” or how stupid i was some time later), and that means it is me investing time in something i like and that makes me feel good. it’s some sort of self-contained thing, but this is how it works for me.

    your comments about how to express yourself reminded me of this excellent quote from a tv show – galactica:

    “In all your travels, have you ever seen a star go supernova? …

    I have. I saw a star explode and send out the building blocks of the Universe. Other stars, other planets and eventually other life. A supernova! Creation itself! I was there. I wanted to see it and be part of the moment. And you know how I perceived one of the most glorious events in the universe? With these ridiculous gelatinous orbs in my skull! With eyes designed to perceive only a tiny fraction of the EM spectrum. With ears designed only to hear vibrations in the air. …

    I don’t want to be human! I want to see gamma rays! I want to hear X-rays! And I want to – I want to smell dark matter! Do you see the absurdity of what I am? I can’t even express these things properly because I have to – I have to conceptualize complex ideas in this stupid limiting spoken language! But I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws! And feel the wind of a supernova flowing over me! I’m a machine! And I can know much more! I can experience so much more. But I’m trapped in this absurd body! And why? Because my five creators thought that God wanted it that way!”

    maybe we are trapped in this “stupid limiting spoken language”… but then, this is what we have for dinner.

    ha! funny that my time on the bike also consumes the “cpu” in its total, but i’m constantly doing “math”: braking, countersteering, cars trying to squish or kill me, nutty pedestrians, and all that nuisance so common in our streets.

    1. That’s a pretty great passage, Hermes. Thanks for sharing it and taking the time to comment.

      …me investing time in something i like and that makes me feel good.

      This above all else is the goal for me too.

  3. Your words resonate with me, about both riding and blogging. Your notions make sense.

    I can’t, however, give you a reasoned response. I can’t answer your questions because I don’t know the answers. I don’t believe any of us do; some just pretend they do.

    My only reaction is an inarticulate hot mess but here it is — do what makes you happy. Ride, blog or pet a dog. Stop worrying about others and their perceptions. Ride for the intrinsic joy of it. Post a picture of your machine if you want. (I agree that the bikes in such pictures often represent the rider as a symbol.) Blog what’s in your head and don’t worry about if that conforms to any standard of blogging. Share your thoughts with friends who love you. Stretch and grow. Be authentic and sincere. Help others. Live life and don’t worry about what that looks like. Be truly independent, which means shedding concern for the opinions of others. Be yourself — actively — and believe that that will make you happy.

    1. … I don’t believe any of us do; some just pretend they do.

      I’ve long suspected that. But some people really put up a good front of seeming like they’ve go their shit together. I get fooled sometimes.

      Share your thoughts with friends who love you. Stretch and grow. Be authentic and sincere. Help others. Live life and don’t worry about what that looks like. Be truly independent, which means shedding concern for the opinions of others. Be yourself — actively — and believe that that will make you happy

      I think i need to print this out and put it in my wallet or pin it up next to my desk. There is so much truth in it and so many lessons i need to learn and keep putting in to action.

      you make my heart happy, Allycat.

  4. Well, this is weird for me, as I’m not one to comment much, if at all on anyone’s blogs. But here goes! I just want to say now, before I don’t, that I’ve been following your blog, this blog, for a bit over a year. Now, I bought my first bike last October, and while I grew up on quads and dirt bikes, nothing is as exciting to me as my own two wheels. During that whole hunting for the perfect starter, convincing my husband that I won’t kill myself, and realizing what I had just done (bought my freedom machine!)- your blog was there through it all… Yep. Let’s be honest here. You’ve inspired me and kept me inspired as a rider.

    When I think silly things, like does my gear makes me look manly? (Okay, shallow and trite, I know…but still a concern in the back of my head somedays). I just go with it. Who cares! I sure as hell don’t when I’m cruising through a scenic loop, or when I see another rider decked out in matching snow pants.

    When I feel like I have to answer stupid questions about my choices as a female rider. (Does your husband let you? …really people?!) …Seriously, your blog has been there. Your time in the saddle has helped me to put more time in my saddle and keeps me excited about riding.

    I love your strange adventures to large scale sculpture. I’m a sculpture major in college, so it’s super cool to see “what-were-they-thinking” mixed with my love of motorcycles all rolled into one. Thanks for those.

    So, in a hopefully not creepy way, I live vicariously through your posts sometimes. After a rough week, or after a dry spell of no riding, it’s great to see your posts pop up on my feed. It makes me feel like everything is cool. All will be well, because you know, there’s other awesome and amazing riders out there doing what you do (or attempt to do) everyday. Or every weekend. Or every other month. It doesn’t really matter, because what matters is the fact that we are all enjoying this ride the best way we know how.

    And finally thank you; your making ripples in the pond as far away as the southwest.

    1. Courtney I don’t know if i have the power to really convey what reading this comment means to me. When you’re bumbling through your life feeling like a zero or tragically uncool you never consider than anyone else out there might find a spark of inspiration or camaraderie in you. Reading this is a gift when i really need it. Thank you.

      I’m really happy to know that you’re out there following your whims and your dreams, finding your own way to freedom with your motorcycle. Maybe you don’t know it, but as you pass by people in cars and on the street, you too are sharing the spark with someone else.

      We could all do with a little more sharing of the goodness.

      Thank you for reading and commenting and sharing, Courtney <3

  5. I generally enjoy reading anything anyone chooses to put out there on their blog. I am a horrible moto-blogger since I post about whatever happens to be going on at the time. Making sauerkraut, working on boilers or whatever. Riding just happens to be an activity that I enjoy. I like the rallys and trip reports, bike rides and pictures of weird stuff on the road. So keep up what you’re doing.

    1. sauerkraut is very important, Richard. 😉

      i guess motorcycles just happens to be the thread that draws us all together. I do appreciate reading about the non-riding aspects of peoples lives. It helps to round our your perception of who they are.

      Thanks for the continued support <3

  6. I love a good brain dump 😉
    Being a good blogger is subjective, it depends on who’s reading it. I’ve always enjoyed reading your blog so to me you’re a great blogger. A lot of your posts resonate with me regardless of the pictures.
    So it’s definitely not a “look at me” kinda blog, it’s much deeper than that. It’s more of a can you feel it kinda blog, for me anyway. You share a lot of yourself on a personal level, there’s emotion in your writing, not every blogger exposes that side of themselves. I think you’re doing a pretty awesome job with your blog. Don’t overthink it! **virtual high-five** 🙂

  7. Defining what it is to be a good blogger can be maddening because it is a moving target and entirely dependent on what the goal is. And those goals are many and varied. I agree with you that you can never really know who’s behind the persona presented. A blog offers more clues than social media but at the end of the day does it matter who’s behind it? For me that’s not important. If a blog provides me with insight, entertainment, revelation or something I’m after then that’s plenty. I don’t need to know the inner dreams and struggles of the author though those too are often valuable to me in my own personal searching.

    I’ve had people express discomfort at how much “personal” stuff I share on Scooter in the Sticks. I tell them that I don’t share anything that I would not share with a stranger in person. So what’s the difference? I don’t live in paranoia that they’ll use it to steal my identity or anything like that — the information is just the fodder of which makes up conversations in real life. I’ve just reduced it to text.

    Personally, I too find some energy from the virtual high-fives that come from being a blogger. That was unexpected and says something about me personally. But the real reason I blog is the same as why I pursue personal photography projects — there is something I need to know, learn or feel about MY life. The pursuit of that knowledge is selfish and obsessive and falls squarely into the common fellowship I’ve felt with other artists who have the same disease. And the fact that I’m neither embarrassed to share or express it means others get a glimpse of my trials and tribulations.

    If someone asks me who the good motorcycle bloggers are your name would come up. Ara too. And others. And it’s because in each case it’s not so much what you say, it’s the fact that blogging is intricately connected to your life. And no matter how you try to screen yourself out of posts and photos, when you’re connected like that, it comes through.

    Even when you’re chasing content to feed the beasts of social media or struggle to write the next post.

    You are a good blogger — motorcycle or otherwise.

    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

  8. Cool post, Fuzzy, and great pics. Thanks for sharing.

    This post of yours has been tossing in my mind-surf for over a week now, so I’m pretty sure it ain’t gonna leave me be until I put in my two cents…

    I don’t know what a strictly motorcycle blog would look like, or if one would even be sustainable. Maybe it would publish machine reviews only, but that could end up as pretty dry reading—boring for blogger and readers alike—like a textbook or a shop manual (no offense to anyone who gets off on that kind of “literature”) and could lead to quick exhaustion of material.

    No, motorcycles are NOT the experience. They are (forgive the necessary pun) just the vehicle, or a component of a greater vehicle. I contemplate the components that collaborate to transport me: the bike, of course; the road’s personality; environmental conditions (weather, temp, whatnot); the song on my player (rest in peace, dear, dead iPod Classic); and my ability to operate the machine by muscle memory. Alignment of those stars can create an entirely new animal, another greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts, and THAT is the target, THAT is an element of riding that can be worth sharing–besides, of course, the places one visits, things one sees, people one meets, and thoughts one thinks.

    —-

    You’re funny, Fuzz:

    “…it smarts when posts go unread or when you share something that moved you and it falls flat. A blog post is like putting a piece of your mind on display. When it is ignored, you’re ignored.”

    and then

    “Regarding commenting – I’m terrible at it. I struggle greatly with it, actually. Often I don’t feel like I have anything of value to add to what the writer has shared…so I don’t say anything. …While I don’t feel bad per se when no one comments, it can be hard to gauge whether or not what you’re doing is of any value to anyone else.”

    You’re such an enigma, such a paradox, so… so… so human. Being the containers of contradictions that we human beings are, it’s a wonder we don’t just split into a million pieces for the opposing forces..

    I believe that my urge to comment on a blog post should be based on an emotional or intellectual reaction to that blog post (or on another chance to be smart-ass). If I have to ask myself if I have a comment, I probably don’t and probably shouldn’t. And it would be damn tough to live up to expectations—whether one’s own or the presumed expectations of others—to comment meaningfully on every blog post that another publishes.

    I agree with you about the WordPress Like stars (and am glad that you recently enabled yours ). And as for motorcycles as stand-ins in photographs: They provide context, and to anyone that might gripe… “Why are you reading a motorcycle blog–or mostly motorcycle blog–in the first place?!”

    —-

    “…often the Adventure is not even pursued for oneself but for Facebook or Twitter or Google Plus. It is sharing no doubt but all more on the physical side and a “look at me banner” style of the ongoing.”

    I’m afraid I don’t know how to make the following sound inoffensive… With all due respect to Mr. Gureghian and his right to post whatever he pleases (and I do respect him and the blog he keeps), I’m suspicious of such observations: They smack of adolescent cynicism and conceit:
    “Only MY experience is authentic. Only MY way of expressing is ‘real’.”
    “No one ‘feels’ deeper, or feels hurt more intensely than I.”
    “Everyone else is a phony.”

    Intense, real experiences are not the exclusive domain of a select few. Another’s impressions and experiences are as valid as mine or anyone else’s. If they don’t speak to me, or if they don’t seem sincere, I just won’t read—I’ll move on. Never would I be so presumptuous as to declare that another is sharing the wrong way. This world is one of different perspectives and is not devoid of dimension and color, I sure as hell would not reside in one that was.

    I agree with your assessment: “On the surface, maybe it looks like someone’s social sharing is nothing more than look at me banner waving but having never spoken to that person, we don’t know how their adventure truly shapes them.”

    Social networks and the blogosphere are wild, lawless places. The only rules are those that one sets for oneself. Of course, this means that a lot of “crap” ends up getting shared, but I’d sooner take the lawlessness than have the content interpreted and filtered through another’s rules and value judgments…

    Yeah, I’ll draw my own conclusions about the social sharing I consume–I don’t need another chewing my food for me.

    1. “it’s a wonder we don’t just split into a million pieces for the opposing forces”

      Sometimes that is exactly how I feel.

      I’m not much of a talker, in general. I’m terrible at conversation so I talk to the people in my computer. 🙂 Sometimes it’s hard to really write out the complexity of your feelings especially when you’re having a one-sided conversation at the time your typing. Feelings can change or as you noted, contradict themselves – sometimes just as a result of not being able to fully form them in the typed word.

      Sometimes I like to think that I’m a pretty simple person. Then I come to my senses and come to terms with being complicated. Until next time.

      ——

      I totally get what you’re saying. i don’t think your opinion is offensive on the matter of sharing. I really agree with you.

      At the same time, I have my moments when I whine about the state of the blogosphere. I want more than what I’m reading sometimes but, I guess that’s my own fault. I want more and yet, I’m not willing to DO more.

      Feelings are stupid. 😆

Leave a Reply to Courtney Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: