I haven’t written in a while, and for no good reason really. I have been busy filling my time with being busy for busy-ness sake, and not editing out the parts of my life that are useless. Hence, no writing. But I am changing that. Thanks to Seth Godin’s The Dip, and Tim Ferris and his Four Hour Work Week. I’ll explain, and tell the story of my week, all at once, and hopefully it’s as informative and entertaining for you as it was for me. (Hey oxford comma haters, it’s okay, and you’ll live)
I arrived in San Francisco last Wednesday, I promptly picked up a rented motorcycle, and got situated on the couch at my friend Lauren’s house and settled in, double checking all my gear. Good to go.
That night I was able to run into several old friends and see the inner workings of a really sweet SF club The Great Northern run by my dear friend Brett Cline. I also found out that I could attend a small Deadmau5 show in the club the next week. Cool.
The next morning, I awoke quite hungover (Thanks Brett,) and had to wait out getting on the motorcycle for safety concerns. This was to be, I thought, my only day off to be lackadaisical and just generally enjoy the city. Luckily, It was sunny in San Fran, and therefore, a perfect day to ride. I rode around, exploring, using the maze technique of following the right wall to get out and finding all kinds of beautiful little tucked away spots. I should mention, this is my first time riding in a city, and the learning curve is quite intense. Luckily I like intense. I learned very quickly to NEVER BE DISTRACTED, as things move much too quickly to gawk at anything but the cars in front of me. I received a text earlier in the day that I was invited to be on the list to go see Orgone and The Monophonics in the beautiful UC Theater in Berkeley. Hell yes! I should mention that this theater is freshly restored and maybe the best indoor venue I have ever seen. During the show we were led to a booth by a friend of a friend and met the owner, who just so happened to work for Bill Graham Presents for 30+ years and managed every venue they owned! No wonder this place was so perfect! Anyways, I had to close it up and get to bed at a decent hour so I could get up and ride to Santa Rosa in the morning.
Enter the booklist. My first big trip last year I rode 5000 miles of northwest highways for a month. During this time, I started listening to podcasts while riding, and found this to be life changing. I could listen to incredibly edifying content and become a better person, while in the zen state of riding! Perfect. So for this trip, where I knew I was going to ride 2500+ miles in two weeks, I prepared by downloading a corresponding amount of books to listen to while I rode. Here is the list:
The Dip by Seth Godin
The 4 Hour Workweek by Time Ferris
Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Stealing Fire by Jamie Wheal and Steven Kotler
Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
I listened to The Dip on the plane and during my first day. Great book. Simple concept. People that do great things, they all avoid whirlpools or circles or cul de sacs (dead ends), and find things that are hard to do that others easily give up on, and push through the dip of the tough, challenging part that most people fail to get past. Find a dip worth fighting through and fight through it.
Ahh. I needed to hear that. I have plenty of cul de sacs in my life. Time to ride out of them.
Then came the 4 Hour Work Week. I came at this one with a lot of skepticism. 4 hour workweek? Who is this guy kidding? But I quickly realized that the message was a continuation of The Dip. A deepening. Eliminate or automate the attention sucking things in my life that don’t really matter. The things that just eat away my mind and senses. Email, social media, possessions that are useless and just take up needless space, to name a few. Just the act of doing this life-editing can free me up to be more attentive, mindful, and caring toward what really matters to me.
I listened to most of this on my way to San Bernadino, at least I thought I was going there… Oh I skipped my morning experience. So, I get up early and it is a little cold to ride, so I need to wait till the sun has been up a bit. I finally go out and load my bike at about 10:30 as the temp is approaching 60. I get all rearing’ to go and start the bike. It starts, sputters and dies. I think, “Oh wow the colder temp is keeping her down.” So I pull the choke, and start her again, boom, she runs. I hop on and ride toward the coast to get on Highway 1. No power, no torque, it will barely go. I ride for about 5 minutes, and then stopping at a stop sign, I smell burning. and there is smoke coming from my muffler. I look down and one of my mufflers is glowing red. Oh no. I pull over and inspect the bike and find that someone has broken one of my spark plugs. Ugh.
I call the rental shop, and they get a tow guy over to me, and he says, “You got hit by the walking dead.” Huh? “Crackheads man, zombies, they steal the ceramic from the plug for crack pipes.” I would have never thought. Well I learn a lesson about having exposed spark plugs in a city, and it will never happen again. The shop fixes the bike, and 2 hours later I am back on the road. almost 4 hours behind now and I have a long way to go. Off I go.
It was a beautiful uneventful ride, the coast of California from San Francisco to Big Sur, which isn’t very far by freeway but a long ride on the road less traveled. About 8 o clock in the evening, I am starting to feel beat, the sun is going down and I need to crash. So I look for a State Park. All Full. Okay, how about a roadside motel? All full as far as I could look on a map. Shit, it’s Saturday night on the coast. Of course it’s full. It’s getting later fast and I figure I’ll just keep riding until I find something, pulling over in every town to NO VACANCY signs glowing in the dark. Oh man. So I decide, the best thing to do is ride inland off the coast where there are likely to be less weekend warriors occupying every bed. I call ahead to Maricopa, which is a perfect route to go across the desert to San Bernadino, hugging the mountains almost the whole way, and reserve a room.
I finally get there at 12:40 am having been riding for nearly 12 hours, which is admittedly too long, but hey, I didn’t really have an option.
In the morning I go out to the bike, excited to get to San Bernadino by noon, the temp is warm cause I am now on the edge of the desert and I look at my tires, and the rear is flat. AHHHH! Two days in a row?! There is one gas station in this little place, and sure enough, no air. I’m in the second dip of this motorcycle trip.
I call AAA, and I don’t have motorcycle coverage. Doh! So I call the tow truck to take me to the nearest tire shop. He takes me to a K-mart on the way to try some fix a flat and see if that won’t fix it. Nope. Something is really wrong. He tells me that there is no tire shop open for 200 miles and to be towed there would be hours and like $300. Nope. Not doing that. Take me to the nearest place and I will stay the night somewhere and take care of it in the morning. Now I am missing my engagement in San Bernadino that evening. Not that big of a deal, so I just roll with it.
I go into the (only) local bar in Taft, California, which also happens to be attached to the tire shop my bike is stashed behind, and pull up a seat. This is my kinda place. Total dive, everyone knows everyone, and no one knows me. I sit down, order food and a drink, thinking, “Well, I guess get to have the real Taft experience.” I start talking to an older gentleman next to me, and he is excited to meet a stranger in this place where strangers never come. He asks me what I am doing and why I am there, and I tell him about my motorcycling misfortune, and he says “oh, well there ain’t nuthin’ ta do round’ here so the mechanics’ll be here any minute to have their afternoon cocktails, they’ll prolly open the shop and fix ya up.”
No way, this is perfect, I thought. Sure enough, the owner of both places, Julie, comes in and tells me that they will come in and help me. YES! After an hour or so of sitting and and chatting with the locals, Julie tells me that they are here and I should go around back. So I do and Mike introduces himself and gets promptly to work. This dude is a real motor head and has the tire off my bike so fast it makes my head spin. There’s a wrinkle in the tube and it has rubbed a hole. He patches it, get it back in and back on, and has me on my way by 6.
I was gonna stay there, but now I am free and there is light, and it is a beautiful evening to ride. Especially since there is no traffic out here. So I ride back north as fast as I can. It’s wide open, I can see thousands of yards in every direction so I max out the bike at 108 mph and stay there for and hour. Back in to the 4 hr work week.
The book is blowing my mind. This dude is changing the game of lifestyle design, has been for over ten years, I feel late to them game. He has figured out ways to think and methods of designing his lifestyle to make sure that he is as present and connected as he possibly can be, and eliminates the unnecessary with impunity. By doing the he is able to focus more on the very important things far more, and give more of himself to serving people in his sphere. Boom, everything I want in life. This is the tip of the iceberg for this book and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. Not everything in the book will be applicable to everyone, but there are definitely things in here for everyone.
Well, I am about to go for an afternoon ride around the city, and will see guys online soon. Leave questions or comments below, and I will be sure to answer you within a week.