Great song by Boston, but is it advice to live by? I'm not sure about that. I think better advice would be "look back, but don't linger on what you find there". Every so often in our lives I believe we come to places where it is helpful and healthy to look back at where we started, where we traveled and what we accomplished. There are always lessons to be learned. At times we learn how not to do things. We learn approaches, methods and mind sets that are not leading us to success, but often we can also look back and see things that did go well and chances that we took to move ourselves forward.
At Adventure Tejas we had many experiences, good and less-good, over the past year. I don't think we really had any bad experiences, because we were able to learn something from each and every one. I think that is the key to moving forward. Life is full of experiences that we can choose to see as bad, but are they truly good or bad? For sure there are some we would never wish for, however, we alone decide how we perceive these opportunities for learning, changing, mourning and growing. Let me cover a few quick highlights of our year in 2016.
In late April we made our first ADV trip to Big Bend (I had been before, but in a car, motorhome and on a street-only sport-touring bike). We planned our camping, meals and checked the weather forecast. We were excited to ride off-the-tarmac in such a rugged, remote area and the temperature was forecast for a mild 80 degree high. Things looked good. Stephen packed up his breathable mesh Spring riding gear and I opted for my heavy ADV jacket in case things turned cool (which they did on the return trip). That was my first mistake. Without going into all the details in-depth, let's just say the combo of the Icon body armor with a heavy armored ADV jacket was a bit much... especially when the thermometer hit 102 the day we went out in the dirt.
I carried 2 liters of water in my CamelBak, Stephen 1.5L. I left my 6L MSR water bag at the campsite. I was also nursing a back injury (inflamed disks) that had me completely immobilized a couple weeks before, so I was operating at about 60% strength in my right leg. Having difficulty with fatigue we took much longer than we expected and after about 3 hours, 1/2 way through our ride (6 hours in the heat) we ran out of water. I was suffering from heat exhaustion, nearly blacking out several times and extending our time in the desert sun.
1) take extra water, you never know when an accident or breakdown could occur.
2) a small portable umbrella is a good idea for shade.
3) carry a Spot or inReach Satellite device for emergencies.
4) there is a reason the park no longer takes reservations after April 15th.
The year we called 2016 also brought some good opportunities for us to give. We were able to provide a Texas Hill Country ADV ride (we call the Hill Country Hustle) as a auction item to help raise funds at Roll The Bones Rally for Fisher House and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. We also fulfilled a long-term goal of our first annual charity ride, Run To The Rockies, to raise awareness and funds for Ultimate Sacrifice Association. Along the way we made some great friends in the ADV/Dual-Sport community and developed relationships that will last a lifetime.
As we move into 2017 I would encourage you to think back on the past year. What went wrong and how can you learn from it to improve yourself? What went right and what progress did you make? Push yourself to get out of your comfort zone and try taking some chances to change your life and the lives of those around you for the better. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. No risk, no reward. No trials, no triumph. However you choose to think of it, this is a great year to make positive changes and truly live your life. This great activity we call ADV is a good place to start.
Hope to see you on and off the road!