“It Will Get Worse Before It Gets Worse”

Well, 2021 ended in flames. Like a slow motion scene in a horror movie, it was one bad move after the next. After being unceremoniously dumped by my girlfriend/best friend of six-and-a-half years I suddenly had absolutely nothing grounding me to reality. All the plans– short, medium, and long-term– were out the window. Hell, there was no window.

I wallowed for only about 48 hours but for months I floundered. I wandered a bit, basically picking up free campsites and living alternatingly in a tent or my truck. I landed with old friends and quickly made myself a nuisance. My truck broke down and I wandered around on my motorcycle for awhile. Eventually I landed with my sister for a spell. That’s when it really sank in: I own a house.

Granted, that house is in Victorville, California, a place I gladly cut as many ties with as I could. Renters were in the house and not treating it well, so why not give them notice and move back in? It will give me something to focus on, right? Well, that it did. The renters trashed the place on the way out because they are low-life types that barely qualify as adult humans.

Animals.

That turned “fix the house up” into a battle. They left literally a ton of trash (1,800lbs went to the dump, plus multiple trash pick ups), they left old appliances, and then there was the actual damage. At least they didn’t call to ask for their security deposit back, but if they did they would have been easier to track down and serve a lawsuit to.

In the end I was fortunate that my buddy Scott could come down and occupy an air mattress while the two of us slowly rehabbed the place. In that time I maxed out my credit card, lost my meager savings, failed to pay my bills on time, and ended up on food stamps. But damnit, we made that house livable. Scott even brought down a dozen chickens. They provide entertainment as well as breakfast, especially since their wings weren’t clipped and we ended up chasing them back into the yard when they figured out how to clear the fence.

Not as much an animal as the previous tenants.

After all that insanity– including my truck breaking for the fourth time– we put the house up on the market because I was never going to be able to pay for the utilities and mortgage myself. These were dark times, but once it finally looked like things were going to go my way, they did…sort of. Buyers failed to qualify, tried to change terms…they came and went. Finally after six months it was over though. I got a big fat wire transfer, loaded up my Geo Metro, and escaped to Las Vegas.

I’ll tell you right now Las Vegas is not my city. No large city is. I also don’t care about the casinos, buffets, entertainment, or sports teams. It’s just crowds and crap weather. However, my friend Jacob lives here and is tolerant enough to open up his spare bedroom to me. Jacob and I co-owned my sidecar racing team and have done a few small ventures together. Being here now is good, because it allows me to properly cut my ties with California. I’ve got a virtual mailbox now and am now technically an Arizona resident, though I remain a citizen of the road.

I sold my motorcycle, truck, and car, then purchased a massive touring motorcycle to be my new home: a 2017 Indian Chieftain. After their many years of supporting the Veterans Charity Ride, it felt nice to show Indian Motorcycle some support back. I picked it up with only 1,700 miles on it and am outfitting it to be my 2-wheeled RV as I write this.

On the ride back to Vegas. The bike was like-new.

Best Laid Plans

The plan is to hitch a trailer to this beast and carry a decent compliment of gear. This way the bike won’t be overloaded and a pig to ride, plus I can leave the trailer with friends and explore regions with a lighter load, always having the “home base” of the trailer to fall back to. This won’t just be a ramble though: I plan to explore regions I consider viable places to buy a home. The market is terrible for buyers right now, but six or twelve months from now that may change. Until it does, I can roam the western US and the Appalachian Mountains, posting up for awhile and seeing what area speaks to me.

There is Las Vegas, New Mexico, with it’s small-town charm while being only 60 miles from Albuquerque. there are high altitude spots in Arizona that have mild(ish) weather (but prices that rival California). The Oregon coast speaks to me, with its temperate weather and low cost (for coastal life), though any place with 230 rain days per year is tough for a motorcyclist.

Even some areas of the California coast or lower Sierra’s might afford me the opportunity to put down roots. There are still pockets where houses aren’t outrageous, a large city is nearby, and you can avoid the worst of California’s hot summers along most of its central 1/3, between the coast and mountains. Out east there is less calling me other than the Blue Ridge Mountains. That area has such natural beauty I could see myself spending long periods there, but it’s a bit hard imagining me calling it home.

First Things First

First things first though: outfit the bike. That is in progress and will be accomplished soon. Next step? Mexico. Why Mexico? Why not?! Some friends who used to sponsor my sidecar team have set up shop down in Baja and have invited me out to see their new coastal digs. A chance to mentally reset after the disaster of 2021 by eating fish tacos and drinking cerveza en la playa? Yes, that will suffice.

From there I can start working on my writing again, including a book I’m outlining. In any event, this is truly a time of renewal and reconditioning. Replacing habits, trying to live in a way more consistent with my values. I’d be daft not to use this time to ask frank questions about what I want to create with my life, and what I expect to get out of being alive.

Chasing wild adventure is one thing– a thing I’ve done a bit of– but there needs to be lasting results beyond the hedonism of chasing pleasure or excitement. In these travels ahead I may seem to be rambling, but my course is not being set by geography as much as by need: I need to map out my own thoughts and I can’t do that sitting at a desk or workbench day after day.

What I can say– what I can promise– is to share the story. The experience of being alive doesn’t have to be about money made, things collected, or even relationships cultivated. I plan to have experiences that cause critical thinking, so sharing those experiences will likely cause critical thinking in others. To leave people inspired as well as entertained is something that calls to me as a person. I’m still in the process of finding a stride though. I went from being homeless to being loveless and homeless. Now I’m homeless but with a nest egg and varied opportunity. It’s not ideal but it will get me started on finding where I belong.

And so here is to the grand adventure of being an adult who refuses to grow up. Like you might expect, it involves random encounters, risk, and motorcycles of course. I can’t say for sure how much writing will go here vs. how much will go to online outlets (ya gotta make a living), but I can say I’ll keep you updated on my search for the perfect fish taco in Baja.

Stay tuned,

Johnny

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