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Lessons From A Motorcycle Trip

My friend, Gary, and I share a rented storage shed.  He has his stuff on his half and I have my stuff on my half. Part of my “half” lies under a vinyl cover; it is a 1998 Yamaha Road Star motorcycle. Gary asked me if he could ride it and I readily acquiesced.

I am an occasional motorcycle rider at best.   At various times in my life, I own a motorcycle, lose interest, get rid of it and go on to something else.  Less than ten years ago, several of my friends got into motorcycles and so I bought one. I took several trips with them but then they lost interest in their motorcycles and thus I lost interest in mine.  As a result, I have been storing my motorcycle for several years in Gary’s and my shed.  Each year, I renew my license tag for the motorcycle.

When Gary asked if he could ride my motorcycle, I uncovered it, saw that I had not put a new tag on it for two years and I realized that I probably had not ridden it for 4 or 5 years.

I really wanted to get it ready so that Gary could ride it. I jumped the battery and had the motorcycle going only for it to die.  I found that all of the gas had evaporated from the gas tank.  I filled it up and drove the motorcycle home.  When I tried to restart it the battery was again dead. I borrowed Gary’s battery charger, put it on the battery all night, and put the battery back in the motorcycle the next morning, only to discover the battery was still dead.  I gave up and bought a new battery.

After three days, I finally got the motorcycle going and I wanted to get it out on the road before Gary tried to drive it. Late one evening, just before dark, I road to Ellis and back.  It was wonderful.

About this same time, I had been planning to go to Denver for a meeting with other elder law attorneys. The other attorney in my office, Jenny Walters, was to go with me along with our veteran’s benefits person, my son Josh Clinkscales. For various reasons, both of them decided not to go. I saw an opportunity.

I decided to ride my motorcycle to the meeting, but do a little touring along the way. I did not reveal my plans to my wife until the night before I left.  She was concerned both about my safety and my health – my mental health.

I planned to get off early Saturday morning on July 14th. But I worked at the office until almost 11:00 a.m. and did not leave on my trip until 12:30 p.m.  – Not exactly the cool time of the day.   I was not real sure where I was going, though I knew where I wanted to end up.   (My first idea for an article!) By the time I got on the road it was over 102 degrees. I decided to go to Nebraska and wanted to end up in Scotts Bluff that night to see the Mormon and Oregon Trails in the bluffs west of Scotts Bluff, Nebraska (Scotts Bluff National Monument).  I headed north passing through Hoxie and Oberlin. I stopped in Ogallala, Nebraska and by that time, I had lost my voice from the excessive heat.  I eventually made it to Scotts Bluff about 9 hours after I had left Hays.  When I walked into the hotel, I realized how bad I must smell after sweating all day on a motorcycle.  They still rented me a room, but wanted me to pay in advance.

The next day (July 15) was somewhat better, though I still battled heat. I was in heat of over 100 degrees until I hit Fort Collins, Colorado and then I was finally up in the mountains.  I made it to Denver, Colorado where I had a meeting on Monday, July 16. I did my meeting and then decided to head back home on the 17th of July. Though leaving early Tuesday morning (before 7:00 a.m.) from the hotel in downtown Denver, the temperatures hit 100 degrees in Goodland.  When I got home at 3:00 p.m., I was glad to be off the motorcycle.  In about three days, of riding I had been over 1100 miles.

Along the way, I learned a lot of things about myself and I had a lot of time to think about the things that my clients experience.

For the next few newsletters, I am going to include some articles on different experiences and the lessons from those experiences.  The articles will include:  “Travel Light—Simplify Life”; “Check for Leaks” (in your estate planning); “Too Many Pockets” (knowing what you have, where it is and what it does); “The Unexpected—It’s How You Respond” (something unexpected will happen to all of us and we need to be prepared); “Enjoy Life to the End” (we need to continue to enjoy life, regardless of age and health); “Know Where You Want to Go” (knowing where you want to end up is the most important step in senior planning).

I hope you enjoy the lessons from my motorcycle trip.

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