Vita Rara: A Life Uncommon

Part XV: Epilogue

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September 18, 2003: Epilogue

I was gone for 24 days of which I rode 22. I averaged almost exactly 300 miles a day on my riding days. It doesn't sound like much, but it was to me.

I'm a changed man. I don't know that I can quantify all of the changes, but I am changed. I never thought that a ride on a motorcycle would be such an incredible experience. Sure, I knew a ride like I took would be incredible, but I had no idea how incredible.

This ride came at an interesting time in my life, an inflection point. I was a partner in an IT consulting company up until a few weeks before I left. The partnership dissolved like so many do, and I found myself free to do what I wanted for a while. I purchased the RT in March with the intent on doing a lot of riding. At that time I figured I'd maybe do 10,000 miles. Well I've done over 14,000 so far and I've still got Torrey, the UnRally and El Paseo II to go.

"Lend your voices only to sounds of freedom... fill your lives with love and bravery and you shall lead a life uncommon." -Jewel Kilcher from Life Uncommon/Spirit (1998)

Anyway, when I started this journey I had a lot on my mind; I had just left my third Internet related business; I'm 33 and single and I would prefer not to be; I just finished two years as Master of my Masonic Lodge and they made me secretary (It's a lot of work and responsibility I didn't want.); and things I'm probably now forgetting.

One of the things echoing in my head was a song by Jewel off of her Spirit album. I don't know how long I've had the CD, but it's been a long time. The song I have never been able to get out of my head is "Life Uncommon." It rings out from the album like an anthem, a challenge, a call to action, a call to higher purposes. I connected with it the first time I heard it. Then Jewel recorded a Holiday album and there it was again. This time with a full backing choir. Not that the recording is the important part. It's the message. Anyway, that message had haunted me for a long time. It was so powerful for me. The hard part was I had to grow to the point where I could admit that I wasn't living the life I wanted and what she was singing about was the life I wanted to lead.

So, what does this have to do with a Ride Tale? Well, I had a lot of time to think. The message of the song helped me make the decision to leave the partnership I was in. To strike out on my own and take a different path. To make the scary decisions. So, many people live a life cowed by the strictures of society, I can't do that anymore. Well 22 days of wind noise and I was sure I'd made the right decision. I will only lend my voice, my strength, my being to things that liberate others. I will love deeply and do the things that scare me. I will not lead a common life.

So, with this posting I'm changing my handle. I want something that reflects the changes I've experienced, and that are ongoing. Seeing as the song, "Life Uncommon," was so pivotal and the message so palpable for me I decided on Vita Rara. As close as I can tell that is the latin translation of life uncommon. I think it more clearly reflects me today, and also reflects the riding lifestyle in general. Riding is a life uncommon.

If it wasn't for this board I don't think I ever would have taken this journey. I have many of you to thank, but a few in particular. I already thanked some of you in my first tease about this tale. I won't reiterate those now. There are many I could thank, but the list would be long so here are a few.

Laney, Jedi Streamwalker, I've never met you in person, but I feel like I know a little part of you. On the BRP I stopped by a stream and remembered your tale of riding with Kathy and getting your feet wet in the stream by the side of the road. This was when I got the idea for my Way-point Zulu. I sat there and almost took my boots off to get my feet wet in the water, but it wasn't quite right. That's when I thought of Old Orchard Beach, and standing in the surf. I remember when you were struggling with the whole riding thing and someone said to read the tale of yours and Kathy's ride. I did and was inspired by it. Thank you.

Dick Frantz, Master Yoda, there were times when your posts were opaque to me. They aren't anymore. Thank you for your explanations. Thank you for your example. Thank you for teaching me how to sit on my bike.

Marty Hill, the Energizer Bunny, thank you for showing by example how small our great nation is.

Cary and Dave; Cary for starting this board. Dave for keeping it running today.

Jamie and Leslie, thank you for sharing so deeply with this community. If it wasn't for Jamie's experience with his recovery from cancer and how important reading this site was I don't think I would have finished writing this tale. I learned from Jamie that we know each other from our rides, and sharing them. Thank you.