Saturday, June 23, 2018


Experience teaches us. We think we know everything but much of that "knowledge" is based on false assumptions. Only when we actually do something do we realize whether our beliefs about an activity are true or not. And many activities (like motorcycling) have unexpected delights. (For me, motorcycling pleases the senses and rewards practice as you develop increasing mastery over a difficult task.)

I started camping this year for the first time since I was a kid. It's turned out much better than I expected. I find deep appeal in the calm that descends soon after you pitch your tent and listen to the quiet sounds of nature. We don't realize how noisy and jarring modern life is until you take away the sources of that. The peace of a campsite is remarkable.

In addition, camping is cheap. When I grab a hotel-room on the road, it's always over $100 and sometimes twice that. A campsite is incredibly low-cost, often as little as $15-25. I paid only $23 per night in Watkins Glen.

Finally, camping inspires us to get closer to nature. I wouldn't have visited Watkins Glen if they didn't have a campground there and am so happy I did. The gorge and waterfalls are magnificent. I got to see -- and feel -- them: you can walk UNDER the waterfalls and put your hand out to touch cool falling water.

Since returning home, I've been filled with insatiable desire to camp again and on bigger scale. I've been researching and buying new camping gear for longer trips. And making better decisions on what to use. Experience taught me what meals I like to cook at a campsite, what equipment works best (and doesn't), what to bring and what to leave home. In short, my observations are honing how to camp with more success. I could never know that without actual experience guiding me.

Have you ever camped? Would you consider it? Imagine seeing this in person...

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Ups and Downs

The last place you want to see a motorcycle-buddy is in the hospital. And yet that's just where I came from. My friend Jaime got in an accident last night on his way home from dinner.

Riding his Zero (electric motorcycle), Jaime was only a block from home when a car turned suddenly, without looking, and struck his motorcycle on the left side. The impact broke Jaime's leg below the knee; fortunately his top-notch gear protected him from other injury. Due to the location of the break, the doctors aren't going to put the leg in a cast; instead, they'll do surgery to install metal equipment.

A witness told police that the motorist was 100% at fault, which is fortunate because New York's no-fault law doesn't cover motorcyclists.

This event is ironic because Jaime is the safest rider I know. In addition to being highly-skilled (qualified as an instructor), Jaime rides more miles than anyone else I know (averaging over 20,000/year). Jaime is the last person I'd expect to be in an accident but, as happened in my accident on the Goethal's Bridge a decade ago, sometimes you're simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nothing you can do about that.

I'm wishing him well.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

More WG Photos

I didn't want to overwhelm you Monday with Watkins Glen photos so I limited their number. Here are a few more. The pictures are beautiful to look at as they display the majesty of nature.

Monday, June 18, 2018


Watkins Glen is amazing! The gorge and waterfalls in the state park take your breath away. Natural beauty at its finest. The campsite is serene and offers peaceful bliss. Adorable little chipmunks scurried around my tent all day. Hiking in the woods was superb and I could walk from my campsite to the gorge.

Not insignificantly, you can also return to civilization. There's an excellent BBQ place in town (Nickel's Pit BBQ) with the best hot chicken wings I've ever had -- and that's saying something.

Travel feeds our soul and belly. Put Watkins Glen on your bucket list.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Watkins Glen

I'm hitting the road this morning, heading up to bucolic Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. As they say in the movies:

          Elwood: "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas,
          half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses."
          Jake: "Hit it."

Saturday, June 9, 2018

New York City

I had a nice time in NYC today. Visited a spy museum (very entertaining), savored brunch at Russ & Daughters cafe, shoe-shopped at Fluevog and ended the day with coffee and pastry in Soho. One weird thing, though; a woman next to me at the R&D counter ate her bagel and cream cheese WITH A KNIFE AND FORK. Huh? Who does that?!

P.S., I'm reading a best-selling book by an ex-CIA agent (Jason Hanson) on how to use spy techniques in normal life. The book's Acknowledgements page made me laugh out loud so I'm sharing it with you below.