Planning for 2011

I’ve recently begun the process of looking back over 2010, seeing how well I stuck with my 2010 action plan, and creating an action plan for 2011.

I first came across the idea of doing an annual review and creating an action plan over at the Art of Non-conformity website. Basically, Chris takes a week in December to look at how things went over the last year, and outlines a plan for the upcoming year. I know that I can tend to wander aimlessly so I thought that this would be a good idea. In 2009 I looked back over the year, and then made the 2010 action plan.

Some Realizations

As I’ve been looking back over 2010, a few things have occurred to me about the approach I took.


  1. Some of my goals interfered with each other – Under the Physical category, I had two competing goals: the 100/200 challenges and the running. If I had focused on one or the other, I could have easily completed them. By having them both, I couldn’t decide and so completed neither one.
  2. I didn’t have a set of actions planned out – I had goals, but no plan to actually achieve them. So while I had some great momentum at the beginning of the year, it soon fizzled out because even though I had a destination, I didn’t quite know how to get there.
  3. It was out of sight – Even though I published my plan here on Adventure-Some, it wasn’t somewhere that I was reminded of it on a regular basis. After a few months it kind of faded from mind and I quit actively pursuing the goals I set.


  1. Scheduling – I still have a variety of physical goals that I want to complete in 2011. Instead of trying to do them all at once, however, I’m going to plan them out consecutively so that I can be sure to complete them.
  2. Make a plan, not just a list of goals – I love to plan, so I will take the extra time needed to figure out how to get where I want to go in 2011
  3. Display that map – I don’t know if it will be a poster on the wall, a new background on my computer, or a series of sticky-notes on my bathroom mirror, but I will be displaying my goals in a very prominent place.

While I’m fairly happy with the results of 2010, I’m also looking forward to what 2011 holds. With some planning experience behind me, I expect it to be an amazing year!

I’m in the process of drawing up the 2011 Action Plan. As soon as I get it finished, you’ll get to see what I have in mind for next year.

Minimalist Transportation

Even though it might seem that way, I don’t ride a motorcycle purely because of how much I enjoy it, or because it helps me to focus. I also enjoy the minimalist experience that a motorcycle provides.

Note: Not all motorcycles are like mine. Some come with all kinds of accessories, such as automatic transmissions, radios, GPS, heaters, and even sheepskin seats!

My motorcycle is pretty simple. It has everything it needs to get me from point A to point B, and little more.

Ms. Peep’s accessories:

  1. windshield – It came with the bike.
  2. saddle bags – These aren’t actually installed yet, but when they are they’ll contain such frivolous things as rain gear and a water bottle. Plus, shopping runs will be so much easier!

Things Ms. Peeps doesn’t have:

I think this is a much more interesting list.

  1. automatic transmission – Just like a manual car, I have to shift up and down through the gears
  2. reverse – Speaking of gears, if I can’t coast or push myself backwards, then I don’t go that way. And small though Ms. Peeps may be, she’s still kinda hefty.
  3. automatic blinkers – That’s right. After I make a turn, I have to remember to turn off my blinker.
  4. complicated systems – I can easily figure out how Ms. Peeps works. One can trace from the control to the brake, from the shift pedal to the transmission, or any of the switches to the lights they operate. Have you tried to do that in a car?
  5. a lot of information on the dash board – I have 6 indicators in front of me: speedometer, odometer, neutral indicator light, high beam indicator, blinker indicator, and engine problem indicator. And, really, I don’t need all of these.
  6. a cup holder – Though it would come in handy sometimes, I haven’t figured out how to drink something while my helmet’s on anyway.
  7. cruise control – I do have a throttle lock, but it’s entirely not the same thing. Now you know part of why I dislike interstates so much (you know, besides the fact that they’re boring.)
  8. radio – At least I don’t miss it. Of course, I could borrow my wife’s mp3 player if I was dying for some tunes on the road.
  9. heat/air conditioning – Air temperature is my temperature. That’s why I practice winterization.
  10. clock – If I forget my watch, I’m time-less on the road. This helps me to relax and enjoy the ride, while also helping me be better about leaving a time cushion for any commuting I need to do.
  11. storage space – If it doesn’t fit in my backpack, or in the to-be-installed saddle bags, it doesn’t go with me. Though this can be a challenge, I love that I don’t have to worry about cluttering up my vehicle.

There are plenty of other things that Ms. Peeps doesn’t have (like a roof, doors, or windows). All of these are things that people think they need in order to commute. By giving up on these things, I’m able to enjoy my trip more, while also using less resources. Fewer materials were required to build Ms. Peeps, less fuel is needed for my travels, and she even takes up less parking space.

I know it’s not for everyone, but my minimalist transportation is certainly a highlight in my life!

Winterizing Ms Peeps

I am not a fair weather rider. Apparently that makes me weird. Ms. Peeps and I ride no matter what. In fact, it doesn’t even occur to me that my wife’s car might be available for me to use.

This can be a challenge

Yesterday morning, in fact, turned out to be quite humorous. I got bundled up, headed down to the parking lot, and found out that I couldn’t even get the key into the ignition. It was frozen! (It had rained the day before, and everything got soaked. Then it hit about 28 over night.)

I bent the key trying to get it to go in. After straightening it out, I headed back up to the apartment to warm it up under hot water. That didn’t really help any.

I headed back up and, flustered, hit up google for some advice. Heat the key with a lighter! -smacks forehead- I dig out the zippo from its drawer only to realize it’s out of fluid. Out to the storage space I go. Refilled, I realize that this is the lighter that needs a new wick. Fortunately I have more than one zippo, so I got another and proceeded to fill it as well.

Standing in the parking lot, looking like you’re trying to light a key, kind of makes one feel a bit foolish. However, it did the trick and after a few more minutes of fiddling Ms. Peeps was up and running. Though she might have been reluctant to start this cold morning, the roads were just fine and I had a pleasant ride in this morning, if a bit delayed from normal.

Through all this, I stayed warm, dry, and comfortable. Lots of layers makes a huge difference!

What is winterization?

Apparently, there are people who don’t ride year-round. Who knew? These people put their bike into storage for the cold months and pull it back out again once it warms up. They do things like putting fuel stabilizer in the gas tank, hooking their battery to a battery tender, and making sure that the bike is up on blocks.

My winterization routine

Put. On. More. Clothes.

Layers are the secret to staying warm (and dry). The lower the thermometer drops, the more layers I’m wearing. So far I’ve stayed toasty warm, and it’s been about 28° F. It doesn’t take that much, either (at least for short trips, less than 10 miles). Thermal underwear or fleece pajama pants under my jeans; tshirt, sweater or sweatshirt and leather jacket; doo rag under the helmet; scarf carefully tucked into jacket; polypro gloves.

The only issue I have is with the gloves, because they got soaked in the rain a few days ago and haven’t dried out completely yet. Until they do, my fingertips start to get pretty tingly by the time I get to my destination.

Still cold?
If there’s a threat of rain or it’s even colder, I’ll add another layer. Though I got the rain suit for free (it was left in a traded-in vehicle when I worked at a car dealership), the same one can be purchased at Lowes or Home Depot for a fairly low price. Once you block the wind, the temperature soars upward.

Why would I do this?

Because I love it! Watching the snow swirl around you as you move down the road is amazing. Who wouldn’t want to do that?
And if that wasn’t enough, then every trip I take is a good excuse for a steaming mug of hot chocolate when I get home.

I’m loving life on two wheels!

Change Your Routine

Do you always do the same thing, day in and day out? If so, change it up a bit! You don’t have to do something different, but you can do the same thing in a different way, or a different place.

You don’t have to do like I did yesterday and completely change my schedule. I went to class, ate out for lunch, headed to the movies with my wife, met up with a friend, had supper, went to the basketball game. As opposed to going to class, brown-bagging lunch, going to class, quickly visiting with my wife as I changed for work, work, homework. While this made for quite the exciting day, I wasn’t quite productive.

Pay Attention!

Instead, just be conscious of your daily routine. It’s easy to fall into habits, always doing the same thing in the same way; one thing leads automatically to the next.

I have a hard time with this during my lunches. The majority of my day is pre-scheduled for me. I have places to be and times to be there. In-between those times, however, I have some flexibility. Because of my routines, I normally leave one place, go to a waiting area to eat my lunch and read, then head to the next place I have to be at. When I think about it, though, I have more than enough time to eat somewhere else.

Weather permitting, I eat outside, instead of inside the dusty room I normally break in. I’ve almost missed some beautiful days because of my habits. When the weather isn’t so nice, I still try to find new places to eat, or find a friend to eat with.

What habits could you examine and tweak to break the routines?

Motorcycle Focus – The Joys of Riding

I tried to explain why I like riding my motorcycle so much. I received some good messages about that post, and wanted to expand on them a bit more.

From Brad:

To me riding is more like walking or riding a bicycle, you smell every smell, you feel the wind, its just the road and you, you are a part of your environment. Driving a car isolates you from all of this, its like the difference between watching a movie and actually doing it.

I agree with Brad’s thoughts completely. There’s an amazing difference between riding Ms. Peeps and going the same places in the car. The entire atmospheres vary. In the car, the setting is generally the same, no matter what time of year: it’s dry, warm, and filled with sounds of your choice via the radio (or not). There is a roof over your head and you view the world through the glass windows around you.

This is nothing at all like a motorcycle. I have no control over the weather; when it’s cold I have to dress warmer, when it’s raining I have to remember to put on water-proof clothing. I hear the wind rushing past and the traffic that surrounds me. While I could listen to headphones, I choose not to (I like hearing the engine rev, and feel safer being able to hear the traffic so I know what is coming.) My view is far more expansive, even through the helmet. There is no rear-view mirror in the way, no window posts that block my vision.

Road familiarity

Leo Babauta‘s newest book Focus, (which is a free and wonderful read) talks about achieving focus in your life. While riding, I automatically do this. I pay far more attention to my surroundings. I’m not distracted by a radio, a cell phone, or a passenger (even when I have one). Not only do I know which lights take longer to change than others, or which intersections don’t allow turns during red lights, but I pay more attention to the vehicles around me, and the road itself.

I know where the potholes, manhole covers, and seams in the road are now. That one intersection that recently had some patches added… it still has a rail-road spike in the blacktop, left over from the metal plate that covered the hole while work was being done. I know where gravel remains from recent repairs. I also know which roads generally have warmer or cooler air (did you know that residential roads seem to be cooler, on average, than commuter roads?) Not to mention that I know where the good-smelling restaurants are, which unfortunately means I know the others as well.

Fewer Distractions

So much of my day is filled with distractions, it’s nice to have somewhere that I get to block them all out. When riding, I’m busy watching traffic and the road conditions ahead. Though my mind often races elsewhere, on a motorcycle I focus on a single task: riding. I get to participate in my surroundings as I move through them: becoming part of the flow of traffic, anticipating drivers’ next moves, and telling Ms. Peeps where to go. While riding, nothing else matters.

Now, if only I can figure out how to achieve that focus everywhere in my life…

Minimalism and Marriage

My short list has 5 items on it, with Marriage being the first, and minimalism being close behind. I thought that it might be interesting to explain how these fit together in my life. I’m not trying to minimalize my marriage, but to maximize it by limiting the other aspects of my life that might interfere.

How this looks in my life

I enjoy spending time with my wife, focused on her. This might mean rearranging my schedule or turning down activity options.

Getting up early
I get up earlier than I need to a few days a week. The extra couple of hours that I gain allow me to get some work done before my wife wakes up. After this bout of productivity, I am often able to have breakfast waiting when she does get up. We are then able to eat together, leisurely, before we have to head our separate ways for the day.

Turning down other options
At least once a week I have the opportunity to get home before my wife. On these days, I have the chance to have supper waiting when she arrives. It might be a more productive use of my time to knock out some homework, work on any of the dozen projects that I seem to have going on at any given time, or even just meet with friends during this free time. However, I don’t think there is a more important use of my time than to treat my wife. By then she’s tired and hungry (and often cold, now that the winter weather’s starting to move in), and having a hot meal ready to go is a comfort that I know she appreciates. She’s able to come home, relax at the table as I put the finishing touches on supper, and chat with me about our days.

These options are only available to me because I’ve narrowed down the other obligations in my life. Though school and work take out good portions of my days, I’ve streamlined how I get my homework done. The time and energy it takes has been minimized. I don’t participate in many extracurricular activities, having chosen only those that really align with my interests and provide results that I think are worthwhile.

Romance doesn’t have to be complicated

I might be married, but that doesn’t mean I can let the romance die. Indeed, it may be more important now than when we were dating. Fortunately for me, romance doesn’t have to be complicated, or expensive. Here are a few of the things that I do:

  • flowers – There may be nothing as good as the old stand-by of flowers. My wife always appreciates them.
  • food – Whether I cook, we cook, or we go out to eat, my wife and I love good food. It helps us to slow down and provides a good excuse to spend time together. She loves the break when I take over kitchen duties, we greatly enjoy cooking together (though I might make a bit of a mess at times), and we both love trying out new restaurants, or new items at old favorites.
  • sticky notes – My wife loves receiving notes, and I love writing them. In fact, I’ve come up with a system that helps me do this on a daily basis. I write short notes on sticky-note paper and hide them for her to find throughout the day. She gets a love note in addition to a daily treasure hunt.

I’m not an expert

I certainly don’t know everything about relationships, and mine is still a work in progress. However, I keep working to get better. I’ve worked through The Love Dare, read The Five Love Languages (which is how I know that Words of Affirmation, ie: love notes, are important to my wife), and make it a point to reread His Needs, Her Needs every year. Since my wife is important to me, I make the time to focus on her. Sometimes this doesn’t mean spending time with her, but improving myself as her husband. I might not be an expert on relationships, but I’m working towards my doctorate on my wife. This requires time and energy, and
being a minimalist helps me work toward that goal.

Why I Love Life on 2 Wheels

I recently introduced you to Ms. Peeps. She certainly makes me excited, but the reason why is hard to explain. Hard as it might be, I’m going to give it a shot:

It’s in my blood.

  • I have a photograph of Mom’s dad when he was a boy, sitting on a motorcycle. This was the mid 1920s.
  • Dad owned a number of motorcycles, and always wanted another one.
  • Mom has been riding (as a passenger) for a number of years now. Her honeymoon with my step-dad was a motorcycle trip.
  • My name-sake was a family friend who rode his motorcycle everywhere, weather-permitting.
  • So far as I can tell, all 4 of my uncles have ridden motorcycles over the years, and my cousins have taken this up as well.

I didn’t grow up around motorcycles, but I did grow up around people who loved them. Family and their friends. I listened to them talk about motorcycles, and saw them watch as we were passed on the road. Having a motorcycle has been a dream since my early teens.

I’m part of a community

You may have never noticed, but a lot of motorcyclists will wave at one another when they pass on the road. How fun is that? I’ve had a number of random conversations, purely because someone else rides a motorcycle, or wants to.
There are motorcycle clubs, riding groups, online forums, and more. All dedicated to motorcycles and the lifestyle that goes with them. These online communities are veritable founts of knowledge. I can research to my heart’s content… which is a lot of reading. I can look up motorcycles, places to ride, ways to customize my bike, riding techniques, and more. Whoah… that’s a lot. And I haven’t even started searching out people in real life!

It’s fun

This is the main reason. I love riding Ms. Peeps because it’s fun. This is the part I don’t know how to explain. Even if it’s cold and raining I still enjoy the time I spend on two wheels. It makes me feel alive. I can’t help but smile when I hear Ms. Peeps fire up, when I lean into a turn, or when I get to twist the throttle. Life on two wheels is good.

Meet Ms. Peeps

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Ms. Peeps is a 2003 Yamaha V-Star 650 Classic. She joined our family in June of this year, with about 8,800 miles on the odometer. Shortly there-after, she developed some medical issues* that were quickly diagnosed and repaired by the family motorcycle mechanic (who would be yours truly).

We’ve been cruising along for over 4,000 miles now, nice and smoothly.

About her name

Even before picking her up from the previous owner, I was debating what to call Ms. Peeps. Being purple, the only thing that I could come up with was The Purple People Eater. I asked a few friends and they gave the same response. Thusly she was dubbed. That’s quite a mouthful, however, so I shortened it down to Ms. Peeps. When riding, however, I have noticed that I shorten it to Peeps. ie: “C’mon, Peeps!”

How we ride

Ms. Peeps is my daily transportation. I’ve been riding on a daily basis ever since I purchased her. This means that I’ve been wet a few times. (Oh, that rain gear works wonders when you actually put it on!) It means that I have to peel off the layers when I arrive at my destination, because I dress to stay warm on the trip. It also means that I now always have on jeans, a jacket, and boots, no matter where I go.

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All The Gear, All The Time
I believe that the proper gear is a vital part of motorcycle riding. It’s far easier, cheaper, and much less painful to replace a cow hide than my hide. And so, a leather jacket and gloves it is… even when it’s 98°F outside. Also, the full-faced helmet is a necessity. Sure, it’s hot and not nearly as much fun as a skid lid (half-helmet) or nothing, but I’m losing my hair fast enough without any help from the blacktop.

Ideally, I will never need any of this gear. It’s insurance, though. It might be a nuisance, but when I do need it, I will really need it.

With Company
Even though I’m a daily commuter, I don’t always ride alone. My wife quickly picked up a matching jacket, helmet, and gloves after Ms. Peeps joined us. We’ve spent many enjoyable afternoons cruising around the area. New roads have been explored, museums have been visited, lakes have been swum in, and other adventures have been shared.

The adventure is just starting!

It’s only been a few months, and I’ve had a great time riding so far. I know that there are plenty of good rides in the future, and I look forward to them. Life on two wheels is good!

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*Apparently the previous owner apparently didn’t put any grease on the drive shaft, which meant that the teeth rubbed against each other and were ground smooth.

Hiking San Francisco – review

Ran across this website the other day and thought I’d share it with you. is a geographically-based community website that revolves around hiking. It provides information about local trails, parks, and hiking groups. There is a forum, hiking advice, and much more!

Since I live on the opposite side of the country from the trails described on, the great information available about trails, parks, and hikes don’t do me much good at the moment. My favorite part of the site, however, is the Outdoor Resources page. There you will find links to all kinds of useful information, no matter where you live.

It doesn’t matter if you have been hiking for the last twenty years, or have never set foot outdoors, you will be able to find some helpful information. If you’re interested in taking a stroll, walk, or hike, then I highly recommend that you check out

Child-led Adventure

This is a guest post from Rebecca Burgener, who strives to introduce the people in her circle to their God-given creativity. Living in Tennessee with her husband and children, Rebecca blogs at Communicate Creativity and plays the editor for Pond Ripples E-zine.

While dinner cooked one evening recently, my children and I took a quick trip to the moon.

Captain Blackie
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It all started with a map of Arkansas. My Mother-in-Law requested an Arkansas vacation guide to dream over. These people were so generous, they sent her two. She gave one to my kids.

As I prepared dinner, I noticed they were quiet. Any parent knows that smells like trouble. I found them with the large map of Arkansas spread out on the floor while they industriously colored out their upcoming route to the moon.

A mama must think on her feet. I considered that I didn’t give them permission to destroy this map, but did we really need a map of Arkansas? True, we could use it to study Arkansas, but we are focusing on learning about the state we live in at the moment. I didn’t foresee a trip to Arkansas in the near future, either. I thought of their perspective. Were they destroying something or stretching their creative muscles? I think I mentioned something about, “Ask next time,” and let their game continue.

Before I knew it, we were strapped into our Living Room Space Ship. When I say we, I mean my three children, the dog, several stuffed animals, all the current imaginary pets and friends, AND me. Little Lady pushed the pink button. Little Man helped everyone (and I mean everyone) with their space helmet and then pushed the fast button.

Blast Off!

Upon landing we all double checked our space helmets and stepped out to explore the dining room, I mean, the moon. Little Man took pictures with my old 110 film camera (my first camera!) as everyone else stood by the American Flag on the moon. Then we consulted the map.

According to our map, we must find buried treasure. Little Lady quickly found an X, but Little Man checked the map and informed us the treasure is under the P. He found the P easily, and we began digging.

Before long, we uncovered a treasure chest full of money. Pirate Money.

Moon Pirates.

We decided it was time to go home. We quickly piled into the space ship with the pirate treasure. Little Lady heard the pirates say, “Arghh! Where’s our treasure?” We sealed up the ship and strapped everyone in. Little Lady pushed the pink button, and Little Man with the help of Captain Blackie pushed the fast button.

Blast Off!

We arrived home just in time to take dinner out of the oven.

Editors note: I thought that this story perfectly demonstrates how an adventure can be had without having to spend a lot of money, make huge plans, or even leave your house! Children are amazing: we should learn to follow their lead more often.