A little about me, and why I'm doing this.

I do enjoy sharing the circumstances and events that occur to me on my Road Trips, but mostly...

I want to share what's inside me... my emotions, my intuitions, and my dreams...

With the hope of distracting and encouraging you to think outside the box.

We all need to be distracted and encouraged once in a while, don’t we?

If this distraction also brings enjoyment or entertainment to you… It will make me happy.

I hope you decide you want to get to know me.

I hope you decide you want to get to know me.
I would love to get to know you!
My photo
San Francisco, California, United States
I'm an open minded, honest, fun loving guy, who loves sharing … my insights, my experiences, and my opinions about life... other people … and anything else that jumps into my mind when I’m in (or out of) the saddle. Spirituality-YES. Religion-NO. Sexuality-YES. Politics-NO. Humor-ALWAYS.


My Student, My Mentor, My Soulmate.

December 12, 2015

The last seven months of my life...

Today is Saturday, December 12, 2015

Seven months and four days ago, I had a minor stroke.  The doctors say that the stroke didn’t do much damage to my brain, but the arachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain) that occurred when I lost consciousness and fell, did.  I don’t remember anything about the first two days after the injury, and very little about the next week.  That’s when they sent me home.  My recovery was slow at first, but after about a month, I could notice a little improvement almost every day.

It was less than two months after the injury that I interviewed for a job as a project manager for a high-end residential contractor, and… got the job!  Over the next month or so, I continued to notice improvements, but the ‘curve’ was beginning to flatten out.  I was already reaching my plateau.

It was at this time that I first became aware of a ‘false smell.’  The doctors say this is due to the damage to the olfactory part of my brain.  Why it took several months for my brain to decide to give me the sensation of smelling soapy turpentine, no one can say.  Mostly, it’s tolerable.  I’ve now become so accustomed to it, that I barely notice it at all.  But once in a while, either when I’m around soap, or sometimes for no apparent reason… the smell becomes horridly strong, to the point of causing me to feel nauseous.  Presently, I am told it is likely that there is nothing that can be done to decrease this sensation.  But that’s not the real concern for me at this time.

About a month after the false small started (about one month ago from now) I noticed that I was making mistakes based on incorrect memories.  I have one recollection that is still as clear as day to me, but… it never happened.  I remember making a written note during a meeting; transferring that note to a digital ‘document on my laptop,’ and then emailing that document to the appropriate parties.  I could find no evidence of any of this.

Another mistake was based on something that I did do, but to this day, have no recollection of.  The architect sent out an updated detail, and I had no recollection of ever seeing it.  But when I checked through my back up file (looking for the written note I didn’t make), I found the detail.  Somehow, I had opened the architect’s email, printed the detail without ever downloading it for my digital file, and instead of putting it in my binder to take to the job, I filed it directly into the back up file.  I don’t remember doing any of this, but no one else had access to my laptop or the back up file, so it’s obvious that I did.

These are two examples of a series of mistakes that happened over the next month, each one making me feel more uncertain about my sanity.  They weren’t ‘normal’ mistakes… the kind that ‘everyone makes.’  These recent mistakes have been unique to my life experience.  Sure, I’m human, and I have always made a mistake here or there, but these mistakes are profound in nature… big mistakes… and mistakes that I would normally never make.

I’m now in the process of working with the neurological experts, in an attempt to define and quantify the damage to the cognitive center of my brain.  Yes, it wasn’t only the olfactory center that was damaged… part of my cognitive center is dead too.

I’m afraid like I’ve never been afraid before.  I can walk and talk and outwardly appear to be 100% normal.  But I’m not.  These bizarre and dramatic mistakes, when added to the multitude of additional ‘little’ mistakes I’ve been making… make it difficult for me to believe I’m not going to make one… big… final… monumental mistake.  Gosh darn it, my life has changed and I don’t like it.

June 20, 2015

Another Ania Contribution... THANK YOU!

Hoover Dam Bypass – US 93

U.S. Route 93 is a major highway that runs north and south on the western side of the country, spanning nearly the entire country. At 1,457 miles, U.S. 93 is quite the highway, and it encompasses many smaller highways throughout many different states. But one stretch of this infamous road is worth a ride on your motorcycle, as the scenic views are simply out of this world. Connecting two states and crossing the Colorado River, the Hoover Dam Bypass is the most exhilarating ride motorcyclists can enjoy on U.S. 93. Now with a newly constructed bridge that opened in 2010, the views and ride are even more exhilarating than ever before. 

While the bridge itself on the Hoover Dam Bypass is the highlighted feature of this motorcycle ride, it's only but a 2,000-foot ride across the Colorado River. However, riders are nearly 900 feet above the river, therefore the views surrounding the Hoover Dam are simply breathtaking. Impressively built, the duration of the Hoover Dam Bypass is a full 3.5 miles of highway, beginning in Clark County, Nevada and ending in Mohave County, Arizona. But don't let this short stretch of road deter you from visiting, because it's really a must-see experience in order to enjoy.

Surrounding areas of the Hoover Dam Bypass along U.S. 93 are very sparse with vegetation and sometimes desolate with populations, but the region embodies Western motifs ever present in American culture. While the roads themselves can appear flat, the area is known for having amazing natural peaks and valleys, giving riders even more to soak in while cruising along the Hoover Dam Bypass. There are no steep inclines or sharp, twisting turns found on mountain roads, but the Hoover Dam Bypass and surrounding roads of the U.S. 93 are simply magnificent for motorcyclists.

Riders will want to pack really light for their Hoover Dam excursions, as temperatures remain fairly warm year round. Of course, winter months can see temperatures dip into the low 60s or even high 50s, with high winds creating an even cooler breeze for riders. However, more often than not, your ride across the Hoover Dam Bypass will be greeted with warm, desert air. For cruisers, the River Road Harrier Vest makes a great choice pretty much anytime of the year, while sport riders may want to wear something like the Viking Cycle Asger Motorcycle Jacket From Motorcycle House to improve both comfort and mobility.

The Hoover Dam Bypass along U.S. 93 is a true American motorcycle riding experience. With plenty of lodging in both Nevada and Arizona, riders can come and go as they please, ensuring that the ride and the journey getting there are both equally as enjoyable. The fun certainly doesn't stop when you've reached the end of the Bypass, as U.S. 93 takes riders into varying terrains and states out West. If you're feeling really adventurous, start your journey in Wickenburg, AZ and complete the nearly-1,500-mile route North until you've reached Canada. Additionally, U.S. 93 crosses many different major highway systems along its duration, allowing riders to easily access the highway and travel to the Hoover Dam Bypass anyway they choose.

March 17, 2015

Introducing... Ania Todua !!

Ania is the first person who’s contacted me and requested to have me post something for them.
Let’s all give her a nice warm welcome!

“How I got started and my biking experiences”
by Ania Todua


I have been asked this many times and I always have an answer ready.  Mainly, because I know a majority of these people are quite clueless about motorcycle riding, especially about female bikers. At the most, some of them have heard of the biker chicks and that is often a vague concept of girls in skimpy outfits hanging around bikers and biker gangs for the purpose of looking good. As for me, nothing can really be farther from the truth.  But I’m not here to set the record straight on this topical issue.
The story is about me and how I became a biker. My name is Ania and I have been into biking ever since I can remember. As a child, I mastered the art of riding my bicycle without the training wheels at three, making me quite an expert on balance and riding skills by the time I was five. This was perhaps the first indication of how good a rider I would be later in life. It was in my pre-teens that I began to dream of my own motorcycle, my first real ride. My parents were very encouraging and they only suggested that I wear protective gear like jackets helmets etc. while riding and never hit the speed beyond my control.
My childhood was filled with adventurous picnics and camping trips, giving me a healthy love for the outdoors. By the time I was 16 I knew I would never be happy sitting at a desk and within the four walls of an office space. I was not even excited about my first car, the way my friends were. I owned a moped then and was chafing at the heels to own my first real bike. I worked, scrimped and saved, and got it right after I turned 18. It was an old Ninja 250 and I loved it! I always felt encouraged by my parents. The only thing they advised me about was to wear proper riding gear.

I think I spent more time on that bike (and all subsequent ones) than I did anywhere else during that time! I love everything thing about riding a bike, the pace, the power, and the speed. It makes me feel free and invincible at the same time. But biking is not just about having fun; you have responsibilities. It is about wearing the right protective gear and making sure you are a safe rider.
But all this was before I realized what it meant to be a real biker. For years, I rode everywhere – to work, to visit my folks, to get my groceries, hang out with friends, and even to my dates. Needless, to say I wasn’t everyone’s idea of a dream girl, but I have had of my share of fun too! It was about the time I was 24 that I started taking my bike out for longer weekend trips. Sometimes, with a friend but mostly alone and having the time of my life.
I got so hooked that I started planning route maps for the next time I could get away as soon as I was back. It was as if something out there was calling out to my soul to get out and be a part of it. Regular life no longer held the same attraction for me and the days became more mundane than ever, ‘til the next time I was on the road. As fate would have it, it was on one of these weekend trips that I realized where my real love lay.
A lazy weekend ride to a nearby State Park Lake around this time paved the way for a whole new world. I stopped at the lakeside café and there I came across a mixed group of bikers, younger than the majority that I have encountered before. When I say mixed, I mean male and female bikers instead of the usual posse of male bikers with their old ladies and biker chicks. I guess that’s what immediately attracted my attention. When they smiled and waved, I did too, and took up their invitation to join them at their table.

Looking back, that was probably one of the biggest turning points in my life. I met and actually fell in love with a fellow group of bikers who loved riding and the great outdoors as much as I did. The only difference was that they were doing it far more professionally than I was. What had started as a fantasy was now becoming a reality. We chatted for hours and never once did they belittle my cute little hobby, as many of my other friends back home did.
And just like that I was no longer alone and part of a group that understood me and my dreams perfectly. I was welcomed as a part of the family and shown the many ways I could explore the world with them. It has been seven years since I met them and I have not had that dreaded feeling of ennui haunt me ever since then. Instead, my days are rich and full of plans to ride out for the next big adventure with my friends. We have had our ups and downs but honestly, life has never been better.
Yes, I have graduated from my Ninja 250 (which I still have propped up against my garage wall!) to a Yamaha R1 and then onto my brand new 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 model which is truly a superbike. I love the power of the bike beneath me as I ride through the alternating smooth and rocky roads during our many adventures. It is no longer the tame weekend excursions for me but a repertoire of cross-country road trips that have been fabulous to say the least.

Has my experienced thus far slaked the thirst in me? No way. In fact, my wanderlust is raring to go and explore newer horizons every day. If you were expecting me to be a femme fatale or my story to be an out of the bounds thrilling one, then I am sorry to have disappointed you. I am just an ordinary girl who has had the amazing luck of enjoying some extraordinary adventures with her bike.
But meeting my friends and getting to know likeminded people like them has been an added bonus. Especially my girlfriends, though we are really a mixed group. I know that sounds like a cliché but we are more misunderstood than the regular motorcycle clubs, so that sort of binds us together even stronger.
MC members are outlaws and their women called ‘old ladies’ or ‘property’ which does not incite much respect from the non-bikers. They visualize anarchy and immorality even, the latter being so much a part of the picture we represent as well. Unless, one lives this life we lead, it will be difficult to truly know who we are. But I am no longer concerned with what the world thinks when I have many adventures before me and great friends to share them with. We may not be the ‘one percenters’ but we are special and I am glad I met them.
   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -
And we are all very glad to meet you!
Thank you so much for your story.  I hope you continue writing about yourself,
and about your adventures.

February 2, 2015

A Response from a new Follower !!!


I am so so happy you decided to contact me.  No, I do not recall your husband, but I'm sure we met.
Wow... so much to say...  I'm gonna do a copy and paste, so I can be as complete as possible.  Warning... this may be a long message.  As you now know... I like to write!

This morning I stumbled across your motorcycle blog completely by coincidence, and was so surprised to see a posting about Tokosaben. I'm related to the Benthins...
One of the best families I know.  I was not able to become as close to them as I'd wished.  Jane & Parker are a little older than me, and much more cerebral.  I'm more of a visceral kinda guy.

... through marriage, spent my honeymoon at Toko back in 1992, 
I have permission from the Kobiashi family (Wink & Tim are my age, and Jill), to spread (50% ish of) my ashes on their property.  The 'plot' closest to The Lake.
To me, life revolves around Tokosaben (and the Sierras in general), and The Monterey Bay (I grew up in small community called La Selva Beach, in Santa Cruz County.  I am now living in San Francisco, living with my wife Sharon King, who moved here in 21 years ago.  If you EVER get close to SF, PLEASE let me know.  Phone number here, and at bottom of this message:

Ned Opdyke

... accumulated my share of Tokosaben stories over the years,
Here's one of my earliest ones:

My twin brother (Don) and I would get up about 8am, have breakfast, and then hop on our matching Honda 50 Mini Trail motorcycles.  His was blue, mine was red, and the yellow one was the 'extra one for friends.'

We'd take off, and explore as much of the area as possible, until our gas was running low, and then return to home base for gas, a swim, and some food.  Usually within 30 minutes of our return, we'd be off and away again, exploring more of the surrounding area, or... playing on a fun stretch of terrain that we'd found to me entertaining.  For example, no too far off the property was the 'Hill Climb.'  It was possible to get to the top without having to put our feet down to help push the bikes up the last part of it, but it took a lot of skill and some luck to do it.

... watched my kids learn to fish there,
I have never been a big fisherman.  I'm pretty sure, the only fish I've ever caught, was a Trout, captured out of South Fork of The Tuolumne River... upstream from Rainbow Pool to be exact (which has been my favorite place IN THE WORLD since my first visit in 1970.

The 'funniest' fishing story I have about Toko, is when I was out in the Kobiashi's "Full Boat" (a large, home made kayak for two).  Wink caught a 'sun fish,' which is one of the 'feeder' fish, his family had stocked the lack with, as food for the Bass.  He reeled the little guy (girl?) up to the edge of the boat, and instead of reaching down to unhook it and let it go, as I was expecting him to do... he pulled it out of the lake... adjust the line, so that the fish (about 4~6" long as I recall) was hanging about 12" from the end of the pole.

What he did then is hard to write about.  It still makes my heart sad.  He started, swinging the fishing pole back and forth over our heads... smashing the fish into the surface of the water.  Back and forth, back and forth (maybe about 5~8 times?) until the fish broke apart, and fell off the hook.

It was carnage and disgrace, and all every other bad thing that can be said about the sanctity and respect for life.  What saddens me most about this memory, is that it still makes me laugh a little on the inside.  SHHHH. I will never admit that.  Oh wait, this is in print.  Fortunately, I can be very creative when I write, and I'm sure if anyone ever brings it up, I'll be able to come up with an explanation that makes me appear to be a good guy.

... got to know Virginia Tindall,
Another one of the Great Families in The World.  Virginia became my mom after my mom died.

... and eventually mourned Aunt Thea & Uncle Dick having to sell.
I don't think anyone mourned that sale more than me.  I tried and tried to gather enough funds to buy the property myself.  I also tried really hard to develop a relationship with the folks that bought it (relatives of some sort... maybe you could help me with this...).

I was (am still) hoping that I would be considered to do maintenance work on the cabin, in trade for occasional visitation rights.

... It seems even more coincidental that I saw your posting today, after having a long but rare phone conversation with Dick just last night.
There are no coincidences.  I'm getting ready to read The Celestine Prophecy Series, by James Redfielld again.  If you haven't read them, I highly recommend that you do.

I make that recommendation to everyone that can.  It was (kind of) life changing for me.  Not really, but it's a damn good story.  A spiritual philosophy that I believe is as close to true truth as I've ever read.  Clarification:  Some people believe there is only one truth.  I believe there are infinite truths.  One for each living soul.
It seems unlikely you'd remember my husband Bill, 
the oldest of the Benthin's four nephews.
See above.

 He helped build their cabin, working on it almost every weekend that year.
Do you have any pictures of the process?  Or access to any pictures?  Are you close to Jane and - -?  Stokes?, or Parker?

... Of the Quintero boys, Rob would have been closest to your age,
I just turned 58.  Yes, I am aware that I look much younger.  I feel a whole lot younger too, by the way.  Usually.  Sometimes I get tired and have to take a nap... but I ALWAYS (knock on wood) wake up rip roarin' and ready to go.  Ask me about how and why I wake up that way if you're curious.

... so maybe you'd remember him. Rob and Bill both loved Toko,
I would be concerned about the sanity of anyone who did NOT love that 40 acres of paradise on Earth.

... and both are now avid motorcyclists.
Please forward this message to both of them.  Rob, Bill... LET'S RIDE !!!
I've attached two of my favorite pictures of Honey, my 2006 Honday VTX 1300 R.

(Another connection that made your blog seem like even more of a coincidence!)
Please understand:  I am seriously a 'true' believer that There Are No Coincidences.

... I'm sure if Uncle Dick still had the place, or Virginia was still around, they'd be making road trips there. 
Good news!  I'm very good friends with Ambria Witt (a daughter of Terry, Art & Virginia's daughter) who now owns and lives in the Family Home).  With a little notice, we could stay there anytime we ask.  As is very typical with members of Great Families, she is very family oriented, and gracious and generous, and all those really cool things that makes a family (person) Great.

 FYI, I stumbled on your blog while googling research on the Stanislaus National Forest for work, and started reading some postings --
Wow, that is REALLY NEAT to hear.  I had no idea my blog was getting so 'high' on the search engines' results.  I should really go back and add in a lot more 'key words.'  I haven't been very diligent with that, since I first opened the blog about 5 years ago.

... awfully easy to be distracted on a leisurely Sunday morning. 
If you don't remember, that's one of the first things you read on the 'Cover Page' of my blog:

"I do enjoy sharing the circumstances and events that occur to me on my Road Trips, but mostly...

I want to share what's inside me... my emotions, my intuitions, and my dreams...
With the hope of distracting and encouraging you to think outside the box.

We all need to be distracted and encouraged once in a while, don’t we?
If this distraction also brings enjoyment or entertainment to you… It will make me happy.

Anyway, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to drop you a line.
Lisa, please feel free to correspond with me as much as possible.

And the same applies to everyone who ever reads any of my ramblings.  But please remember... as I say as my 'copy write protection' at the end of each of my stories...

"All rights and wrongs are in place."

January 18, 2015

The 12 Questions...



By:  Ned Opdyke

February 2013 ~ May 2014

           1  -    Why am I here? 

           2  -   What am I here to learn?

           3  -    Why do I try so hard to make people like me?

           4  -    Why do I act like a clown sometimes?

           5  -    Why am I insecure?  

           6  -   Why do I need a soul mate in my life?

           7  -    What makes me so special ~ different from everyone else?

           8  -    What is it that ‘really’ makes me happy?

           9  -    What do I want people to remember about me when I’m gone?

        10  -    How have I changed over the last 10 years?

        11  -    Why do I feel awkward when things are going good for me?

        12  -    Why am I afraid to develop the spiritual side of me?

1  -   Why am I here?

The answers I’ve heard from people about this question range from the supremely egotistical, “Humans are the ultimate expression of God,” to the incredibly meek, “We are like ants, scratching out a life in the sand.”
Personally, I believe that both ends of the scale are valid and correct.

For most of my life I was too busy trying to enjoy my life to really put too much thought into this question.  Then it struck me… that’s it… !!
The reason I was put on this planet was to simply enjoy and appreciate my life and to help other people enjoy and appreciate their lives too.

Love, beauty, and happiness are around us at all times.  It is only our over involvement in our own close-minded and mundane thoughts, behaviors, and actions, that keep us from seeing it and letting it penetrate our awareness.

2  -   What am I here to learn?

My first wife’s father was a soft spoken and gentle man.  He didn’t really like to take center stage and preferred to sit back and watch what was going on around him.  And then… just when you thought he might have been ready to fall asleep, he would very quietly say something very profound.  That’s what I would like to learn how to do.

My default mode of passing along my (so called) wisdom, has been to shout it out to as many people as could hear me in my vicinity, even if they didn’t ask for my opinion or input.  I would like to learn how to hold on to my thoughts and keep them to myself.  To only express them when asked, or when it was obvious that it was appropriate to speak.

There is not a doubt in the world to me that I have worthwhile life knowledge and the ability to communicate this knowledge.  My goal is to be comfortable with this knowledge within myself and not feel the requirement to share it with any and everyone who crosses my path, and to give others their own space and not feel the urge to ‘help’ them all the time.

Sometimes people don't want, or aren't ready to be helped, and sometimes... guess what?...  They don't need any help!

3  -   Why do I try so hard to make people like me?

The next three questions all tie in together for me.  I’m sure it’s my insecurity that causes me to draw attention to myself in my attempt to gain recognition and self worth.

I know in my heart I’m a good person, but I also know there are aspects to my consciousness that lean more toward the ‘not so good.’  I have always been a visceral and tactile person and have spent way too many years (mostly in my past) searching for gratification in a purely (let’s say) animalistic way.  I accept my ‘human’ nature, and try to embrace it, but sometimes I feel guilty for succumbing to my sexual desires.

It is this guilt, I believe, that makes me want to act out in a way that shows people that there is more to me than just that.  I tend to overcompensate and overpower people in my efforts to prove myself… to myself!  Other people wouldn’t necessarily think twice about some of my actions or statements, and I know it’s this self-doubt that I carry inside that is the real problem.

Opening my heart and exposing it (even to myself) is terrifying to me.  I’m afraid of finding that the dark part in there is a bigger part of me than what I want to believe.
Trying to find people who will support me and like me is a way for me to keep my fear abated.   

4  -   Why do I act like a clown sometimes?

In my effort to help people be happy and enjoy themselves, sometimes I go too far.  Sometimes I get over exuberant and get carried away with the attention I am getting.
As I mentioned previously, I’m sure a large part of this is based on my insecurity and self-doubt.  If people are smiling and laughing at me, I must be a good guy, right?  Not necessarily.

Sometimes the people are laughing ‘at’ me and not ‘with’ me.  I’ve seen the look in their eyes… sometimes they don’t wait for me to turn my head away before they roll their eyes back into their heads.  Overcompensation due to a feeling of inadequacy is a likely answer to this question.

5  -  Why am I insecure?

So here it is… the first really difficult question for me.  Not because of the answer I’m about to face, but because of the fact that I honestly cannot come up with any kind of an answer whatsoever.  I’m smart, I’m good looking, I’m good in bed… I seriously cannot figure out why I have always had doubts about myself.

The only thing I can come up with is that I’m embarrassed because I’m such an underachiever.  I’ve always had the inner belief inside me that I’m supposed to provide something of substance and importance to this world, and… alas… I’ve done virtually nothing.

Sure, as a general contractor I’ve provided several hundred people beautiful additions to their homes.  And now as a tour guide, I’ve brought smiles and laughter to thousands and thousands of more people, but… I cannot help but believe that there was (is?) something else I’m supposed to do while I’m here.

Maybe if I can figure out the answer to that question, I’ll figure out the answer to my insecurity (?).

6  -   Why do I need a soul mate in my life?

When I was a young teenager I was introduced to the writings of Richard Bach… first “Jonathon Livingston Seagull,” and then several others.  The book of his that made the biggest impression on me was “One.”  In it, he spoke of the concept of two people combining themselves into something greater than the sum of their individual selves; the concept of 1 + 1 = 3.

I fell in love with the thought that I would find the one person on this planet that I could combine myself with, and create something beautiful together.  Over the following years (and failed marriages), I’ve modified my dream substantially.  My soul mate doesn’t make me something I’m not, nor do we lose our individuality as we grow, teach, and learn from each other.

Not only that, but I learned that it was the lack of belief in me as a complete individual that kept me from finding that person.  Once I changed my focus and stopped trying to find someone to help me become a better person… she appeared!

7 -  What makes me so special~different from everyone else?

We are all made of the same substance(s).  We are all stardust.  As far as we can determine so far, the universe goes on and on forever, with an infinite number of stars.  Therefor, although we are all made of the same elements, we truly are all different, special, unique, and most importantly... infinite.

We are each soul, a spark of energy that came from… “God”… “A Higher Power”… or any other name, term, or concept you wish to use.  We are each currently inhabiting a particular body, and we are here for one reason, and one reason alone;  to learn, to grow, to appreciate, and to enjoy the process.

Celebrating the diversity is the key.  Don’t try to put yourself or anyone else on a scale, measuring or comparing against, with, or to, anyone else.  Yes, we all are different, and… guess what… we are all correct in our beliefs.

I know this doesn’t really answer my question, but the harder I try to answer it, the further away I get.

We are all special and different because we are all special and different.

8  -   What is it that ‘really’ makes me happy?

This is another tough one for me.  I’ve always been the type of person that is always looking for that next mountain to climb, the next challenge to face, the next activity to make me smile.

For a while, golf made me happy; the inner challenge, coupled with the camaraderie and the time spent in a beautiful outdoor setting.  Lately it’s been motorcycle riding… specifically long road trips across the open country.

But when I get right down to it… the thing that really makes me happy isn’t an activity as much as it is a situation.  I experience the most happiness when I see somebody else having fun.  An expression of joy, excitement, and happiness on someone else’s face fills me with love and appreciation for life.

9 -  What do I want people to remember about me when I’m gone?

I would like people to think of me with a question mark in their eyes.  I like the part of me that surprises people and makes them wonder what it is that I’m thinking, and then… hopefully… makes them think about themselves and the world around them differently.

It seems to me that a lot of people are in a walking slumber.  I see a lot of people every day with eyes that don’t seem to have any real life or a sense of interest about where they are, or what they’re doing.

It’s so refreshing to me, to see someone who has eyes that are reaching out and connecting with other people.  It’s that joy of life that I mentioned in my last question that comes to mind.

I would like people to remember me as someone who enjoyed life, no matter what type of a situation he was in; someone who had an easy smile, and who listened to others when they spoke.  Someone who liked to do favors for people, and wasn’t shy about asking for help when he needed it.

But mostly, I would like to be remembered as someone who loved;  people, places, things… someone who just loved the principle of love.

10  -   How have I changed over the last 10 years?

Quite a bit actually; ten years ago I was recently divorced from my second wife, and going through a mid-life crisis.  I’d hooked up with a beautiful blonde bombshell, and was spending almost all my time drinking and playing.  The economy was starting to slow down, but I wasn’t.  I was living my life like I was a teenager without any cares, responsibilities, or self-control.

At the time, I thought I was fine… just having fun, and wasn’t concerned about what the future had in store for me.  I was living in the present, but not in a good way.
Now, besides having another beautiful blonde bombshell and a motorcycle in my life, I’m a totally different person.  I (try to) remember to think before I speak; care about other people’s feelings; and drink alcohol in a much more moderate fashion.
And guess what?  Now I’m having as much fun (or more) than I ever have!

- - -   long pause   - - -

It’s taken me over a year to come back to this list of questions.  These last two have continued to stump me, but I feel it’s time I made an attempt to address them, so I can share this list with my loved ones.

11 -   Why do I feel awkward when things go good for me?

I can only think of two reasons:  1)  I’m afraid the situation won’t last and I’ll be disappointed when things go ‘back to normal.’  And 2)  … ok, I guess I can only think of one reason.

It appears I ‘talk the talk’ of living in the present and being grateful for what I have, but alas… I must admit it’s only a façade.  I guess in a way, at heart I’m greedy.  The thought of never having a reason to endeavor… to strive for something… seems like a slow death for me.

And what makes this whole topic kinda funny (in a sad way) is that I know in my heart, that the thing that I MUST strive and endeavor to reach is… so simple and close to me.  Why is it so difficult for me to relax?  I guess there’s more than twelve questions to this list…

12  -   Why am I afraid to develop the spiritual side of me?

This goes back to my early teen years.  My parents exposed me to a technique called “Alpha Perception,” and my experience with this ‘practice’ scared the shit outta me.  It absolutely proved to me, without any doubt, the potential ‘power’ of the human mind.  I experienced a sort of ‘out of body’ feeling, where I felt like I was every-where in the Universe, and no-where, at the same time.  I felt more fully alive than every before, and totally disconnected to anything close to life, simultaneously.  It was very unsettling to me, to put it mildly.

I realized that I had ‘the power’ inside me, to create and accomplish anything I ever wanted or could ever dream of wanting.  It was kinda like a feeling of omnipotence… like touching God.  No… more like being God.

Now, after all the years of hiding from this… reading the philosophical teachings of many ‘masters,’ and consciously understanding the concept that we are, all, God… it still frightens me.  I’m sure it goes back to my self doubt.  I’m afraid I’ll be corrupted by the ‘power’ I have inside me… that I’ll abuse and waste it like I’ve abused and wasted everything else in my life.

Thank you for reading this