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December 2009 Off Road Rant

Posted in Features on December 1, 2009
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At the beginning of the month, I had put together what I now see as a really negative editorial. December 2009 is the last issue of what's been an absolutely crappy year for almost everyone in the USA (and elsewhere), and I was really gonna blow it out with a little Rant about what's been ticking me off lately. I didn't realize it at the time, but I had become completely burned out due to workloads, stress, etc.

Fortunately, I just finished a trip that seemed to be such a high point in life for me that I came home and threw away both my old Rant and subsequently my negative outlook that needed to be gotten rid of. No one needs useless negativity, and a positive story, even one without any point, seems so much more beneficial. Therefore, let me tell you how my attitude turned around this year (better late than never!).

After years of not remembering what a non-truck-related vacation even looked like, I left on a four-day motorcycle trip with two friends heading up the coast of California on the Pacific Coast Highway. We ventured off with the sole intention of pounding street for four days with no particular place to go. We had no reservations, no plans except to not run out of fuel, and my Blackberry had broken the day before the trip. Perfect!

The very first day, we made it way too far way too fast, so we took a sideline and ended up in Oakland at a friend's house. The pseudo plan was to wake up early and head out the next morning. After a good night of fun, we ended up crossing city limits at about 1 p.m. and didn't make more than 100 miles (in a straight line) before we were railroaded by wine-and-cheese hour and two flirty lobby girls at the Bodega Bay Lodge and Spa. Yeah, sure, make fun of us for the wine and cheese, but the place had an awesome hot tub and they gave us the biggest room in the hotel. We were happy to park for the night.

About 15 hours and 10 pounds of food and fluids later, we were ready to ride north the next morning. It was early Saturday afternoon when we passed Fort Bragg in Mendocino County and decided that waking up in Oregon on Sunday morning (and being at work on Monday) was a bad plan. It was hard to turn around; it was getting more and more beautiful with each passing mile.

Of course we never broke the 55-mph speed limit, but we managed to make it back to San Francisco that night to stay at another friend's house, giving us a much better chance of reaching home the next day. Sunday morning we left for a long ride back on the Pacific Coast Highway during tourist season, but we managed to make it all the way back without anyone breaking down or crashing the entire trip.

As long as I live, I'll never forget hitting the road with my buddies, hairpin corners with gravel in them, my friend's terrible pre-coffee morning disposition, trying to push each other into the ocean in full moto gear, licking moss off a tree, jacuzzing with hotel employees, the redwoods, the beautiful beaches, and all the nice people we met along the way. It was an absolute great reminder of just how lucky I am to be alive.

And that's how I snapped out of my funk. It's important to take a few minutes for yourself and to spend time with family and friends once in a while. If there's one thing I'm asking of you this month, it's to take some time to relax and enjoy yourself. You'll feel better for it in the morning.

Where You Want To Be On November 14:
You want to be at Clean-Dezert's annual Barstow cleanup! We're hoping you'll be able to make it out there to help us, Adam, and the rest of the crew at Clean-Dezert pick up as much trash as we can out of the desert. We completely understand if it's too far away for you to join us, so let me suggest that you'll all be there with us in spirit if you pick up the next piece of trash that you see on the ground. If you are close enough to join us, then we'll see you out there! You can check out more information at

This Month:
We not only explored some great ways to make some real power in your engine, we also hit up 1970s and '80s truck suspensions! There are a lot of us still rocking the 4x4 technology familiar to us in the 1980s, and there are some absolutely awesome things you can do to these trucks to make them perform like the champs they are. This is actually the first of a mini suspension series. We're skipping January's issue because it's racing season, but February's issue will have some great '90s-era suspensions in it, and March's issue will be showing off some great HD suspensions for your Chevy, Dodge, or Ford work, chase, and tow trucks.

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