“In the midst of chaos, there is always opportunity”

The quote for this entry has a special meaning for me. During my time in the military, I served in the reconnaissance community where it was our job to paint the picture on the battlefield for higher level leadership. Essentially who and what we observed would often dictate the course of action for future operations. Majority of the time we were trying to accomplish our missions with limited to no information on what we were going up against be it the enemy, weather, or terrain. In the chaos of planning and executing missions we always accepted that the best laid plans would go right out the window and when that happened opportunity arose. It was in those moments that we had to make the most of those opportunities in order to have a successful outcome. In reality, life is a lot like those bygone days of scouting areas for enemy activity or trying to figure out if helicopters can land on top of a ridgeline.

For those of you who have been faithful followers of this blog or my other social media outlets I’d like to apologize. This year certainly has not been the best for me. Coming into this year I had some pretty grand plans for adventure riding and early on I started off strong. I brought you guys a review on the new 2022 Triumph Tiger 1200 along with a ride report of a trip on the Mid Atlantic Back Country Discovery Route. Outside of the blog I helped moderate the South Carolina Adventure Route and developed a new extension which added over 200 miles of riding on to the route.

Wrapping up the final route proofing for the extension on the South Carolina Adventure Route

Things started to go downhill midway through the summer with a massive life changing event. My wife and I mutually decided to end our marriage due to falling out of love and we were both going in different directions through careers and life. Nothing crazy or nefarious happened and were still good friends and trying to be the best parents we can for our son. While this event has taken a serious toll on me as it would anybody else, I’ve been fairly resilient for the most part. Shortly after the divorce was when the second big shock of the year hit, the frame cracked on my Triumph Tiger 900 and it would be down for almost six months.

Out on the Smokey Mountain 500
On the Smokey Mountains 500

At the end of July, I was riding the Smokey Mountain 500 which is a 500-mile route that takes riders through the states of Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia. This route had been on my radar since I moved to Charleston a few years ago and I figured with all of the chaos of life going on that I needed an Appalachian Mountain escape. On the third day of my trip disaster happened when a design flaw on my crash bars sheered a bolt on an engine mount which put a massive amount of stress on the frame causing it to crack in several places. I managed to limp my bike to a place where I could load it on a U Haul truck and get it back to Charleston. Over the course of six months, I had to deal with warranties, insurance, and supply chain issues until I finally got it back days before Christmas.

Hauling the Tiger back to Charleston

The loss of the Tiger hit me harder than I realized however, opportunity did arise. While the Tiger was down, I decided to get a dual sport for light adventure riding and for riding trails in the Low Country. At first, I picked up a 2020 Kawasaki KLX 230 which was a fun little bike and brought back many memories of my times on my old Yamaha XT225. The Kawasaki and I never really bonded and the few times I managed to take it out it just seemed like the bike, and I didn’t have any chemistry. It wasn’t a bad bike…it just wasn’t for me.

The 2020 Kawasaki KLX 230

Later in the fall I decided to sell the Kawasaki and I picked up a 2022 Honda CRF 300L. The Honda and I bonded almost instantly, and that bike has been a breath of fresh air. I’ve put it through its paces in Francis Marion National Forest and even took it up for some trail riding in Enoree, South Carolina. The Honda got me out of a little funk where I wasn’t wanting to work on my bikes let alone ride them, I guess you could say it was my anti-depression bike. Throughout the rest of the fall, I started to turn the Honda into a lightweight adventure bike, and it got me back on the right track.

The 2022 Honda CRF 300L

Closing out what can probably be the year from hell, the last month and a half hasn’t really been too bad. The Honda and I continue to go on adventures in the swamps of the Low Country and I’ve slowly turned it into a light adventure bike. As of a few days ago I was able to add the Tiger back into the fold and I’ve wasted no time getting her back out on the road and muddy. One thing that I’ve been doing a lot of lately is planning and scheduling the next year. I’ll be heading to the Palmetto ADV Rally early in the spring to link up with Ben from Moto Camp Nerd and I’m planning on riding the Mid Atlantic BDR again sometime in May. My biggest goal for the year is a possible Trans America Trail trip around August. This trip has a ton of logistics and planning involved and is probably the most ambitious trip that I have planned to date. So, with all of that being said thank you for sticking with me through a rough year and here’s hoping that next year goes much smoother.

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