Category: Adventure

Branded

The First

Parked in front of the bank with a telltale sign in the window, the little truck caught my eye.  I spun my mountain bike around to have a look. Put off by the color scheme I was not sure if this truck was a fit for me. Still, I went right home and called the number on the sign. I had to go home to make the call, or find a phone booth, because in 1989 nobody had heard of a cellphone.

Before long I met with Ron, the owner and an ex-ski patroller of certain reputation in town. I was a current ski patroller at the time and we had many mutual friends. After a brief test drive I bought it without haggling over the price. Ron griped about pricing it too low; I was the first caller. Many years later I rented an apartment downstairs from Ron. He snored so loud I had his number on speed dial and would call in the middle of the night when he began snoring to wake him and then hang up.

I fell in love with the 1981 Toyota SR5 Pickup. It had a 22R 4-cylinder engine, a real hi/low 4×4 transmission, a long bed with an aluminum shell and ate up dirt roads and deep snow. I explored the Eastern Sierra in-depth, stretching the adventures into the deserts of Death Valley, Nevada, Arizona and Utah, with road trips north to Oregon and Washington.



The Lost Year

Sometimes the road to recovery isn’t paved at all.

 



Osa

She found me in a dream.

I walked upon an old expeditionary style trailer, red and rusted. My dreams are rarely in color but the red of this image was vivid. I noticed a very attractive gray-haired woman standing proudly next to the trailer as if she was expecting me.

“I bet this has some stories to tell.” I said pointing to the trailer.

The woman gestured to her right and said “Not as many as this.”

Parked nearby was a well-worn overland touring vehicle, it too was red and rusted.

I asked if they were hers, to which she nodded yes.

“You must have more stories than both of them.” I pondered aloud.

“Yes indeed, stories of Africa and beyond, across the world. I was featured in National Geographic in 1921.” she said calmly with a smile.

“I have been thinking about a trip around the world on a motorcycle.” I told her.

“That’s your problem,” she said “you should be doing it, not thinking about it.”

I bolted up in bed, wide awake at 3:30 am. My heart raced as the last words of the dream echoed in my head; you should be doing it, not thinking about it.

osa

Osa

It was hard to sleep again and I eventually got out of bed at 5:00am. The words still rang in my head. After making some coffee I fired up my computer and began a search for the woman in my dream. In a matter of minutes I located a Pinterest page with many female explorers and began investigating several of the incredible women found there.

When I googled images of Osa Johnson I nearly dropped my coffee. There she was, the woman in my dream. I have no recollection of hearing about Osa and her husband Martin before that moment, but as I looked deeper into their work I was completely floored.

Osa died seven years before I was born. She and Martin had indeed traveled the world, making documentary films, photography and books of their adventures. One image of Osa later in life was the same face in my dream, only her hair was darker in the photo. But it was her, the knowing smile, the calm sense of a life fulfilled, it was her.

It is time for me to start doing again, not just thinking.
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