Rewind : How and Why Did I Get to This Point
So let’s go back in time here a few months … approximately 6 months. I wasn’t doing so well in school. To be blunt, I wasn’t going to graduate high school. I wasn’t focused on my studies and I knew I needed a change. Through a family friend, my mom, dad and I discovered the Washington State Youth Academy. Their son attended the school and had great success. It was recommended that I go. And despite my initial hesitations, I have come to embrace and loved the experience. The academy uses some unique techniques to motivate and instill pride and values. It isn’t easy and many students can’t handle the intense program and drop out. For those of us who stay the course, it is very rewarding. The techniques employed are the same as those used in the military to teach one discipline, patience, values, good hygiene, good study habits, the value of community and many, many more things. With my parents help and the help of my mentor (thanks Steve!!), I signed up, attended the open house event and attended the initial orientation. The selection process was a bit unusual. At the academy, being the worst, made you first as long as you demonstrated that you wanted to change. Was I in as much trouble as my parents say I was? Apparently so. I wanted/needed to change and was one of the 150 people out of a total of 450 applicants to be picked. I started out as a candidate, surviving the initial 2 weeks of hell to condition us for what was to come. Then we officially started. At first, I regretted signing up for this. I started out as a candidate and before I knew it I was graduating as a cadet will full honors and ahead of the game in meeting my high school graduation requirements. AND I was getting A’s in my studies. I survived and completed the grueling 5 ½ month residential phase of the 18 month program. Among the things I learned was the value of family, the value of community and the value of giving back. This ride gives me the opportunity to do just that. I can give back to my family and share in a dream with my dad, while at the same time turning this adventure into a cause that has more meaning than the trip itself and a chance to help others along the way.
I’m now back home and almost completely packed up and ready to go on this journey to the Northern Frontier. My parents have made sure my bike is in top notch running order. New tires, fluids, adjustments and all the safety checks. Everything is in tip top shape. I should mention, that my dad (my papa) is a somewhat anal-retentive engineer in a good sense. And German heritage at that. So I trust him exclusively on these matters.
With a new perspective on life, a couple of days after I graduated from the academy, I took the Washington State Motorcycle Safety Course to get my official motorcycle endorsement. Motorcycles are all new to me. The F650 GS Dakar is my first bike and the bike I learned to ride on. I’ve come to learn that it isn’t a bad bike to do these kind of adventure tours on. I’ve been told it is reliable, has ABS brakes and so far, it seems to handle very well. Thanks mom, and dad. To date, I’ve been out on a couple of big (all day) rides. My dad thinks I’m doing well and keeps me safe and on my toes when it comes to riding awareness and safety. His goal is to get me to the north (there and back) in a safe manner. The rest, is up to me. We are departing from home this coming Saturday the 29th of June. The weather man says we are to have sunshine on the day of our departure. A great send off for sure. I will provide updates to the best of my ability and whenever I can get internet access during our adventure. If all goes well, I plan to give a full, account of my adventure, with my papas help upon my return.
Please don’t hesitate to help others that have experienced bad fortunes. Especially the folks, who through no fault of their own, find themselves in a situation of need.