- April 30th, 2013
This may be exposing my OCD side but, hey, what’s one more flaw amongst so many?
Anyway, Burning Question #1 is this: What are those things that you never leave behind when taking a motorcycle trip? I’m not talking about the obvious …your motorcycle, credit card, pants, etc. ...but, rather, those things that −while not essential for the preservation of live and limb− are necessary for you to remain calm and focused on the important stuff? Put another way, what are those things that, were you to leave one behind, would cause you to return home and get it?
For me, these are the things I can’t live without, in order of importance.
- Nikon “Coolpix” AW100 camera
- Leatherman “Charge” or “Surge” multi-tool
- Fisher “Trekker” Space Pen
Actually, with one exception, I never leave home --motorcycle trip or not-- without these three items. The exception is if I’m flying somewhere. Homeland Security refuses to acknowledge the Leatherman as the adult equivalent of a teddy bear. This is not a new fetish as I’ve been welded to these items for at least a couple of decades. While the brand and model of each has changed, the basic item has not.
I think I have myself convinced that were I to leave my camera at home, I would certainly come across the landing of little green men and be unable to document it, thus losing out on a gazillion bucks from the tabloid press. Yes, I have my cell phone camera, but by the time I tap my way thru to it, the LGM will have tired of posing and flown off.
This camera thing started for me in earnest back in the mid-‘80s when I began dipping my interest into the moto-journalism pool. Given that it didn’t happen unless I had pictures, the camera became an invaluable sidekick. Film was still all the rage then, and the cameras were big and heavy. Over the years I’ve worked my way through way too many expensive, cheap, large, small, film and digital picture-takers. The great thing about the evolution of cameras is that they are getting smarter all the time. This means that a “shooter” of average talent …uh, that’d be me… can take a pretty decent picture without really knowing how.
The first great small digital camera that I used was the Canon G9. From that I worked my way through the G11 and G12. I loved the pictures they took, but after two broken LED screens, and one refusal to ever turn on again, I looked around for something smaller, and more rugged. This hunt brought me to the Nikon AW100, which I’ve had for a couple of years. I’ve dropped it a couple of times, dented it, and left it sitting in the rain while camping, and, in a steal from Timex, “It takes a licking, and keeps on ticking.” It is waterproof, freezeproof, and shockproof; LGM beware, I’m ready for you!
I do have fancier cameras, but only drag them out when I think I ought to look more professional.
There are dozens of multi-tools on the market, and I’ve tried several of them, but have always come back to the Leatherman brand as they’ve proven to be very rugged, and have the right combination of tools. The “Charge” model is my favorite for everyday use. (And yes, I seem to find a use for it every day.) For my motorcycle trips, I pack along the “Surge” as it is a bit more on the heavy-duty size, but you pay a price in weight.
The Fisher “Trekker” Space Pen was surely designed just for me. I’m what you might call a non-linear thinker or, more crassly put, my thought processing usually runs amuck, akin to a 9 Ball break on a domed table. This makes me keep a pen close at hand, to catch that occasional thought that might have merit, which comes in handy when I’m trying to put an article together. I also lose things.
I discovered the “Space Pen” more than 30 years ago. It’s claim to fame is that it can write on wet or greasy paper, is unaffected by temperature, and can write being held at any angle. All these features were made for motorcycle journalist. I’ve also lost several of these great pens, so when the “Trekker” with its attached lanyard was introduced several years ago, it instantly became my best buddy.
OK, those are my absolutely-must-have, never-leave-home-without-them items. What are yours?