Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Don't Let Life Pass You By!

Don't be one of those people who look back on their life and realize they could have done so much more! Get out and live life to the fullest. Go see places, do things, meet people, try new food and experience the wonders that exist out there. Sometimes we can get so caught up in our daily tasks that we get stuck in a box and feel like we can't get out. But, we can and we must.

Most people may think that you have to be rich to see the world. Sure, money does allow you to go many places. But, I can tell you that there are many places you can go that do not take much money, if any. You might not be able to travel to another country, but you can see places that you never knew existed. You might not be able to stay in 5-star hotels or eat at gourmet restaurants, but you will have a time of your life. It comes down to priorities. If you are willing to tough it out a little in the way of comfort, you can then see many great places. Adventure, that's the priority!

Life is so full of adventure, which we can experience if we choose. Sure, some of us may never be able to travel to exotic far off places, but we can see as much of the world as possible and meet all kinds of new people along the way. We just need a little initiative and motivation. So here you go, "Get off your butt and go live life."

Monday, March 28, 2016

Give Back To The Earth!

Anyone who spends quality time outdoors and visits many different places will tell you there is always one thing those places have in common...trash! It's a sad reality. You can't go anywhere without seeing litter. From our highways and neighborhoods, to our forests and our streams, trash seems to always be present. And what's worse, is that it seems to span generations.  Civilization seems to always leave the worst part of itself behind, believing that everything will be just fine. 

Unfortunately, for those of us that slow our lives down and seek the beauty of the earth and all that it has to offer, also get to see the ugliness that humans have to offer. I believe people are innately good, but that they just do not think about the consequences of their actions and the future it alters.  Each person gets to choose what type of legacy they leave behind. Is it a legacy of caring, protection, and life? Or one of neglect, ignorance, and demise? 

Humans have the ability to achieve remarkable things. So...tell me why we choose to do the most despicable things as well? 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

How Depressing Is Bad Weather?

As we all know, bad weather can be very depressing. We go to bed having the desire to get up and enjoy another beautiful day biking our favorite route, hiking our favorite trail, or kayaking our favorite lake. But instead we wake to a chilly, windy, and  wet day. Our hopes are dashed and the blues start to move in. Now, a few of us are extremists who usually don't let a little weather stand in the way of our fun. But, the depression still gets to us all the same and that's because we all enjoy doing fun things when the weather is fine. Our body and mind soak up the bright, warm day and rejuvenates themselves. Weather contrary to this, tends to do the opposite. 

But hang in there, because the next beautiful day is just around the corner. You will get the chance again to enjoy those activities that make you itch. So, enjoy the day for what it is and use it as a day to catch up on your favorite book, arts and crafts day with the kids, or some alone time with your sweetheart. But whatever you do, don't waste it! Life is way too short!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Prepping For An Adventure

Whether you are planning a one day hiking excursion, a weekend canoe trip or maybe a week long bike ride, the most important thing you need to do is prepare properly. There is nothing worse than getting out on your adventure, getting out too far to turn back, and realizing you forgot somthing vital. So, do your homework, make a list and do it at least a week or two before your trip.

There are so many things that need to be brought on any particular trip that are necessary for your safety and your comfort. Taking adequate time to research and compile the appropriate gear is worth the effort. It makes an adventure more successful. If you are fairly new to the outdoors or just want to hone up on the advances in gear, there are endless websites and blogs dedicated to help the average person know what is a must and what is frivolous. But remember, you need to practice with your gear. If you don't know how to use it, it does no good.

Imagine this scenario: You have reached the national park that you chose for your weekend camping trip. You and your family of five load up your gear on your backs and hoof it another two miles into the forest. But right as you reach your campsite, clouds begin to move in and you now have only 10 to 15 minutes to set up your tent. You pull the brand new tent off your back, pull it out of it's bag, open it and realize right off, no instructions. That's ok, you can figure it out, right? So, you begin trying to set it up, but now it's sprinkling and then the second realization pops into your head. Having not checked your gear properly, you were unable to catch the missing tent pole that should have been in the bag. Now, it's pouring.

Don't be this guy. Prepare appropriately so you and your family can have an adventure of a lifetime!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Pushing Your Limits!

If there is one thing that I know for sure, it's that you can't improve yourself at all if you don't push your limits. We have to stretch ourselves and be forward-thinking in order to accomplish the goals that we set for ourselves. Each consecutive goal we set should be a little closer to our believed limits. What we will inevitably learn is that our limits will continue to move further away from us. It is only when we become stagnant or complacent that our limits tend to smack us in the face.

That is why it is very important to get ourselves in the right mindset, set the goals that help us defy our limits and then do the work to reach them. And let me just say, it is work. If it wasn't, then it wouldn't be fun! So, strive to push your limits and dream of something better. You owe it to yourself! 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Get Out On The Water And Paddle!

Being out on a lake or river early in the morning is such an awesome experience. You feel very connected to nature and using your own power to propel you through the water makes you feel strong and capable of anything. Unfortunately, we don't give ourselves enough opportunities to use our full strength and endurance. Get out on the water more and it will give you a true test of your abilities. Most of us need more challenge and excitement in our lives. Spending time out on the water can deliver these things.

I challenge myself everyday in some way or another, and most of the time I prove myself. Sometimes I don't and have to go back for a rematch, or two. But making an effort to get out and put myself in more and more challenging endeavors allows me to grow as an individual and not get caught in the everyday grind of the world. We need to make time to enjoy what has been given us. Only then can we truly appreciate it.

Being out on the water is an adventure that gives you an appreciation of the beauty the world and its people have to offer. It also gives you insight to what needs to be done to protect and preserve that beauty.

If you have never been out in a canoe or kayak, try it. You will like it without a doubt. If it has been a while since you have, time to change that. Rise to the challenge and experience more. Live life!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Quality, Reliable and Functional Ge

When you buy outdoor gear, the most important things to remember are quality, reliability and functionality. If it is good quality, it will last longer and be very reliable. If it is highly functional and easy to use, you will use it more often. We outdoorsman fall into two traps. We either buy low quality and aim more for quantity or we fall for the next multi-functional, newfangled item on the market, because it's cool rather than truly functional. Remember, quality doesn't have to be expensive and simple functionality usually trumps complex gadgets. 

As adventurers, we spend a lot of time and money on our escapades, that we can stand to choose better gear, which in the long run typically means saving money. You really need to be particular when choosing gear, because having quality, reliable and functional gear in the outdoors means being safer and more comfortable.

How do you find the right gear without being able to fully test it? Unfortunately, most people don't get to test gear before they buy, but there are ways to get some good info about items before you do buy them. First, there are reviews and blogs available on just about every item there is. Many people have tried out the items before you. But remember, reviews are subjective and you really need to read as many as you can and from different media sources as well. Certain blogs and magazines can be biased for many reasons. Discussion boards are another line of communication, but the above warning applies here as well.

Second, there are face to face communication with dealers, fellow outdoorsman, etc. Again, these are subjective, but I find you can get a lot of useful information from the person you happened to meet on the trail. And, just remember, they are usually looking for information as well! 

And finally, use your common sense and self control! Remember that you know what works well for you.  You know what feels like good quality and what feels cheap. And you also know what is most likely just frivolous bells and whistles. Hence, self control. We sometimes have to hold ourselves back and think about what we truly are looking for and what it's purpose really is.

Our adventures are fun and exciting by themselves, but without appropriate gear they can be frustrating and dangerous. By truly taking our time and doing the research we can use the correct gear to enhance our experience. But remember, quality gear needs to be cleaned and maintained properly so it's always functioning reliably and consistently. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Take Care Of Your Bike!

It disturbs me greatly when I see someone riding a bike, which they obviously spent a fair amount of money on, and it hasn't been properly maintained. For one, if you have the money to buy such a bike, you probably have money to take it in once or twice a year. If not and you forked out everything you had on the bike, then by god, do it yourself! Don't let such a beautiful machine go to $#*@!

For those who have a little less of a bike and think that it's not worth anything so it doesn't matter.....shame! Less expensive bikes need to be taken care of even more than the higher quality ones. If you don't maintain them, they won't last long and you won't be riding.

The bare minimum maintenance can do wonders. If you do at least the following three things it will allow you to keep riding longer and cut down any expensive repairs or replacement parts down the road.

  1. DON'T LEAVE IT OUTSIDE! The weather isn't good for it, especially repeatedly. And you leave it more at risk to be stolen.
  2. IF YOU RIDE IT ON DUSTY ROADS, MUDDY TRAILS, OR WET DAYS, THEN WASH IT! Spray it of and wipe it dry, making sure to wipe all components and the chain.
  3. LUBRICATE IT! After you clean and dry it make sure to lube all moving mechanisms lightly with bike lube! Make sure to get every link in the chain. Wipe of any excess.

*Note: It is still recommended to take it in to a qualified bike tech once or twice a year for a tune-up.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Explore Difficult Paths

The most exciting thing about life is that it is filled with many paths. Some are easy and some are very difficult. With so many paths to choose, you really don't know how things are going to turn out. But, what I believe is that as long as you have the proper gear and skills, you will make it through, and usually with some valuable insight learned along the way. 

Maybe that's why I like biking so much. It's difficult and challenging, with many bumps and bruises along the way. But I always come out with something I can use in life later which makes it very rewarding. 

And maybe that is why I always choose the more difficult path. So I can live, learn, and therefore become stronger, smarter, and someday maybe...give it all back.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Challenge To You

Sometimes we have to be challenged in order to get ourselves motivated to do something. That's why I am challenging everyone to get out once a day for some outdoor fun and physical rejuvenation.

Whether it be biking, walking, running, canoeing, or whatever, get out and get some fresh air and exercise. Not only is it good for your body, but it's good for your brain too! Mental exhaustion can take it's toll on you and seriously cause issues with your health and well-being. Take the challenge and strive for more out of yourself. We tend to accomplish more in life when we stay fit and are well rested physically and mentally. It's not a secret that humans are not as active as we used to be, so we need to push ourselves to change the downhill decline that seems to be the trend. Challenge yourself and change your life. Become a stronger you!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Time To Hit The Outdoors!

Get out from behind your desk, stop whatever chore you are doing, and go look out the window. It's time to start doing all the awesome outdoor activities that rejuvenate the soul. Get the bike out of the garage or wherever it is hiding, get it tuned up, and start riding it. Dig out all your hiking gear, dust it off, and start doing some weekend hikes. Go spray out the canoe, hunt down the paddles, and get in the water. There are adventures waiting for you. Don't get caught in the everyday hustle of life and forget to make room for the fun things that everyone needs to unwind. Get out, experience the beauty of life!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Sharing Adventure

Years ago, Laura and I used adventure seeking by bicycle to spend more time together and get away from some of the stress of everyday life. I myself was a bike lover, but she was not nearly as big a nut about it as me. However, we purchased this beautiful machine and took a chance on adventure. Needless to say we both discovered much more about each other and even ourselves in the process. It's amazing what exhilarating experiences can teach you. From lightning speed descents down hill to near death experiences we connected in ways never thought of. Our relationship and our quality of life have definitely benefited by this decision and neither of us would change it for the world. In fact, we strive for more and more opportunities to seek adventure, because now we might just be addicted!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Those Who Keep History Alive

I respect the people who dedicate their lives to preserving history. Whether they make it their career or volunteer their time, they really are inspiring.  Today I met two individuals who were extremely helpful, enthusiastic, and energetic about the history they obviously care about. They made my research at Fort Osage comfortable and interesting. 

People like these individuals make learning a fun thing and lend much needed human interaction to the process. It makes an experience memorable when you have people who truly care about what they do and enjoy sharing their knowledge as well. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Leaving Our Own History

Exploring past places and events can be very exciting and definitely educational. We can expand what we know and experience a small piece of the legacies left from those that came before us.  But make no mistake history is not over and we ourselves can leave our own history for those that follow us.  

I believe in the need to record our journeys through life so our legacies can be passed on. If it weren't for the journals left behind we wouldn't have the history experiences that we have. And now with the technology we have today, the ability to record our experiences are even easier and more far reaching. We just have to hope that the whole internet doesn't collapse and all our important records we have stored on the cloud are not lost forever....maybe we should invest in a few "old fashion" journals.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Food For Thought!

So, I was sitting here at my computer working on my next big adventure when curiosity got the better of me. As I am constantly putting together more and more adventures to cool places and highlighting interesting sites along the way, the question that keeps coming back to me is, how many cool things are available to us right around our own community and yet we are oblivious to them? I think sometimes we neglect what is around us because be are too busy to take the time to explore.  I have lived in Independence for about 15 years now and am certain there is a lot I do not know about our community. 

Years ago, Laura and I made a goal of trying to explore our local surroundings and then branching out in such away as to grasp more and more local history, food, and entertainment while still being able to reach to further places. This has worked out well. Each adventure we take with our family or friends is in a different direction. We then alternate between local and nonlocal destinations. On a map it would look like a network of spider webs connecting our trips. By using this method it keeps us from neglecting local treasures.

1827 LOG COURTHOUSE - 107 W. Kansas              Photo by Jarrod M. Warren

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Make Life Exciting!

In today's world, we have the tendency to put ourselves into more and more situations that chain us down in life.  We dream and plan for exciting experiences that quickly get buried by the demands of everyday expectations. In time we make less and less effort to go out and enjoy life. Does this have to be the way we live our lives?  Do we have to go another year and realize more opportunities to expand ourselves have passed us by yet again?

No. Life is too short to keep letting great opportunities pass. Get out more, stop saying yes to every job or task someone asks you to do, and start saying I want to experience more.  There is a time to put yourself, family and friends first so that you can get out and experience adventure and unforgettable memories. Relax and explore life before it's too late!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Enjoying Downtown Independence With A Cup Of Coffee!

As I sit and enjoy my "dark roast" coffee at Main Street Coffee House, the view of the Truman Courthouse makes my mind try to reflect on all the history that occurred here.  From expeditions with Lewis and Clark, to the Civil War, to Presidential History, to a Religious "melting pot", Independence, Missouri boasts quite a heritage. Everyone probably knows this much, but how many people actually take on the challenge of chasing down the historic elements and help preserve them.

That is one reason I created Self-Propelled Adventures. Through my personal rides I have been able to expose myself to so many of these elements that would have been lost to me otherwise. Now I have created a way for others to do the same. Whether it's past history or history to come, Self-Propelled Adventures can help everyone enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

My Personal Goal!

As of yesterday, I have set a goal to bike everyday, whether that be a short jaunt around my neighborhood, a trip to the store, or a long distance weekend ride. I find that biking as a mode of transportation allows me to slow down and enjoy my environment more.

In fact, I think more of us need to slow down and refocus our time to what is more important, like family, friends, fun, and adventure.  Life is way too short to waste it getting lost and overwhelmed in today's world.  We can't change the way the world moves, but we can sure the hell change the way we move in it! 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Biking Historical Independence, MO!

Independence Missouri has a huge amount of history to relish in. Virtually everything a history nut could ever want to learn about has passed through this city at one time or another. From uncharted expeditions to politics, religion to outlaws, there is a wealth of knowledge to be had. What better way to explore it all, than by bike.  

Biking allows you to do multiple things. It allows you to slow down and smell the flowers. You can take your time and observe your world much closer, while still being able to cover more distance with greater ease. Put that together with the overflowing history of Independence and you get an ever-growing Petri dish of adventure.  

My purpose for creating Self-Propelled Adventures is to nurture this idea. By creating and planning the adventures, it allows me to start the process and you to "self-propel" you, family, and friends through endless possibilities of excitement and adventure. Memories that help history last forever.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Life Is Too Short!

In an ever increasingly chaotic world we sometimes get overwhelmed by work, family duties, and the demands of society. Which is why we need to strive to slow down and take time to experience memorable adventures.

Here at Self-Propelled Adventures we know that your life is busy! That is why we take our time to create and plan the adventures, so that you can spend your time living them!