Jobless, apartmentless, and enjoying every moment preparing. I’ve gifted, donated, and trashed most of my belongings. Even trashing within my apartment complex was often like donating, as things disappeared from the curb long before the scheduled pickup. This is also how half of my apartment became furnished.

The last planned phase of bike work has been performance enhancement. Replacing 3 jets from each carburetor metamorphosed the bike’s character, bringing out a significantly improved throttle response with steady torque all the way up the tachometer. A dynamometer readout of a similar KTM 950 Adv, also with FMF pipes, shows the flat spots in the power curve have been smoothed out with impressive increases in horsepower. For the tasks I don’t have the tools for, such as carb synchronization, chain replacement, and wheel balancing, the fine folks at AMR Superbikes in Boca Raton, FL lent their help. All these improvements along with some fresh tread with a new front tire brought my confidence sky high.

Today I sought canvas to replace the disintegrating hinge covers of my aging panniers. I wound up following a tip from a West Marine clerk and ended up at Craig’s Custom Canvas in Deerfield Beach, FL. I walked in expecting to buy just two plain pieces of canvas. Craig stopped what he was doing when I walked in. After hearing my predicament, we discussed some options. He had some good ideas. With skill, he got to work sewing up a set that were dual-layered mesh fabric with trim. While waiting, we started talking travel, and I learned of Craig’s one great adventure. After escaping high school, years ago, he embarked on a cross-country road-trip amongst friends. Craig hasn’t traveled far but said he wishes he had. He told me to keep my money and the covers were a gift to help me on my trip, then bid me a safe journey.

I often hear, “I’ll travel after I retire.” I’d rather retire after traveling. I strain to rationalize this use of the real golden years. They’re only here once. The thought of hitting the road early is tempting, Currently, only a few obligations keep me planted.

Kyle Gabriel

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