Every year my sons, nephew, brothers and I embark on several motorcycle excursions that are more like field trips than vacations b/c all we do is stop everywhere and chat, explore and learn stuff.
Our most recent trip in July was no exception and I thought I’d share a few observations.
DIAMONDS IN BACKYARD – NORCAL!
I blogged a few years ago about Diamonds In Our Backyard, referring to all of the business that is right under our noses.
But, that concept applies to travel too.
We normally fly to faraway locales like Maine, Canada, Mexico, Colorado, etc. for our trips, but this year we traveled through Northern California – mostly along the coast in what might have been our best trip ever.
The giant redwoods, the cool weather, the pristine and secluded beaches, the cute beach towns and fishing villages, the wineries, the coastal mountain ranges, and the amazing views were simply unparalleled.
I cannot recommend this trip highly enough whether by car or motorcycle. The drive along Highway 1 alone is incomparable to any other drive I have ever done.
MICROBREWERIES, CASINOS AND WEED
Whenever I travel now, I notice more and more microbreweries, casinos and marijuana-based businesses (growing and selling) popping up and replacing traditional businesses like logging, retailing, fishing, etc.
Not sure if this is good or bad, but I am also not sure how sustainable it will be when these firms account for the majority of America’s jobs 😊.
We were amused to learn from a marijuana farmer too that his son left the business to start a microbrewery b/c marijuana growing was “getting too hard.”
Northern California is famous for all of its illicit marijuana farms, and it used to be very dangerous in fact to drive through the backroads.
But not so much anymore with legalization and the ubiquity of marijuana shops.
The farmers are very open about what they do and willing to chat about it, although the ominous “no trespassing/keep out” signs remain everywhere.
An interesting byproduct of all this is “big weed” taking over. These are large, well-capitalized firms (like Phillip Morris) that are moving in and making it impossible for the small farmers to compete (according to growers we chatted with).
A final observation is that the growers clearly didn’t learn a main lesson from the movie Scarface – “Don’t get high on your own supply” (they all seemed very “happy” 😊).
SAVE A DOLLAR/LOSE A CUSTOMER
We always stay at motels with free breakfasts that include ample protein sources so we can get on the road faster.
All of the motels, however, stopped serving buffet-style breakfasts b/c of the COVID-19 crisis.
One of the smaller motels still gave us an ample bagged breakfast with hard-boiled eggs and lots of food, but “the suits” at the Best Western motels decided to use the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to scrimp and they only gave us a few pastries.
I found that interesting b/c I suspect their effort to save $1 on eggs cost them a lot of customers (including me).
I see this kind of thinking in all too many businesses, including mortgages and real estate.
JUST MAKING BISCUITS
I have blogged about the biscuit maker in Portugal several times, and how he does nothing but focus on his biscuit-making without ever worrying about geo-political issues (that seem to consume far too many people).
We spoke with fishermen, storeowners, waiters, ranchers, construction workers, port operators, hunting guides, weed growers, highway workers, winery employees, motel clerks and many others out in the hinterlands.
And very few of them seemed as caught up in politics as people are in urban areas, and I suspect they are happier for it.
Many of them are just like the Portuguese biscuit maker, just focusing on doing the best job they can without worrying about things they cannot control – a great reminder for all of us.
Below is my obligatory “motorcycle under redwood tree” photo. A photo every human being needs to take at least once.
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