Cake
  • Log In
  • Sign Up
    • We're all stuck somewhere so no excuses, right?

      Time to organize your notes and thoughts and do some creating writing about your travels. What are you writing about? What are your challenges?

      I'm working on a story about turning south toward Szechuan down a dirt road in Western China. It was cut into a cliff with a sheer drop to unseen depths. It deteriorates and narrows so I have to reverse my Chang Jiang sidecar motorcycle all the way back a few miles to the main road, praying to not meet another vehicle on my way out.

      It's a hard story to write because there's more inner dialogue and reflection than action.

      What are you writing and what are your challenges with the story?

    • It's a hard story to write because there's more inner dialogue and reflection than action.

      I recently finished a piece on traveling to the hardware store during the pandemic, which is featured on Cake.

      It was combination of inner dialogue and reflection with some description/action. I tend to go stream of conscious with my first draft, just typing out whatever thoughts come to mind until I’ve reached a conclusion of some kind. And then I spend a hell of a lot of time editing the thing into something presentable: I am horrible at coming up with great ideas but I tend to make up for it with above average editing skills, IMHO.

    • Oh my God, Carla, that's one I have to read. Will it be part of another book or one of your blog posts? I just read your two-part about the fire. Damn.

      Good thing you have a reverse gear on your sidecar. I ride a Ural with reverse too, but backing it up for several miles on a narrow road would probably kill me.

    • Hi Chris,

      Yes, I'm writing the story about backing up along that road - as a rider you know exactly how difficult that was to do . It's for my China Road Motorcycle Diaries memoir, which is in editing right now, so maybe it will actually publish this year. Please let me know if you'd like to be an early reader.

      That scene is really tough to write well with the emotional decision to turn around and get back and not kill myself by not figuratively but literally disappearing off the face of a cliff. And the decision was made not for myself, really, because I have always known that the risk of death my some misadventure loomed. But the act of exploring gives me such joy and meaning that for myself, it's worth it. But the realization that my family would never stop trying to figure out where I am and how to get me back was what drove the decision to turn (back) around. I could not torture them that way. So, what is that but love? And that love has always drawn me home, no matter how far I've wandered.

      Yeah boy, the fire. Damn. So very very good to be alive. I hope you are well and happy and safe with your loved ones.

      And check your smoke alarm batteries ;-)

    • I'm working on a story about turning south toward Szechuan down a dirt road in Western China.

      Have you finished this story? Where can we read it?

      ✍️

    • I haven't finished, but I'm still working on it! Thanks for asking :-) You can find other China stories I've finished by googling my name and "china motorcycle."

    • china motorcycle

      Wow, found it!

      The China Road Motorcycle Diaries

      In 1998 I rode a 1995 Chang Jiang and in 2007 on a 2004 Chang Jiang outfitted with a BMW engine, through Northern China on the Chinese cousin of the Russian Ural. The Chang Jiang belonged to Jim Bryant, owner of Jimbo’s Classic Sidecars in Beijing, now located in Nevada. The 1998 trip had a lot more breakdowns than my American Borders journey, but by then I was pretty familiar with tearing apart and putting together the boxer twin engine. About 10 years later I went back to ride another one of Jim’s bikes, this one with a BMW engine, around Northern China with friends Teresa and Diny. Here are the dispatches. And here is a story in Adventure Motorcycle Magazine.