|Photo taken from http://ww2.usca.edu/ResearchProjects/ProfessorGurr/gallery/Pictures-Robert-Pirsigs-original-1968-trip/aam|
In the late 1960s, Robert M. Pirsig took a motorcycle trip. He told the story of that trip, and mingled in philosophy and a bit of autobiography in the book "Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance".
Here is a list, excerpted and compiled (and paraphrased in places) from lists of his own in the book, telling what he carried on his trip:
- Two changes of underwear
- Long underwear
- One change of shirt and pants for each of us. I use Army-surplus fatigues. They're cheap, tough, and don't show dirt.
- One sweater and jacket each
- Cycle Boots
- Rain Gear
- Helmet and sunshade
- Bubble (he refers to a snap on face shield available for the helmets of the day - full face helmets weren't around yet)
- Shop manual for his bike
- Chilton's Motorcycle Troubleshooting Guide
- A copy of Thoreau's Walden
- Two sleeping bags
- Two ponchos and one ground cloth. These convert to a tent and protect the luggage from rain
- Two Army surplus mess kits with knife, fork, and spoon
- Collapsible Sterno stove
- Aluminum screw top cans for food and condiment storage
- Two aluminum-frame backpacks
- Large adjustable wrench
- Machinist's hammer
- Cold Chisel
- Taper Punch
- Tire Irons
- Tire patch kit
- Bicycle pump
- Chain lube
- Impact Driver
- Point File
- Feeler Gauge
- Test Lamp
- Throttle, Clutch, Brake cables
- Headlight & Taillight Bulbs
- Chain Master Link
- Cotter Pins
- Baling Wire
- Spare Chain
Notice he had no cell phone, no rainsuit, was prepared to make major repairs including changing tires and/or the chain while on the side of the road. Also notice his tent was no lightweight, waterproof nylon thing with lightweight shock-corded aluminum poles that set up in five minutes.
Also notice he was traveling with his teenage son, and had all this stuff piled onto the bike. For seventeen days. No interstate travel, either - back roads and two lane highways as much as possible.
What kind of bike did he use? A Harley-Davidson Electra Glide? Nope. Indian? Nope. A Honda CB360. Including the passengers and gear, the bike was probably carrying its own weight.
And nowdays we feel we need fairings and windshields and radios and CBs and CD players and mp3 players and GPS and a big monster engine.
No. We just need two wheels and to get on 'em and RIDE.