Monday, June 01, 2009

Loss of Adventure.

Loss of Adventure.

This last week I had a couple of shocks to my adventure circuit. I've always been mad about experiencing the world. I thank my parents for that. They liked to travel - never owned expensive toys (until recently) like boats, rv's or atv's. In fact I'm sure that we were pretty much the last family to get color TV, a VCR, and most certainly a microwave oven. I spent most of my "off time" as a kid either riding around this great country in a VW Bus, traipsing around some other country or continent or climbing all over the Rockies. Habits I've continued, and will until they hopefully end me.

I was just the other day experiencing my regular "adventure wave". This is something that happens to me fairly often. I start to think about all the things I've done and it just fuels the fire for more. Then I soon find myself out searching. Sometimes in a plane or my trusty Xterra but more and more on the back of my beloved motorcycle. Shortly I will embark on another cross country drive so I'm trying to channel that spirit towards the trip and not let the wanderlust take me in the meantime and derail my well laid plans. Ask me how it worked out in a few weeks...

Anyway the first part of the shock came when I was talking to a friend that had just returned from Mexico. A country where I've had some really great experiences. Diving in caves, Snorkeling in sink-holes, being a drunken blister on the beach, pushing my luck in the bad part of town, and climbing the pyramid at Chichen Itza. My friend had just visited what sounded like really familiar spots including the great pyramid. The shock came when he told me that you are no longer allowed to climb.

A little part of me died that moment. Realizing that the US "pussification" had at long last made it to our southern neighbor.

When I was a kid we would play until dark, walk to school, play chase, get in fights, jump our bikes and swim in the river. Now as parents we live under the constant threat of someone turning us in to DFS for letting our kids play in the front yard with toys not made out of foam all while wearing DOT approved helmets. We used to be able to hike, climb and look over the edge of just about anything. We would cross rope bridges just for the thrill of spitting into the river below and stand on the edge of the cliff for the view and holler to play with the echo. Now we cant get anywhere near these things unless there is a stainless and plexi fence and we pay an entry fee. Oh and the rope bridge is closed for our protection (and to keep loogies out of the river).

Then I had a second shock. This time it went the other way. My kids had been asking to go to a place called "Green Springs". This last Saturday we went. This place is every modern parent's nightmare. It's basically a collection of old splintery wood and dock pilings held together with rusty nails in a shallow part of the river. There are several levels and a tower. Several rope swings, a couple of rope bridges (the kind with a rope above and below - like in boy scouts in days past) and even a rusty zip line. There is no lifeguard, no admission fee and no concession stand selling diet soda and low carb snacks. And you know what. IT WAS A BLAST!

While we were there kids were running (gasp), swinging and doing flips into the brown river water, jumping off the top of a 40ft tower and laying in the sun without sunscreen (OMG!).

Afterward we had Pizza and Cheeseburgers. What a great day!

My plea, if you are reading this. Do what you can to keep adventure alive. Take your kids to wild places. Not just the sterile - safe for the masses amusements. Don't sue because you got a splinter in your pinkie. Teach your sons that not only is it important to wash your hands but that it's also important to not pee into the wind. Occasionally - duck under the rope and see where it leads you. And when you run into a long haired, over-fed, leaping gnome - buy him a beer and listen as he stokes the fire by recounting tales of Kenya, Ecuador, and Wyoming...

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