Most people have a hobby of some kind. Regardless of what that hobby is, it helps to bring fulfillment and calm into their life. Over time some people begin taking on more than one hobby. There could be many reasons for doing so. I am no exception to this and have a couple of hobbies outside of riding motorcycles.
The Push For Another Hobby
About three years ago Margaret and I started getting disillusioned with riding. Not to say we didn't like riding anymore, but there were aspects of it we were just done with. If you have followed us over the years you know we would take long cross-country rides. It was on these rides that we simply became frustrated over time. When you plan to do something and nature throws itself at you which causes a negative impact you can begin to lose interest.
Weather Took Away The Joy Of Riding
We have ridden in just about all types of weather conditions imaginable. In Utah, we rode in 115-degree temperatures and suffered from heat exhaustion. Colorado threw snow on us while riding in the Grand Mesa National Forest. Tennessee hit us with a massive storm with tornadoes that caused flooding. We were fortunate to have the time to wait it out in a Best Western. The Blue Ridge Parkway gave us a bit of everything. Heat, rain, and dense fog were its weapon. Our home state of Texas will often throw hail and heat. And naturally, in the winter it can be painful from the windchill if you decide to ride. It doesn't take many years of this to make you consider doing something new.
Off-Roading In Our Jeep
Margaret has always wanted a Jeep. I thought it might be a nice change as well. When your riding and see a dirt road you begin to wonder what you might find if you followed it. That can be hard to do on a Harley where you are basically limited to the pavement. We figured a Jeep could take us to places you would never be able to experience on a Harley. And we were right! You are also not subject to the restrictions of weather conditions and the misery accompanying that while riding a motorcycle.
Building The Jeep
Off-roading much like riding has different builds depending upon what you're going to do. There are rock crawlers, overlanders, pavement princesses, and many extremes in between. If you build a rig to perform hard-core rock crawling it probably won't do well on the road. When you consider you have to drive on the road most of the time to get to where you want to off-road then you may want to tune that type of build down. At the same time if you don't build your rig up enough you may not be able to tackle some of the more difficult off-road trails. This makes build balancing a challenge.
Moderate Jeep Build
We first purchased an older 2008 Jeep Wrangler X (Sport). Quite a bit of work had to go into it just so it would be reliable. The previous owner knew nothing of proper maintenance. Along with repairs, we began building the Jeep for moderate off-roading. We tried to keep the build within reason so it would still be fine for driving on the road. Our hope was to build it to handle some rock crawling and remote trails. Trails can be a mix of overlanding and rock crawling so we tried to straddle something in between.
We have done a lot in our Jeep we could have never done on our Harley's. We have been deep into Big Bend National Park and saw sights you can only get to with a 4x4. New Mexico deserts provided incredible remote areas with beautiful sights. Padre Island National Seashore on the coast of Texas has the longest peninsula in the world that allows 4x4 activity. 120 miles of coast driving in the sand made for an amazing experience we will never forget. We have also tested our Jeeps capabilities at many off-road parks. Parks actually helped us make decisions on our build and are a lot of fun to see what the Jeep is capable of.
Our other hobby is beekeeping. We started keeping honey bees 6 years ago. It was something we wanted to do for years. This hobby has been the most difficult. Our first hive died the first year. We then found a local beekeeper and purchased a new starter hive with bees acclimated to our area. That hive has survived going on 4 years now. I was even successful in splitting the hive into a second one this year. Hopefully, it will survive through the winter.
No Grand Expectations From Beekeeping
Keeping bees in our area can be difficult. Summers are extremely hot which affects the bee's ability to obtain pollen and nectar. This can cause slow hive growth and limit honey production. This year for instance temperatures over 100 degrees for three months have severely stunted hive growth. We probably won't even harvest any honey this year because of it. The previous two years however were great and we were able to harvest around 8 gallons from our single hive. Keeping bees is a challenge. I suppose that is what makes it a good hobby for us. You can work with nature but it has the final say.
What Are Your Hobbies Outside Of The Ride?
Let us and other readers know what your hobbies are besides motorcycling. It's interesting to see how others experience the world. Your hobby might inspire others to experience the world and life in an entirely new way!