Moving On

The Late-Life Biker

I am a retired broadcast journalist, writer, and teacher who bought my first motorcycle at age 66.  Unlike the legions before me who “Live to ride, and ride to live,” I am cautiously and deliberately learning to ride, and riding to learn more about myself and my country and its people.  If nature, nurture, and my genes permit it, I’d like to do the same in some other countries, as well.

In my first life I was a skier, a SCUBA diver, a small plane pilot, and a trans-Atlantic sailor.  I have always been a reader of well-crafted escapist fiction.  I enjoy good wines and quality Irish and Scots whiskies.  I eat anything; I eat well; I over-eat often.  And I believe every good meal should begin with a great martini.

I grew up an army brat at a time when it was a rewarding way to live and to learn a lot of things that would reveal their value in later years.  More important, I was a lifelong Boy Scout– right up until the day I joined the navy at 17.   And taken individually and collectively those two organizations were the most important influences in molding me as a man.  My mother’s teachings  and her own personal example were equally influential in shaping my integrity, my work ethic, and my pride.

After my four years of naval service I was a moderately unsuccessful college student.  I was rescued from classroom embarrassment by an inspiring and rewarding career that overtook me.  And– over time– it allowed me to discover my academic self and try again– earning a  masters degree with honors.  Eventually I would serve on the journalism faculty of a prestigious and respected university.

In winter pelt.

Religiously, I’m a freelancer. I long ago rejected fear, awe, and intimidation as sound inspirations for morality.  Since then, my god(s) and I have enjoyed a mutually respectful relationship that is really no one else’s business.

I’ve lived in Europe for a total of five years and speak a bit of German, pretty good Italian, and a smattering of what the British call English.

The most beautiful things I’ve ever seen are a storm at sea and Michelangelo’s Pieta.  The ugliest things I’ve ever seen were all manmade and were often brutally wielded by one person or group against another.

I unabashedly confess that my greatest love is not life, but living.  I regret the decades I spent pursuing it as though it were a hobby.  And my greatest fear is not death, but dying.  I’ve been fortunate enough to see little of it, but what I’ve seen makes me dread the process far more than the outcome.

And finally, my single greatest joy is the effortless act of sharing.  It’s my objective in this blog, my inspiration when I write, and my motivation as I teach.  I think what I love most about sharing is that you can’t possibly do it alone.

Please consider that last comment to be your invitation 
to join me on the pages that follow.  We can get started
    with the early story of this  PILGRIM’S PROGRESS(ion).


18 Responses to Moving On

  1. Richard says:


    I just read your blog and I like it a lot. All these experiences in life have given us the gumption to start biking and start well. I was a biker in my teens and twenties, and took a break until last year, at age 50. I wonder why I ever stopped it. You can visit my blog and become a member if you wish. I post every time I go out (mostly weekends as I work full time).

    Greetings from Texas,


  2. KEN D STASKE says:

    Well done sir. As one who has seen the north side of 50 I can say I appreciate what you write.

  3. Ted Chittenden says:

    Sign me up. What an interesting and entertaining site. Keep em coming my friend!

  4. Ted Chittenden says:

    Paul, what entriguing ventures you have experienced, and I am sure you thoroughly enjoyed every scenic view. I also joined the Navy in 1957 and served on the USS robert l Wilson DDE 847. I have fond memories of trips to Cuba and the Med. I was an RM (sparky) during my swabby years.

    I have a 2010 gl1800 premium audio, gps wing. We mostly ride locally in Ok. due to my lack of stamina. Sure wish I could still keep-up with your style of traveling. Great writing and we sure enjoy your stories. Thanks you so much.

    Best regards, Ted

  5. Colby Nordenstrom says:

    I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one these days..

  6. Winford Broadfoot says:

    I am a very long time watcher and I just thought I’d stop by and say hello there for that first time. I definitely appreciate your posts. Many thanks

  7. Colby:
    Thank you for your generous comments on my blog.
    With regard to your questions about its appearance, theme, and style… this is a standard offering, free of charge, from WordPress. I have purchased no extra bells or whistles to achieve this look and presentation.
    I should temper that comment with an acknowledgement that it is a tricky and demanding program to work with. I have some depth of experience in graphics and presentation software, and I must nonetheless search for workarounds to many problems in getting the text and other content to align and link properly. I do confess that some of the complications are of my own making… because I want the blog page to do things it is not conveniently designed for the average user to accomplish.

    I hope you’ll continue to follow the saga of The Late-life Biker. I’m currently planning a 4500-mile trip for this spring, from Atlanta to Prince Edward Island and back.

  8. David says:

    Paul – I found your site tonight and wow. I retire on Friday and was putting together a three week trip, but my riding buddy crashed and is out. Let’s talk soon. Was planning from western NC to Montana to Texas and back home. Need to leave soon to avoid snow in some of the mt passes

  9. Garry Armstrong says:

    Paul, I really am happy that you’ve found life after the TV News Biz. As you well know, it’s the beast that slays many folks who believe it’s only true if it’s on the teleprompter. Checking out your pix without the facial hair, time has been very kind to you. Let’s make sure we stay in touch!! Garry aka Ka-Ching!!

  10. Doug says:

    I found your website from one of your postings on the goldwingowners forum, and enjoyed reading all of your latelifebiker stories. I was struck by how similar you and I are. We both got into Gold Wings relatively late in life (I’m 60 and still in my first year with my 1500). We have both done skiing and SCUBA. We have both flown a small plane. We have both logged miles in saltwater under sail, though I have never crossed an ocean. We have both lived afloat in Back Creek. We both lean toward the “solo” side of the social spectrum, although I’m probably a little more toward the end of the spectrum than you are. Although Seattle is what I consider “home”, we have both ended up on the East Coast. We both use WordPress, though I generally prefer my own amateur formatting in html. And, we both enjoy writing about our experiences. Hey, what can I say; great minds think alike. Your motorcycle writing, pictures, and videos were all interesting to go through. I’m glad I found your site. I was particularly interested in your inability to fully comprehend your wife’s fascination with Harley Davidsons. Although I think the Harleys are nice looking bikes, I too am at a bit of a loss to understand why they have captured such a large market-share of the 2 wheeled industry. There is something there that I’m just not “getting”. Anyway, “well done” with your latelifebiker site. I hope to see more in 2013. Come visit me at my seattleboatguy site. Ride safe, and best wishes from Norfolk.

  11. I enjoyed your web site, Doug, and I’ve sent you a personal email that expands on the list of similarities in our backgrounds. The parallels are truly phenomenal.
    Thank you for taking the time to write your kind words. -llb

  12. Just read your intro. will read more later because the road and a chilli run is awaiting. would like to talk sometime as your life sounds like mine. check out maybe we can get together sometime. i winter in Panama city Beach, fl and summer at www, in phippsburg me.

    triker tom

  13. Tom:
    My deep and sincere apology; I have no logical explanation for how your Comment on my blog has gone unanswered for almost six months.
    I take refuge in the notion that I DID, indeed, sent you a response by email, and that action has slipped through one of the expanding fissures in my aging brain.
    I enjoyed wandering through the pages of your blog, and I agree with you that we have much to share with one another over a cool beverage.
    Please do me the kindness of staying in touch.
    Stay safe and happy. -llb

  14. Carol and Ken Allen says:

    Long journey from boats to bikes…….this is just really a “hi ya” from a couple of voices from your past…..Ken went on a random internet search and found you. A second Victoria, an Ericson 36C, is still taking us sailing in the summer. Winters are spent skiing in New Hampshire. Ben is now 27 and races sailboats for a living……I guess we did something right. We would enjoy hearing from you if you are still active on this website….Carol and Ken

  15. Hooray! Hooray! This is a voice from the past that I could not be happier to hear. Two voices actually; I’m so happy to reestablish contact with you and Ken after more than a quarter of a century. Since our last contact was in the waters off Bermuda, as Victoria sent Sigmet on her way, eastward across the Atlantic, I have wondered many times what became of our sailing companions. And to tell the truth, it’s nice to have witnesses to vouch for my claims in these pages of those earlier ventures at sea. We have much to catch up on, including that son of yours, who had no hope of avoiding life under sail. But those things are better handled in the privacy of personal email, and I will be in touch soon.

  16. judyt54 says:

    I agree about Word Press, I even have a hard time sometimes just navigating from one place to the next, never mind actually starting a blog here. Sometimes its good to know Im not the only one who has trouble with navigation here.
    I have read your posts cover to cover, enjoyed them thoroughly and probably have satisfied my biker jones for the time being. But oh what a glorious way to spend a retirement.

  17. Susan Fitzgerald Sutter says:

    Finally made it here! Following!

  18. The Late-Life Biker says:

    I wish there were recent additions to “follow,” Suz, but clearly I have fallen far behind keeping these pages current. I got plenty of it written down, though, before I was hopelessly distracted. I hope you enjoy what’s here. (Some of the links to videos are broken, but the vids weren’t world-class to begin with. Thanks for stopping by. Stay in touch. -Paul (the llb)

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