Okefenokee Adventure

A Dharma Doc-Bandido Harley-riding, canoe-camping adventure to the Okefenokee Swamp.

Introducing Dharma Doc and Big Bertha the alligator. I haven’t done a Harley camping ride, as in my Harley-Davidson, Heritage Softail Classic, in some 25 years. In preparation, I had done a test ride two weeks before down to the Congaree National Park outside of Columbia, SC, two weeks before. I posted about this in Old Man Harley Camping. That was some 140 miles. The Okefenokee is 321 miles, a seven-hour ride with refueling and old-man rest stops. That damn BPH (benign prostate hyperplasia) is such a bother. It seems at this age, around 300 miles is what I need to shoot for in making these trips. I used to do 500-mile days. This getting older sucks sometimes! 

All this is to prepare for another really long Harley camping trip out to the desert mountains of the West. This time, to Navajo land in the Four-Corners area of New Mexico and Arizona to visit the Chaco Culture National Park in New Mexico and the Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona. An adventure of some 3500 miles round trip! This will be another Dharma Doc-Bandido adventure.

As stated, I haven’t taken a long Harley camping ride out to the Western Deserts in twenty-five years. It has been even longer since I’ve done a canoe-camping adventure—as in never! I don’t know how to row a canoe. A small technical issue. Bandido is not going to let a little detail like this stop us. I did a little canoe and kayak rowing some twenty years ago. It was a sharp learning curve when I got down to Okefenokee! That is part of the story. I kept running over and into moss clumps, Cypress tree roots growths, and alligators! The alligators were not very appreciative. Rowing out to my canoe camping site was a disaster until Bandido took over.

Harley ready to roll

I have introduced Bandido in my first two books, WindWalker: Journey Into Science, Self, and Spirit, and The Guru on the Mountain: Chiggers, Lizards & Desert Heat: My Vision Quest to Discover the Source of Spirit. He is my Outlaw/Warrior archetype, my Bohemian side. He is the ‘defiant’ on my compliance-defiance scale.

Dharma Doc is new in terms of my readers. He is my Wizard/Magician archetype. More little more on the compliance side thn Bandido. Through most of my life, he has been the main one driving my psychic bus, the one in charge. Bandido only jumps out when things get nasty. He has a rather nasty boy disposition. Dharma Doc is more of your college professor, thinker, writer, eco-hermit type. Bandido and Dharma Doc have a Lone Ranger-Tonto sort of relationship.

Dharma Doc and the author are more and more letting Bandido drive the bus. Bandido is the eco-hermit and motivator selling the truck and bicycling it for a year, followed by coming back from his 74th year birthday bicycle tour and buying another Harley. These are their primary means of transport aside from walking. If he needs a car or truck, he borrows one of his kids or grandkids.

Then there is Big Bertha in the story. Big Bertha is the love-smitten, huge alligator at Okefenokee that carefully watched over our Hero, the author. Bandido left her heartbroken, as he has many senoritas. You will have to read about her in the upcoming book, which will be out next month.

Dharma Doc-Bandido adventures are all about psychospiritual growth, where psychospiritual refers to inner-peace and personal growth. Personal growth is about Jungian Individuation, making the unconscious conscious, and resolving Inner Child and other inner-personal, family of origin issues. Ultimately, inner peace is about enlightenment.

This adventure, as are all of their adventures, is both a Vision Quest and an archetypal Hero’s Journey. A Vision Quest is from that Native American, Plains Indians, traditions. It was a transition, coming of age ceremony where young adolescent braves would go into the wilderness with only a blanket for four days, one for each of the Four Directions, to get a vision of their role in the tribe as an adult. Vision Quests are also a type of Hero’s Journeys, as are his Zen sesshins. Sesshins are intense meditation retreats in Zen practice.and Zen’s path to enlightenment, know as kensho or satori. Their long Harley rides are akin to both Zen sesshins and Vision Quests—and, for our Hero, an alternate path to enlightenment, as described in WindWalker. Enlightenment is the ultimate for inner peace.

To jump ahead, just getting started on the canoe-camping part of the adventure: loaded up my canoe and gingerly stepped into it. I flipped it over, filling it with water, dousing myself, and getting all my camping gear soaked! And, I found I was hung up and couldn’t get out! Not a good start or omen, but a damn good story and adventure.

Canoe ready to launch, then I turned it over!

I am currently writing a short e-book on it that should be ready next month. It is a great and funny story. Likewise, I am planning on revising WindWalker and publishing as an ebook. Both will be available on Amazon. If you are interested in either of these, add a comment to this post letting me know you are interested and giving me your email address if I don’t already have it. I will add you t the notification list when they are available.