I’ve come a long way from flying down the highway at 180

35 thoughts on “I’ve come a long way from flying down the highway at 180”

  1. I was 24, living in Dallas. They were building a new private airport in the country, and I snuck onto it one night before it was opened. On my motorcycle. The perfect dragstrip. I never made 180, but 150 felt pretty darn fast on that runway. Kept worrying about having to stop, and now knowing exactly how long the runway was in the dark. Stupid kids……I’m glad both you and I survived those days. Nice post.

  2. Fantastic read here, Steve. Reminds me of my years up until my early 30s before meeting and eventually marrying Mrs. Cubert. My dumbness was going out with a drinking buddy at least two if not three nights a week and at times, driving impaired. I feel a lot of shame about those days even though it was “fun” at the time. Couldn’t be happier now, having taken it down about five notches on the Spinal Tap amp.

  3. Holy crap. That was dangerous and just 6 years ago? Seems like you changed a lot over a very short time. I took my car up to 100 mph once in the day time. I’d be scared $*&tless at night.
    Other than that, I didn’t do too many dangerous stuff. I’m just too conservative.

  4. Those sport bikes are crazy. And this is coming from a former dirt bike enthusiast, flying over jumps on my Honda CR125 🙂 I did buy a gently used Harley a few years ago before our child was in the picture. Sadly, it doesn’t get many miles on it anymore. I should sell it but I haven’t for some reason. It’s so damn dangerous riding around town when people are texting and doing god knows what else while driving. Maybe that is part of the attraction. Take care!

    1. They really are crazy. They are built for speed, and it shows. They want to be ridden fast. I still love to ride, but it’s usually on a cruiser now, not a sport bike.

  5. My stupidest decision was getting a tattoo while on a trip to Europe during high school and not telling my parents about it. That was probably the only “badass” thing I ever did, hahaha. I think my journey has been more about learning to be more confident and assertive.

    1. Yup, tattoos are pretty popular things that people consider to be mistakes somewhere down the line. I almost got one several years ago (around the same time that I took the bike up to 180 MPH), but didn’t.

  6. Dang, my palms got sweaty thinking about going 180mph..at night. There’s many positives here, but one is that you have already been, done that, so you may not have a mid-life crisis? Anyway, you and your wife look super good together! Cheers!

  7. I too had a wild stage in my life. My wild years occurred when I was a teenager. My maturing process started when I was 20. I realized that my life was going nowhere. That was when I started working, saving/investing, and going to college at night. Once I had that mindset change, I never looked back. When I reflect back, it was like I lived two different lives.

    1. Life is all a mind game, isn’t it? Get the right perspective and things become much more controllable. And, they also usually begin traveling in the right direction, too – a direction that will most likely improve your future.

  8. The voice of the open highway in the desert is always calling me to push the pedal. Got my car up to 120 several times but I can’t go beyond that. Those unexpected dips/bumps start coming at you fast – too fast. I’d go faster on a nice clean drag strip.

  9. I got my gs550 up to 130, I vividly remember the highway curbing upward in one spot and feeling the front end almost come off the ground, I then slowed down. 180, you were a banshee! Glad you made it.

    1. Thanks Dan. A couple days after getting my R1, I accidentally got the front wheel off the ground. I just didn’t realize just how much power that bike had until I really rolled on the throttle. Those bikes are just engineered for some incredible speed. Amazing machines.

  10. Nice piece, Steve. That first part was pretty dark. But I recognized the feeling, even the city. I spent a good part of the 1980s in Tucson, being that guy.

    Do you ever wonder if you’d been focused on FIRE from the moment you started college, whether where you are now would be as sweet? Sometimes I think that part of the sweetness is knowing what life could have been like if I had not switched gears and got my head on straight. It could be that our efforts to educate folks as early as possible will ultimately deny them the wonderful feeling of not being the person they were on their way to becoming. On the other hand, if they listen to us, they’ll be young and financially independent. I guess that’s not so bad 😉

    1. I do wonder that, Oldster – a lot, actually. And truthfully, I’m not sure what the answer is to that question. I’d like to think that everything that happened in my past has put me into this unique position today. That…if anything hadn’t gone the way it did, I’d be in a different place. It may not be any worse or better…just different.

  11. Back in college I use to track my cars, as in drive on the race track. Incredibly expensive hobby.. 400 dollars in tires a weekend type of hobby. I’ve maxed at about 170 in a clapped out 80s camaro on the track. The Corvette came after this stage. These days I’ve realized I can’t afford the track even though I still own a “toy” sports car. The cost to enjoyment just wasn’t enough for me, I’d rather putter around on a back road with the top off.

    1. I’m with ya there, FTF. In fact, the reason I sold my Vette was because it was just one big money pit, and I can only imagine how expensive that car would have been if I tracked it. I got a pair of Nitto 555rs on the rear of that sucker that set me back $400 a tire I believe. Shesh!

  12. Good to know that you’re driving a lot slower now. Heard too many horror stories from my wife who helped rehabilitate people who had brain injuries from motorbikes. And most of them had their helmets on. Be safe.

    1. Thanks msolve. Yeah, I’ve heard of many of those injuries. I knew a guy who’s son was killed in an accident that involved him riding his sport bike. Being crazy is just way tempting on those machines.

  13. Well Steve, reading this article is like reading my own life story, 100%. Same rut, and to each and every outsider I was living the dream. My 180mph moment was in a mtech BMW on the autobahn in Germany in my twenties. Funny, I drove all the way from uk to Munich just to see where my car was made, and spent a shed load of money to do it. Then drove back to my career in megacorp…and thus a return to unhappiness. Empty house etc. Now almost 40, and saw the light at 28, luckily been v savvy financially since 28. But man did I spend wayyyy too much cash for most of my twenties. Thanks for your continued great stories and blog. Great work. Keep it up.

    1. Thanks Martin! I think we both gave off the impression that we were rich and successful, but inside…hollow and looking for something much more meaningful in our lives.

  14. I can understand that feeling well.

    In highschool we did a LOT of stupid things, but one was jumping off the underside of an interstate bridge. It was a 45′ drop to the water and except for swimming under our spot and diving down feeling around for trees/rocks/etc… we didn’t know what was in there. So idiotic.
    Before we were about to jump the first time, a boat came by and told us it was about 15′ deep, based on his fishfinder and looked free of trees, so we jumped. It was great fun, but man I’d hate hearing my kids tell me they did something that dumb.

    1. Wow, good one. It’s interesting…I took my bike up to 180 MPH on a highway, but I don’t think I’d ever jump off of a bridge into water that I wasn’t familiar with. But for some people, it would be quite the reverse. Interesting how people can tolerate different forms of craziness!

  15. As a fellow Yamaha R1 (prior) owner, I can totally relate to what you described. I owned a 2001 Yamaha R1 Champions Edition no less, and also felt the need to verify its top speed limit…which was exhilarating. Riding that bike was the closest I’ve come to feeling truly free….hoping to get that feeling again once I transition to FIRE. So my insane experience is similar to yours.

    1. “Verify its top speed”…hehe. Yup, funny how that happens when you’re on a machine that’s built for pure speed. It was fun, though. Lots of fun.

  16. Awesome story Steve – you’ve had such an awesome transformation in the last 6 years and I know that you putting it out there is going to help a lot of people realize they can make the same transformation.

    My stupidity was just in wasted time – too many hours in high school and college playing video games that did nothing to add value to my life. I was never one for risks so instead I just sunk my time in the mindless expanse of screen time. I think of how much further along I could be intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and financially if I had used that time for a better purpose and realize how much of a waste it was.

    That said, those were the experiences that got me to where I am today and I’m pretty excited about where I’m at no!

  17. Steve:

    My dumbest moments were in my ages of 17 – 18. My group of 4 – 7 friends and I would scope out different water towers around town in Maryland (a nameless town for the purposes of this blog…..). We would drive around and see how secure the towers were and if we could scale them. Why did we do this? Sheer teenage boredom. This happened on several occasions and usually went along these lines:

    • Determine with side of the tower (fenced off area) to break into.
    • Wait until night and the group covertly slinks towards that area.
    • One person cuts through either chain link fence or a padlock with bolt cutters.
    • The group enters the chain link enclosure and scurries to the tower.
    • Begin climbing up the ladder on the side of the tower. If the first rung begins at 5 – 7 feet off the ground, a manila rope is thrown over the rung and people climb up the rope to reach the first rung.
    • Get to the top; everyone carefully on the top of the tower assembled around the top hatch. Use bolt cutters to open the hatch.
    • Enter hatch and scream/yell/throw firecrackers/sip from handily located flask of peppermint schnapps in back pocket. (Note: Firecrackers make a very loud noise inside of a water tower).
    • Exit tower, close hatch, and descend and depart.
    • Only once did we have the police called on us by a neighbor. They showed up while we were on top, closing the hatch. We then hastily climbed down the ladder. Quite exciting, people stepping on each other’s hands, etcetera.

    I was never one for speed but rather more stupid things like the above. I moved away from this specific town and went to university out West. Studied and hit the books; been very law abiding ever since. I definitely wish I had started my FIRE journey earlier; but I’m on track to do so next Spring. I’ll be 58: there will still be time to hike the SW National Parks, kayak, fish, elk hunt, maybe even climb a few water towers………

    All for now,
    Steve

    1. Nice! Yeah, I’ve always heard of the water tower thing, but I’ve never actually met anyone who’s done it…until now! Your experience kinda reminds me of “That 70’s Show”. 🙂

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