Fires off the Lincoln Highway (I-80)
Salt Lake City is a long drive from Eugene, OR… driving slow or fast. I had my trusty Sylvan Sport Go tagging along, carrying a few extra boxes of Crispi shoes for the Outdoor Retailer show. Also, several samples of our new Masters Nordic Walking Poles. Schweet schtuff…
In fact, during the five days I surveyed the show, I saw lots of Good, Bad and Beautiful ‘schtuff’. And people. I met really nice, genuine, great intentioned people who live outdoors, the way I desire to live. It was impressive and made me feel warm inside after meeting them.
I also met some hacks, sorry to seem rude. Several people peddling cheap, disposable stuff that makes you wonder how they got this far, but then you have to say – they’re just trying to make a living. How can I judge. And rather, I vote – with my wallet. The Laws of the Retail Jungle rule. What people buy, survives.
There was also Beautiful, both people and stuff. Angel King at Lifeproof, beautiful inside and out. Offered to hook me up with some bright, ambitious sales ladies in SoCal. I’ve got my fingers crossed. I could really use a bump like that.
I brought a little bit of schwag home to share with people here and there. There was a decent amount of of goods like Montauk Tackle Co & Kokotat that attracted me because of their business ethics. Made in USA – right on the label. Or hand made in Europe, Pakistan, South America. It appears I really discriminate over Asian. Man, I’m a retail bigot – it seems. Now, on to the ugly…
On the way to the show I drove to Salt Lake via Winnemucca, where I spent the night. On the arrival day I was driving across I-80, where I could see these smoke clouds looming all the way from Wendover, over 50 miles across the salt flats. It was ominous. Disturbing. Epic, in a dark way. The distance they were visible gave me pause. Pause over the distance I was traveling to attend a show that’s all about consumption. Pause over the wildlife, whose lives are being taken past the surreal due to a climate that appears to be changing, somewhat exponentially. I’m reading the book by James Hansen, Storms of my Grandchildren. It’s signed by the good Doctor… its inscription, “JD, For your grandchildren ! James Hansen”. I think, wow… do I want grandchildren to inherit this ? Or worse ?
It’s making me rethink this move, to be an over-the-road, consumption-peddling outdoor gear rep. Two solar panels pumping 110W of power into a 100Ah battery to run a portable fridge and my laptop, isn’t exactly saving the planet. I was really disturbed by this image, and by all the images on the television and radio, talking about all the fires, people and animals displaced. Perhaps this is historical. That fires do occur. But the record temperatures I see on the news seem to be telling a different story. We’re in trouble. Selling outdoor gear isn’t going to save us… or will it ?
If my vision of ‘smaller circles’ so that my affiliated reps can spend way fewer miles and hours driving a vehicle – comes true… If being closer to home, building a higher market density with as-ship, natural & organic, domestically produced, planet-friendly products – comes true… If my reps having time to spend outdoors with their dealers, dealer guests, doing advocacy, trailwork, volunteering at events – comes true… If we can be sustainable, profitable, motivated and creative enough to soon be driving extended range, plug-in hybrid, diesel-electric vehicles – and that comes true… then I might say – it will ! But, it’s going to take all of us, not a handful of guys from a rep agency.
I named my company Outside Haus because Outside is where and how we want to make a living. Outside is where life is, as we all, innately, realize. It’s where we make our home. The Earth, is our Home. But, Home ends in me and Haus ends in us, and I realized that this is not about me… rather, it’s about us, and us includes u. Won’t ‘u’ join us… Outside ? Outside, where it’s beautiful. After all, isn’t that the best place to do the Hokey Pokey, and that ‘is what it’s all about !
Who wants to climb Spencer’s Butte Sunday morning… with ‘us’ ?