Well, here it is the eve of my departure. My motorcycle is in the shop getting brand new tires that will take me across America and back. It’s so hard to believe that after nearly a year of planning were about to embark on a cross country journey on one of the most famous expedition trails in the world.
I don’t remember how this all got started except it was by any standards a minor conversation between dad and I about the possibilities of the trip. The trip was his idea and I said I would come along. Little did I know it would be a years planning to get to here. But what fun it’s been.
For the trip there will be a little “parasitic drag” in the form of my children’s animals. We will be playing a game called “Find Spangle and Tuffy“. These two animals will come along with me on the entire journey and will be in the pictures that I take along the way. But not every picture, mind you, and not obviously placed in the picture. The game is to find Tuffy and Spangle each day in a picture I take. They could be with me, near me or with others. They could be in a picture that looks like nothing more than a panoramic view of America’s wilderness. It’s your job to find these little guys who will be with me always.
So, Tuffy and Spangle will have a heck of a story to tell when they return home with me. I am going to bring something of Gloria’s with me but as of yet do not know what it is. Whatever she gives me will also be in my daily pictures so keep an eye out here for what that might be. I may never publish what it is she wants me to bring so I could run a contest later to see if anyone really knows what it was. So stay tuned.
Speaking of Gloria, it is to her I owe a dept of gratitude. She is a wonderful woman to whom I owe so much stability in my personal little world. It is because of her that I’ve been able to follow my life’s calling. Those who know me might ask, “So, what in the hell is that!?” Darned good question, when I figure it out I’ll let you know.
But seriously, she has been so helpful the last 12 years in so many ways I can no longer count. In so many ways I don’t know what I would do without her. For example, who could I beat at Gin Rummy if it weren’t her dealing the cards? If it weren’t for her I wouldn’t get up at 6:30 and go feed chickens, cats and fish. There would be no need to worry about foxes and ground hogs would be extinct by now. Who would sit down with me at a candle lit dinner and talk about the future, growing old together, the next book she wants to read? Knowing her I have come to know so many great people, good people, people I would not have otherwise met. It’s been a hell of a journey.
There is not a single person in this world who would let me take 3 weeks of time and go out on the road on some crazy road trip knowing that I am going to return here and it will be just as I have left. Stable, secure, and safe. Home. This is our world and I can’t imagine any other.
Which brings me to one of my favorite quotes out of a children’s book. A book I would have never read had I not had children. Here it is:
“So, this — is — a — river!?”
“The River,” corrected the Rat.
“And you really live by it? What a jolly life!”
“By it and with it and on it and in it,” said the Rat. “It’s my world, and I don’t want any other.”
It’s from a book called “Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame
So I’m thankful for my children who have allowed me to read books to them and at the same time learn more about literature, even if at a child’s level. Somehow I connect with some of the words in their books. We probably all do.
One of the things I hope to see along the way in the northern clines is the Aurora. I’ve seen this phenomenon many times since moving to rural Virginia but my father has not. At Space Weather dot com they have all the skinny on this wonderful bit of science. Go there to see all the latest on things happening outside of earth. I’m told that in Montana and other northern states it’s a fairly common occurance. And if we have a CME event on our trip, I hope we look up and see the Aurora. It’s amazing to watch.
And all of us wish at times we didn’t wait around, we were more involved, we acted on more things. I’ll leave you with this poem.
by Robert J. Hastings
It’s about the Journey…
Tucked away in our subconscious is a wonderful vision.
We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent.
We are traveling by train.
Out the windows we drink in passing scenes
of cars and nearby highways,
of children waving at a crossing,
of cattle grazing in a distant hillside,
of smoke pouring from a powerplant,
of row upon row of corn and wheat,
of flat lands and valleys,
of mountains and rolling hillsides,
of city skylines and village halls.
But uppermost in our minds is the final destination.
On a certain day, at a certain hour,
we will pull into the station.
Bands will be playing,
flags will be waving.
Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true.
And the pieces of our lives will fit together magically
like a completed jigsaw puzzle.
In the meantime how restlessly we pace the aisles,
damning the minutes for loitering.
Waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.
We think to ourselves when we reach the station,
that will be it!
When I am 18,
when I buy that new Mercedes,
when I put my last kid through college,
when I paid off the mortgage,
when I get a promotion,
when I reach the age of retirement,
I shall live happily ever after.
Sooner or later we must realize there is no station.
No one place to arrive at once and for all.
The true joy of life is the trip.
The station is only a dream.
It constantly out distances us.
“Relish the moment” is a good motto.
It isn’t the burdens of today that drive man mad.
It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow.
Regret and fear are the twin thieves that rob us of today.
So stop pacing the aisle and counting the miles.
Instead climb more mountains,
eat more ice cream,
go barefoot more often,
swim more rivers,
watch more sunsets,
Life must be lived as we go along.
The station will come soon enough!
I’m off on my little journey. I promise to write as much as I can along the way.
God bless you.
Published 28 Jul 2004