Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Plan to Motor West

The Rocky Mountains in June, last time I road cross-country with my friend

I haven’t been on a road trip in a long time. Seems weird for me. I used to travel so much. When I first started blogging, I’d write about places I’ve been and add spice about what happened on any given day as a traveler. And I love the words in the first line of the old standard, Route 66:

Well if you ever plan to motor west

Now I’m not, nor was I ever, a world traveler. Yes, I did get a trip around the world once, courtesy of my uncle who sent me to Southeast Asia, but I’m not worldly at all. Just the traveling done here in the USA. Driving my car, riding my motorcycle and taking the Amtrak. I long for a trip right now.

I can recreate the spirit of a grand road trip anytime. I mean, I can get in the van and head out to anywhere, even the grocery store, and while on the road, imagine that I am going to be driving for days on end. I can stop and look at historic places and roadsides. Those things are around right here where I live as well as way out on some slow two lane highway far away from my starting point.

One time, I think it was a Spring trip, to Eureka, CA. That was a usual destination as I had a place there and would get out there and spend some time often between jobs. I drove the Oldsmobile and was in Austin, Nevada on Highway 50. Highway 50 is said to be the loneliest highway in America. There are a couple of stretches of over 100 miles with no gas stops or telephones. You’re in the high desert. Mountain ranges way off in the distance in every direction.

There is a nice little diner in Austin. Today, I sit here and wish I was driving this day, this fine Spring day, with this glamourous sunlight. I’d be on the road early because the sun is up and blasting at you before six a.m. By breakfast time, I’d have 100 miles under my belt and I’d be near Austin and the Toiyabe Cafe.

Austin, Nevada along beautiful US Highway 50

Last time I pulled in to the Toiyabe was a Spring visit, April, yes, late April of 2007. I was headed back from the coast and took the road less traveled. I love to get on those twisty curvy roads that climb way up into the mountains. There are a lot of these in the National Forest areas. The Toiyabe National Forest area near around the Nevada/California border is full of them. I love the Ruby Mountains. A short 60 miles out of the way, North of US Hwy 50 in Central Nevada.

Ruby Mountains, Nevada

So, here I am, I’m in my van, waiting for the son-in-law to arrive with a few two by fours for a door project we worked on today. My cell phone rings and it’s Hal, my friend from Eureka, CA. We talk and know we want to road trip on our motorcycles this summer. We both feel like time is running out for us old guys and the chance to take a cross country journey together might slip by if we don’t do something about it.

Hal tells me he is okay. He had a little scare last month. Thought he was going to have to have heart surgery, but test after test has shown him that he is good to go, as they say. He and his wife, also a very good friend of ours, had a tragedy in their lives last year. Their oldest daughter, 39, died from breast cancer. So many success stories and courageous tales of those that made it through and went on to help others. Their daughter didn’t make it. The disease took her life. No less courageous than the others, just the way the cards were dealt for her.

Hal promised her he would go back East and visit family and friends. He will fulfill that promise this June. I was planning on an epic motorcycle road trip in June myself. I was waiting to see if Hal was going to need the surgery. I was thinking I’d ride out to the West coast and visit him.

When he called today, it was to tell me he will be coming East and leaving on June 3rd from Eureka. I was planning on leaving June 2nd from River Falls, Wisconsin. I said, “What route are you taking, what do you think you’ll want to do?”

He said it didn’t matter. Then I said, “Let’s meet in Austin, Nevada on Highway 50.”

Lonely only if you think people is what makes a crowd.

We laughed. One time we met near Lake Havasu, AZ. This was back when we didn’t have cell phones. We just chose a date and an approximate time and said, “Be there” We were. We showed up one behind the other, not two minutes apart. I don’t suppose you’d believe me if I told you I had the phone in my hand today and was dialing his number when it rang and it was him, but that’s the truth of it. It’s totally uncanny.

So that’s the plan. I need a set of tires on the Tiger before I leave. Getting them done tomorrow at a local shop.

Spadoman's Triumph looks like this one

Everything else is set and ready to go. Pretty ambitious plan actually. Ride out to meet Hal, ride back to Wisconsin. Spend a few days back here riding around the Northland enjoying the river roads and the forests. Then I go on the Crow Creek Ride June 17th. I finish on June 20th in central South Dakota. Another friend of mine, Steve, the guy who owns the J&S Bean factory Coffee Shop, is planning to head West a little and see the Little Big Horn Battlefield and journey South from there to go through the Big Horn Mountains with stops at the Medicine Wheel and hopefully Thermopolis. I already said I’d head out there with him after the Crow Creek Ride.

Hal will leave Wisconsin and go through central Illinois and visit his brother, then on to Southern Missouri to meet up with another very old and true friend he hasn’t seen in a while. We’ll call each other and the idea has been thrown about that I will rendezvous again with him somewhere between Wyoming and Missouri and travel together a while longer before each of us heading for home.

I wonder why the background is a blurr

This should bring me pretty much to the end of June. After a week or so at home, I’ll park the motorcycle in the garage and load the van. Barb and I are planning another trip with Grandkids 1 through 5. We’ll leave Number 6 at home this time. She’s too little at two years old, and wouldn’t remember such a journey.

The plan for this van road trip is to see Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, The Redwoods and the Ocean with visits to friends and relatives in Colorado, Northern and Southern California and Oregon. Three weeks on the road. A boat ride to Catalina Island and a trip to Disneyland. Camping out most of the time when we’re not staying with friends.

I’m tired already. But this is what I have dreamed of all those times I’ve been on the road myself. To have my family with me. To have a purpose, a journey, a reason. It’s gonna happen this summer. I’ll get to show my own Grand children the places I’ve seen. Take them there and tell them the stories. See their eyes when they see natures grandest creations for the first time.

If all goes even close to plans, we’ll return home around the first week of August. I’ll have been on the motorcycle for almost all of June and in the van for July and into August. That pretty much will be the summer. And a full schedule at that.

So, after this week, I’ll be away. Hope you’ll miss me.

Peace to all.


Fran said...

Wow! The theme song for your summer is *On the Road Again*.
It's good medicine. Life's short, spend time with loved ones, explore & clear your head.

Safe journeys ~ Happy Trails

Will look forward to tales of your travels.

susan said...

It sounds like a wonderful plan to me but of course you're taking your computer with you so we don't have to miss your thoughtful posts, right?

The bear story was wonderful. Thanks for the link and apologies for my long comment on the warrior post. I guess it struck a chord.

drew danger said...

Chicago Joe!,

I was meandering through names on Google the other day and came across yours. I thought of being on the road with you (and Fartara) and how you spoke of panning through the phone book looking for Spado but only finding Spano or Spada or the closest name available, in each town you stayed in. I have been reading your blog's and enjoy them not only because I know you but I enjoy your sense of humor and am intrigued by your search for healing and wonder of the world as you see it in the present. I have been rejuvinated for the life that takes one on the road because of your blog's and hopeful for blessed things that shall come to your family. I see you as a proud Father, Husband, Grandfather and speaker of life as you have lived and I gather much influence of action from reading your words. I currently reside in the same home that I saw you and Hal the last time you blasted through. Although, at that time I was in a precarious situation with my wayward ways of youth. I have no children to speak of but a loving Gal of whom I have dated for over a year and a dog, that some may give thought a child. Sara (my girlfriend) and I are looking forward to moving to Bend OR., sooner than later but due to the state of the economy it may be some time before I sell the home and move west. In the meantime I try to make the best of each day hiking with my dog Elka and fixing up the homestead as best I can. Sara grew up in Port Townsend, WA right on the Peugot and moved across the country with her mother when she was13 to Concord NH. She is a blessing to my life and am proud to call her my girl. Her father was a Captain for the Merchant Marines and back in the late 70's he traded his sailboat for a 5 acre parcel of land on Marrowstone Island that overlooks the Pugeot and is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. Needless to say I love her dearly. I wish you good tidings on your travels and hope that things shall remain in peace for you and your family. Iwould love to hear from you at sometime and if you all ever need a place to stay you have a home here in Edgewater.
Feel free to respond or call me ,

Take care,

Drew Danger

Spadoman said...

PInky Pinkerton!!!! Well Hells Bells. I'll call you soon. As you just read, Hal and I are meeting for another trip next week!!!
And we did look up that Spado name in the Leyden Motel in Melrose park.
Jayne bought a house, Alyssa's got 4 kids!

Barb and I are living in River Falls, WI, just across the river from MN.

Miss you. I'll be in touch. Great hearing from you.

Thanks Fran for stopping by. Thnaks also for the tidngs for the safe travels. I appreciate it.

susan... Sorry. I am flattered that you would like me to blog while traveling, but no computer on this trip. I will have a handlebar mounted movie camera and an audio device. I'll narrate and record dialogue and have pics to go with. I'll have some stories to tell, but they'll have to wait until I'm between trips.
Thanks so much for stopping by the Round Circle. And by the way, your comment on the Memorial Day post was most appreciated. Not long in any sense as it shared a brief part of a life. Glad you liked Maquah, (Anishanabe for Bear).

Peace to all of you!

Anne said...

Yes, I'll miss you. Have a wonderful trip and be safe. Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier.

Mel said...


What lucky grandkiddos!
And what an awesome way to spend the summer.

Yup--you'll be missed. But life is too short, eh? Get goin' while the goin's good!

Safe journey!!
I'll look forward to the tales upon your return.

Spadoman said...

Anne... Thanks for stopping by. You've known me for a long time now. I'll be back. Glad you'll miss me!! Made me smile.

Mel.... Say Mel, you are a wise one. I go over to your place for enlightenment. Thanks for coming here and spreading it around. Glad you'll miss me. I'll be leaving on June 2nd.

billie said...

life is about experiences- and you and barb are giving the grand kids some wonderful memories :) of course i will miss our morning cuppas- but best to make memories while you can. the kids won't be small forever :) oops... gotta go get my second cuppa... :)

Spadoman said...

Betmo... Thanks so much for stopping by. Did you see the comment from Drew Danger? This is a young man my daughter dated in 1991! We remained friends. Amazing. I'll think of you when I'm drinking my morning cuppa(s). I do carry a small pot to boil water for coffee while on the road.

Spadoman said...

And as of this morning, Wednesday May 27th, we will be meeting in Crane, Oregon and take a more Northerly route back to Wisconsin.

fjb said...

Of course you'll be missed. A more northerly route? Dammit all to hell having to have a passport just to cross the border now. I just applied and it'll be a good two months before I see it, or I'd try to head a little southerly.:) Mind you, they might not issue one to me at all with what I've spouted off about out here on the intertubes.:)

Anne said...

Keep in touch when you make it to the North Coast, okay? Moody's is still there! Your road trip sounds wonderful~safe travels, Joe.

This Eclectic Life said...

What a grand time you are going to have! I hope your journey fills you with wonderful new "memories." I'll be spending time while you are away on reading your older posts. Safe trip!

Spadoman said...

Thanks Annie.. I won't make Mendo this trip, but I'll be back in July. Gonna have to get the ice cream for the Grandkids while we drink our Americanos at Moody's.
Thanks for stopping by.

Eclectic One... Thanks for stopping. I am flattered that you'd go back and read older posts. And thanks for the well wishes for safe travel. Much appreciated.

Peace to all

The Crow said...

Have enjoyed this post vry much, especially the photographs. My very first ride on a motorcycle (as a passenger) was on a Triumph, back in 1969. That ride might be what planted the seed of my biking fantasy.

Be safe, but have a great ride!


Thorne said...

A ho, Mashkoday Biizhiikiins!
Oh!! I can't believe I missed wishing you a safe and wonderful adventure! I will hope that when you do find this message you will know that you have been in my heart!
mitake oyasin.