Thursday, June 3, 2010

Things I've Never Done

I’ve never been an artist. You know, like a painter or sculptor. I’m not creative in this way. Even the writing I do is just the words I would speak to you if you were in the room with me. The room would be a coffee shop or a bar, maybe a restaurant or a park bench on a fine sunny day. I just write them instead of speak them because I am alone. I must need to tell them to someone. The only creativity that I have had a part in was creating children, I fathered three girls. That’s real creativity, but by the hand of a more powerful source than I. Women are powerful as women have the gift of bringing forth life, and The Creator, well, the name says it all. I was there, but I can’t take responsibility for the creation of the children.

I’ve never driven a real race car. Like Nascar or open wheel Indy type race cars. I mean the really fast ones, not the Sunday afternoon take-your-car-to-the-track drag strip 1/4 mile kind. I used to go to the drag races. I’d take off the hubcaps and the air cleaner and close all the windows to reduce the wind resistance and race my car against another of the same class and engine size. I won a trophy once. I gave it to my girlfriend and she put it on the top shelf in her closet because her mom and dad didn’t want her to display it in the house. I’ve had the motorcycle up over 140 mph on a straight stretch of North Dakota highway, but I’ve never driven a race car.

The idea of hiking the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail from one end to the other has eluded me. I’m too old and feeble for such an undertaking now. I always thought that some day I’d attempt one of these hikes. Just live out of the back pack for weeks doing the complete traverse. I have driven on one highway from end to end. I’ve been on every mile of US Highway 101 from LA to Seattle and even did the part that comes back and loops itself along the Washington coast. I went on The Longest Walk, a 4600 mile trek across the country, but I didn’t walk it. I walked the first two miles in California and the last two miles to the Capitol in Washington DC. I took a few steps in between, but mostly drove a support vehicle and hauled back packs and shuttled people. I did Historic Route 66 when I was 10 years old with Mom and Dad. It winds from Chicago to LA, more than 2000 miles all the way. get your kicks....

I’ve never driven a car hauler 18 wheeler. You know, the ones that carry all the new cars? They’re on the freeway all the time. They have pneumatic ramps that raise and lower the cars to certain heights so they can get as many as they can on a load. Never drove one of those, but I have driven almost every kind of rig that’s ever been made. Dry vans, tankers, hazardous tankers, reefers, dry bulk, cement mixers, dump trucks, flat beds, semi and straight. I don’t drive the big rigs anymore. I say I’m semi retired, retired from driving semis.

When I look back on a life lived, I can recall a lot of things that I did like drive the big trucks. Now, as I no longer work for wages, some friends find it hard to see me in any other way except the old man who hangs out at the coffee shop. I remember an old R. Crumb cartoon that showed an old wrinkled bent over woman with a cane waiting at a bus stop. The caption stated that we need to remember that even these old people had a wild life at some point in their lives. They then showed flashbacks of her as a young slender beauty in a bikini making out with a guy with more suitors waiting in line. We get old and the people see you and don’t know what you’ve been capable of in your life. What you’ve done, or haven’t done.

Then came the movie, “The Bucket List”. I didn’t see the movie, but I hear people referencing their own bucket list and things that are on such a manifest. I’m guessing that the bucket list is a smattering of things that you’d want to see and do before you kicked the bucket, before you meet your maker, before you go to the great, whatever it is you wish for, in the sky, before you die. Of course in the movie, the two stars were terminally ill and went all out to accomplish living until they died.

I don’t have a bucket list. I might mention something that I’d like to do at some point in my life, but nothing is paramount. But I do have an opportunity to do something that I’ve talked about doing, and the time is now.

To even attempt a trip like this at my age and physical condition is a bit of a challenge, but I'll be careful and I won't take any reckless chances. I suppose any kind of motorcycle trip after having my heart stitched up a couple of times would be a challenge, but I'm goin' for it!

Years ago, 40 or more come to think of it, my friend Hal and I rode motorcycles for sport. Hal, an accomplished motocross racer, and I, a recreational motocross aficionado, always talked about the day when we could ride together across the country. A few years ago, we took our first trip together and had a blast. Then, last year, amid some set backs and illnesses, we did manage to put in almost 5000 miles together.

Our conversations then mentioned an off-road adventure together, one of epic proportions. The dual sport adventure riding craze has been around for a while, but we’ve never been in a position, either with the bikes we rode, or with time and money, to pull off such a ride.

Well, the time is now. Hal has his R100GS BMW ready to frolic in the dirt, gravel and mud. I bought a G650GS BMW and set it up to do the same. I’m leaving soon and taking my new toy out to California and we’re gonna do one of those bucket list things.

My G650GS BMW looks very similar to this stock photo

The plan is to tow my motorcycle across the middle of the country and meet Hal somewhere in Nevada. I’ll park the van and unload my scooter, Hal will have ridden his from California, we’ll meet and ride some of the deserts BLM, (Bureau of Land Management). These seemingly endless roads fade off into the distance and are never paved. We’ll ride The Ruby Mountainsin Nevada, then load the bikes and head to the West coast.

Hal's 1992 BMW is a little more vintage than mine

In Northern California we’ll ride the Kings Range and Sinkyone Wilderness, all part of what folks call the Lost Coast. Gravel and minimum maintenance roads that traverse the coastal mountains and black sand beaches through the magnificent redwoods, from Mendocino to Crescent City. These byways follow ridges and valleys for hundreds of miles.

After a week or so of riding together on the coast, we’ll load up the bikes yet again and head for the Oregon Outback. A sagebrush ocean in the high desert of Southeastern Oregon. We’ll set up camp at Crane Crystal Hot Springs, a place we’ve been together before and I’ve written about in the past. We’ll ride there for a couple of days before Hal heads back to California on his bike and I trailer my bike back across the Rockies for home.

I’ll be gone near a month. This is definitely a trip of a lifetime, and doing it at my age with one of my closest friends makes it a bucket lister.

So I’ll be away from the computer which means away from the blog and Facebook. It will be hard to reestablish a presence after a month of absence, but that’s a price I’ll gladly pay. In the end, I’ll be able to say I did it. I’ll add it to the great resume of life, right along with the many jobs and moves and adventures that I have taken, and I’ll never have to dream about it again.

Please feel free to come here and make yourself at home. Scroll around and check things out. Visit the blogs listed on my sidebar, many have been added over the past few months.

I’ll miss the interaction while I’m away and think of you often. In the meantime, I hope nothing but the best for all of you, my friends, and hope that Peace finds you and embeds itself in your lives.

Peace to All


Unknown said...

"We get old and the people see you and don’t know what you’ve been capable of in your life. What you’ve done, or haven’t done."

One of the things that makes me disappointed with American society is that people don't value conversation with their elders. If they did, they ask questions and perhaps the answers they received would give a clue as to what elders have been and done and are doing and being now. When you engage an older person in conversation and there is mutual respect and enjoyment, then it's much easier to the light in their eyes and imagine them young again.

Safe and peaceful travels. We'll be here when you return.

Sorrow said...

Have a wonderful time!
It sounds like quite the adventure! Looking forward to hearing all about it when you return!
Peace and open roads to you!

Mel said...


Makes me very happy for you and for Hal.
Kinda makes me envious, too.

Oh, do take the camera! :-)
Safe journey!! Be safe, stay well.....

mig said...

Wow 'Man! That sounds like a great adventure.
Oh, have a wonderful time and safe journeys and come back exhilarated and full of stories and happiness.
We'll miss you but be looking forward to your return.

Christopher said...

Happy Adventuring! - and we'll be there with open arms when you get back, waiting for word of your exploits, all a little bit jealous of your adventurous spirit.


susan said...

I love reading your posts and have done since I first discovered your blog. It's so easy to relate to the way you think and write because you are always very clear and honest about all you've learned and experienced. Even now you're out at the edge doing things people so much younger than you wouldn't even consider doing but for you it's no big deal. Yes, I'll read posts I've missed and reread others because you're pleasant company. I'll look forward to your return but in the meantime will be wishing you the best of every moment on the road and off.

Anonymous said...

Have a great trip and safe travels. Can't wait to read the picture you paint of your trip.

Stephanie said...

What an any age...


your writing IS an artform and you do it so well.

happy and safe travels.

Mauigirl said...

What a wonderful trip! Good for you, doing what you want to do - age is only a number! Will look forward to hearing all about it when you get back.

rebecca said...

welcome home!!!

i am listening for your stories.
happy to walk beside you in peace.