“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
That’s the amount of time left on the calendar before I leave on the longest driving excursion of my life. 6,750 miles from New York City to California and back.
I have travelled on 4 wheels before in my previous punk rock bands. We would do short tours, clunking along in my oxidized ’82 Ford Econoline van up the East Coast and out west to San Francisco once, even dipping down into Mexico. I have traveled in airplanes, along with friends and family to places far. France, Egypt, and Jordan. Through all of these travels, I have acquired an extraordinary collection of mnemonic postcards that I often flip through in my mind. I’ve played guitar in the Paris Metro and in a ramshackle cantina in Juarez. I’ve walked through a tunnel to the center of a pyramid in Giza, slept in the desert in Wadi Rum, and ridden a camel right up to The Treasury in the rose sands of Petra. I have floated in the salts of the Dead Sea and rubbed her mud on my body. My bandmates and I lashed Sunfish sailboats together and guzzled beer while having a backflip contest in the Gulf of Mexico. I have smoked a Cohiba on the veranda of my hotel on the Nile. Last summer I drove a rented Triumph Street Triple to Canada to see Niagara Falls for the first time. My memories of travelling can be described in a word – charmed.
My original plan for this summer was to fly to Ireland and rent a motorcycle. I was going to drive around Ireland and then attend the Isle of Man TT race that runs on the streets of the small neighboring island. The flaw with this plan was that once the trip was over, so would be my time on a motorcycle. I had been jonesing to own a bike again since selling my beloved Ducati 900SS SP back in 2010 that I restored with great care, so I reconfigured my plan. Instead of the one shot deal of going to Ireland, I would buy a used bike and actually be a motorcycle owner again. I would drive it throughout the summer, and then take a big trip cross-country in the spirit of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Mechanics, a book by Robert M. Pirsig that touts the therapeutic powers of riding and working on a motorcycle.
So now here I am on the eve of exodus. Maintenance has been performed, maps have been created, and crash pads have been arranged. I have a feeling I’ve never had before leaving on a trip. I am going solo for 6750 miles. I’ve never done anything close to that many miles alone by land, air, or sea. Part of the purpose of the journey is pull myself out of my own life. A reset. A healing. It’s been a rough few years for me regarding my personal life. I went through a heartbreaking divorce, a rebound relationship, and then a broken engagement. I never gave myself the time to heal from each of these events. Some sources state that 25% of the time you spent in the relationship is the length needed for recovery. If that is the case I am severely in the hole. My healing is owed a debt I never paid. Other sources say recovery varies, and that there is no set time. It will happen when it happens.
In roughly 24 hours I am taking 3 solid weeks to travel the roads of this diverse country. I will be seeing old friends and even my brother John, who will just happen to be in Las Vegas for a company function at the same time I am in the Sin City. I put no expectations on my trip. I am not seeking miracle enlightenment or the heavens to part, but for some reason I am compelled to take this solo trip. Is it the road to recovery? I have no idea how long that road is. All I know is by the time I get back I’ll be 6,750 miles closer.
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