I am sitting here in Primm Nevada, Stateline as some of remember it. I am on the final day of this 1600 mile motorcycle journey from Montana to California.
It’s 93F and climbing. I stopped here to
procrastinate hydrate before proceeding. This is the last stop in Nevada and once I pull out of here, I will be back in California and the reality and responsibilities it represents.
In Field of Dreams teens, its a bit like rookie Moonlight Graham crossing the gravel and becoming Doc Graham and leaving behind that youthful time to become the more responsible being.
Thanks to all who have been supportive and concerned as I made my journey.
We grow up and assume a life and that life consumes us.
The pursuit of happiness can lead us into prefabricated boxes which we must never let define our limits.
Compromises may force us to put parts of ourselves down…… but we always have be be true to who we are.
The demands of reality cause us to call that certain cookie a “caramel deLite” when we all know it’s a Samoa. Although it’s an offense to the mind to call a thing “B” when we know it’s “A” we do so because it’s the polite and accepted thing to do. Down below the truth rages and demands to surface.
The TRUTH is that you can print all the maps you want with the words, “Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge”, but it will always be the 59th Street Bridge to us of a certain age. But mortality will make a winner of change an one day only scholars will remember that Istanbul was once called Constantinople.
Just because they call it “free time” does not mean that it is without value.
I remember with great clarity a certain Sunday afternoon in the winter of 1987. I was driving along Sorrow Drive, the curved road which follows the Charles River in Boston . The radio was featuring a song from Hank Williams Junior’s new album, Montana Cafe. The title song rhapsodized about a little Montana diner where the old ways and old music still live on. Now some, 31 plus years later I find myself sitting in a motel in Missoula, Montana on that same Highway 93, just 60 miles directly North of the current incarnation of that quasi-famous restaurant.
My plans for the day involve walking over to Triumph of Missoula and picking up my new motorcycle, riding it four hours across Montana, and then seeing Yellowstone National park before the sun goes down at 9:10pm tonight. Over the next four days, I plan on riding that new bike some 1,600 miles back to Southern California.
If I really wanted to go to the Montana Cafe, it would be a straight shot South down Highway 93. No left turns, no right turns, just a ninety-minute drive down that road just outside my window. Indulging that old want would add another 2 hours to my day; time that would come off the Yellowstone visit. That’s the definition of opportunity cost, right there.
Other things I will not be doing this trip include the following:
- Visiting Glacier National Park
- Running the Glacier Half Marathon
- Visiting the Bonneville Salt Flats in Tooele County in northwestern Utah
- Riding through the Valley of Fire
- Crusing down the historic Lincoln Highway in Nevada
- Riding up Wheeler Peak Nevada, elevation 13,000 ft in White Pine County Nevada
In life, it’s just as important to articulate what we aren’t going to do today as it is to prioritize what we will get done. We have to choose our time and our energy wisely. None of us can do it all but some fools still try. To quote old Hank Williams Jr.,
I’m so glad we reached this point in my life
I finally got my priorities right
I am way out here on the Idaho Line
We experience many deaths before the final one.
There is the death that comes when we lose our independence
or ability to stand
or to reason
There is also the death that happens when they take away our driver’s license.
For today, I still have my license, WITH it’s motorcycle endorsement. And tomorrow, I have this beauty, with only 3 miles on the odometer, waiting for me to pick up and ride it 1,500 miles south across the country through mountains and across deserts.
No deaths for now, only living.
It’s 7:25am on St. Patrick’s Day, 2019. I am walking 3 miles to the local pub while rocking out to Paul Galbraith’s, “Bach Sonatas and Partitas”.
It’s a dorky life, but it’s mine and I cherish it.
As I passed under the freeway, I was greeted by purple wild flowers. It’s easy to miss their glory driving by, but slowing down helps. The rains have brought great color to Southern California and the challenge becomes how to take as much of it in as possible before it withers away.
Like the wildflowers, we are here but for a short while; I feel the need to make time to cherish as much beauty as I can, be it in the form of music, flowers, art, or people. The dilemma is how to fill the soul also while also meeting the rigors of life’s other obligations.
For today, I am just going to celebrate. Happy Feast of St. Patrick.
After 20 years of downsizing my mother-in-law, I packed the final load of her things she used in this life in my car. I sat quietly on the bumper taking the sadness of the moment in.
An older lady of Hawaiian descent came walking towards the care facility. “Lisa?”, I asked, not really knowing for sure. She didn’t recognize me at all, “Yes, do I know you?”. She remembered me once once I reminded her that we met about 15 hours prior while partnered for tennis. I started walking back inside with her and she asked me if I had family living there. I told her that my mother-in-law was a former resident and had passed two weeks ago. She asked me her name and I told her, “Tyra”.
Lisa was shocked to hear of her passing. It turned out that Tyra and Lisa’s mother sat at the same table for meals. Lisa filled out her mother’s menu and Tyra made sure that Lisa’s mom got what was ordered. Lisa told me stories of how my mother-in-law would greet people at the door and be the social care-taker of the residents.
Lisa’s mother came over and joined us after we walked inside. My wife joined us after she finished checking Tyra out of her room. I explained that I had just met Lisa the evning before and Laura recognized Lisa’s mother. We exchanged stories and pleasantries and then it was time to make our way home.
I have to wonder if that chance meeting was serendipitous or something arranged by Tyra after she left us. It’s the kind of thing she would do, something to bring people together.