Frantic.  Scattered.  Nervous.  Anxious.  Scared.  Spinning.  Excited.  Prepared.  Ready.  This was our Thursday.  It is just a sample of the feelings that swirled our brains yesterday as we prepare to hit the road for 4 weeks to ride the Great Divide.  It was our last full day to tie up those last minute projects at work and to bang out those emails that really should’ve been sent days ago.   The house?!?  I have to clean the house!  Wait!  I haven’t received an inked confirmation from our neighbor about watering the plants!  And our dog, Hank?  I can’t get a hold of our friends who watch him when we’re gone.  And this bloody ankle of mine!!  How am I EVER going to be able to ride over 1,700 miles of dirt on the pegs if I can barely walk?  Oh, how we get inside our brains and just scramble them till they’re liquid.  That, my friends, is how Terry and I spent our Thursday.  And Jack?  How can you deny a 10 year old a day of play with his neighborhood buddies?  The quiet did give me time to manage my projects though the voices in my head insisted on having their own little going away party.


As I sit here in the quiet of the morning, sipping my last home-brewed cup of joe, I slowly begin to remember why it is we do what we do.  To many, we seem foolish in our choice to ride motorcycles all over the states with a 10 year old on the back of Terry’s motorcycle.  We know it’s not for everyone, and that’s okay.  But for us, to be able to spend uninterrupted time together as a family, to show Jack the world beyond the usual, to meet the people you would never meet unless you take the road less travelled.  That is why we’re out there.  While there is a time and place for a structured classroom education, nothing even comes remotely close to the lessons Jack learns on the road.  He’s learning to read the sky for weather changes and what different cloud formations mean.  He played bluegrass with a world-renowned band on Vancouver Island.  He hiked all the way to the arch in Moab, sitting under its shadow as he scanned the skyline, pointing out our route and where we were camped.  He’s played his guitar on tour buses in Milwaukee, an open mike night in Kansas and by campfire most everywhere.   How many of us can say the same or even have anything to compare?  I surely cannot.


Oh, the people we’ve met.  Amazing how the kindness of strangers presents itself when all other options had been exhausted.  From a home-cooked meal when we were hungry to a home to use when we needed a place to crash to a car to drive when the bike was down.  We truly are a land of giving people.  But, why does the media choose to show what is wrong with our society instead of what is good?  Because it makes for better ratings?  Huh.  That’s too bad.  We turned the news off long ago.  It is a conscious decision.  After travelling for so many years and encountering so many wonderful giving people, we decided not to march with the masses and think for ourselves.  And you know what?  We are a much better family for it.


Terry is often asked just HOW he can manage to take off for 4 weeks.  It is very, very difficult to be gone for any length of time when you own your own business.  You are a part of the day-to-day operations as well as run the numbers, the projections and keeping your fingers crossed that Europe doesn’t completely crash.  It has taken many years to acquire a crew that Terry can trust.  You must also start the trip planning a year in advance.   Yes, a year!  And now, after we’ve put out all (most) of the fires and become 90% confident that we’ve got all of our ducks in a row, we roll.  Please, don’t get me wrong.  We know we are fortunate enough to be off the grid for the first 10 days or so.  But, like with anything, Terry has to start managing some calls and service requests from the road.  I have a job that I am able to write from the road.  I like that.  This is our life.  Either you accept it and move on or fume that you still have to work from the road.  We choose to accept what we yet cannot change.


As Jack enjoys sleeping in his bed one last time, as Terry finishes his last email, as I finish typing my last sentence, we know that soon the rubber will meet the road.  Did we forget something?  I’m sure we did.  Is the house clean?  Sort of.  Is there such a thing as getting it all done before you leave?  No, and that’s okay.   Our journey awaits us filled with the unknown, dictated by weather and a 10 year old.  We continue to learn from each other and those we encounter.  And as long as you remain a student of the world, you will find the peace and inner strength you never thought possible. And, isn’t that a beautiful gift in and of itself?  Cheers.