By Sandy Borden

None of the members of the Trio really knew or could even grasp just how tricky it would be to leave the familiar. Wait, let me rephrase that… We didn’t know how hard it would be to say goodbye. It really wasn’t about saying goodbye to our home and our ‘stuff’, it was about our friends and family, particularly those who we’re not sure will be there when we get back. My 83-year-old dad and I especially had a hard time letting go. For Terry, it was our friend Mike from our little town of McCloud. Though many tears were shed with promises of prayers and safe travels, it didn’t make it any easier as we watched them become smaller and smaller in our rear views as we rolled down the road. Did you know it’s difficult to see through the visor when sobbing?

Jack and Mike

I could go on and on about what the past year has been like. I don’t think mass chaos and constant panic attacks quite cover the scope of this life event. Think about it – we CHOSE to end our “dream” suburban lifestyle and take to the road for 18 months! EGADS! Instead of going on and on about the entire spectacle, let me just give you a brief synopsis of life since November of 2013: sold a house, bought a house, moved 3 ½ hours away, new school for Jack, Terry gone 3 nights a week, trying to sell a business, soft remodel on new abode, attempting to plan said trip, laundry, homework, meals, rinse, repeat, wine. There. Done. It gives me a touch of anxiety just typing that little bit! Many people ask how we did this. The best advice I can give when making a decision to change your life trajectory? Make sure you have a solid understanding and commitment with your partner(s); learn to communicate; learn to argue; and, own up to sometimes being a bit difficult to live with. That last piece of advice is by far the hardest for this strong-willed female.

When we closed the garage door on our McCloud home Saturday, September 13th, it was more bittersweet than we imagined. We were leaving most everything behind for 18 months. Huh… But, we didn’t get very far that morning. We logged only a single mile to our favorite breakfast place to sit down and enjoy a meal with our McCloud family before we started our journey south. All of our friends showed up in their Adventure Trio t-shirts, curious as to how we felt, what was running through our minds, etc. There were hugs and tears as we said our final farewells, everyone waving as we were lead out with a sheriff’s escort down the freeway to the county line. Many thanks, Louis, for the rock star treatment.

Louie & Terry

The McCloud family

Jacks friends

Jack & Sara 2

Terry & Grant

Group shot

Off we go

Our first day out had to be memorable for all members of the Trio. But, where to land that night? At only 4 hours way, it made sense to stay at the home of the grandfather of adventure travel, Ted Simon. Ted has been a friend for several years and has invited us to stay over on many an occasion. Though he wasn’t home for this visit, Ted told us to come inside and make ourselves at home. So, we did. Thank you, Ted, once again for letting the Trio invade your abode.

The next stop on the tour was Healdsburg where my family eagerly awaited our 3-night stay. This stopover was not to be rushed. As my dad so fondly put it several months previous, “You’ll be gone 18 months? Well, I’ll be dead by then.” Priceless, dad. Again, no rush. All three nights were spent with family from all sides. Cousins played, aunties and uncles got in one last hug and kiss, and sisters took pictures with promises of another get-together upon our return.


Sandy and Dad

Sandwiched in that visit with dad and Arlene was a day trip to San Francisco to meet the newest Borden family member, month old Santiago, and Terry’s youngest sister, Stacy. We had a brief visit with our brother-in-law, Jorge, before he had to catch a plane. We were soon joined by their friends who also brought along their little one’s, the living area stuffed with new mom’s and babies of varying ages. You know it’s time to leave when the kiddos start to get tired, the crowd getting ugly, and the traffic beckons to trap you in its grasp. Santiago is going to be walking the next time we see him! This is when Skype comes in handy in helping to share in those milestones.

Santiago and Family

The night before our departure from Healdsburg, dad told us that if anything happened to him while we were gone, he didn’t want us to come home. He wants us to continue our journey. Sorry, dad, but I’m a big girl and can make that decision for myself. He knows we have travel money set aside in case of any sort of emergency, though we’d prefer to use it to return for a surprise visit and not a celebration of life.

When it was time for us to roll out from dads, I didn’t realize just how hard that moment would be. For as stoic this former Marine was on most occasions, our final hug and ‘I love you’ seemed to catch both of us by surprise. Dad and I could barely talk and preferred to keep the conversation short, both afraid of a complete breakdown. Jack gave his grandpa a big hug, even he finding it hard to say goodbye for now. I sobbed all the way to our next stop and for the next several hours, unsure if this was the last time I was to ever see my dad. Yes, this goodbye was by far the most difficult.

Dad and Jack


Kron Family Picture


Kickstands were down for one night in Santa Rosa at the home of one our best friends, Brooke. She confessed to not spreading the word of our arrival with the rest of the crew, admitting that she was being selfish with our time together. We were good with that. A night of pizza, wine and story swapping ensued, keeping us up later than we should have. We didn’t mind, really. Brooke gave us a beautiful night and a royal sendoff. There’s something about friends that you’ve known since childhood that make you feel like family.

Brooke & gang



Lyn Picture

Our old hometown of Davis was to be the place to land for the next 2 nights. We stayed with our friends, Allan and Claudia, who lived literally just around the corner from our former home of 15 years. Was it weird being back? Nah. We’d already moved on. But, it was weird to see that nothing had changed. What do I mean by that? The same frantic schedule mixed with the same need to be the busiest mommy with a splash of just plain nuts. None of us missed the usual routine. We did a short TV appearance on Good Day Sacramento, making a breakfast treat on air for our interviewer, Courtney, and sharing the story of our choice to change. Having done several interviews with this show in the past, it was yet another example of friends as family. We hung out for a while to make sure and see everyone before we were off to yet another event.


Claudia and Allan

Our last night in Davis was spent with friends and former neighbors from the old the hood at the park where Jack and all the other kiddos spent countless hours on the jungle gym and see saw. Jack caught up with old friends that he’d known since birth while the adults noshed on homemade goodies washed down with a mug of homemade brew. Yes, our friend, Dan, brought a full keg of hoppy goodness to our gathering. Now, THAT’S how you go out with a bang!

It was another quick departure from Claudia and Allan’s before one of us let loose on the waterworks. A few more of these moments were yet to come. The next difficult goodbye was after a few nights stay with our adopted parent’s/grandparents’, Dave and Judy. Terry, Jack and I never realized how hard this road of farewells was going to be, and all three of us needed this time to relax and be parented & loved. At just over 70, Dave still rides and followed us out for a few miles after finishing a ceremonial breakfast at their favorite breakfast spot in South Lake Tahoe. We were now off to meet up with our friend from McCloud, Mike, and ride to Mariposa for a weekend with our Horizons Unlimited family. It was at this event that we were to get a big sendoff and some much needed advice from our well-traveled crew.


Dave and Judy

It’s an amazing feeling knowing that you have people in your life that are more family than friends. For Terry especially, Mike is one of them. Mike wanted to ride and camp with us the week leading up to Horizons Unlimited (HU). It was a special time for stories and bonding, for Terry to get some advice and tips, and Jack to learn the basics of fly-fishing from a man who knew his way around a river. Though no fish were caught, it was a few days off the grid at Big Trees and time to tuck away some new memories. Upon our arrival at HU, we were immediately greeted with hugs and tears by our travel family, helping us find the proper spot to pitch our tent so as to remain close to our ‘unit’. Yes, tears already. It was when our friend, Danell, and I locked eyes that we just couldn’t keep it together. She, too, had been preparing for a yearlong journey, this one around the states. During the planning stage, we would text each other when feeling low or defeated, keeping each other moving forward and not feeling alone in our chaos. Jack found his friends of many years, Alana and Dmitri, their mom, Nicole, a very good friend and staunch supporter of our family from the beginning. Carla and Jonathan rolled in shortly after, Carla on a monster Indian that begged to be photographed by anyone with a camera. It was when Alison came rolling in with her 6 foot body on a little 225cc bike that all of us roared in laughter at this beautiful girl riding this little bike. “55MPH max!” she said. No kidding! She set up her tent next to Gina, a beautiful woman who lost her husband to cancer just one year previous. Though deaf, Gina doesn’t let anything keep her from achieving her goals. It was when Fonzie rolled in on his Aprillia that we new the party had officially begun. He was yet another member of our crazy family, and we like it that way.

Mike Fly Fishing


Nicole Sandy Carla Gina

Jack & Alana Sandy & Carla

We finally finished putting together our Saturday afternoon presentation and were quite pleased with the turnout. Yes, I cried…again. Such a sap. A sense of relief came over us as we were now done with our commitments and ready to cut it and roll. It was time to really get this journey started, but that meant leaving our HU family. This, too, was bittersweet because as sad as we were to say farewell, our HU family was excited for our new venture. That definitely helped make the transition easier. Goodbye for now to our motorcycle family.

Sandy rolling out

Rolling out

But, this would be a long goodbye as some of our clan followed us out through the Yosemite forest with plans to camp for the night at a remote hot springs. The idea of soaking in the springs sounded lovely as we had spent the previous night curled up in the tent, avoiding the rain and thunder that roared overhead. Unfortunately, the hot springs would not see any of our crew. A massive storm was brewing, threatening to descend upon our route with several inches of rain and snow. Delightful. Rain we can handle, but snow and freezing temps can be a bit much, especially for Jack. Inclement weather is a lot to ask of little man. And, we had lost one of our riding crew to a broken throttle cable. We had to say goodbye to Gina as she and her bike waited with the park ranger for a tow truck to take her back over the mountain. Not the way we wanted to part ways but very grateful we got to spend the extra time together.


Tow Truck

The snow and freezing temperatures almost got the best of us. It was all we could do to keep our hands from becoming hypothermic and our visors free of snow. Every scrape of snow off the visor was immediately replaced with yet another layer. The snow became rain once we started to lose altitude. A couple of shared hotel rooms were going to have to suffice for the night, Mike and Danell in one, the Trio and Fonzie in the other. With our cores once again warm, we meandered down the way for dinner and stories of surviving “The Great Blizzard of 2014”.

It was the next morning and time for us to leave our friends and continue our journey south. The last of the long goodbyes was upon us. Danell was taking off for her year around the states, Fonzie was heading back to L.A. to work, and Mike was heading home to McCloud. It was a sweet embrace as neither Mike or Terry could keep a dry eye. We were leaving our McCloud friend and father, and he was leaving his kids. Safe travels to all of our families. You will be missed but, oh, the stories upon our return. PS to Mike: Your ‘To-Do’ list is waiting at home.


Mike Terry & Jack


Many have asked, “Do you have your route planned out? Where is your next stop?” Our answer? We’re headed south. No planned route. No true direction except, well, south. Along this journey, we are making new friends who quickly become new members of our family. It is the people we meet along the way that help mold us into new and different versions of who we once were. As I finish this rather long entry, the three of us are surrounded by the family that run the tiny hotel that we have called home these past few days. They are as curious about us as we are about them. I can’t even conceive how much all of us will learn about people and culture and history as we continue along this amazing ride. And, once again, we will have to say goodbye. We have to remind ourselves that it really isn’t a goodbye as long as you take a piece of everyone with you, letting the experience consume you as well as change even just a tiny piece of your being. Remember, change is a good thing as long as you learn from the experience. Now, I must bid you goodbye…for now. Cheers.