Gone Walkabout

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by HowlingMad, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. RTLLTR

    RTLLTR RotoTiller!

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    In my series of movie line quotes....."Look at the big brain on Brad"

    Name the movie Howly!
  2. twistedthrottle

    twistedthrottle Been here awhile

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    Pulp fiction. I think Samuel may have actually said "Check out the big brain on Brad...." but that may be a fuzzy memory
  3. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    I was naked when our eyes met, both of mine and all eight of yours. I'll admit it was awkward at first, and I'll admit that my first thought was to kill you. "That's not very Buddhist" I thought to myself so I refrained from washing you down the drain. So how could you do it? I was willing to look past the fact that you didn't pay your $12 campsite fee, that you were in the wrong gender shower stall (yeah, I looked, so what?), and I was even willing to forgive you giggling at me when bumped the handle and the water went cold. So how could you do it? How could you wait until I had soap in my eyes to pull your little disappearing act? Oh I looked for you, I searched every crack and crevasse of that shower and me. But of course you already know that, watching me freak out will all those beady little eyes.

    I should have killed you when I had the chance.
  4. Nictrolis

    Nictrolis Been here awhile

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    Not sure your field, but being a problem solver is pretty effective way of marketing a "generalist" in any field. At least, it's worked for me... of course, you have to have enough depth to be able to solve difficult problems, so it's pretty important to at least gain some level of focus on the areas you're interested in. For instance, I'm an electrical engineer (by day... muhuhahaha) and focus on medical devices. Even though I'm not really a digital or analog guy I've made myself useful by knowing how to do enough of each and being really good at product development in general. That, and getting a bit lucky of course.

    So... uh... specialize in your generality. Yeah, that's it...

    I suck at career counseling. :rofl
  5. HelloKitty

    HelloKitty Adventurer

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    Yup, should have! No way I'd have turned on the water with one of those sharing my space.

    I guess I am not very Buddhist when it comes to those situations.
  6. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    Some good, inspiring stuff in there. I needed it this morning, thanks.
  7. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    Hit a wall yesterday, despite a great start enjoying much of eastern Oklahoma and northern Arkansas, I'm afraid that I let my emotions get a bit on top of me.

    Before I even hit California, I started telling myself not to rush home. I always seem to pick up the pace once I start the return path and forget the journey and focus on the destination. Someone in here (sorry, can't find your post at the moment) cautioned me not to be in too much of a hurry to get home, because as soon as I arrive I'll wish I was out here again. But there's snow on the ground at home and a weather window is about to open that will allow me safe passage home. So I've picked up the pace a bit lately.

    I was ok with it until a call home yesterday reminded me that all the reasons that prompted me to take this trip will still be there waiting for me when I get home, and a few more like a leaky roof and downed trees to add to my unrewarding to-do list. I suddenly felt like a drunk who just climbed out of the bottle to discover all of those problems are still waiting for him when he sobered up. Now, with only 1300 miles left in my journey I don't really want to go home but I don't have any other place to go.

    I didn't make as much progress as I had hoped for on this trip, I had even flirted with the idea of not coming home until I had a job, but that seemed like an unnecessary artificial amount of pressure that would be more of a burden for others. I knew when I left that I might not accomplish anything more than going for a ride and making some great memories, and for that I'm very grateful. Still, I'm a little sad and disappointed in myself for not putting more energy into finding my purpose. I know that it doesn't really end when I pull in the driveway, but still there's a sadness that I can't seem to shake.

    I have made some great memories so far and those will keep me warm in the winter of my years. I know that attitude is everything and that once I get my head screwed on correctly I can get focused and get to work, but at the moment the threads just don't seem to line up.

    Thanks to Nictrolis, I keep hearing Morgan Freeman say "get busy living, or get busy dying". Now if I could just figure out how to turn that into motion. At the moment it just feels like burning fuel and making miles without direction or purpose.

    Just keep breathing.

    [​IMG]
  8. Nice_Rumble

    Nice_Rumble Long timer

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    A quote from George Moore, "A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.":raabia
  9. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    Thanks Skip.
  10. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    This place feels heavy lately, so let me switch gears a bit and try to lighten it up.

    The Trip Gods didn't like my original plans to stay as far south as possible so they decided to introduce me to Harry who loaned me his shock. That put me some 400 miles north of where I wanted to be and it didn't make sense to lose that much latitude, so I altered my course.

    Although I have avoided interstates wherever I could, occasionally I've been forced on them due to a lack of other roads. I found myself on I40 in a 75mph speed zone being thrown around by trucks doing well more than that. It was then I noticed an old road running parallel. There were no cars on it and it was only two lanes. Looks perfect. I crossed over the small grassy area and ran at a much quieter 75mph without the buffeting of tractor trailers, without constantly checking my mirrors for assassins, I was only worried about what road I was on and if it would take me in the direction I wanted. A few miles down the road I discovered that I was on an actual road, it was TX 75 or something, but more importantly it was the Old Route 66.

    [​IMG]

    For the next two days I would attempt to follow the Old Route 66, although my GPS thought I was deliberately trying to frustrate it. Route66 changed it's appearance quite a bit for the two days I followed her. Sometimes I40 ran right over the top of her, sometimes besides and other times 66 was just a dirt track in the middle of fields.

    [​IMG]

    Now I'm not really a sentimental type, and I rarely chase historical markers. In fact the few places I've crossed RT66 in the past left me with a sense that it only exists to part tourists from their money with cheesy, nostalgic crap made in China. But the Trip Gods gave me a new, temporary mission; to follow Route 66 for as long as I could.

    [​IMG]

    But they wouldn't make it easy on me. Often times the road would simply die out in overgrown trees or large signs saying "road ends" (pic shamelessly stolen from the web)

    [​IMG]

    I crossed over the grass divider so many times that I should be calling home collect from a cell. But it seemed to only be me and the trucks out there and I suspect they were entertained. The reward was two days with a purpose and a lot of discovery. I followed Old Route 66 through three states (New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma). It's hard not to imagine how things were in the early 1900's when 66 was in her prime. The remnants of old buildings, an old railroad track that appears to have suffered the same fate around the same time, and of course the road itself (which varies in condition quite a bit) all have a ghostly feel about them. It's like a toy that a spoiled child simply stopped playing with that beckons to passersby to pick up and put to use again.

    It was a nice diversion to stop and wander through abandoned buildings or study the GPS to figure out where or if the road might take me somewhere. Often the GPS still showed the road completing when in reality it was missing a bridge or other obstacle.

    I even came around to appreciating some of the touristy parts of Route66 too. It warmed me to imagine old farts collecting old oil cans and gas pumps. Maybe I am a sentimental type. Mental anyway.

    [​IMG]
  11. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/yfkZEniHmXI?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="563" width="1000"></iframe>
    HD Available too.
  12. Nice_Rumble

    Nice_Rumble Long timer

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    Nice old route 66 vid! You saw more of the actual old road than most tourists and no traffic to boot. Creative ending.
  13. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    A few notes on the Midwest before she gets too far from memory. First of all, I'm glad we got to know each other a little better this time, you were right, it takes time and patience. I really enjoyed some of my time in Texas and Oklahoma and I really enjoyed exploring your less-traveled roads. I do however, I have a few notes, tidbits and maybe a complaint or two.

    Let's start with your biggest issue. You can't help that the scenery doesn't really change for what seems like months on end, or that the only curves in the road are your off ramps (if you were wondering why I would sometimes exit the freeway and get back on, it was only to feel alive for a minute). But coffee is a beverage made from roasting a bean, grinding it a specific amount and pouring water over it just above 200° F. Just because you had something brown in your cabinet and ran water through it does not make it coffee. I can't afford to be a Starbucks snob, but there's room in between. And this, this is the biggest issue, it's a crime and it's everywhere in the Midwest.

    [​IMG]
    See those big black and white smelly pets you keep in the field? Yeah. Guess what? They make cream. Somehow.
    I feel a bit better, thanks.

    While in Texas I started an very detailed and scientific experiment counting your vehicles. Actually it was to keep from falling into a coma, but here are the results:

    3 out of 4 vehicles are pickup trucks.
    Of the remaining 25% about 50% were SUV's
    Prius' are apparently not sold in Texas. (Hence no one was exercising their inalienable right to do 50mph in a 75mph)

    Oh, and one other thing Texas; you do know that car makers sell vehicles in colors other than white and grey, right? I know it's hot there, but live a little, huh?


    Midwest - I know it's not only you, but we have a weight problem. There are lots of things we can do, but let's start here.
    [​IMG]
    This is not the rest of the worlds idea of a nutritious breakfast.


    And lastly, although your accent can be sexy on a woman (not always), there are limits. When you spell phonetically it hurts my brain.
    [​IMG]
  14. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    By the way, I'm in currently in Cookeville, TN and I have no idea where I'm going next.
  15. RTLLTR

    RTLLTR RotoTiller!

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    Happy Sunday Howly! Love the coffee comments! You know how I feel in the topic.

    Mick and I had another great 50 miles on the dirty girls today. All before noon! We have found a nice pace riding together. Come home so we can ride before the white stuff flies.

    Peace chicken grease!
  16. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    En route, but don't rush me, my mid-life crisis isn't scheduled to end just yet.
  17. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    6481 miles on the clock, in just a few days I'll be home. Mixed emotions since I'm not quite ready to be home just yet. I went out to clear my head and find a purpose but I'm not sure if I'm any farther along.

    Anyway, coming up on 4 weeks on the road now and I'm only just settling into the pattern. I remember from our two month trip that it took about a month to settle in. Sort of a shame that I'm now headed home after taking so long to acclimate.

    I've noticed a few things that have changed in me while I've been out here and a few other interesting bits too that I wanted to share.

    •The motorcycle has become an extension of my being and I only think where I want to go and the bike follows. I thought I already had this connection, but it seems to have grown deeper.
    • I now know exactly what direction I'm headed in without thinking about it. Similar to the motorcycle extension, I no longer have to think about direction. I suspect primitive people knew this feeling on a much deeper level. Guess that means I'm regressing again. Darn. There's enough hair on my knuckles already. Thanks Dad.
    • Although time is relatively irrelevant(?) I can tell the time of day within about 30 minutes now, I suspect it's from being outside everyday for almost a month.
    • Strangely, I've become a little more introverted on this trip. Normally I'm fairly extroverted on a bike but perhaps the fact that I can go multiple days without speaking to anyone has made me less apt to reach out. Very strange considering that I find I really crave company lately.
    • I'm more efficient when I camp than when I hotel. When camping I get all of my chores done at night before bed and in the morning I'm on the road before the sun is fully up. In hotels I catch up on sorting footage and usually creating videos or other bandwidth intensive chores. Also, I get up later and enjoy the feast that comes with only the cheapest hotels. Anyone need any sugar packets?
    • I need far less food in a day than I think I do, but ironically it's very difficult to shop for just one especially when space is very limited. Imagine getting all of your groceries in a space not much bigger than a gallon of milk.
    • Fire makes nice company at night, but it's still a very distant second.
    • I've gotten very comfortable sharing the camp with animals. I've been camping for as long as I can remember, but I can't say I've ever had this level of comfort. From coyotes to wild pigs to bears (the only one I haven't seen) to opossums and raccoons, none have made me lose any sleep. Maybe it's just the NyQuil, but the scurrying of unknown critters and even the beaconing of coyote packs haven't bothered me. I'm really enjoying this level of comfort.
    • One really doesn't need much to be happy in life, in fact having less seems to make it easier. I have everything I need to live indefinitely on the bike. I even have redundant luxury devices like two stoves and two pair of underwear. Just kidding, I only have one pair. I do have a range of clothing that can keep me comfortable in most climates. Not fashionable, mind you, but functional. Point being that we really get caught up in consumption and it isn't until we live without it for a while that we start to let go.
    •Television, no thanks. I was never a TV guy, but you'd think that after days without talking to anyone that when I finally checked into a hotel it would be the first thing I'd do. But it seems even more foreign and insulting than ever. I guess Jerry Springer is now called Fox News, when did that happen?
    • I learned something about myself during a great conversation in Tucson and it was comforting and troubling all at once to know that I may never be happy just being home, at least for too long. I've spent most of my life trying to build a solid nest, but constantly drawn away seeking adventure. I guess I thought this might settle down as I got older, but the opposite seems to be happening. Bob Seger's "Traveling Man" almost brought tears in my helmet the other day. The similarities were startling.
    • I have a new understanding about religion and children, but how either fit in my life is still a mystery. It's a funny dichotomy between needing things to ground us and the resentment that can come from them. I wonder if anyone or everyone else struggles with this. I feel quite alone with the battle to balance the two.
    •Lastly, traveling is easier than most people think, especially in this country. For better or worse, you're never very far from whatever you need. I've ridden through 49 states so far and tried hard to find some of the most remote places out there, but the world isn't as big or unfriendly as we're led to believe. Go see it while you still can, bring some cash, a smile and an open mind.
  18. Knightwork

    Knightwork Have Coffe Cup--Can Travel

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    Your thoughts are some of the most honest and clear thinking that I have seen or heard in a long time --Don't change-

    You'll be a better man for it and so will others that look up to you :deal

    Ride Safe
    Knightwork:clap
  19. RTLLTR

    RTLLTR RotoTiller!

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    Having just wrapped up my 4th Mid Life Crisis this week :D I get it.

    Don't hurry home just yet, but leave enough time for the best dirt riding season or you will get angry you missed it!

    And yes, we all struggle with the points you made in your last post. I work my ass off to have nice things, and then feel guilty for having them when I see folks struggling for the basics in life. That tells me I'm still alive, and still care about people. That's a good thing!

    Keep it coming Johnny, and stay safe!
  20. BillNighSciGuy

    BillNighSciGuy n00b

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    So did you get stuck in the big weather front? Where are you now? Catch ya soon.