On Thursday I was typing on my computer at an IHOP about 15 minutes outside of New Orleans when I saw a message from my cousin Brandon. He said it’d be great to see me if I was passing through Texas. My uncle moved his family from S. FL to Texas about 25 years ago. I don’t see the Whites very often. None of us do. In fact, I was the first family member to visit the Whites in Texas. I did a quick search and saw that it was 500 miles away. It was a beautiful day (at first)...screw it...”I’ll see you tonight bro!” He wasn’t expecting me to take him up on his offer so quickly. It was a long day in the saddle. I didn’t want to say this outright but I hope they recognized that I tortured myself with an 9 hour motorcycle ride in the cold rain as a gesture for the love of my family. I’d do anything for family. It was great to see them. I once read that POWs in Vietnam would build houses in their mind to keep from going insane while in captivity. They’d imagine building a house step-by-step. Digging a hole and putting the dirt in a wheelbarrow. Mixing the concrete. Framing the house. They wouldn’t cut corners - it was all done in real time in their mind. If it took 20 shovel loads of dirt to fill a wheelbarrow, then they imagined all 20 shovel loads. It was an exercise to keep their mind busy. I do the same thing on a smaller scale when I’m riding. My mind is somewhere else. I’m writing stories in my mind. Remembering precise details. Wordsmithing how I want to tell a story. When the story is complete, it’s like I snap out of a trance and realize I just rode 90 miles. Then it’s time to put the story down in a tangible format. I typed up a 7 page story that I wrote in my head while I was riding across Louisiana. I added it to my ADV thread while at Brandon’s house. I spent 2 nights at Brandon’s house visiting with family. I learned things about my family that I didn’t know...and they were able to see a glimpse of their weird relative that they only heard stories of. Brandon has a great job, a beautiful home, and a beautiful new wife. Welcome to the family Stephanie. Oh...please don’t tell my dogs that 2 other dogs were on my bike.