was either brilliantly bold or supremely stupid, and I am not sure I
ascertained as to which triumphed, though the argument had raged in my
years. What was irrefutable was it had to be done.
had gripped me and I was slowly decaying. The edge I once had was gone.
didn’t feel, I didn’t hurt, I just existed and that was no way for a
live. No specific cause could I give, I just knew what the cure was to
job was a job and that was what it has always been. I enjoyed the work
people I worked with, but the machine that runs a company will slowly
down. Most accept it, I could not.
for me had always been a way to make money to do what I wanted to do.
So when I
took a break from what many considered a dream job, it came as a
shouldn’t have, really. If people knew me, and few do, they know I work
without a net. My writing, much like my life, is better spent staying
never been one to worry about my career, or where I am going to live.
details tend to take care of themselves. My angst is much more focused
I am leaving behind. Why was I put here? What can I give people? How
can I make
this place better?
always finds the answers and the road is where I reflect best. The one
that stayed with me was the one I thought I had the easiest answer to.
however, is never easy.
to run off could be dismissed as daydreams, but what I had ran much
didn’t know how far down it went and wasn’t really sure I was prepared
know I needed a journey. The plan was to get on my Harley-Davidson
and just ride. Libertad was the name I had given my 2003 Dyna Wide
Glide when I
bought it. It is the Spanish word for freedom and liberty is what she
guilt was getting to me, since I hadn’t really reciprocated and I could
she was hurt. The short rides we took on weekends were spent fighting,
Libertad coughed and kicked and battled me for the first 50 miles,
relenting and settling down, but never really content.
It wasn’t fair to the bike, really, and I knew that. We
needed to get away. This was for both of us.
was no real itinerary, just a basic idea. The best trips are never
just point and go, and that is what I was going to do.
road has always been my panacea. Even when I was a kid, I was driving
was supposed to. It started with a mini bike an old neighbor had and
ride up and down the street when I was 12. It was a lawnmower engine in
frame and even when I fell off of it, I wasn’t deterred.
graduated to a moped and then to borrowing my friend’s
was a time in my thirties when I didn’t have a motorcycle, but I knew
that I would
again someday and was positive it wouldn’t be long until I was
know for years my soul wanders, I could just never pinpoint the cause.
I also spent
a long time in denial. You get an idea of how you are supposed to live,
never listened to my gut screaming out the path I should have been
ex-wife used to accuse me of having Attention Deficit Disorder. Of
used to accuse me of a lot of things, that’s why she’s my ex.
the reason I left her was because of my need for adventure. It’s not
really. Being married to a free spirit isn’t easy, especially when the
of freedom petrifies you.
terrifies many people, though they will deny it. The thirst for true
independence is an acquired taste and most never find it palatable.
across the country on a motorcycle seemed perfectly logical to no one
were the obvious arguments against this. The first being I was going
Dangerous enough in a car, but two wheel travel always increases the
precedent, however, had been set. After riding out to
for this trip began well before I ever decided to undertake it.
was a vision that ran through my consciousness frequently. The thought
this country on my motorcycle was a dream I had since watching a
the Sturgis Rally when I was a teenager.
primer was an automobile adventure in 1992. I was working a regrettable
a small newspaper, making no money. I covered the
quit the newspaper, packed up my old Honda and went across the country
tools, plans or experience. It seemed perfectly sane at the time. By
the time I
apartments, girlfriends, a wife, they all came and went. Ten years
quicker than I could see it. One constant never wavered. The dream to
get on a
motorcycle and discover this country.
don’t even try to convince myself two months is enough time. It is an
appetizer, but there may be enough in this morsel to nourish my soul,
for a while.
would be hard to leave. I met someone who I wasn’t going to get serious
but fate had other ideas.
was also going to be tough to leave my hometown.
though, the drainers of life had discovered the area and their paws
extended. A Starbucks was rammed though the city council, built on a
lot, as out of place as a prostitute at a Spring cotillion.
Estate prices were influencing the beach front homes. The decades old
level summer cottages and quaint two-stories were being bought and torn
with three-story boxes put in their place.
obscene had invaded and they were winning. It was a war I couldn’t bear
It wouldn’t be long before the charm, imagination and heart was
replaced with faceless, soulless concrete square dwellings that housed
who didn’t have time to say hello.
couldn’t change the Ocean. It was the mountain that couldn’t be
beach was mine, no developer or government official had figured out a
ruin it. It was my peace. It would wait for me, greet me, talk with me.
walk alongside and we would share our stories, laugh and cry like old
would be what I would miss.
the days grew closer to my departure, so did my level of angst. The
calling and the reassuring talks I would have with myself were
details of the ride were minimal. The packing was done a week before.
my mind took much longer.
day came. I spent the afternoon before with friends and family. It was
see those who supported me and believed in me. What I am doing is not
and they were kind enough to not ridicule the idea.
the morning, my girlfriend and I awoke. It was awkward, we both knew it
be. We stumbled around the house in the early morning not really
to do. She didn’t want me to leave. She
said it, she didn’t have to.
goodbye was difficult, but I had one more to make.
my apartment door I walked 85 steps to the sand, across the soft grains
separate me from the water. When I reached the
pause was brief, the goodbye even quicker. I turned my back on the sea
returned to the bike. I started Libertad up, and pulled out with my
straight ahead, careful not to make eye contact with my town. I was on
freeway headed north before the bike was even fully warmed up.