As I sit on this wonderful 115 year old porch and write this short piece, I watch at least a dozen squirrels play in the yard of green grass and large old trees. Seems pleasant enough but living on the road is no easy task. A new motel nearly every night for the last 30 days. I often times wake up in the middle of the night and the thoughts and questions pop into my head. Where am I at? What state am I in again? What town is this? I’ve had some really memorable stays and places I will remember for the service, the people and the surroundings. Many of nights however I am just getting down the road and staying someplace with a bed and a shower and a reasonable rate to accommodate my budget. Most days I don’t have a specific plan where I will end up. This might seem a bit unusual not to have a plan but I feel it leaves plenty of time for flexibility in my schedule. The standard motel/hotels seem to be all the same to me. Usually about midway through the day I’ll start searching for someplace to stay for the night or start the search while pulled over on the side of the road for a rest. I’ve begun to dislike this about the trip. Sometimes I find a neat little mom and pop motel but often times its been a standard Quality Inn, Days Inn, or just whatever. Those places are all the same to me. Same room, same stuff for breakfast, same everything. No personality, and certainly no value. I've heard comments from front desk clerks like “I ain't ever met anyone from South Dakota before”. Not what I would call a real welcome. The other day it was so hot and humid all I wanted wa s a place with a pool to cool off. I went to my standard Expedia or Priceline app and booked one. Get there and the pool is empty being renovated. Needless to say I was now hot and a bit cranky too.
Of my favorites on the trip there have been some great stays. Diamond Lake Lodge in Oregon is one that stands out. Nothing real special about the room but the people were amazing and the surroundings incredible. The little Trail City B & B in Coolidge Kansas was another remarkable find and just a couple days ago finding a B & B in the small town of Edenton North Carolina, The Inner Banks Inn. Edenton will be one of my favorites. The little cabin at the Bayou Resort in Arkansas was good for a couple nights of great relaxation too. The rest of the stays were pretty much a room to crash for the night and the standard “do ya wanna wait for a waffle” hotel breakfast. Very nice Interesting people at most places but the stays not as memorable as the B & B’s. One things for sure I will be seeking more B & B type place to stay. It seems the smallest places have the biggest interactions with folks. It’s an incredible feeling to be able to meet so many people in so many places.
In some ways its hard to believe I’ve been at this for 30 days now. Incredible! Just an incredible journey across this great country. So many people I’ve met and so much love and support of my journey. Everyday people tell me their cancer stories. It seems to be in everyone’s life or someone they know has died recently from cancer. People have graciously bought me meals, handed me cash, sat and said prayers with me and were happy to do it in support of the journey. I can’t thank them enough for their contribution to the Ridin On campaign. The comments and peoples reaction to the bike and the story behind all this has been wonderful. For that I thank ALL of the people who are following my journey.
The other part of this journey that’s hard for me is just missing my wife and family back home. Sure it’s an adventure out here but I certainly miss home too. I am looking forward to the next ten days and by that time I should be in Boston to meet Chris there for a long weekend. Gives me a rest from the travel and the biggest bonus is I get to spend time with my wife and our son Forest and his wife Nikki. Really looking forward to that and seeing the sites of Boston.
I do have some concerns about my upcoming routes going north from here. From what I’ve heard the traffic only gets heavier from here north. I better get used to that for a week or two. I’ll have to put some major trust into that GPS unit on the bike. It has been extremely helpful but it has sure led me astray a time or two as well. Overall I have been happy with the unit itself and it is helpful to pinpoint your hotel or a nearby restaurant. It’s also good because it always shows the speed limit zone you are in. Its not always accurate but I’d say 90% of the time it’s correct and help with speed zones through the little towns and changing on two lane roads. It was definitely worth the investment and I have come to rely on it a lot.
One other issue I’m now dealing with is carrying a bunch of heavier clothing and gear that I’m not using. Send it home? It will be 45 degrees in Northern Michigan if I do! But storage of the heavy gear takes up a lot of space on the bike. I’d rather use that storage for more lighter weight clothing. With the humidity on the east coast I can’t wear a t-shirt more than once and I only brought 3 short sleeve and 3 long sleeve. I ended up using my pocket knife to cut the sleeves off a long sleeve one just to have a tank top in the evenings. I could probably store only a couple more shirts. I am pretty full on the bike but it might be better than finding a place to do wash every couple days.
All in all I’d say life on the road has treated me fairly. I’m out enjoying life and raising some rare cancer awareness. People seem to like what I’m doing and for that I am so very grateful. This country is full of amazing people and places. I tend to focus on the positives that are happening, and they happen each day. There will always be a negative here or there but at the end of the day there is always something good reflect on and it usually involves peoples human spirit. No matter how dull the motel room, the people have been there EVERYDAY in support this journey across the country. I am truly honored and I thank God many times a day for being able to Ride On to the next day.