Yes, our launch day is that close. Things feel extremely real now because boxes are getting filled, the storage unit and moving truck have been secured, and this apartment feels more like a launch pad than a home.
I’m leaving before Kate, since I am volunteering for the Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis. That starts in late July, meaning I have to have my things in storage and be out in Utah before our lease is up. Kate will only be here a few extra days, but she has some short trips of her own planned while I’m out volunteering.
That should keep the Instagram feed interesting while she visits friends and gets a final dose of northern California before we start circling the country. I’ll be preoccupied with the charity ride, since I’m piloting a sidecar for the event photographer and acting as a veteran mentor and road mechanic for the 12-18 motorcycles on the trip.
Kate and I have made quite a pile of stuff that needs to somehow fit onto our bike, and this weekend we’ll be test fitting a few things and finalizing the load out. Right now I can’t imagine all of this fitting, but if we can just get it to fit, experience will quickly inform us what needs to be on top and what needs left on the roadside.
To keep weight down we are only bringing minimal tools and the only way to extract the bike if it gets stuck is a small trench shovel, so the plan is to not get stuck. With almost 2,000lbs of combined weight on three wheels, combined with minimal ground clearance, I’m not terribly sure that plan will work when we are heading out to remote campgrounds and riding down fire roads.
Then of course there is still the looming spector of COVID-19. Will parks be open? Will camping be available? Will the border to Canada allow us through? Will friends we plan to visit open their doors to two travelers? That actually reminded me of a song I stumbled across years ago.
It was back when everyone was still on Myspace. One thing that website did well was let you find music. The filter was so simple it just went by region, music type, and then listed bands in alphabetical order. Famous bands and garage bands sat right next to each other. No sponsored posts: just a list of bands.
On a whim I decided to see what the acoustic seen in Great Britain was like. That led me to a band called “My Last Mistake.” It was essentially a duet that added a few members briefly. They still exist in the confines of Cyberspace and had the wherewithal to get their music onto Spotify.
Anyway, their song, “What if I?” was a single I really liked because, essentially, it is a long lament wondering what will happen if she tries and fails miserably. Then, in the last seconds of the song, she asks, “What if I don’t?” I love lyrics that say more than the sum of their words, and that song really does it.
What sounds like someone complaining about their fears is really an inquiry as to what it means to be afraid. If you never try, you never know. If fear stops you before you begin, what can you ever accomplish? What if you look back at all the things you wish you tried, and the fear of a life unlived hits you harder than any fear you’ve experienced?
So, while COVID continues to spread, we’ll move forward. While this 30-year-old teeters near 100k miles, we’ll fire it up and move forward. We could get hit by a truck. We could get mauled by a bear. We could freeze in a mountain pass if we run out of gas. We could be robbed or have the bike stolen.
One thing that’s scarier than all of that… we could stay in this apartment and do nothing.
We could watch more years pile up as we wait for the perfect moment to take our big trip, then realize there never was a perfect time, and be buried with all the maps and lists and pictures we pinned on the wall, saying “some day.”
That’s more of a worry than anything “out there,” so in 32 days we will make the highway our home and spend the next 6 months as nomads.