High Desert Highway

High desert for miles around.
A highway cuts through it from horizon to horizon
with a town every 100 miles or so.
To some, it seems desolate.
To others, it is beautiful like no other place.
Storms to the rear have already doused the earth
with a cleansing rain, and the sweet smell of wet
sage brush fills the air to be taken in and savored.
It is the lonely road, the loneliest highway
that exposes you to this beauty.

Brent

The Best Journey of My Life

I have done many things in the course of my 65 years, and I hope to do a lot more. There have been many journeys, like my solo motorcycle rides on the Pony Express Trail or the Oregon Trail, but none as good or as long as this one.

Today, May 23rd, 2016, is the 30-year anniversary of marriage to my best friend, my companion, my confidant, my lover, my wife, Lin.

Breakfast at Sharon Woods & biking on the Little Miami Recreational Trail

When you are dating, and trying to decide what your relationship is going to be with this other person, it’s not unusual to have doubts. Maybe that’s youth, or maybe it’s the fear of making a mistake. With Lin, I came to realize that this is the person I am supposed to be with. She is my soul mate. Maybe we were together in a previous life or will be again, but I know, that I know, that I know she is the one.

From the moment I met her, I knew she was unique, perhaps the most interesting and unique woman I ever met. While we were dating, she had a hand in the decision for me to enter the ministry. And even more so, she married me while I was pastoring a small rural church in Illinois. Not many women take on the role of Pastor’s Wife, but she did. She was a great PW and the congregation loved her. We left the formal ministry when decisions needed to be made and opportunities arose. We faced that together, and it gave our young marriage strength.

I am not sure if it is our love that creates the respect for each other, or the respect that strengthens our love. But, I do know this, respect is vital to a relationship and it carries over into friendships and business associations. Having respect for others is vital to building relationships, trust and community. And it is respect that motivates us to serve our family, friends and others.

We have had some wonderful travels and adventures, like our first trip to Florida together, spending some time in a condo overlooking the beach at Panama City Beach. Eating great food. Walking the beach during the day, and listening to the waves crash on shore at night with the patio doors wide open all night long.

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Our travels in 2004 and 2005 took us along the Lewis and Clark Trail for the L&C Bicentennial. With our birthdays in November, two days apart, we went to Oregon to celebrate the Lewis and Clark event at the Pacific, “Oh the Joy. Pacific in view.” William Clark wrote that in his diary on November 7, 1805. My birthday, November 7. What an incredible adventure.

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Then, for our 25th, we had to do some creative planning because Lin was attending a conference in Reno. So, I flew to Reno at the end of her conference to meet her. The next day, we boarded Amtrak for an 8-hour ride to San Francisco where we stayed for several nights in a motel in the Fisherman’s Wharf district.

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Great food, cable cars, China Town, Golden Gate Bridge and ferries. We enjoyed it all. Then we boarded a shuttle bus to the airport, and flew home. Our 25th was truly a journey of planes, trains and automobiles.

Years ago, there was that camping trip to Colorado where the nights were quite cold. There were the birthday and anniversary weekends to see art, musicians, theatrical performances and weekends away in a cabin in the woods. The journey has been a good one, a blessed one.

When we married, I remember sitting at breakfast the morning after our ceremony. I think we were still on a cloud, and of course, we still tell this story as we did the other night when we had dinner with friends. Lin said, “I have three rules for you. No beating. No cheating. No butt crack.” It’s good to have rules.

I don’t know where the time went. It doesn’t feel like 30 years. It has not been about the destinations in our travels. Destinations like Toronto, Seattle, San Francisco, Nashville and more were wonderful travels and getaways. But it has been the every day routines of getting up, going to work, cooking and cleaning, building homes, taking walks while holding hands, and making a life together that has been the greatest journey. It has been the best journey of my life.

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“This is dedicated to the one I love.”

Brent

South by Southeast: Mississippi to Florida

Day 3, August 7

The humidity was so bad, my glasses fogged up when I walked out of the motel to pack the bike. After a little time, the fog disappeared, and I pulled out to head southeast.

For a poor state, Mississippi has some mighty fine roads. Four-lane divided highways with smooth pavement. In fact, Louisiana had some nice roads too, as did Arkansas. Some of those state transportation folks from Ohio should come down here to learn a thing or two about highway maintenance and construction.

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The day was pretty much one of travel. Thoughts ran through my head like a penny arcade. The landscape was beautiful, a treat for the eye. But in travels like this, you will often see things you don’t want to see. Maybe make you feel uncomfortable.

When I finally reached Mobile, Alabama, I needed gas, food and a restroom. Not necessarily in that order. I spotted a McDonalds in the near downtown area, pulled in, parked and went inside. It was nice and cool. The place was packed.

With the first order of business out of the way, I ordered my food and waited for it to be delivered to the counter. With food and drink in hand, I found a place to sit near the front window—it gave me an advantage point to keep an eye on the bike. There was a guy sitting near me like he was waiting for someone. Another guy sat in a booth with his head in his hands. Another seemed to be just wandering back and forth. It finally dawned on me that these people were homeless or on the street. They were sitting in the cool of McDonalds, but it was the next scene that reinforced my observations.

Another guy walked into the place, looked down into the trash bin, pulled out a crumpled sack, and went through it. No food, but a couple of cups. He selected one of the cups and shoved the bag back into the bin. Then he walked over to the drink dispenser area, filled the cup with ice and selected a drink.

What these guys were doing was waiting for people to throw their meals into the trash and then grabbing the leftovers. Surely the McDonalds staff and management know what’s going on. The whole scene was sad. I have worked with homeless and at soup kitchens, and it has always amazed me how people sometimes survive while trying to maintain their sense of dignity.

I rode away from Mobile with a heavy heart and much on my mind. On the other side of Mobile Bay, I found gas and proceeded down I-10 towards my destination for the night. There was no opportunity to stop on the Interstate with the state line in the middle of a bridge, so a quick stop at the Welcome Center provided the photo opportunity.

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Florida … check.

About an hour from my destination, I ran into some rain. At first I thought it would be just a little spit, but it soon turned into a downpour. I pulled over and put on the rain suit. Before getting back on the bike, I documented the conditions.

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Down the road, the rain was heavy. I proceeded on. I was ready to get off the bike after 10 hours of riding and nearly 500 miles.

Stay tuned for more tour reports. Coming up: Georgia, South and North Carolina.

See you on the highway.

Brent

A Conversation with Zoe Cano, London

blogger-image--200477656Here in the USA, many adventure motorcyclists dream of riding outside the country, riding to some far away place, or going around the world. Of course, there are those here who believe there is more than enough to see in the USA in a lifetime.

Last year, I followed the Tweets and posts of Bonneville Adventure and found it very interesting that one rider’s goal was to ride across America on a motorcycle.

Zoe Cano, of London, England, had a dream—to return to the United States and see the country by motorcycle. Her bucket list item became an obsession, making choices, establishing priorities, and planning for four years to make it a reality. In the summer of 2012, she packed her bags, flew to the states, picked up a Triumph Bonneville T100, and started out across the country on a ride of a lifetime.

Along the way, she hit all the towns and places she planned, met friends along the way, found adventure, hung out with cowboys, and breathed in the greatness of the countryside and out of the way places.

Upon reaching her destination, she turned in her Bonneville, and flew back to her home in London, where she is working on a book about fulfilling one’s dreams.

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Here’s our conversation:

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You can read about her adventures on her web site, Bonneville Adventure.

Thanks for listening.

See you on the highway.

Brent