Sitting here in Pennsylvania at my parents house, I decided to finally update on the last several weeks. It’s been a LOT of travel (About 6500 miles of driving) in the truck with tons of ups and downs and one undeniable conclusion. Travelling by bike beats driving a car down the interstate any day of the week!
The eclipse trip was fantastic and served as a great shakedown of Lauren’s new bike and our gear. We rested up in Fort Collins for a few days and then headed South back to Arizona. Unfortunately, we missed out on visiting Lauren’s cousin on the way back due to timing but we were able to make it back to Tucson relatively uneventfully.
Our awesome friends Ben and Kelly offered us their house for a few weeks for the low low price of taking care of 2 adorable pups until they returned from vacation. Kuiper (named for the astronomer) and Lefty kept us busy and Lauren was in canine heaven. We spent some time with Deana who treated us to an amazing dinner and listened to Led Zeppelin on vinyl on her porch via the record player she dragged outside. Ben and Kelly came home and we spent a few weeks crashing at their place and living it up Tucson style.
There was Donkey Kong Country at Ian’s until 3:00 AM, time spent with John and Connie, our retired beef jerky Connoisseur friend and his wife and plenty of IPAs and binge watching “Rick and Morty” on Ben and Kelly’s couch.
We randomly decided on a Wednesday that we’d take a trip to Mexico with Ben, Kelly and Alex for the weekend. It was a mad dash to square away passports and spare tires for the van with 200,000 miles on it. We left later than intended (it’s a trend) and rolled up to a beautiful beach house that evening. They didn’t even check our passports on the way into Mexico, so if you ever wanted to disappear, you could totally do it! The weekend was a blast. Breakfast by the water was 3 eggs, potatoes, beans, tortillas, bacon, sausage, and a beer for $5? Yes please! Ben grilled up the fresh shrimp and snapper we purchased at the market with grilled pineapple for desert. We drank Mexican beer and played “Pass the phone and pick a song.” The water was great and the pups had a blast. All in all it was a great success! We headed back to Tucson tired but happy for the good times.
We had a sendoff dinner at the Polish Cottage with amazing food! When we left we felt like we were leaving home because we made such awesome friends and even though we were there a short time, for the first time ever, we felt like we belonged! We were both humbled by how many people came out to send us off and will miss all the friends from Tucson!
Getting out of town was a circus and we were late again. The damned check engine light came on in the truck and delayed us while we tried to figure that out. It turns out that sometimes you just need to run the piss out of a diesel to open up the exhaust filter. We drove eastbound through Albuquerque and Santa Fe, then through Amarillo TX, with the requisite George Strait soundtrack through town. We stopped for a day in Little Rock to spend some time with our friend Corrine and played copious amounts of Mario Kart. She even busted out the old school Nintendo 64 from the closet and made my day!
En route to Mississippi we passed through Forrest city Arkansas, yep the same Forrest that Mr. Gump was named after. Then we rolled into Mississippi and settled in for a few weeks with Lauren’s parents.
Amory Mississippi is an old railroad town and a close knit community. It’s still a dry town! We had a great time with Lauren’s parents. We went for evening walks, took an overnight camping trip and went fishing on the bass boat. Lauren enjoyed cooking some healthy meals with her mom and discussing new wines over dinner with her dad.
I swung through Columbus MS to visit a few Air Force buddies too. Two weeks flew by and before we knew it we were on the road again, this time to Savannah, GA to visit Lauren’s sister Christa and her husband Kyle.
We had a great time, went on a ton of walks around the neighborhood, and ate some fantastic food. One night we went to the Chromatic Dragon and played Settlers of Catan and “Epic spell wars of the battle wizards” with a few Dragon’s Milk Stouts to spice things up. They had tons of board games and video games in the bar and the menu was all named after games and other nerdful things! It was a really cool place. Most evenings were spent at home playing the ridiculously entertaining Drawful game on xbox which is a cross between pictionary and balderdash. Before we knew it the week was over and we were headed North to Asheville.
Our first stop in North Carolina was Lauren’s aunt and uncle’s house up in the mountains. We ate delicious healthy food and talked a lot about our adventures. We got up the next day and braved the rain for a mountain bike ride through some washed out trails that qualified as rivers in certain spots. It was a fun ride and we got our butts kicked by Uncle Paul and Aunt Mel who are in fantastic shape!
We parted ways and headed to Asheville for a few nights. We ate some great Nepali food and went for the compulsory trip to Wicked Weed to sample the sour beers. The plan was to have three beers or so and call it a night, but then things took a very strange turn. The guy next to us, George started chatting us up and bought us a bottle of fantastic sour called Medora. He said there was some amazing concert next door at the Orange Peel. Long story short, we ended up with free tickets to a band called “Run the Jewels” and although it wasn’t our typical style of music the show was a blast! George kept buying rounds and our plans of riding the next morning slowly faded away. Details are hazy but at some point we talked to some high school kids at the show and ended up in some intense philosophical debate at the end of the night with George. What are those three things you’re not supposed to talk about at the bar again?!?!
The next day was
wasted spent recovering in the hotel room and lazily ordering food delivered to our door and watching bad TV. Once recovered, the next day we made plans to meet our friend David who lives up in the mountains about an hour away. We had a day to waste while he was working so we walked to West Asheville and checked out Archetype brewing. Sitting on a couch in the corner and smelling the boiling wort made for a perfect afternoon. We waited patiently for David to call us but later found out his phone was broken. Oddly enough he randomly remembered my parents phone number from 20 years ago and was desperately trying to call my Mom to get my number. Eventually he got a hold of us, we got directions and headed up into the mountains for an amazing weekend.
We drank great beer, sat by a fire and listened to TOOL! The conversations were great and we got along very well. David has been an inspiration to us and is a big reason we are doing what we are doing. There is something refreshing about someone who does what they want and makes decisions that lead to being happy! We checked out his other cabin and future homestead sight, hiked around a bit and had another amazing night which included running around in the pitch dark barefoot screaming at the top of our lungs just for the hell of it. We traded a few books and said our goodbyes. It was liberating, refreshing and inspiring all at once and we can’t wait to go back!
Next stop, Washington PA to visit my family where I’m writing this now. It’s been a bit of a haze and our livers are in need of a break. It’s been great to see my brother’s kids and spend time with some old friends and their kids. When you move away from home, you naturally lose touch with people, but the friends who make an effort to stay in touch are a rarity and something to be celebrated… hence the sore livers. Bonfires and barhopping abound and great conversations with great friends! One Saturday we stopped at a bar where there happened to be a random wedding. The bride walked down the aisle right behind us as we drank beer and sort of watched a football game no one cared about. It was weird.
Opinions about our trip are mixed and it’s taken a lot to try to convince people we are not crazy… actually I get the feeling they think we are more stupid than crazy. You can’t spend your time worrying about what other people think though, or I mean I guess you can if you want.
I try to keep the ranting to a minimum here and I try really hard not to force my lifestyle or values on other people. Everyone has to make their own choices in life and everyone is trying their best to make it in this world. Our philosophy is “Being happy is the only thing that matters, and if you’re not happy it’s your own god damned fault!” I’m not saying this kind of life is for everyone, or even for anyone, but we are going to give it a shot and see what happens. I don’t think you need to sell all of your shit and go ride bikes in a foreign county to be happy, but taking some time to think about what you really want out of life and then making changes to make that a reality is all I would suggest… Or not… Do whatever the hell you want!