Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Long Term Road Trip?

Brian over at Ribbon of Highway penned a post He Wants to Escape... As If That Were a Bad Thing. This post brought me back to February 2011.  I had been searching for something on the internet and come across a story written by Scooter Tramp Scotty about something called being a Motorcycle Gypsy.  As I read the article I was intrigued.

As some may recall this was also four months prior to the nuptials that I was to embark on.  I shared the story with Linda and after going silent for a short time she surmised, “You are thinking about doing this aren’t you?”

Well, it did speak to me.  But, in reality I was a conformist to society’s expectations of family, job, responsibilities, and keeping one’s word.  So, while continuing to follow Scotty’s stories, I buried the Gypsy idea somewhere in the back of my mind.  

When the marriage didn’t work out I began to flirt with the idea again.  A few weeks ago I was all set to hit the road for a few weeks to give it a try, but circumstances prevented that.  Luckily for me, it turned out, because the weather on my intended route took a nasty turn and hasn’t gotten much better. 

On the bright side this gives me about five months before spring to make a few decisions about what I really have the guts to do.  Daughters and grandwonderfuls are a huge part of the decision.  The dog is a priority and I am thinking of making him my riding buddy.  My lease is up in July and I have to make a decision about where I want to live before that.  It seems the less responsibilities I have the harder the decisions become.  

If you want to know a little bit about Scotty and the Gypsy life here are some links for the former husband, roofing contractor, American Dream chaser….he ditched it all to live for the past 20+ years from the seat of his Harley, Betsy. Wait, maybe he is living the American Dream! You can also find him of Facebook.


  1. Paul:

    I just read one of your links, "Titties travel . . . " it's very interesting. I wished I had the extra time this summer to put on less miles and see more but with defined vacation time it's not always possible. Reading his words I understood completely what he was saying.

    I did manage to go with the flow for a short time but I also had to keep one eye on the calendar

    You are much younger than myself so I say to you "go for it", what are you waiting for ?

    Riding the Wet Coast

  2. Bob, it is easy to say I'll do it, but harder to do it. Even though I am retired about 20% of my time is committed to a part time endeavor to have health care without spending a small fortune. I am in the midst of a three month nothing to do period and have been busier than if I was working! Funny how that works.

  3. Paul:

    I also worry about retirement and funds or lack of . . . and health care expenses, that's why I am working beyond retirement age but I will have to stop soon while I have good health. Make sure we know where you are so we may finally "bump" into each other one day.

    It's not as hard as you think. Just pack up the bike and aim for the sun. I should be in your area next September, 2014

    Riding the Wet Coast

  4. I'm not sure which would be better, a "long road trip" or just transitioning to life on the road.

    There is some attraction to just divesting yourself of all of the stuff that we thought that we had to have and live on the road. Wherever that may be...

  5. Richard:

    doing as you say would not be possible here in Vancouver. We know people who have sold and moved away but now they can't move back due to fast increasing housing costs. Our Market never went down and prices go up faster than you can save.

    being a vagabond would only be good as long as you are in good health but then you would need a place to come home to when you cannot ride anymore but then your funds would be depleted and you would be at an age where you won't really want to work anymore but have no choice, that is if you can find work at all.

    Riding the Wet Coast

  6. Richard: I already have moved past the keeper stage. If I haven't used it in a couple of months I get rid of it. If not for the grandwonderfuls and dog I would have already been gone. I really want to ride to South America, but the political climate and cartels prevents me from making the trek. Not ready to check out yet.

  7. Bob Skoot: Therein lies the problem. Once the decision is made to abandon life as society defines it there is no turning back. Leaving on these term means, in my opinion, riding into the sunset!

    No rules, no regrets, no turning back. I struggle with the consequences of these actions. not for me, so much, as for my loved ones.

    Kissing the grandwonderfuls goodbye and knowing I may never see them again will take more than I might be capable of. Therein lies my struggle.

  8. I have done some long rides over the years, the longest being on the road for 9 weeks, staying with friends and friends of friends as we meandered across Canada and parts of the northern US. But as much as I enjoyed those long trips I always looked forward to getting home to old friends, my "stuff", and some structure in my life. I could never live like Scotty, as appealing as that sometimes is. So the ideal for me would be somewhere in the middle where home base was exactly that, a place to stay and regenerate while planning the next one- or two-month trip.

  9. The internal struggles are the hardest. When we kick the lid off of that "IF" bucket we loosen a can of worms.

    What IF I get sick? What IF I get hurt? What IF something happens to a loved one and they can't reach me? What IF this? What IF that?

    Sometimes our minds are our own worst enemies, But then, self preservation is inherent and hard to get over.

  10. Bob:
    Once you've made a decision to sell all and move, why would you want to move back? And if you need to have a place, then go somewhere where it's cheaper to live. I don't think that Vancouver would qualify.

    You wouldn't be giving away your house and all (e.g. red Corvette) and may be still collecting a pension so it isn't like you're destitute once you no longer have all of the "stuff".

    Just here stirring the pot...

  11. That sounds fun. I also like to do road trips on a motorbike but I don't think I can do it long-term. I don't like the idea of leaving my house for more than a week. If ever you decide to push through with that trip, it will be a major decision. I'll be waiting for your blog updates regarding that trip.

    Han Kealoha @ HarleyOilCoolers

  12. This is one of the hardest things for folks to sort out... and one of the toughest to comment on. If you say things a lil' too harsh folks get their feelings hurt. Now, I'm not near as "cut free" as Scotty is... I got a worn out old truck and trailer, still a wife and two dogs...

    Been on the road 3 years and a bit, nearly four.

    And what else I ain't got is a "fixed income"... I'm sitting pretty much where I was in the summer of 2010 when I stepped off. Folks asked; "How can you retire? you're poorer than we are!" I still can't get 'em to understand, I ain't retired. I just figured out how to live so I don't have to work anywhere near as hard.

    There's No 401K no pension other than a small Army disability... What I eat this month, I made last month from website income, book sales or whatever... Most months I've just enough cash to almost make it to the end of the month.

    Something breaks and needs repair... I gotta figure out how to squeeze it out of the savings I ain't got! so there's lil' worry of me ever gettin' fat.

    Health care? I care if I'm healthy and that's about it. Insurance? Nope. Can't afford it and can't see working a week a month to pay for it. What happens if I get sick or hurt? Well... I'll pay for what I can afford and then... I'll either get better or I'll die.

    And while I'm standing in line to see which way I'm heading after the "sorting" at the gate... I'll be standing right alongside a bunch of fellers who HAD insurance. Ya see... no matter what... we ALL die. Question is... are ya'll gonna summon the spleen to truly live? Even if just for a couple of months... or a day?!

    I'm not about to belittle anyone their reasoning for doing as they do. They're the ones living between their ears. I just try to provide a lil' support here and there that says; If you want it bad enough... There is ALWAYS a way to get it done.

  13. Do it.

    You know how I feel! Road Pickle Baby!

    When we met, I could see this in your eyes. But now I have a grandwonderful on the way, and I get it. Sadly, the first thought I had when I learned my daughter was pregnant with her first baby was "Oh God, I'm trapped."

    I've moved past that fear and I'm still hoping I can travel as freely as I did this last year. We'll see how my heart feels. . .

    It was hard to leave everyone I loved, but truly, they weren't all that far. Technology really helps, but when you realize you can always park your ride and fly home on a dime (if you really, really needed to) it all seems fine. Listen to Freebird a few times. It makes more sense.

    Hugs and smooches!

  14. Sash: you are in for a life lesson my friend! You have no idea what the birth of a grandwonderful does for you and trapped will never enter your mind. If you think the birth is something to behold, just you wait until they call you granny, grandma, nana, nona, or whatever! Taking the first steps is a mild stone, but when they begin to speak complete sentences your word turns upside down because grandwonderfuls have no filter and will say exactly what they feel.
    It is amazing and exhilarating all at the same time.

    My grandwonderfuls are 6 and 4 and when they call and ask to be taken to the park or to Culvers for custard my heart melts.

    I spent Thanksgiving playing ball hunt with the 4 year old, because the 6 year old was sick, and it was the most enjoyable time I can remember. Her saying, "Poppy, where are the rest of the balls? Help me please!" was the exact reason I LOVE being a Poppy.

    Prepare Sash, your life is about to become more than you ever thought possible!! Plus, when they get cranky you get to send them home! Not that you would want to.

  15. Here's an excerpt from a book I'm writing. It's rough and unedited

    Scooter Tramp Scotty

    I sought to make motorcycle trips a more common occurrence after that, and soon ran into the most formidable opponent of all—FEAR. I would soon come to know this demon as the most solid obstruction of all. And to deny this deadly opponent in the name of ignorance or machismo is to instantly loose the battle by default.
    I’ve heard it said that the unknown is the cause of all fear, and I believe this. It seemed the longer I stayed in what I soon deemed the triangle of safety (where I live, work, and socialize), the harder it was to leave it. Oh, I’d make the plan of a slightly extended motorcycle tour to some not-so-distant place and everything seemed fine. But as the day of departure drew closer, my Super Chicken opponent would begin the babble—and he always spoke in my own voice. Never did his true colors show right away, for always he first used the stunningly effective weapon of deceit against me. His/my adult voice would bring up very intelligent and responsible stuff like, “Maybe you shouldn't go.” or “You don't have enough money,” It seems there's never enough for him. “Your bike might break down,” Like all who travel don't have to deal with such things on occasion. “Something terrible might happen,” A thing that could never happen at or near home I’m sure. “It isn't the responsible thing to do!” As if going out to enjoy the life God gave me isn't the most responsible thing I can do with it, and the greatest gift I can offer in return. And one of his personal favorites, “You know, you're not gonna have fun anyway Scotty.” Like he's already been there and knows! On and on he talks. Responsible, intelligent, the voice of reason. Yet If I kept moving past his incessant ranting and towards my objective, then the booming, responsible, adult voice fades slowly to only sudden shutters of the true terror he's actually made of.
    With these weapons and others this demon seeks very persuasively to keep me from those hopes and dreams that often separate a person's life from the mundane and the extraordinary. The actions of this demon have caused countless to take their own lives, and so his power is never to be taken lightly by me. For he is afraid of the unknown and would rather I stay with the familiarity of a thing that may be killing me either physically or spiritually, rather than face the unknown and move into the next chapter of my life—or even something so simple as a little vacation to the neighboring state.
    To the numerous week and two week rides I began to make into unfamiliar territories, this ancient demon slowed departure on more than one occasion, and even beat me entirely a few times (ever notice how friends sometimes plan trips with you then back out at the last moment? Who do you think beat them?). This was unacceptable, and a defensive course of affirmative action had to be laid in. This was it: The date of departure would be set. Then, as the time grew close, Super Chicken would arrive to begin his babbling. So I’d say to him, “Shut up please, but talk if you must Mr. Chicken. Either way the decision was made two weeks ago and is no longer up for debate. For when that date comes, we are leaving!”
    Numerous times I exited the city with knees pressed tightly against the gas-tank in fearful anxiety. Three hours out I’d begin to loosen up. Three days later I’d be saying, “This is fucking great! Why don't I do this more often?” For this manner of fear is only as a thick fog that appears extremely solid, yet is really only nothing once one has passed through and is looking back. Tainted air. That's all. As my little week to two week rides became more common the unknown became the known and no longer raised cause for much concern anymore.