The Tour Begins:
It has been 12 years almost to the day that Bill & Sue’s Excellent Adventure began in my mother’s driveway in Kendall Park, New Jersey. A lot has changed since then. I am preparing to hit the road by myself this morning. Then, I had my girlfriend along as a constant companion, and for at least the first week’s journey two other very good friends as well. I’m 12 years older and have now seen a lot of what I am setting out to see. But for all that has changed, the one thing that hasn’t is the reason this trip has been a preoccupation of mine for at least the last two years and perhaps long before that; the feeling of anticipation of the unknown is one that I am addicted to. I haven’t really felt it since we pulled out of that driveway on April 2, 1991 but I feel it very strongly this morning. It will be a summer of surprises out there, more good than bad I hope, but surprises either way. I don’t know what the next 24 hours will be like any more than I know what tomorrow’s newspapers will say. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning getting ready to rip open a wrapped box. It could be just another pair of long johns from Aunt Trudy, but it might be that brand new train set; the anticipation’s the thing.
Which isn’t to say that it is all easy. My house, rented as it may be, is still my home. It is in a beautiful town, it has all my possessions in it, it is the safe and familiar that as humans we all need. Getting ready to leave it for six months, even for a project I’ve wanted for two years, is in many ways difficult.
The nearly two years I have been back in Bend, Oregon (after landing here for two years after the “Excellent Adventure back in 1992) have been at times frustrating as there was slow progress on the Tour, austere as there was often little money coming in, and sometimes lonely as most of my friends still live “Back East.” But for all of that, it’s been a pretty pleasant time as well. The woodstove lulling my cats into slumber, the amazing weather that often allows golf and skiing in the same day, even the three-TV setup with multiple football or college basketball games; I will miss my adopted home in Central Oregon.
Not least because I will miss my two companions. Samantha and Sarina, my two-year old cats have been my domestic companions since I moved here from New Hampshire (they are actually Vermont Catamounts as they came from the humane society in Woodstock, VT.) I will miss them terribly. I know what you’re thinking, almost 40 and single with his two kitties, what a weirdo….well, spare me they’re my family. For my friends that have asked, the kitties will be looked after; they have a cat sitter, Sara, who will be living with them.
So, this is the last day in this area. I’ll miss it but I will be back in August and will see places like Tumalo Falls again.
I’ll shop at Newport Market and go to wine tastings again in the fall, watch the NFL with my buddies on multiple TVs and settle back into a life that others might call (sort of) normal.
But for today, I’m already running late; it is nearly 10 AM and I’ve got be gone by noon. I hope reading these pages over the next six months is half as much fun as writing them is; see you on the down the road!