Like every road trip, my adventure to the Gulf Coast has become its own story, unique from all the others. Having had a little time to reflect on everything, I'm left with a few thoughts...
Things I've learned:
- 1,000 miles in 24 hours ain't all that bad, even when things don't go perfectly.
- America is slowly becoming homogenized. Blame satellite TV and the internet, but every place is starting to look like every other place, and areas that retain their unique local flavor are shrinking into smaller and smaller pockets. Places where that flavor remains are often intentionally preserved, and sanitized for your protection.
- It's colder than you think up there.
- No two bartenders make a hurricane the same way.
Things already learned, proven again:
- A problem that goes away by itself, will come back by itself.
- Nothing ever goes as planned.
- Reward and risk follow the same curve. Little risked, little gained.
In the end, it was a an interesting week, just not quite like I expected. Some people thought I was crazy to travel alone. Some think I'm crazy for traveling on a motorcycle. I could have had 10 friends, a nice safe Volvo station wagon, or maybe just waited two weeks and walked down to the pool every day and stayed in the shallow end. But the shit *did* hit the fan, and although it certainly could have been much worse, I did survive and I'm much richer for the experience.
Would I do it over again, knowing what I know now? It depends.
If I knew the whole story and how it ends, yes. You betcha. Worse than the sitting, the waiting, baking, and begging was the uncertainty that hovered for days. Not knowing if my bike was being stolen while I lay in bed, not knowing when (or if!) I would ever get picked up, not knowing if it was really fixed or was about to die before the next mile marker --that was what really ruined a large chunk of my vacation. I wouldn't go through that again.
But life itself is uncertain, and your number could come up while you read this. I understand that while these things do happen, they're the exception and not the rule. If you told me that I would get stranded once every 50 times, I'd do it 100 more times.
Tune in next year and find out where!