How it began.
Nearly everything of any value begins with an idea. This trip is no exception. It began over a year ago with an idea that had been lingering in my mind for much longer than I realized at the time I became aware of it.
My father died in 1990 at seventy-eight years of age. He had spent his entire life in search of his pot of gold. Unfortunately, not only did he not find his treasure, he also ended up nearly penniless. He was a deeply religious man who devoted his life to God and the church. With his faith giving him support during the worst of times, he still maintained an optimism that he would some day succeed in his search.
He was orphaned at birth - literally; the basket he was found in on a step in Detroit, Michigan, was his first crib. He grew up in Michigan and returned there later in life still searching. He also spent years in the Toledo and Dayton, Ohio, areas where he hoped to find his wealth and happiness. By now his search for wealth had become a search for peace and relief from the pressures he knew. Still, the wealth issue lingered.
I was a young boy in the Michigan experience and the Toledo years. Later, in the Dayton area, I lived in three homes during my 6th through 12th grades with the final three years in Vandalia, Ohio. It seemed to me I could never settle anywhere - a trait that followed me for the next 40 plus years.
My eighteen years of life and travel with my father saw me living in seven homes and four communities. Each of these years and homes and locations provided me with innumerable memories of my father and his work which kept him absent from the home from early morning until late at night. There were few times when he was available during daylight. He worked six days a week and Sunday was mostly consumed by the church.
The older I became the more I wondered what it was that drove him so hard. What did he really want to achieve in his race for success? Did his faith in God really give him peace throughout the challenges of his life? What were the events of his life that shaped him to be who he was? And could I learn anything from his experiences that would make me a better father to my grown sons?
During a period of about three and a half weeks in 2005 I completed an 8,000 mile trip by motorcycle on another memory mission. I was on a quest to visit all the U.S. Air Force F-4E Phantom II aircraft I had known while I served with the U.S. Air Force Aerial Demonstration Squadron - The Thunderbirds - in the early 1970s. That trip was filled with wonder and you can find details . On a motorcycle I discovered that you are not just watching a metaphorical movie of your journey, you are actually in the movie you see.
Armed with these few questions about my father, the excitement of cross-country riding on a motorcycle, and some trepedation about what I would find, the idea took shape. I began planning a trip to all the places my father lived before I was born as well as those where I lived with him. A biker is always looking for a reason to ride and will settle for one as simple as 'because I can' in most instances. Here was a reason with some merit other than the biker's freedom on the road.
This part of my website, then, will chronical my trip. I will travel, with a good friend, Bill Hart, over 4,000 miles through Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and return to Texas at the end. You are welcome to follow the progress of our journey as we will be posting daily (hopefully) comments and images of the journey. The links to these postings are listed on the right side of this page. Make yourself at home and drop us a note () if you feel the urge.
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