Mid Life Crisis…Revisited

Read this one from 2009 and just had to repost..

Posted on May 26, 2009 by slip60

Mid life crisis in men does not exist. That’s right, and I am not afraid to shout it out. The so called “mid life crisis” was made up by some pissed off woman who probably worked or wrote for Cosmopolitan magazine. So for those of you Regular guys who don’t know what the term pertains to here is a quick synopsis.

As we age, probably somewhere between 40 and 55, (hence the “mid life”),we “supposedly” go through a depressed state in our lives where we begin to search our selves in hopes of regaining a portion of our youth (remember this part because it will come up again later). In that search we almost always find a younger woman, a sports car or motorcycle, and some times one or more tattoos . Yes, we all know someone like this. The “crisis” part of this happens when we find the younger woman. The “crisis”, as I see it, is a result of an affair with this younger woman or an ensuing divorce that is the result of the affair with this younger woman. Okay, so that’s the short and to the point, quick overview.

My take on this is very different. Yes I do agree that we begin to search ourselves somewhere at this age level, but that is where my agreeing ends. It is my belief, that most men have basically the same wants, urges, desires, and needs that we somehow all acquire at a very young age. This “thing” that we are born with is why women tend to think of us as boys, dirty old men, pigs, immature, and maybe even a little selfish. This isn’t something we ask for but is inherently passed along from generation to generation.

This gene we have that none of us know how or why it’s there, keeps us searching for our youth. It is the gene that makes us desire things like women, big screen televisions, fast cars, sports,etc. It’s partly those desires that we are taught to control from our earliest days and all through life, because as we are told, we will never get a good woman to marry us if we don’t. In our childhood we fight the good fight to be who we are but usually in the end we give in and conform to what women think we should be. We give up the things that make us who we are to marry, support a wife, help raise the children, put them through college, and see them off into their own lives. But all along as we do what we are supposed to do, we continue to fight the urges to be who we are.

Thinking back, we all wanted or for some of us, owned, a car that defined who we thought we were. Maybe it was a 1970 Chevelle Super Sport or one of those “screaming chicken on the hood” Trans Ams from the seventies, but now we have to drive a mini van or if we get lucky we get an SUV. But down deep we all look at those two door BMW’s or that new Corvette and dream about what we would feel like if we were driving that car instead. We remember how those cars made us feel when we were young and miss those days past. Or the better example I like to give is the one I like to call my “convertible wife”. Think back to when you would pick up your girl friend for a date and have the top down or the t-tops off, windows open and cassette tape blasting and she would jump into the car singing and laughing and ready for the night of her life. Now lets take a ride in our time machine and fast forward to today. You and your wife have a Saturday afternoon to yourself and you just finished washing and waxing that new convertible that you finally, after all these years, found a way to make your own.You make plans with her to go to a friends house for a beer and some laughs. You hop in the car and turn up the tunes and anxiously await her arrival. She approaches the car and screams for you to “lower the damn radio will ya’ ” and proceeds to get in. Upon take off, she reminds you to put the top up because she “just did her hair” and the “wind will be too much”. POP!!! HISSSSSS!!! That is the sound of a feel good moment being sucked away from a middle aged  Regular guy. The excitement that once was is now gone because we can not be who we really are.

The thing is, middle age shouldn’t be a “crisis” for men, but should be a celebration. Middle age is an opportunity for us to get back the things in our past life that made us who we are today. By middle age hopefully our kids have grown and so has our disposable income. It is our chance to return to our youth and celebrate what was so good in our lives when it was just that, OUR life. This does not imply that we do not appreciate all the good that has come from our marriage and family but that at this point in our life we can have a little of our own space back. This is one reason why classic cars from the sixties and seventies are so popular today. It is guys like you and me, in mid life, who are trying to get back a piece of our youth that we cherished so much. It reminds us of how simple things were then. When we didn’t have so much responsibility and everything was about what made US happy.

Hooking up with that younger woman isn’t really so much about her age as it is about her attitude. Go back to the story about the “convertible wife” That same woman was probably  that young girl at one time in her life, carefree then, but since changed. Women will argue with me about this all the time. They try to use the excuse that they “grew up” and so should we.

I say is that “grow up” or “grow old”? There is an old saying that I once heard that makes me understand more and more why relationships sometimes don’t work out. It goes like this. “Men marry women hoping they won’t change, and women marry men hoping they will”. This is probably truer than any other single thing in a marriage between a man and a woman. This is especially true when a child is brought into the fold. Something about a woman changes almost overnight when she gives birth and becomes a mom. It is almost like a woman has two different personalities during her life. Somehow motherhood robs them of the carefree approach to life that they had before giving birth.

I ride a motorcycle with a great group of guys I call my friends. There are five of us that ride once a week, every week. We spend one night a week together and sometimes the subject of relationships come up.  The one thing that remains constant through all the talk, jokes and sarcasm, is that we love our wives. The other common thread we share is that our wives don’t understand or appreciate who we are. Especially when it pertains to sex but mostly when it comes to just listening to what we want from our relationships and our life. The story of the “convertible wife” always rings true to the group of men I am part of. They all agree that women change more than men do. They all feel that one of the main reasons a man would cheat is because his wife stopped being who she was when they met. That “younger girl” who they are looking for, should really be their wife. They still want to experience that carefree attitude they shared when they first met and they want to share it with the person they love. Married life has become too complicated and we all just want to make it simple again. You know, just get up and go!

To say that men are experience a “mid life crisis” is totally absurd. We are just looking to get back a part of our life that we gave up to be the responsible husbands and /or fathers that we are today. It’s just men trying to be who we really are. Trying to express ourselves in a way that seems stupid or irresponsible to women but just ordinary to us. This isn’t a “crisis” that we are experiencing just a rebirth of a part of the person we used to be. There isn’t anything wrong with this other than some women not accepting that we are who we are and we will never change. This should be embraced by women because those of you who married us, fell in love with us back when we were who we were. Maybe it’s time to try to understand why we are this way, rather than try to change us into something that we don’t want to be. We are different and there is nothing wrong with that. We can not be like women and it’s really not a bad thing. After all, you have enough girlfriends already…..

Just one mans opinion..

The Regular Guy

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When the Sex goes away

Heterosexual relationships, in my opinion of course, go through stages. My idea of such and how I have come to see it…

Dating sex – That first time your both together is very exciting. You both call each other a lot and can’t wait to see each other again and get naked. You wanna try mine???You leave little notes for each other in emails and hidden places.

Move in together sex– the next stage can sometimes be the deal breaker but if it works, it can be both funny and a learning experience. Sex gets better because your around each other more and can find other ways to engage in it and get creative. If you make it past here the next stage is obvious.Lets get it on!

Marriage sex – They say the first year is the hardest. That’s only because of money and not being used to each others habits, and I can’t say for sure especially if you lived together first. But the sex is great. There’s also a saying. “Put one jelly bean in a jar for every time you have sex and at the end of the first year take one out for every time you have sex” In the end the jar never gets emptied. That’s gotta tell you something. Side note: You kiss everywhere and all the time. People tell you to get a room. Sound familiar?

Friends with Benefits sex –  After you realize the jar is still more than half full and your 5 or 10 years into your marriage, you know something isn’t quite right. Your sex life turns into weekends, birthdays and anniversaries and maybe on vacations. The time between becomes longer and longer, so much that you can’t remember the last time. You don’t kiss like you used to. Just pecks hello and good bye.

Room-mates ( no) sex-  when the sex finally stops you become not much more than room mates who on occasion have dinner together and watch television. You can tell when this starts to happen because the kissing will come to an end. Oh yeah a side note about television. Television is perhaps the worst thing for a marriage. Couples not only get complacent because all they do is watch sitcom and reality show night after night but its also a curse because there is more sex and nudity happening on prime time than in their own bedroom. Depressing to say the least. Life passes by without notice because the biggest thing you look froward to at night is the next episode of your favorite show.

Cheating Spouse ( sex anew) – At some point someone will cheat. At the very least someone will think about it and start finding ways to stay away from home. Usually someone at work catches your attention and you begin to like the way that person is with you. The sad part about this stage is your looking for those same feelings you had with your spouse. That spark,that makes everything in your life seems unimportant except being together.

How it feels when it gets bad

Divorce – in the end you will wonder how you ever loved that person. You’ll either be very happy to get your freedom or sad because you failed at something that could have been saved. Either way its over.

“I am only a man. I can not read your mind. I can only make you “happier” but only if you are happy already. I can love only one woman but only if you let it be you. I can fix whats broken but I can’t fix what you don’t want repaired.”

Just one man’s opinion…
The Regular Guy

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The Great Divide

This morning I woke early and had some extra time to kill before going off to work, so I opened Facebook to see if anything interesting was posted. Maybe I should have looked at Instagram instead!

A long time friend of mine posted what I have copied below:

“I think I have figured out this whole #DH Thing*. Seriously he simply tapped into the less intelligent among us and has held their attention through sheer ignorance.” * (I believe DH means D@#k Head)

Well, being that I did not vote for Hillary, I am led to assume that I am one off the “less intelligent” among you all. I have to say that I thought about this all day as it played out in my mind and just needed to address how I feel about his comment.

The first thing I felt was “is this how he thinks about me?” We have been friends for some 30 years and although I rarely agree with his political views I have never crossed that line where my opinion made me think of him as less a person than myself. I can understand now, how you can lose friends over political views and why many avoid talking about the subject in mixed company let alone on a public platform like Facebook.

The second thing that crossed my mind was how divided we have all become over our beliefs as to what kind of country we should be living in. Or more so, who runs our country. I have learned one valuable lesson if any, that nothing, absolutely nothing, that our past Presidents from Carter to Trump has done, has affected my life enough that I now need to attack others because of their position. I have in the past and still do today, wake up everyday in the greatest country on Earth, in a home with people I love, with hard earned money in my bank account and at least one nice car in my driveway. My family and friends can say the same thing if they just take the time to think about life since they were old enough to vote.

I am however, not naive enough to think that some families weren’t affected by the loss of a child due to unnecessary wars that were because of things beyond the normal persons control. Yes some Presidents have made horrible decisions and we really have no way to undo what was done , but we can try by voting them out the next chance we get. But honestly, I spent  eight years living under the Presidency of Obama and I was so stressed out about how I felt the country was changing. But when I sat back, took a breath and really thought about my life, nothing had changed except I chose to stress over something I had little control over.

I am what I believe to be a conservative, constitutional minded,  independent voter. I no longer consider myself a Republican, as I did in the past. What I do know is both parties are useless and if Trump was right about just one thing, our government needs to change. The “swamp” needs to be drained as he said many times. I have come to realize that it isn’t which party will do the most for the country because they could all care less about us. What has Congress done for our country that works. Social Security? Medicare? Vet benefits? Have they balanced the budget? What about healthcare? That’s the best example yet.  They shove something down our throats and they don’t have to be part of it. They continue to enjoy their “Cadillac Plan” on us while we all worry over how we are going to afford our insurance this year.

I guess the point of all this is that when I read what my friend wrote I wonder how he doesn’t see the corruption that I see. How he doesn’t believe its both parties using our tax dollars to grow our government larger than ever to keep them in their cushy jobs. Does he not see how they all have career jobs and they don’t have to solve one problem? They aren’t accountable to anyone anymore. How is he not as angry at them as he is towards me and those who voted differently than he did.

I really don’t see how anyone, democrat or republican, can honestly think their party is better enabled to fix this mess. They all created it. And that is what take me to my last point.

I voted for Trump. Unfortunately I voted for the idea and got Trump. Do I believe he is the be all and end all? No, absolutely not. In fact I wrote a letter to him prior to the election expressing my feelings about how he speaks to others and carries himself. No I am not proud of how our President presents himself. But I didn’t vote for Trump as much as I voted to end the bullshit that goes on in Washington. I voted for a person who did not spend his entire life living off tax payer dollars. I voted for a man who like it or not grew a business and through that business gave others the opportunity to earn a living. I voted for the Constitution. I voted for what America was supposed to be and what our forefathers meant for it to be. You see, I can talk politics with anyone who respects my right to an opinion and doesn’t call me names because of it. I don’t have to agree with you but I do have to respect how you feel, that is if I expect to be your friend.

My friend says hes a proud Liberal. What exactly is that? I am guessing that Robert Deniro is a proud Liberal too! How does anyone in this country respect that man after what he said about the President of his country? If this was done to Obama it would have been on every network and Deniro would be blackballed from Hollywood. Just check out Roseanne if you don’t believe it. Is this what we have come to. When I speak to Liberals about Obama’s vision of America and why I didn’t agree with it, I am called a racist. When I vote for Trump I am called ” less intelligent”. So to be a Liberal I guess I would need to turn cheek to others who don’t agree with my views then insult them as I walk away. I sure hope Liberals enjoy each others company because soon enough they will be the only ones that will hang with them.

This Great divide isn’t just because of its people, its because of its politicians. They are dividing us and the great many of us are like sheep just following along. This is what they feed on. They divide us, keep us off balance with crap that doesn’t matter while all the time the deceive and lie to us. When will the people of this country wake up and stop being angry with each other and turn their focus to all the people who have been playing us for decades. To hold them accountable and jail the ones deserving of such. The Ryan’s, Pelosi’s, Shummer’s and like all need to go because each time one loses their seat, our great divide gets that much smaller.

Just One Man’s Opinion

The Regular Guy.

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SKOL ! ! !

After 48 years of frustration and agonizing defeats, I sat and watched for what I swore to myself would be the last time, as my Minnesota Vikings were seconds away from yet another heartbreaking loss….

min

There are few great playoff come from behind wins in the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings, MY ( I feel I have the right to stake claim to a small part after this long) Minnesota Vikings, have no such victories during their many playoff appearances. But as of this past Sunday, all the old excruciating losses can now be put in the rear view mirror, because we finally broke the curse.

Image result for diggs touchdown pic

Diggs Minnesota Miracle catch

In a span of ten seconds, my thoughts of leaving behind my Purple Passion for this team vanished almost as quickly as the thought set place in my mind. In those ten seconds, what will forever be called the Minnesota Miracle, made me and millions of fans remember just why we bleed Purple and Gold.

I remember just one other time in my life, when such an event took place and I had similar thoughts of walking away from my favorite baseball team. Down to one strike and a World Series on the line, the New York Mets drew another breath, when all seemed impossible and a series loss looked inevitable. Then too did I swear I would never again put myself through a season of joy only to sit in despair when my team went through one more ugly loss when it mattered most. But just like this past weekend, they pulled it out in “Amazin” fashion and made me a believer once more.

I have been a Viking fan since my dad told me they were called the Purple People Eaters way back in January of 1970, when they appeared in their first of four Super Bowls. Since that memorable first impression I have watched (although almost impossibly back then without streaming) as many games as I could. I listen now to Minnesota sports talk radio on a regular basis ( thanks you IHeartradio) and can’t help but enjoy the always entertaining Paul Allen, who does the Viking broadcasts and like so many of us, is a diehard  rube.

Over the years I have watched some great Viking teams and dozens of Hall of Fame players perform at a high level and set seasonal records but never get that Super Bowl title. There are three very bad losses we sat and watched in the NFC championship round, all of which we were favored to win. This week we finally got one back from the New Orleans Saints who robbed us of a Super Bowl visit back in 2009, when Brett Favre threw up an interception that cost us the game.

This week like last, we’ll be favored to beat the Philadelphia Eagles but like most Viking fans , we don’t believe any game will ever be easy or sure thing. So I’ll sit back in my chair one more time, stress over the chances we won’t have something crazy go against us, and for those last few seconds of the game, pray we finish off the birds. No more drama and last minute Hail Mary passes (which phrase was coined after a loss by us to Dallas in 1975) but maybe a good old fashioned hard played win to get us into a home game Super Bowl. That in itself would help erase years of frustration..GO VIKES!!!

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The End of the World as we know it….or NOT!

Inauguration day is upon us and as some might now believe, so too is the collapse of America.

Eight years ago I began a journey of hopelessness and despair at the thought of Barrack Obama becoming our President. After years of forming a doomsday opinion of the direction in which our country was heading I wake up today in not such bad shape after all. I guess you could say that I learned a very valuable lesson after watching this round of the Presidential process.

As most Americans do during the election years, we stress over the fact that our candidate might lose and with that how our lives will never be the same. Our Constitutional rights will be trampled on. Signs on our public bathrooms will never be quite the same. Tax on the internet. The list goes on and everyone of us takes up issue with something on opposition’s card.

We have grown more and more divided with each passing election and this past years process, has done little to change that. Friends and family members have cut ties  or at the very least argued right and wrong, while standing up for their choice. I can say from experience that a few people “unfriended” me on FaceBook because of my beliefs. It’s quite common, that when two people are expressing different views, that the conversation  gets heated.

There aren’t many things in life that create such fervor as politics. And why do we all feel as if the end of life as we know it is right around the corner each time we elect the opposite party of our choice. Not everyone and probably more people than I care to think, don’t give a second thought to who runs our local government let alone our country. Most people who vote do so because they have strong opinions and feelings about how this country should look, whether that be more liberal or conservative, and fewer and fewer of us find a way to the center.

As I follow more along conservative lines of belief, I find it harder and harder to vote since no one who has recently run, has represented such. So it is has been that which such conservative beliefs, that I stressed so mightily over the past decade or more waiting for my preferred choice for president. That being said, I remain in wait, hoping that someday my wishes will come true. But now as the imaginary darkness that loomed over me all this time, I breathe a sigh of relief, albeit a very small one.

As I sat and watched history unfold, this time I heard the same doomsday predictions coming from the Trump opposition as I did from the anti Obama camp in the past. Even last night at a party I attended, I was called one of the “idiots” because of the way I voted. Funny I found it to be, because the person who said it wasn’t even American. This person who resides in the great white north, has a very strong opinion of America and it’s political system. She is not alone though, as many Canadians follow very closely the goings on in America, because so much of what happens here affects their own way of life ( the value of the dollar for instance).

So now its my turn to watch as so many get stressed over what may happen in our great country. But if one stops and gives thought to their life, the majority of us will see that with all  that goes on in Washington, not much affects us as we believe it will. That’s not saying that all the little changes will not one day change this country. The have and they will continue to do so. Hopefully we will continue to elect the opposite of status quo every 4-8 years so nothing will ever drastically change the face of this nation.

One thing that should anger most if not all Americans, is the lack of “real “change that every politician promises. Our inner cities are worse than ever, the highest murder rates in history being recorded. Our food we eat is poison and yet our own government continues to allow this to happen. Medicine and health care continues to be an issue as  does Social Security, while all the time politicians are not affected by such. So when then is enough enough already. Is it now? Did we elect someone from the outside who will really blow up DC and rebuild it for and by the people as promised? Or are we just on a different hamster wheel surrounded by smoke and mirrors and filled only with illusions of better days ahead.

I for one, am done with thoughts of the looming doomsday. I will no longer let politicians and DC dictate to me how to live my life. I will slide by quietly and look only for the best of what America has to offer. As I traveled last year with two friends by motorcycle across 9 states, I learned that not all of America is what politicians and the news media proclaim it to be. We are not as divided as we might be led to believe. The average working class American doesn’t care what color or ethnicity you are as long as you treat them with the same respect you would want for yourself. We all just want our little piece of the American dream and to be left alone to enjoy it. The people of this country is the best of what America has to offer.

America was built on the freedom of choice and the rights to express these freedoms. As long as we don’t lose touch with that and learn to respect others rights to such we will never have to face the end of the world as we know it. Things, as some say, are never as bad as they seem at first glance. Given my last decade of experience in waiting for the hammer to drop, I can say that this statement is true. Life after elections go on and as long as that sun comes up every day we all have something to be grateful for.

Here’s to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!

Just one man’s opinion

The Regular Guy

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Open letter to Donald Trump

I am a 57 year old white male who grew up middle class without a spoon in my mouth, and worked for all I have today, who believed since I was old enough to say my first pledge of allegiance, that this country was special.

I am writing to you today because I am one of the millions of people who you speak of that no longer have a voice in this country. I have been watching since the first Bush was president, how our country was being slowly changed right before our eyes. No longer was it special to be American.  Corporate America and our elected officials have been moving this country away from the working class to form a country run by and for the elite. The worst part of it all is that the press, who were supposed to be the eyes and ears of people, were no longer telling us the truth.

After years of disbelief in what I was seeing politically, especially the last eight years, I believed this country was changing forever. No politician will ever change what has been going on because it suits them not to. This is why McCain, Romney and the rest don’t want any part of what you are saying. It would make no difference to any in Washington, if we lose our Constitutional rights, our borders that are sieves or if racism is ever addressed honestly.

And then you came along. It was like all my thoughts were finally heard. You spoke candidly and honestly about our country and how it is headed away from all it was built on. The open borders, the politicians taking millions and doing what the corporations not the people wanted and last, all the corruption.

I watch you religiously now and I have to say that I am worried about your approach and how you sometimes move off the issues to respond to the press and Hillary Clinton. No one knows better than you that the press will never change how they come after you so why then, do you continue to point this out? Everyone who believes in you already knows this. Everyone who is deciding to vote for you is tired of hearing it. They feel you’re thin skinned. It makes no sense to remove yourself from the issues because it’s your strength. You’re giving the left and all who doubt you the ammunition they need to defeat you.

I watched you speak at the podium in Mexico and also the last four times when you addressed only the issues and your plans for how you will fix this great country. You spoke like the President we all know you can be. That is the Donald Trump we all need to see day in and day out. You don’t need to convince your faithful, you need to convince your doubters!

Ronald Regan once gave a speech “A Time for Choosing”.  It was and remains today one of the finest speeches about being American and what it means, that was ever written. It reminds me of today and the challenges we are facing not from Communism but from the divide in our own country.  This divide is breaking up America from within and to heal it, is a challenge greater than any. Our country has lost its way and our leaders are allowing it. I know they are not stupid people so the only other reason it could be is intentional.

You are our voice. You are America’s last hope at restoring our country’s values, safety and pride. This country is on the verge of electing a liar, thief and perhaps the most corrupt representative America has ever known and the press and the people are letting it happen.

So today I ask you for this Mr. Trump. Keep showing us President Trump. Speak of “when” you are elected, not “if”. Stay on point as you are so right about all you speak of about America.  Stop fighting the press, Hillary and the Republican Party who we all don’t believe in anyway. It makes no difference now what they say, only what YOU say. You have reached the millions and millions of Americans that have been praying for someone who they can believe in again. Ronald Regan did this without throwing stones, so to can you. This country needs you now. It needs to heal and be one America like never before. The days of old politics can finally  be behind us. Thank you, Mr. Trump for doing this for us and for America.

Just One Man’s Opinion

The Regular Guy

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Epilogue..the best for last

Friday May 20

How do I sum up a trip of a lifetime?

I have, since childhood, had this thought to ride across this country on a motorcycle. Thinking back to my first experiences with motorcycles, (http://njregularguy.com/2010/06/14/mild-hogs/ ) I can tell you that I have always wanted to feel what the freedom of riding was about. What better way then to ride across country with no time table or plan other than taking it one day at a time. Earlier, I wrote about just getting the bike out of the driveway and that’s really what life is all about isn’t it? We all have dreams and many are attainable if we just put that first foot forward.

I realize more today than I did three weeks ago how lucky and grateful I am to have had two of my best friends make this journey with me. I tried to do this trip last year and the plans fell apart, partially due to poor timing, but mostly I believe, due to the fear of the unknown and just plain making up excuses why we can’t do it. This year the Gods were smiling down on me because everything just worked out and for some reason we all had the”balls” to do this.

Traveling anywhere for three weeks with someone  can be difficult and can make or break your vacation. I am fortunate that even though the three of us have different personalities, we all seemed to have one thing in common. We made this trip about us and we considered each others opinions and desires each day as we planned out the ride from town to town. The common bond we shared was our love of motorcycles and the idea that we would experience life together in a way no one else could understand unless they were here with us.

Everyone we met was so interested in our story. My friend Ed made it a point to tell them exactly what we were doing, so much so that it became what sounded to us like a  prepared statement because we had heard him repeat it daily to almost everyone we came in contact with. The laughter that was ever present, is the number one thing about our trip that made it so enjoyable. We laughed so much everyday that at times it hurt. For some reason the three of us just found humor in everything we experienced, especially with the people who roamed the streets in NOLA, Memphis and Nashville. The interactions we had with these people ranged from scary to interesting but mostly hilarious.

About the people we met…..

The ride itself is one thing, sometimes hard but always rewarding, when traveling so many miles. The best thing though about the journey is the people you meet. We grow up in a shell of sorts, experiencing only the people where we live.  In some part, for that reason, we form opinions and such about America and its inhabitants. For instance, we are told how divided by race this country is but when you go out and experience real life in America you find most people regardless of race just want to connect with each other. They want to hear your story and tell theirs. They, like us, are just ordinary men and women who want to live their lives peacefully and happily, one day at a time. It’s unfortunate that we grow up in a country that continues trying to divide its people instead of uniting them despite the promise of the opposite from our so called “leaders”. It’s easy to feel uncomfortable or worried about a different race when you are uneducated or inexperienced with such people. So hard to talk about for fear that I might say the wrong thing or that my words might be taken out of context but it was so great being around people of color and experiencing what life outside my bubble is really like. We were treated so well by the ordinary folks we encountered each day that I found it so hard to believe we have a racial problem in this country. I am not naive enough to think it doesn’t exist but there are so many good, honest people in this country that have to live with the idea that we don’t like each other when in fact it is so far from the truth. I never felt out of place or threatened except one time in Memphis during bike night on Beale street where there were dozens of gangs wearing their colors. Both white and black gang members made our time there very uneasy and if not for the police presence we would have left quickly after we arrived. Even then, there were no incidents based on race. If anything, it probably would l have been more to do with club colors than skin color. I guess what I am trying to say is that this stuck out in my mind more than anything else on our trip. The south is such a friendly place and the people in each town were quick to show us how friendly they are. We were treated to food, drink, free room upgrades and one man Rick Fairless of Strokers Dallas, took us on a 45 minute tour of his business just because we were there. Americans are truly amazing people!

My greatest memory of this trip will always be of the folks that shared their time and their stories with me.  There is something about traveling by bike that attracts people to you that would normally never interact with you otherwise. So many men and women approached us with stories, questions and sometimes awe and envy when they realized the scope of our journey. Bill Hiatt from Floyd’s City Barber Shop in Mayberry took over his dad’s reins when he passed on, as the face of Floyd’s. Bill spends his days as his dad, Russell, did before him for decades, meeting and greeting visitors who stop by to experience a place from television history. Bill hears tales all day long from tourists who remember the show and all its characters. This day Bill would be so interested in hearing about our 911 experiences when he found out my friends had direct involvement in the events that followed that days tragedy. We shared stories about that day and how it affected us all in one way or another. Bill is truly part of the heartbeat of America.

Most riders who take trips like these talk about the bonding they experience from being together for such a long period of time. This is all true and became clearly apparent during the last days of our trip. As our time together began to wane, I felt a sense of melancholy come over the three of us. I am sure we were all anxious to get back home once we knew there was little time left to explore new places, but also the reality that we would soon be apart made it feel strange. We had spent almost three weeks doing everything together and now the thought of it ending was kind of sad. I mentioned earlier that I was fortunate to have done this trip with two of my best and closest friends. What I didn’t say was that they didn’t  know each other except for the fact they both knew me and had met once some 30 years ago.

My friend Guy, I met briefly when I was 7 years old. We didn’t know at the time that we were making our Communion the same day but we spent the better part of the next 10 years growing up together until I left for college. Time and distance may have had some doing in the fact that we lost  20 years where we didn’t see or talk to each other much or at all, but true friendships never die. The past three years we have been trying to get back on track and this trip was a testament to our friendship. Guy has always been the brother I never had.

I met Ed the first day of college. We both attended school in Rhode Island and made contact during freshman orientation. We later shared a house together along with my only other close friend Donn, during our days at school. We have been friends ever since and survived times where we lost contact over some stupid stuff but in the end our friendship prevailed. I first approached Ed with this crazy idea of riding out to Texas by bike and he thought I was nuts. This was Eds coming out as he never really rode such long distances before and now after this I’m not sure he will again. LOL!  I have always felt like Eds older brother even though he is my senior, and during this trip I felt like it even more.

I love these guys and I couldn’t be happier to have accomplished with them, such a great thing. Only the three of us know how hard the ride was but also how great it makes you feel each time you pull into the next hotel and know you made it safely.  The laughter and experiences we shared will be the things we talk about for the rest of our lives and no one will ever be able to take that from us. If my friendships with these guys ended today, I know the memories we share, will live on in our hearts and minds forever.  This is what they mean when they speak of bonding. It’s just something that happens but you can feel the difference as each day passes. I am sure that Eddie and Guy both know what I mean.

I am back home now and all the laughter has stopped. The long days rides are behind me now and it almost feels like a dream. I went from bad ass biker dude to yard boy in one day, as today I weeded my property. Funny how much can change in one days time. Still, my memories live on and I laugh a bit everyday when I think back on the time I spent with two of the greatest men I have ever known. Thank you guys,  I owe you big time!!!

This about sums it up!!

Just One Man’s Lifetime Experience!

The Regular Guy

 

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The ride home…..

Thurs May 19

This is it. The end of our adventure begins today as we wake, shake off the aches and pains, head for breakfast then pack up the bikes. Ed will stay behind and board the train around 2pm but by then we should be home.

There’s a lot of reminiscing, laughs and promises to keep in touch. I have one surprise left in store for these guys as we take our last picture together. Last night I wrote up some signs for us to hold during the last picture we would take before heading our separate ways. Check out my next post tomorrow to see it.

The skies today are cloudy but the forecast promises warm and sunny weather later on in the morning. The ride back to New Jersey should take about 4 hours and just one tank of gas. I load up the bike and tune in the radio, say my good bye to Ed and point the bike north for the our final run.

I do a heck of a lot of thinking when I ride. I go through thoughts of my life mostly. Marriage, job, family. I reflect on how I got here and where I will go next. Life has changed a great deal for me in the last three years and has given me time to catch up on the things I have missed out on and also the things, like this trip, that I had always dreamed of doing. They say getting old sucks but I say it depends on what old is and how you choose to live your life as you age.

My life turned a corner when I was roughly 40 years old. It has progressively gotten better since then. I met my wife during this time and my marriage has been a blessing, as she is very supportive in all I do, including encouraging me to take this trip. I recently rediscovered my parents and what it is like to be their son again and not their business partner. Spending a month in Florida with them last winter was the best time of my life. They have always pushed me to be the best person I can be and have always showed me love and support and without that, this trip would never have happened for me. Funny how I do so much thinking when I ride but what else can you do when there is no one to talk to but yourself.

I wonder as I get closer to home how I could possibly describe to my friends and family what this was like and for that reason I am glad I blogged this trip. Keeping a daily account of most of what happened makes it easier to remember everything  and gives me something I can go back to and reread in the future. There is this feeling I have inside that can’t be described. I just feel different now. Nothing great but just different and hard to put in words. Maybe because its all so fresh in my mind but I do feel differently.

We pull into my driveway and let out a sigh of relief and satisfaction for what we have done. It’s officially over now for us but Ed still has a half day ride home after getting off the train tomorrow. There’s not much left to say for both of us as we have covered everything over the last day or so but we just smile and remark how incredible it has all been.

Who knows what the future holds for us all but we now share a past that we can talk about forever. I am sure we will remind each other of the moments and events from our trip over the years to come and I look forward to it all. The pictures we took are priceless as we have some 300 or so to go thru. Many of them will pop up on my site, as some have already and  I look forward to printing an old school scrapbook for my coffee table.

In in the end we spent 18 days riding through 9 states for over 3500 miles to meet hundreds of people, to hear hundreds of stories and gain a lifetime of memories…..

Just One Man’s Opinion

The Regular Guy

 

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The last ride together

Weds May 18

Roanoke Va to Lorton Va

Today was the last day the three of us rode together. We wake to dark cloudy skies but warmer weather. We dress in rain gear and ride out to the highway as this is strictly a get to the next stop ride. No back roads or stopovers just roughly 200 miles that will get us all closer to home and the end of our ride.

Traveling the highway today, my mind is filled with thoughts of the trip and I find myself not paying attention to the bike and road. It happens at times that you get comfortable not unlike driving a car, and you find yourself getting somewhere and not knowing how. It’s like auto pilot and most would probably think that would not be possible on a bike but I can tell you it is. It doesn’t take long to pop out of it when you again realize you are on a bike. It scares you a little but I make it thru and ride on.

Tonight’s stop is in Lorton Va. the home of the Amtrak Auto train. Tomorrow Ed will put his bike on the train and take the 16 hour ride back home to Florida. We arrive at the hotel late in the day, safely and without incident. At one point we meet three younger guys who are traveling together for work reasons. They must have asked Ed what we were doing there and when Guy and I walk up, Ed’s in the process of telling them “the story “! We spend about twenty minutes laughing and exchanging stories as we have done on so many occasions, with so many people, each day along the ride.

Nothing crazy tonight but Chinese food and early bed, knowing that both Guy and I still have about 225 miles to get through tomorrow. We sit around the room one last time and talk about all the things we experienced over the days we spent together until we fall asleep.

Tomorrow the Goodbyes…

Just One Man’s Opinion

The Regular Guy

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Asheville NC to Roanoke Va

Tues May 17th and Weds 18th

 

Our stays in Asheville and Roanoke amounted to nothing more than dinners and sleep, with not much time for sightseeing as our days left are down to two. We spend both nights just catching up on much needed sleep as the last two days rides have been long with cold wet weather. It takes a lot out of us and we still have one last long ride to get to Lorton Va and the train that takes one of us back home.

The trip has been amazing! It has been full of long rides in both great and terrible weather. The first day out we were frozen before we put 20 miles on the bike but we were so happy to be doing this that we laughed off the cold and pushed forward until we reached the train that would take us and our bikes to Florida to begin the long journey.

Along the way and each night we would plan our next days ride, the route we would take and the place we would spend our nights. We didn’t use a GPS but only for one time when we were clueless where the heck we were. Most days we would ride between 200- 250 miles with the longest ride being 475 miles and the shortest trip 185 miles. We averaged 200 miles a day for  a total of 3700 miles. We often traveled back roads and avoided highways unless we needed to make up time or if bad weather was nearby. Riding thru old towns and back roads were often both rewarding and risky and more often than not they weren’t clearly marked by road signs designating the direction in which we needed to go.

We ate sparingly while we were riding with mainly just Peanut Butter sandwiches for a mid day snack so as to save money and not overeat, which would drag us down if we did. Only twice did we eat lunch, the first day in Florida and once again in Arkansas during a gas up. In fact the station had some great BBQ Brisket, but not quite as awesome as Rich’s homemade brisket we shared in Seafood at his home. Eating light for lunch was probably the only reason I gained only three pounds on this trip because we made up for it with the dinners we had in all the great towns we visited.

Sharing the highways out west is challenging for motorcyclists due to all the tractor trailers that move goods cross country on these routes. All in all they were very courteous and aware of us and it seemed as if they made an effort to make it easier for us to navigate around them. The roads through Texas were the worst both highway and city but the back roads were great both wide open and lightly traveled. The best roads by far were in Tennessee as they are paved, curvy, long straights, high speed limits and most times extremely scenic. At one point we passed a body of water that was the bluest green I have ever seen. It looked crystal clear from the seat of my bike and all of us commented on it when we stopped for gas. The waters in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and even along the coast in Texas, are horrible and I can’t believe anything can survive in them. Nothing but murky muddy waters which surprised me.

Crazy huh?

The best scenery had to be between Tennessee and North Carolina with all the mountain vistas and overlooks. They were at times breathtaking and must look beautiful during the fall months. I have to say that the open roads in southern Texas were pretty cool too. Grassy fields as far as you can see off the sides of the roads, many filled with cattle grazing. It reminded me of the movie Twister especially when we rode thru some stormy skies. I kept waiting for a funnel cloud to move in front of us.

With only one more days ride ahead, things begin to feel strange. Our time together is coming to an end and we share mixed feelings about it.

Tomorrow Lorton Va, the Amtrak Auto train and our farewells!

Just One Man’s Opinion

The Regular Guy

 

 

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