Jeff’s Latest Blog: Riding With Gene When I’m Not Riding With Gene

I couldn’t ride with Gene on our second annual cross-country journey. I had a first grandbaby due in May, an illness forming, and my usual means of fundraising had fallen short.
Gene allowed me to help plan his trip and the rough draft seemed straight forward: a) ride two lane roads from Georgia to b) Sturgis then LAX c) following the Mississippi River north to Iowa, turn left to Sturgis, maybe travel by Mt. Rushmore, head to Los Angeles to see Hannah, his daughter.
But he was a little vague on the details so I pressed him. The answers I received were even vaguer. “Are you going to ride a road that runs parallel to the Mississippi?”
“Well, which road? What side of the river?”
“I haven’t decided yet. I’ll wait and see what feels right when I get there. Besides it don’t matter what side of the river as long as it runs along the river!”
“Don’t you think you should identify the road you want to be on so you don’t go crossing the river several times and maybe get lost?”
He stared at me out of one eye. “I never get lost. Least ways not accidentally. I won’t get lost crossing over the river unless I want too.” (For the record Gene actually crossed the Mississippi River 5 times on the way over. But no, he doesn’t get lost.)
“Are you going to camp out or stay in cheap hotels?”
“I’m going to camp out mostly. Just pitch a tent somewhere out under the stars.”
So, our planning his trip with me helping didn’t last very long. He apparently had his own “non -plan plan” in mind.
Gene wrote a blog about crossing from California into Arizona during his return from LAX. Within an hour he ran into the fiercest crosswinds he’d ever encountered. A sandstorm quickly joined the windstorm hitting Gene and Big Red like God’s own sandblaster. I could only imagine half of Big Red stripped to its naked polished steel and half of Gene shredded to the bone, a howling silent scream shrieking through his nasty half face. I later asked him what he did and he advised that he hunkered down on top of Big Red with a jacket shielding him from a wild, avenging dust spirit. In my techni-colored mind I imagined Gene and Big Red hobbling behind a shutdown pre fifties roadhouse, Gene unpacking his sleeping bag to protect them as he also fired up a premeditative crooked cigar.
In my heart I rode with Gene across the country and back. I saw things a bit different than he did but we do have separate eyeballs and brains to process memories with. When we ride with freedom, gratitude, and an open heart we are bound to ride roads made of bliss.

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