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Old 10-18-2012, 10:07 AM   #1
HowlingMad OP
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Joined: Sep 2004
Location: Cranberry Country, MA
Oddometer: 1,350
Gone Walkabout

Australians have a great term for a short period of wandering bush life engaged in by an Aborigine as an occasional interruption of regular work; they call it a walkbout. It seems to fit where Im at in life at the moment, which feels lost, without focus.

If this were feudal Japan someone in my position might have been called a ronin, or a Bushi carrying the shame of life with no master. That also seems to fit well.

Here in the U.S. we might simply label it mid-life crisis, and that term is dangerously close too. You see, Ive always had a focus in life, always been very driven and until recently that gave me purpose, pride and direction.
But slowly, that direction became more unclear. Alan Watts hits the nail on the head here:


Whatever you call it, Ive set out on a quest to find a new mission. The adventure here probably wont involve a lot of mud, water crossings or harrowing tales. (see here or even better here if youre looking for that sort of thing). I have no destination, no expected return date and no real plan. Its just another story of old fat guy on a GS (perfect, eh?) trying to figure out what he wants to do when he grows up.

Back in 2008, my wife and I decided to do things a little differently and did a little ride (here).

Exploring North America from Howling Mad on Vimeo.

Since then weve enjoyed time off with more travel, renovating a humble home and working fun, low stress jobs. Sounds perfect, right? It was, but Im not ready for retirement yet. Although I'm still struggling to separate my sense of self from my occupation, I have come to realize that I need a challenge. That's what leads me here. I need a job, but I keep getting sucked back into the same circles of technology and financial services. I liked what I did, but the learning curve leveled off and now I'd like to move on and learn new things. The problem seems to be exposure. I'm hoping that this little journey will help me figure out my next challenge and maybe even introduce me to someone with a problem that I can fix. More on this later.


Please consider a few things before going any further. Im a fairly private guy and so I may decide to pull the plug on this experiment at any time. Also, Ive invited family and friends to follow me here, so Id ask that you keep it kid friendly.


So, with many mixed emotions, lets go.

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HowlingMad screwed with this post 10-21-2012 at 08:05 PM
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:08 AM   #2
HowlingMad OP
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Location: Cranberry Country, MA
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Videos to date

Here are the videos from the trip in order. Please note that I'm still spitting them out so check back for more.

Great Roads of the South


Cimarron Grasslands


This is my Church - Southeast Utah


Great Roads of Colorado


Engineer Pass - Colorado


Death Valley





Searching for Old Route 66
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:38 AM   #3
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Location: Cranberry Country, MA
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First day - 535 miles

That may not be much for some of you, but for me and a bike shaped like a kids lunchbox, it was a long day. I wanted to make some time so I broke one of my trip rules; no interstates.

Afraid this was the highlight of my day; trail mix (that expired 2 years ago)


Rolled into a what was probably a great campsite at 9pm somewhere in Virginia. Other than lots of deer and suicidal bunny rabbits, I couldn't appreciate the campsite.

(currently in Elizabethton, TN headed west towards Knoxville.)
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:58 AM   #4
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Day 2, Slow it Down

Slept under the stars last night and woke to a heavy dew blanketing everything. Up at 5:30 but still way to dark and cold to travel, finally departed at 6:30. Sun won't be up for at least another 30 minutes.



Something really nice about being up before everyone else. I arrived at the start of the Skyline drive long before the gates open, but I figure those cones are just a suggestion, so on I go to enjoy the Skyline Drive all to myself.



What a great place to see the sun rise.

Stayed off the interstate today and enjoyed some local roads, I'm starting to enjoy the journey a bit. Yesterday it felt more like a silly, pointless quest based on selfishness and immaturity. I can live with the immature part.

After at least an hour searching for a campsite, I finally reached very nice woman from the National Recreation Area who pointed me to a great little campsite. I had the entire place to myself.



Finally had a chance to catch up on a few details last night. I like stopping while it's still daylight, I'll have to make this a goal.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:46 PM   #5
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Puke Check that

Just checking in that reply/responses work (after having to register for an account, signing away 2 kids, and getting the glove treatment).

It is often said that the end of one journey is the start of the next. So then it stands to reason, the start of a journey is the end of a previous. Good luck finding the find.

- Hobbes
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:55 AM   #6
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Good on Ya Mate!

Well well, look my boy all growd up! Be safe, be smart, and enjoy the ride. The rest of the crazy world will be here when you get back.

Phone a friend tech support is on 24/7...............

Peace,
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:09 AM   #7
HowlingMad OP
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A bit behind in my updates, but anxious to cut up some of the footage of some really great roads down here. Not sure why RT 129 gets all the press, there are so many curvy roads to play on, most of which are empty.

Stumbled upon this well traveled bike yesterday but couldn't find the pilot.


Plates were from Alberta. Nice to see someone more lost than me.
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:11 AM   #8
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Oh, and thanks for the support amigos.
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:48 AM   #9
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Nice to meet you out in Nashville. Ride safe and hopefully you get a bit more clarity for your life out on the road.
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Old 10-19-2012, 05:29 PM   #10
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Great meeting you guys today. Good luck on your epic adventure and congratulations on your book!

If you see Sarah and David (? Sorry, been a long day), be sure to stop and invite them in. You'll get some really great stories and it will only cost you a pint or two.
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:02 PM   #11
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I spent so long at McDonalds that they started bring me coffee at my table. I was there for over two hours getting caught up on email and writing down all this crap.

While I was there making blog posts I noticed several fire trucks and police cars and a dump truck in the middle of the intersection. A few minutes later an employee came out to the middle of McDonalds and announced that it had been exactly a week since 4 year old Joshua was hit by that truck and asked the patrons for moment of silence.

I can't ever remember watching a fast food restaurant cease all motion for a full minute. It was touching and a nice reminder that small town America still cares.
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:31 PM   #12
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And I think you will find that people here care too. Sounds like you're off to a great start. You don't have to have a reason to go on a walkabout, but I like yours. It hits home. Take care out there.
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Old 10-20-2012, 07:24 AM   #13
HowlingMad OP
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Thanks for the support, some days you really need it.
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Old 10-20-2012, 07:24 AM   #14
HowlingMad OP
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Tough day on the road

Spent the day wrestling with feelings over the pointlessness of the trip. Guilt of leaving my wife to manage the homestead and finding my own purpose stays with me each mile. The weather seems to effect my moods more than usual, perhaps because I'm part of it with nowhere to hide from it. The temperature seems to be 10 degrees colder than home consistently, perhaps I should have gone north. Yesterday hovered in the high 40's most of the day. I'm trying to appreciate this gift and privilege, but some days are harder than others.



I had two great conversations with my sister and wife that made me feel much better about my trip. It helped me have a whole new attitude about being on the road when I saw others taking some enjoyment from these little scribblings. It's nice to know that someone else is actually reading this thing too.
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Old 10-20-2012, 07:33 AM   #15
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I'll just leave this here..


$3.07 for gas? Good thing too, I'm getting really terrible fuel economy.
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