Here I am.

Wherever that may be. Currently sitting at a campsite near Strawberry reservoir above Heber Utah. I’ll be here at the State Park campground until the 20th. It’s not bad. Fairly quiet although more and more campers are coming in for the weekend. It’s basically boondocking. There aren’t any hookups although there is potable water and a black tank dump just couple hundred yards away. Doesn’t mean I want to pack up the trailer just to go over there. I am hoping to make it the entire time without having to replenish or empty tanks. We’ll see. Anyway, it was fun really getting setup for real. I emptied the garage and got all of the couches, beds and a table set up. Not because I had to, but because I could. It didn’t take long and all of my toys are available. Here’s a couple shots of how it looked.

You may notice I got a kayak. Picked it up the other night after a fun evening and diner with my brothers family. That evening though I discovered a huge screw in my motorcycle’s front tire. And then I immediately dropped my phone and finished it off. Knowing I had to be out of the rv resort by noon, the next day was going to be cramped for time. I made it all work with a fixed tire and new tube, a new phone and then made it to where I currently am with enough time left over for my kayaks first outing on the lake.

That was fun even though this morning, my pecs are a bit sore. My dad warned me that would happen. A new muscle group for me. That’s a good thing.

Today I took the Kayak down to the Provo river and went about 4.5 miles down it with my daughter Liv and my brothers family again. Pretty mild river but it was a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to the option of getting out on the water on my lonely days.

Did I mention lonely? Yep. It is. I don’t have anyone to talk with or share my day with. While I was feeling pretty down about that earlier, my youngest three called me out of the blue and we were able to chat for awhile. That was wonderful. I really miss them and can’t wait until they get to visit. My dad is also really good at giving me a call everyday. I also love all of the messages I get each day and appreciate the short conversations. But, nothing replaces just being able to talk aimlessly with someone about absolutely nothing, or the most important things. I miss that already.

Been thinking…

Been thinking about this post all day today. Wondering how I’d put down in words what I’ve been feeling all day. First of all. This is my location as of this exact moment.

I’m in a ridiculously expensive rv park in Heber Utah. I chose this because, originally, I’d planned on heading up to Wyoming right away and this was halfway there. Also, I have 3 brothers and their families in this area and my daughter is here as well although she couldn’t really care less.  So that’s where I am. But how did I get here?

Well. Yesterday was the 4th. It was also my last day at home and that wasn’t easy. I was also supposed to have my last therapy appointment yesterday but of course it was canceled due to the holiday (my every 2 week on Monday appointment just happened to be the 4th). So no more therapy. I’m sure I could find a way to keep going but honestly, what’s the point. Megan had asked me to go back but I didn’t realize it was so I’d improve enough for her to divorce me. I had made a lot of improvement and I’d liked my The rapist (yes, I purposely put a space in Therapist, it seems more appropriate). But again, I don’t see a point anymore. So there’s that.

As the day wound down. I sought out my kids to make sure they knew I was leaving in the morning. Nathan could only see me right then so we said our goodbyes. He’s very conscious of what’s going on and is pretty sympathetic. I saw J.D. and Gavin this morning and they gave a quick hug. I don’t think they fully grasp what’s happening in their lives yet. Elle decided to sleep in and couldn’t be roused to say goodbye. Megan actually came by in the evening and gave a quick hug. I guess that makes her feel better. I just saw what 24 years boiled down to. A half-ass hug on the stairs of an RV I’ve bought so that I can leave my family and home after the most important person in my life told me she doesn’t love me anymore and I’m no longer worth her trying or pretending. A hug. Whatever.

This morning I said the few goodbyes and left for the last time as a resident. Next time it will be as an unwanted guest. I took a couple of pictures just as a reminder of my front door view.

The truck and trailer did great on the highway drive north. Better gas mileage than when I came south and this time I’m about 4k lbs heavier. Go figure. I made decent time and really tried not to focus on what I was doing but more on the immediate tasks at hand. My brother Andrew invited me to join his family along with my brother Michael and his kids on their ski boat on Deer Creek Reservoir. I don’t think I’ve been on a ski boat in at least a decade. It was fun tooling around the lake. Jumped in a few times and the water was refreshingly cool. I made it about 90 minutes before I hopped off at the dock and rode my motorcycle back to camp. Which then reminds me that I’m out of order here. I was nervous when I got to my campsite that everything would be askew or destroyed in the trailer. I guess I did ok with my packing because all was well. It took me some extra time to get the motorcycle safely off but I did and was grateful for it.

After the boat ride and a quick bite, I was bored so I took the motorcycle up the canyon towards Strawberry reservoir. Ran out of light quick but not before I was able to get this shot. See the deer that ran across the road?

Which brings me full circle. Sitting here in my uncomfortable chair typing on my phone by a fake fire listening to screaming kids in an overpriced campground at almost ten o’clock at night on day 1 of my banishment. That may not be the healthiest way to look at this but right now I don’t care.

Worst day on a motorcycle ever!

I know, I know…that title sounds horrible. Especially after the great day I had yesterday. I’ll explain. It all started great. Kind of. I stayed in an overpriced dump in Bridgeport California last night. I slept terribly, despited being desperately tired. Go figure. Finally dragged myself out of bed at 7:30, got showered and went into town. Found a decent bakery that had a good apple fritter and coffee. All I needed. Then I got on my way.

30 minutes into my trip I passed a sign that said Bodie State Park, Ghost town, 10 miles. It was a dirt road. As I passed it I thought, why not? So I whipped around and headed up the road. I laughed to myself when another sign described the road as being very rough. Bring it! I’m on and adventure bike now! Something I could have never done with my Harley. 10 miles later I crested a hill and saw the coolest old town you could imagine. In the middle of nowhere! Or so I thought, apparently there’s an easier way to get there and by the time I left, there were about 100 people there. No worries, it’s a huge place and plenty of room. I met up with one of the “ranger talks” at the old Methodist church. These are usually great in my experience. This guy was the exception. I excused myself after about 10 minutes, whipped out the self tour brochure I paid an extra $3 for and ventured out on my own. Founded in 1859 with it’s boom years around the late 1870’s, Bodie is an interesting place. Here are some pictures.

Ok, so here’s where everything starts going downhill. I reverse my course back down the dirt road and begin the long trek across south-central Nevada. It’s actually a beautiful place in it’s own way. As far as roads go, it’s hit or miss. This part of Nevada is made up of a series of North-South mountain ranges separated by huge valleys. The engineers who laid out the roads oh so many years ago were clearly uninspired. The roads go absolutely straight across the valleys, sometimes up to 20 plus miles. Did I mention they’re absolutely straight? So. Freaking. Boring. Then you do a bit of winding road as you cross the intermediate mountain range and then another huge valley with a straight road. Ad nauseum. And to be honest, it wouldn’t be so bad. What made today bad, and what ruined the whole day was the 20-40mph crosswind from the south. Relentless. On a Harley that weighs 1000lbs it may not have been so bad. With a Harly style half helmet it may not have been so bad. But…on a lightweight, 500lb bike with a helmet that basically has a sail attached as a visor, damn. I was riding with the bike canted at least 15 degrees over into the wind, just to maintain a straight line. My shoulders and back are exhausted from being tense for at least 3 hours straight. My neck is destroyed from trying to keep my head centered and not flying off to the side. Speaking of off to the side, the wind literally made me change lanes into oncoming traffic at least 4 times. Completely unexpected. Scary as hell.

But I made it. At least so far. I’ve stopped in the cool little town of Cliente Nevada for a cold drink and some sustenance. The sustenance is definitely trash food but I’m hungry, exhausted and I stopped caring about anything around 4 hours ago. Now I just need to make it to my hotel in Pioche about 25 minutes from here. I think I can do that. If they had a massage the rapist I would love that. Not likely.

So that’s day 2. 1 to go. I got this.

Book 2

Here we go, again. But this time it’s different, and I’m excited.

Let me tell you about my day. I know that in my last post, I ranted a bit about my calendar and the anxiety that it causes. Well, then I have a great day like this and it makes me seem crazy. Let’s get this out of the way, yes, I’m crazy. If anxiety was easier to handle then we could all be normal. Normal people see my reaction to things and don’t understand it. Other people with anxiety get it. I will get all worked up over something but then still have the best time. It doesn’t make any sense.

My day started at 2:45am Utah time. Megan agreed to drive me down to the St. George Shuttle stop. I was surprised to see my 2 youngest boys sitting on the couch. They wanted to come with me to see me off. I thought that was sweet. Anyway, made it to the shuttle, then the shuttle to Las Vegas for a 6am flight to San Francisco where I connected to Sacramento. Landed in Sacramento at 9am California time.

And now Mike H. enters the story. He’s probably one of the coolest people I’ve ever had the chance to meet. Today I’m buying his 2014 BMW F800 GS Adventure bike. For the last two weeks he and I have had many phone calls and hundreds of texts, not all of them about the motorcycle. He’s just a cool guy and I’ve never even met him, until now. Mike has driven over two hours to come pick me up at the Sacramento airport. We meet finally and he’s even better in person. I have a new helmet and jacket waiting for me at a Cycle Gear shop so we head that way. Unfortunately for me, that place is a motorcycle candy store. $1300 later and I’m also leaving with a pair of Sena 20s headsets (the second is for my dad and our rides together), a Garmin Zumo XT GPS unit and new riding boots. Now that I’m happily broke, we get lunch and then drive another two hours to get to Mike’s house. It’s been a long day of traveling and I’m finally getting to where I started this whole journey for.

The motorcycle is in perfect condition and only has 7,300 miles on it. I think I put 7,300 on my Harley in the first month. This bike had better be ready for some serious miles. Mike goes over everything with me and even helps me set up the GPS. I’m now ready to start my trip back to Utah. I’ve been up for 12 hours at this point and it’s about 3pm. So much to do. Mike’s help doesn’t end here though. He hops on his other bike and leads me out. He is intending to show me Yosemite National Park. I’ve never been, oddly enough, and it’s “on the way” to my first night hotel in Bridgeport California.

Wow, not much else to say, but I’ll try. Words won’t give it justice. Yosemite is spectacular. Following Mike on beautiful winding roads is too much fun. The new bike handles like a sports car compared to the Harley. It’s a lot to get used to but it doesn’t take me very long. My new Bluetooth headset pairs with Mike’s so we’re able to talk the whole time. I am asking a million questions about the bike, the area, the history, his life, everything. He’s a great person to talk to. And seriously, who sells you something and then spends the ENTIRE day with you making sure you’re happy? Mike does. Mike gets a full 5 stars for service. I’d recommend buying anything from him. After about 140 miles together, Mike finally has to peel off and head home, while I continue on to Bridgeport. I’m starving at this point. In the little town of Lee Vining I come across a BBQ joint, Bodie Mike’s. It’s good, nothing special but I’d recommend it and go back if possible. 25 miles later, I get to my hotel room in the dark, breaking my no riding in the dark rule on day 1 of ownership. Oh well, I got to check out how the lights work. Harley could learn something from BMW lights.

Bringing us all to the end of a huge and amazing and exhausting day. I’ve been up for over 19 hours. I’ve traveled by car, van, plane, plane, car and motorcycle. I’m going to sleep. Another day on the bike tomorrow. I’ll be riding across Nevada towards my room in Pioche. A little old historic town in the middle of nowhere. I’m excited.

I hate my calendar

It means I have things to do. Even if they are things I want to do. Events on the calendar bring anxiety because of expectations. Or even just the idea that something is expected of me.

I sat here pre-planning the next few months. Finding campsites seems like a full-time job these days. When I was done, my calendar just floored me. All of the thoughts and feelings I don’t want to be having. I’m on my own and this is my future. Not sure why I’m sharing this but it wasn’t the day I wanted. None of these days are. Even if it’s a good day on the calendar. Each day, each event is a step farther from what I always wanted.

I guess the good news is that tomorrow morning I am flying to Sacramento to pick up my new motorcycle. Seems like something I should be looking forward to. It is, and isn’t. I would give it all up in an instant to go back to the status quo. A status quo that no longer exists or wants me.

At a loss

Sitting here wondering, as I find myself doing lately. Do you ever wonder about your failures in life and where you went wrong? If you could change it all, would you? Or are you one of those people who accepts your decisions, good and bad, and only looks forward?

This new chapter in my life is not one I’m willingly starting. It’s not my doing. I’m sure it is in a round about way but I definitely didn’t ask for this. I’m watching everything I’ve ever worked for be stripped away with a signature forcibly written on a document I’ll never look at again. The house I personally found and put hundreds of hours into. The cars I maintained and poured so much energy into. And most of all, my kids who I’ve been fired from being their dad. Sure, I get it. I’ll always be their dad but now it’s from a distance. Something I feel like I have to beg to be part of.

And so I wonder. Constantly. What does the future look like?

Here we go again.

It’s with a lot of trepidation that I start this blog again. I apologize in advance to everyone who forgot they were following this blog and just got a notification saying there was a new post. As you all may remember, this blog is very personal and really gets into details and feelings that are pretty raw. I’m not sure how I feel about starting this up again but hopefully it’s cathartic. Hopefully it helps. I had a friend who knows what’s going on and he mentioned that doing this again may help. We’ll see. So Ben, this one’s for you.

I am not even sure I know where to start. So here it goes. Megan divorced me. 2 weeks ago. It hurts. We had issues but nothing I thought we couldn’t work out. I guess I was wrong. She says she’s known for years that she was done but she was “waiting for me to be in a better place” before she ruined my life again. How messed up is that? She told me one night that she didn’t love me anymore and she wanted out. After 24 years. I always wondered how we’d made it so far with my ptsd. When you go to group therapy, everyone else is divorced. I thought I was lucky and fortunate to have such a strong and supportive wife. I guess she was just biding her time. I’ll probably get into more of that later but I just can’t right now.

I’m not one to mope around so I immediately made plans. I have to or the depression takes over. If I sit and think too long, I’m done for. I’m in a unique situation. With my VA benefits, and being forcibly retired, I don’t have a job I have to show up for every day. Megan has the kids so I realized I have no reason to own or rent a home. Plus it’s crazy expensive. Enter a crazy idea. I’ve always wanted to live in an rv and go around the country. I can thank my 2018 motorcycle trip for that idea. So I’m doing it. I’ve sold some things in order to afford a truck and trailer. The reason for that, and not a motor home, is because I want to bring my side by side and…wait for it…a “new” motorcycle. I sold the Harley. It was hard to see it go but I’m not a nostalgic person. With a camp trailer, I anticipate being down some interesting dirt roads and in the backcountry. A Harley wouldn’t be able to navigate those roads and I really wanted a motorcycle that would work as a primary vehicle once I was camped. I found a 2014 BMW F800 GS Adventure bike. It’s in Sonora California and I get to fly out on Friday to pick it up. A 2 day road trip will bring me back to southern Utah and give me some time to get acclimated to the new bike. I’m excited. This is part of the reason I’m starting this blog again. I’ll have a new and different bike to have some adventures on. I apologize to all of the Harley fanatics who follow me. I hope you’ll stick around even though I’m on a BMW. It’s about the ride, not the bike.

It’s been a hard few weeks. Trying to come to terms with my new lot in life and how my future is completely different from what I’d planned and hoped for. I’ll have to figure it out as I go. No plans. Maybe having this blog will help. Maybe not. It may not be an every day type of thing, maybe it will. Who knows.

Sigh…

It’s been a long time. Not really sure why I’m writing this other than to post some thoughts and feelings. I don’t think anyone will see this post and honestly that’s just fine. I’m sitting at the bar in a Chili’s restaurant. I told my wife I was going out for a ride. Nothing like a nice day, a depressed attitude and a motorcycle ride to turn me introspective. Things have been rough at home the last while. I say while because that’s longer than a few months but less than a year. So, a while. I think at this point, we’re ok. And things have been ok. But that seems to change quickly. Tonight I was stressed out and couldn’t find a way to relax so I hopped on the Harely and headed out, without a plan. And here I am.

I just turned 43 this last week. That doesn’t really mean anything to me but I do find myself contemplating life and what I’m doing. Which isn’t much. I am burned out. I essentially quit mountain biking. I don’t know why. I guess I got tired of the pressure. The pressure to perform, keep in shape, progess in skills and justify my lack of all of these to people who didn’t really care. So I quit. I haven’t ridden a bike in months. I’m sure I will again, but only by myself and on my own terms.

I took up Jeeping and offroading with my wife soon after I got back from my cross country trip. It’s a lot of fun but it’s a very expensive hobby. I really need to dial that back.

So here I am. Lost at a Chili’s. I’m still the same. Frustrated with my life and barely getting by. I haven’t really made many changes and I still feel alone most of the time.

Sorry for the random update.

Real life is not a motorcycle ride

It’s been three weeks since my trip ended.

I was of course very hopeful that some of the things I’d learned about myself on the trip would carry over into real life.

I’m not naive enough to believe that everything would be rainbows and butterflies. I knew there would be struggles.

Overall though I’m pretty happy with how things are going. I have been able to be more social. I have made a few new friends. I even went to a town ice cream social. I didn’t sit in the main group but I was able to talk with people and even made plans to mountain bike with someone later this week. I am also more calm around my family and I’m able to let my kids be kids. Sometimes. I still have a hard time with random noise and I can’t handle chaos. But it’s a start.

I am branching out with my interests so that I don’t get burned out on any one thing.

Just some quick thoughts I wanted to write down.

People

I’m not a people person. I used to be, and I’m trying hard these days to reverse my tendencies. It’s a struggle. I have become better at it. I really think that was one part of the trip that really got better the further along I was.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the people on my trip the last few days and I thought it would be interesting to thank them all. In the order I met them or interacted with them. Some names I don’t remember and I hope they’ll forgive me.

On day 1 I rode the first 200 miles with Shane Johnson. My former squad leader from my 1st tour.

I spent four days with Matt and Breanne Weber in San Antonio Texas.

I met Adam Sandoval in Oklahoma and camped at his campground.

I also met and rode with John from Oklahoma.

In Eureka Springs Arkansas I was able to spend the night and a great day riding with Tim

My lovely wife Megan met me for four days in New Orleans.

I spent four days with Tadlee and Carrie Welty in Pace Florida

I met three wonderful people. One of whom was a vet, at a campground on the edge Ochlockonee Bay Florida.

I spent four days with Adam and Tiffany Weber in Charleston South Carolina.

I had lunch in Robbinsville North Carolina with a great group of people that really made my day.

In Pigeon Forge Tennessee I had dinner with a couple of veterans who are just beginning their retirement journey.

In Waynesboro Virginia I linked up with Patrick Clark and Kevin for a nice evening of intriguing conversation and a really nice ride the next day.

In Manassas Virginia I stayed four days with Rick and Amy Buongiovanni.

My fourth of July fireworks cruise on the bay near Portland Maine would have been a lot less interesting without the really funny couple from New York city.

Rob and Jenn were kind enough to offer me a place to stay and get cleaned up in Ohio. I think the world of them.

My dad, Stephen Weber rode all of the way from his home in Wyoming to ride with me for a few days through Montana, Idaho and Washington.

In Kalispell Montana, a friend from home happened to be in the area. Amy Osness, her husband Mark and her son Ethan met my dad and I for dinner.

The Rowe family, whom I hadn’t really met before, allowed me to stay in their busy home in Bellevue Washington for three days.

During those three days I was able to spend a good amount of time with Adam and Tiffany Gorski.

I also had a perfect evening of dinner and conversation with Nikolai and Amber Puchlov.

To make that evening even better, Dan and Marcia both made the effort to come show me some love. To never be forgotten.

Camping along the Oregon coast, a beautiful and kind family welcomed me to their breakfast table.

I was able to spend two days with an old friend, Shaun and Sarah Tucker. Way too much fun.

Last but not least, I was able to relax for a couple of days with my in-laws, David and Marjory Newport.

If I forgot anyone here, rest assured I haven’t actually forgotten you, I just suck and writing things out.

This list doesn’t even get into the hundreds or maybe even thousands of people I had short conversations with, interacted with or maybe just waved to. They all meant something to me because I was trying. I didn’t just stare straight ahead and ignore everyone.

It also doesn’t mention all of the people who helped behind the scenes. Those who sent messages of encouragement. Those who helped financially, those who just made sure that I knew they were pulling for me.

People really did make this trip great. You are all what I will remember most.

Thank you.