I was wondering how this would start.

Here we are. I’m honestly not sure where that is. I’ve spent a lot of time in my head, planning out the things I’d like to say and how I’d like to say them. This is not going to go as planned. That’s a given.

Does everyone start a blog this way? By saying they are not going to do it well or trying to apologize in advance? I don’t want to be that person so that’s the end of that.

I’m not a writer. I have no aspirations to be one. I have a tendency to be very short and matter of fact in my writing. I can blame that on the Army. I blame most things on the Army. I seem to offend people when I write. I blame that on them. That, and I’m not generally a nice person. Don’t be offended. Or, do. I don’t care. If you know me, you may be shocked by some things you read here. I may not be the person you always thought I was. That just means you didn’t know me as well as you thought you did. If you don’t know me, well. Hi. Give me a chance here and we may all get to know each other better.

The reason I’m doing this. That’s the million dollar question isn’t it? Why does anyone blog anymore. No question mark after that one because it isn’t really a question, because I don’t care about the answer. I’m blogging because I’ll need an outlet. I need to rediscover myself and I thought that writing about it would really help me out. Yes, I’m sharing this publicly but that’s really a byproduct of everything. I need this. You don’t, but it may be informative. For us all.

I’m 41 years old. I have been happily married for almost 20 years and I have 5 great, well behaved, responsible kids. I own my own home in rural SW Utah. We have 3 cars, a camp trailer, 2 dogs, 3 cats and 6 chickens. I retired almost 2 years ago at 39. It all sounds idyllic doesn’t it?

Here’s where I drop the other shoe. Be patient with me here. I am not ready to lay it all out there and there’s no guarantee that I ever will.

I was in the Army National Guard for 21 years. Almost 15 of those years were on Active duty. I spent almost 30 total months over 2 deployments to Iraq.

Blah blah blah.

I have severe PTSD and suffered from 2 TBI’s.

I have been seeing counselors (yes, plural. I’ll come back to that) since 2009. In 2015 I tried for the second time to take my own life. It’s hard to understand how anyone with an outwardly perfect life could ever be so depressed or overwhelmed with life to want to take their own. Trust me, it’s possible. After my attempt I was locked up in a mental rehab clinic for about a month. They won’t let you out until you’re better. Well, I’m pretty good at manipulating people and and over the years I’ve become very good at hiding symptoms. So, I did it again. I pretended to be better and they let me out. A week later the VA locked me up for 4 days after a third attempt. No treatment, no counseling and almost no food. Not even a change of clothing. After 4 days they just let me out.

While all of this was going on, the Army began processing me out for mental health reasons. A process that took over a year.

I am now so far down the rabbit hole that I am actually not legally allowed to work. Probably a good thing.

It sure makes it hard to take care of your family though and that creates a lot of stress.

My stress relief has always been cycling. Yes, like a bicycle. More specifically, mountain biking. I love every type of cycling but being out in nature, on a bicycle, has always been my favorite therapy. My recent life has revolved around cycling. I help a buddy with his guiding business. I am a trail maintenance coordinator for a local trails chapter. I have been heavily involved in high school mountain bike teams. The problem is, it kind of makes me a one trick pony and recently, it just hasn’t been helping as much as it used to.

My most recent therapist has suggested I try other things. Branch out a bit.

Last year I tried gardening. I like it but…nope. I’ve tried events with the Wounded Warrior Project where they help you try new things. So far nothing has scratched the itch.

My dad is awesome. A year ago he called my four brothers and I and told us that he was renting Harley’s for all of us and we were doing a four day trip near Yellowstone NP. I had never ridden a street bike before. I didn’t even have my motorcycle license. I got all that taken care of and we were off. Over the next four days I was able to relax and enjoy myself like I never had before. It was life changing.

I’m not a people person. I don’t like talking with people I don’t know or share interests with. Being on a motorcycle was perfect. I could be in a group, interacting with people but not really. I was able to really spend a lot of time in my head, figuring things out. All while enjoying scenery that was spectacular and relaxing. It was a win win.

The problem? Motorcycles are expensive! It has taken me a year to be able to afford the one I’m on. We figured it out and made it happen. In the two months I’ve owned it, I’ve already put 5,000 miles on it. And I’ve made plans. Big plans.

Which I guess brings us full circle as to why I’m blogging this.

I’m leaving on May 25th for what should be an epic trip around the United States. By myself. Two months to figure things out. Or not. I’m hopeful.

I’ll be writing down my thoughts and feelings as I go. What’s helping and what isn’t. I’m open to comments and feedback, as long as it helps. I’ll also post pictures and ride reports just to keep it interesting.

Here’s to a new beginning.

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15 thoughts on “I was wondering how this would start.”

  1. Great start Jake 👍. I’ll be following your journey. Let me know if you come through Denver. I’d take your biking but by then, you’ll probably be riding an ebike 😜.
    Seriously, love to see you if you circle through. Have fun !

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  2. jake,
    as much as i enjoy reading what youve written, and looking at the pictures youve posted, my sincerest hope is that this trip will bring you the physical and emotional healing that you are seeking.

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  3. Looking forward to reading about your adventure in wind therapy. Keep us updated and ride safe.
    We’ll keep you in our prayers.

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  4. Hey brother. Long time no see. I’ll be following you and wishing I were there! I have thought about doing the same thing many times.

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  5. Awesome blog! Keep the shiny side up on your adventure, keep hope in your heart, see you when you get back, and look forward to hearing about your journey!

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  6. Jake,
    I am a knew member of the CVMA and just found out about this blog. This journey sounds like something the Doctor ordered. I wish I could be along side you. But, I totally understand needing some alone time. I spent 20+ years working in the Medical Field and have seen a lot of soldiers that needed help but could not always find it. This sounds and looks like it could be a great outlet for you. Reading through your blog makes me feel like maybe some days this is what I need to do, just get on the bike and ride. I do as much as I can. After 27 + years 5 Active Duty and 22 years Army Reserves two deployments I understand that some days are very hard to get through. I have those days two brother. But, with the good Lord on my side and a good brotherhood to be a part of I manage every day.
    If you happened to make your ride through the Louisville, KY/Fort Knox, KY area look me up. Maybe we could ride together a little ways and I could take you out for a nice dinner.

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