I'm old enough to remember when planning a great vacation tour took a few weeks. The first step was to narrow down the wish list of destinations to three or four areas. Step two was mailing off to state tourism departments to get maps and booklets. After a couple of weeks the materials were all in hand and step three could start, matching the dreams found in those booklets to the available budget.
During this last week before Christmas I have been spending a few days in my usual wandering mode, up early and on the road well before dawn. I really enjoy the solitary miles as they roll beneath my foot pegs, feeling a slight chill and gentle warm up as the sun breaks across the horizon, rising into a clear Florida sky. There are very few other travelers on the road at this time of day, and I wonder if they too are looking eastward to the pink glow and wondering what the new day will bring?
During the past four years, I have been able to ride through 18 states and document veterans memorials in over 800 counties. That represents more than 52,000 miles on my current motorcycle and many thousands of miles on my previous mount.
I have ridden in rain, snow, sleet, and hail. Temperatures have ranged from 20 degrees to 107. Most of the miles have been pleasant, a few have been miserable. I usually spend my nights tenting in a public campground or a friendly back yard. Often I must pitch the tent in an out of the way spot, hoping not to be cited for trespassing. This is all part of the adventure, and a reminder that thousands of our troops face much worse each day of their deployment.