Day 3 and 4: Random Thoughts, Motorcycle Blessings, Secret to Happiness, Finally in Hannibal, Missouri
Sitting outside at a café In Hannibal having a Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. It is delicious. I made it to Hannibal about 2pm and set up my tent at a campground on the Mississippi. Climbed inside and slept.
Sunny and about 65 degrees. Perfect.
Random thoughts today. We have the Irish saint Columbanus as the patron saint of motorcyclists but what about a motorcyclist’s blessing? The old Irish blessing fails in the first line: “May the road rise up and meet you”. No thanks. When you’re on a bike I can assure you that the last thing you want is a road, any road, rising up to meet you. We need something else. A blessing less lethal.
I was thinking about the secret to happiness today. I have often thought about this. I’m still working on it but I know it consists at least of this: low expectations and short term memory loss. I would add expressing gratitude, kindness and compassion to the list. Have, do these and you’re on the right track. Be in the present and let go of expectations and judgments. Add your own suggestions as comments please.
Across the street some young people in fancy clothes are being photographed. Takes a while but I figure it out. They’re Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher. Makes sense since I’m in Mark Twain’s hometown. I remember reading those books to my kids. I often think of my two boys when I remember one of the quotes attributed to Mark Twain: “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” I’m still hoping this realization will happen to them some day.
A train goes by and I hear its warning horns blasting. Behind me are three German men who parked outside on Main Street a few moments ago riding Triumphs and BMW’s. Boy, are those guys tall! I like Germans.
Yesterday not much happened. Played hide and seek with Highway 61 and enjoyed the pleasures of serene, pastoral landscapes along with stop and go strip malls. When you avoid the interstates you get the good with the bad. I stayed in Troy Missouri last night. Decent enough hotel with a Mexican restaurant a short walk away. This morning heading off early I stopped on the shoulder of the highway to readjust the bungee cords holding down my camping stuff. Literally, within one minute a guy stops on the other side of the road and whistles at me. Am I okay? I signal him that I am and he gives me a thumb’s up and takes off. I tighten the cords and within a minute another guy stops by. Am I okay? Yep. He hopes to be riding in a few minutes and that it’ll warm up. Safe riding, he says. You too, I reply with a thumb’s up again. It’s the code of the motorcyclist: never leave a man by the side of the road without asking if you can help him.
Now I hear the sound of a steamboat whistle!
I am having a great trip but I miss folks. The gang back at Old Havana, my family in Rome, my road buddies, Jeff Stafford and Kevin Grigsby and a certain lady friend back in Rome who’s none too happy I’m taking this trip. But soon I’ll see my daughter, son in law and number 2 son! So I’ll ride on. Being in the moment, giving thanks and remembering what Anne Lamott says about prayer. That the three essential ones are: Help, Thanks, and Wow. Amen. Travelling mercies to you all