Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Adventurers - know any?

How many true adventurers are there locally? Do you know any?

I'm re-reading River-Horse, a story by William Least Heat-Moon. It's a story about a voyage the author undertook in Nikawa, a 22-foot dory that was built in 1995. Heat-Moon's goal was to sail (motor) from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific in one season. You can buy it used for $0.01 (plus $3.99 mailing) on www.amazon.com

Heat-Moon's first book, Blue Highways, was about a three-month trip he took in an old van through the southeastern U.S. He has a marvelous command of the English language. As I've said to others, he could drive from here (Woodstock) to Chicago and write a book about all the things he saw and the people he met. Almost every page contains words I've never seen; ex., "scaphoid, epigynous, decalescence, monophthong" (Page 336 in the paperback edition of River-Horse); I wish I could say that I looked up every unfamiliar word.

He is a true adventurer and a gifted author.

Adventurers I've known? My brother, Jim, is one. Five men from Chicago and he sailed on the Columbus 500th anniversary from Portugal to the U.S. Theirs was the only ship to sail on the morning tide; the others waited for the King to come and bless the voyage, but they knew from their research that Columbus had sailed on the morning tide.

Jim and a mutual friend, Howard, sailed from Annapolis last month around Key West to north of Tampa in Jim's 38' sailboat, Little Star.

And Howard sailed solo (with his dog, Chubby) from Connecticut to Florida three years ago in his 32' sailboat, Dust in the Wind, fulfilling a dream in his life. Can you imagine sailing solo from Connecticut to Florida? And back?

A few years ago I read about a retired Utah dentist who owns three motorcycles; one had 400,000 miles on it; the other two, smaller, had about 80,000 miles each on them. He rides 'til he's tired, throws down his sleeping bag, and rides some more the next day. I wonder if I saved his name...
I envision a motorcycle adventure in 2011 of just heading down the "blue highways" - the country roads (no interstates), say, for some place like Seattle (or maybe Salem and Coos Bay, Oregon). No timetable; no agenda; no itinerary. Just ride 'til I'm tired; camp out; hit a hot shower at a campground or truck stop every once in a while. Eat in diners and country cafes; no fast food or fancy restaurants.

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