Gary Gardner (grgardner) wrote,
Gary Gardner


It's no secret that one of my goals is to become a writer.  The encouragement I get from readers of this journal, plus the comments I got from my blog of the Corner To Corner trip Tony pandabuff  and I took last year ( make me think I could produce something that would be a joy for others to read.  That is one of the primary goals of the trip I'm about to embark on. The other is to decompress from the Legislative Session and do some personal soul searching about what it will take to put some meaning back into my life.   The idea for the book is to combine both my love of the road and the people I meet while out riding; the joy and sense of freedom I get from riding itself and the places I discover; and revisiting places of my past along with my family history.  As I look at a map, I can see how I can do this. 

I was born and raised in the Intermountain West of Utah.  My family, with it's pioneer Mormon roots, settled the area back when Brigham Young dragged them all west in 1847.  As  a kid, we traveled the all over in our camper and truck ( and it was by my parents doing so that I was given the gift of wanderlust and the love of the road.  There is one main North-South highway in the West that runs from the Mexican border to the Canadian border and travels the route that the early Mormon's used to colonize what was then the State of Deseret.  It's US-89.  It can almost be viewed as my family's "Route 66".  My grandparents, my parents, and myself have all been born or raised or lived at one time within a short distance of US-89.  Much of my family as well as my personal history takes place in towns along that road.  I'm 47 years old, and I'm going to revisit some of those places on this trip, and, good Lord willing, write something about it -- and in the process, discover more about myself.

To plot this trip, I'll be using some antique highway maps that I've had in my collection for some time.  US-89 does not really exist in many places anymore -- being replaced by the dreaded Interstate Highway.  Much of it doesn't show up in my modern day Harley Road Atlas which is my bible on the road.  To find the old road, I had to turn to old maps in my collection - from the days when they had service stations and "the man with the Texaco Star" who wiped your window, checked your tires and oil and gave out free maps.  This one -- from a long ago and most likely vanished Texaco station in Levan, Utah is the main one.  It dates from 1958.
Using it, I will endeavor to follow as much of old US-89 as possible.  I almost don't need a map to be honest -- I've driven it and grew up on it, and I'm confident I can find much of it in Arizona and Utah at least.  I also plan on taking a few side jaunts -- maybe over to the Four Corners of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, and maybe over to the north slope of the Uintah's along the Utah/Wyoming border.  I'll swing through towns where I went to college, where my Dad was born and where I grew up.  I've got no set itinerary, no set timetable, and no plans that can't be changed on a whim.

In order to write about it I'll have this laptop and a new digital camera, but there is nothing like making hand written notes and sketches as well.  To do that I bought a new journal.  This isn't just any journal either.  I found a wonderful craftsman at Seattle's Pike Place market last fall who makes leather bound journals with hand-made acid free paper.  They feel so nice in one's hands that you can't help but write in them -- and they look remarkably like the journal Kevin Costner had in the movie "Dances With Wolves".  I bought a personal one and have been using it from time to time, and thought as I got ready for this trip that I'd need one for the bike.  I contacted the woman who makes them and had her make me a custom one that I'll cary in the tank bra of the Dyna.  I can stop and jot down notes and observations, sketch out things, and use it to help my aging brain remember things.   It will, along with what I post here, be the basis for the book.

So, here I sit at 1130pm -- the weather still calls for scattered showers, and it's been raining like Noah was gathering animals for the Ark the past two days.  I'm not sure  if I'll get out of town tomorrow or not. I'm packed up, the bike is sitting in the garage with a full tank, and I've got my ferry ticket for a west-bound ferry from Fauntleroy ready.  Either early tomorrow morning or Friday, I'll get up and catch an early boat -- and head west to US-101 and down the coast.  I'll be back in Seattle before Memorial Day.  What lies in between is the road.


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