Saturday, February 07, 2004

Hi everyone. Jack's little bro here. Nice to meetcha.

I got a letter from Sweet Madre the other day containing an article about the two California dudes who created Road Trip Nation, a documentary-slash-reality show-slash-group interview-slash-book. But really it's more of a cult following. Basically these two guys got sick and tired of studying all day to become doctors or accountants or whatever. So they quit college, bought an RV and started driving around the country, interviewing random people along the way.

What a trip.

First of all, I can't believe these guys actually got paid for taking road trips across the country. But they sure had the right idea. Why waste your prime years wasting away in study halls, stuck inside dorm rooms or labratories? Heck, I know a ton of guys my age who might spend 8 or 10 years studying to become doctors or engineers. My fear is that they'll wake up after graduating and realize, "I'm old!"

Obviously, the world needs doctors and engineers and what have you. And if that's your calling in life, then I wish you all the more luck. But I can't get over the fact that some people would rather put their futures ahead of their presents.

But back to my main point here: A road trip is more than just getting from point A to point B. It's the ride that counts. (Like the inspirational posters say: Life is a journey, not a destination). Fact is, the best road trips don't have set destination. Sometimes you don't know where you're headed, much less where you'll wind up. Of course it doesn't really matter where you go or what you do, as long as you have fun. And as long as you have someone along with you on the ride.

Usually the back roads are the better way to go. You won't see too much of the country if you keep to the Interstates the whole time. Make sure to stop at only local restaurants for some home cookin'. And you have to stop at as many of the 'historical marker' signs you can find. (Ronald Reagan's boyhood home is in Dixon, Ill., by the way.)

I suppose you can get all the tips you need from Jack Kerouac or the Motorcycle Maintenance guy. But really you ought to hit the road for yourself and make up your own rules. That's what the Road Trip Nation guys thought. And that's what Jack and I thought when we started road tripping.

Jack and I began the first episode of our baseball road trip in the summer of 2000. We met up in Nashville and drove to St. Louis, Kansas City and Arlington, catching a series at each stop. At each location, we'd walk around the city and take in the local sports bars, bowling alleys and disc golf courses. We may have even inspired our friend J.T. to take his own baseball road trip with some of his family across the Midwest.

The saga continued last summer, when we drove from our jobs in the Grand Canyon out to California, looking up baseball schedules on the fly. We stormed through Chavez Ravine, Edison International Field of Anaheim, Networks Associates Colliseum and Pac Bell Park. Slept in the back of the van most of the time -- much to the dislike of local authorities. Met up with some relatives in Stinson Beach and swam, surfed and sailed to our heart's delight.

Now I'm planning yet another road trip to Mardi Gras in two weeks. I'm currently in Anderson, S.C., interning at a newspaper here. But to tell you the truth, I'd much rather be out on the road.

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