Cross That Line

Timothy B. Schmit, at one time bassist and vocalist with Poco and the Eagles, recently recorded this tune that packs a triple-part protest tune with a moral. Schmit addresses sexual assault, the need to be aware that we can pollute our way from our earth and the danger of leaders who would be autocrats.

…Anything goes. It’s a fact,
And I am just one voice.
We need to band together. Make a pact,
So we can make the choice to never
Cross that line.
Oooh, don’t do it. Gotta have some self contro
Don’t cross that line.
Don’t go down that rabbit hole.

Fifty days on the road: Three

Early on in our 50-day trip, we had the experience of motorcycle riders headed towards (and around) Sturgis. It’s amazing how many ride. One estimate put attendance at the 10-day event at 250,000. We saw our share of riders taking the opportunities we were for seeing a bit of our nation’s natural wonders.

Also present was evidence of the Western wildfires. It wasn’t fog that obscured the Missouri as we crossed. It was smoke.

Outrage for the Execution of Willie McGee

Goodnight Texas sings a rocker with a bluegrass soul, delivered in 2018, a foot stomper that tells again the story of a wrongly convicted black man.
They make no apologies:

June 1, 2020 A note from the band:
Let’s keep movin’, everybody. Read your history. Understand how racism has worked since race was invented, and still does today. Impact your area of influence. Donations are very cool – and by all means – but they don’t change the structure of anything. Vote for elected officials who are looking to legislate real change.
Goodnight, Texas

Take the life of poor, black Willie.
Take the life because you can.
Take the life of poor, black Willie.
And free another guilty man.
Take the life of poor, black Willie.
Take the life in Jesus’ name.
Take the life of poor, black Willie.
And find another man to blame.

Fifty days on the road: One

First stop of our 50-day sojourn was Lake Vermillion Ridge campground in Minnesota, the first night of tenting for us.

We were not sure our belonging would fit in the back of the SUV our friends brought, pulling their trailer, when they stopped to pick us up for the start of what was envisioned as 49 days of traveling together, we in our tent, they in their venerable 19-foot trailer.

But clothing, toiletries, tent (brand new), cots, inflatable mattresses and sleeping bags, all fit into the back of the SUV, and away we went.

Didn’t give much thought to the prospect of 50 days on the road with spouse and two friends from the West Coast. They, and we, are on the cusp of retirement. It was an experiment: shared expenses, shared cooking, shared decisions.

It worked, hence these musings — after we returned.

Some opening thoughts swirled through my head as we got under way:

• Tents are fascinating contraptions. Ours (an REI Kingdom Four) served us well. We had only one small tear and one spring pole. Turns out there is more than one way to put up a tent and take it down. We went through almost all the possibilities, and it didn’t fail us.

• I decided several principles will guide me on this trip:

1) I had no preconceptions about what I wanted to accomplish. I just wanted to enjoy the experience. What presented itself was what I would embrace. (Weirdly, that worked very well. With three others along, there was never a bad choice. I never felt I had to speak up to nix an idea.)

2) Be safe.

3) What’s the rush?

While headed for the Badlands in South Dakota, we stopped off for the first night at Lake Vermillion Ridge campground. It wasn’t a destination. It was an uneventful “on the way to somewhere” stop.

What follows this entry is a series of impressions as we made our way from place to place. It is not an attempt to wrap the trip around any grand overarching theme… Well, there is one that developed: I’d do it again in a heartbeat.