THREE YEARS AGO TODAY …

This is messed up, three years? where did the time go??

I’m sorry if I see this as somehow amazing, or any different than the things others go through, but right now, exactly three years ago to the date and time, I rolled into Austin Texas for the first time (I only knew where Houston was … OK I only knew where Bimbos in Tomball was – whatever)

In Austin 4 minutes – the Eagle had landed – now for a Margarita!

I had left Lowell Massachusetts on January 03, 2016 – light snow here and there, 15 degrees out with NO plan except to get to Arizona someday, to court my old girlfriend.

In the 18 months preceding this, I had gotten divorced, sold my first house, and took a package to leave my employer of 23 years. I remember a friend stopping traffic in front of the Club so the bike  could get out, as I waved over my shoulder saying ‘I will be right back’ – I never did go home, but I never saw that coming either. Home became the Road.

It took hours for my balls to descend again after this little jaunt

A few months later, scorched by the sun and hung over, I was standing in a parking lot in Sedona, gearing up for Death Valley when the phone beeped. It was Facebook, with a friend making me an offer I couldn’t refuse – except I could. It would be another two months before I signed on to IBM, but the offer wasn’t about the money – it was about finally realizing something started years earlier at Verizon. I was told it was in Austin Texas, and everyone in Tucson told me how lucky I was – time would tell.

I pulled into a little ghost town way the hell out in the desert to look at the offer on my phone – sitting there in what must be a terminal sand storm, I sheltered up against the wall of the blown out gas station and slowly started signing. Day one would be May 09, 2016.

Kamp … what a story (2 Guns Arizona)

I had a few weeks to kill, so I went to the Gulf Coast and partied with the Radisson Staff in New Iberia. Hijacking the hotel courtesy shuttle with staff members for a booze cruise on my last night would remain a hell of a highlight (the hotel was under renovation so it was just me, a few contractors and the staff … and a terrified 16 year old local driving the drunk bus)

It was this time, on Saturday May 07, 2016 that I rolled down Burnet Rd for the first time – I accidentally hooked a left into a shopping center here called the Domain, and experienced my first skinny pant wearing man bun boy sauntering through the lot with his Abercrombie shopping bag, and a sour look like someone just messed up his double decaf half cafe triple mochaccino.

Fucking weird

C Hunts … cold beer, beautiful women, motorcycles – Welcome to Texas

My first night would be when I met the first girl here, and several people who would become conduits to my current group. I asked SIRI ‘Hey SIRI find me a dive bar near me’ and VIOLA! I found C Hunts Icehouse, a home of great women, cold beer, and a leaky roof.

I also found Gina, in her little shorts and Kentucky accent – this was a place anyone would feel INSTANTLY at home. You had UPS Paul, Mechanic Mike, Bagger Scott … the list goes on and on.

So, I get to my first day at the IBM Campus … and it’s raining sideways – I mean cats and dogs living together, wrath of god stuff. I meet Kat looking like a drowned rat (oh, YOUR Mombo … and I’m thinking “yea super”).

Happy Monday morning.

It would rain like that for the next three weeks, you couldn’t build an Ark big enough for this bullshit, until I bought a huge golf umbrella and …. YES!, Sun from that point on.

In three years, I’ve actually used that golf umbrella maybe 6 times.

I said to Kat “I’m not made of sugar, I won’t melt” and with a wry smile she looks back and says “you know with the right amount of water, even shit melts” – we became instant friends, which is good because she controlled the coffee.

Three years later, I’m STILL here. This was supposed to be a year stint to get the lab going (yes, Thunderdome), but it was fun, so I renewed my lease and settled in for a bit. I was careful not to get too close to anyone, or let anyone get close to me, because I was leaving – that is what I told myself, but the people here are amazing (like everywhere I guess), so why not do two years.

Yes, there really is a corner in Winslow Arizona

Year two absolutely flew, with a blown motorcycle motor, trips to Dirty T and people traveling here. I learned to butcher steak, put salt on watermelon, sharpen knives, ride a horse (NOT a good look for me OR the Horse), and shoot feral hogs on my friends Ranch south of here. The weather seems to always be perfect, except when it’s not, and you can ride year-round in a t-shirt unless you are from here, and then it’s parka time at 65 degrees.

Will there be a year FOUR? I honestly couldn’t tell you at this point – I thought I was going somewhere, and maybe I will, but it’s been a hell of a run since riding out from the club years ago, a half bottle of Wild Turkey in me, and the clothes on my back.

My next stop would be Upstate Maryland after blasting through a snowy NYC on a Saturday Night. Never look back – Tucson, see you on the Monsoon Run in August. Have an amazing week my Friends and thank you for the good times.

The Day I left the Nest

How the hell did you end up in Austin?

Well I started this blog to capture some of the past few years, so while it won’t be in chronological order, it should be fun anyway.

It all started with my boss, after 23 years of stellar service giving me a hundred grand, and a year’s benefits (not to mention unemployment). I’m pretty sure he wasn’t amused as I jumped for joy, entering his office to be laid off (for the third time in my career at the phone company). This was old hat – they lay me off, wait thirty days, bring me back. He’s currently my boss again at IBM – small world. There it was though, my career over, and a really uncertain time ahead – the phone company was supposed to be what I retired from, but alas it wasn’t meant to be.

The months preceding that, I felt like Bill Murray in Stripes – I lost my wife, my house, and my job just like that. I was renting a room in NH, thinking about my next steps, and no it didn’t involve joining the Army. I had said months before the layoff that if it happened, I was going to explore the world on my motorcycle. And I did, but that’s next.

I was at the Pawtucketville Social Club in Lowell Massachusetts, the following Saturday morning, with the bike fueled, and my little camper on the back. A half bottle of jack later, and I rolled away in light snow saying, ‘see you in a month!’ – except, it would turn into years. The only one who knew was Ellen, because I certainly had no clue. It was 20 degrees out.

Where was I going? I HAD NO CLUE

I sometimes wonder about my mental health – 6 hours later, blasting through Saturday Night traffic in a snowstorm on 93 South in New York City, the temps had dropped to ten, and my balls nowhere to be found – at least I’d have had a good explanation had I just been in the pool.

What the fuck was I thinking?

Playing Frogger in NYC on a motorcycle puling a camper in the snow with hypothermia can be fun – hey I ALMOST made the length of the Jersey Turnpike without a traffic jam due to some inattentive cow in a minivan, but no – not this time – pretty much not ANYTIME.

Stopping in upstate Maryland proved to be my first taste of “Dude you aren’t in New England anymore”;

M: Hey can I get a Margarita?
F: Sure
M: What kind of Tequila do you use?
F: We can’t sell hard alcohol – we use flavored wine
M: Huh
F: Yea
M: But there is a Packie right there?!

Strange shit I would find in my travels – she was nice though. I would be in my room for the night shortly – standing there feeling cold air stream off my body due to the hypothermia I didn’t know I had, while the hottest shower ever brought my extremities back to life was amazing. It was perhaps 20 minutes when I heard a loud clang. Like someone dropping an anvil – IT WAS MY BALLS! Hey kids welcome back – yea they descended, which is kind of important.

Looking back, my first 18 hours on the road went well – my compensation wouldn’t hit my account for another month, I was worrying about money, it was winter, I had no idea where I was going or why, and I was wearing a t-shirt in the parking lot. Not to mention of course, what was I going to do for work?

I’ve NEVER had, or needed a resume, and pretty much kept to just two employers my whole career. I had no idea of how to do a resume, look for work, interview – I mean I’ve never had to do any of that, things just always fell in place.

I was hoping to hit N Carolina tomorrow, for now, just a quick check for bed bugs at the local truck stop Motel and suffering through someone banging a lot lizard through the headboard in the next room over. Time to get some rest for sure (more to follow)