Archive for March, 2010

Noble cause?

March 22nd, 2010 Comments off

Adventure knows no age limits.

There is a husband and wife team from Minnesota that plans to walk around Lake Superior this summer.  Their story, on the front page of today’s Variety section in the Star Tribune, relates how the 60-somethings plan to start the clockwise, 1800-mile journey in late April and finish in early September.

Notably, they are attached to a couple of causes.  First, they want to inspire older Americans to be active.  Second, they want to collect data in support of research on the health of the lake.

I wonder: what causes could I support during my journey?  Funding for hockey for underprivileged kids?  Lower-48 awareness of Alaska?  Advocacy for entrepreneurship-friendly tax policies?


Inspiration abounds

March 12th, 2010 Comments off

There’s an undeniable romanticism in the idea of hitting the open road.  Sunglasses.  Wind in your hair.  Adventures.

It’s no surprise, then, that the road trip serves as the backdrop for so many great works of literature and blogging.  A few of my favorites:

Porsching (or rather, “When You Wish Upon a Star”) by Chris Welty: A humorous, semi-fictional account of a guy’s quest to buy a Porsche 911, including his drive back to New York from the purchase in Los Angeles.  In case you can’t tell from the number of times that I’ve mentioned this series of stories in my blog posts, I’m a big fan.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig: Not really about zen, and not really about motorcycle maintenance.  I would imagine that many a cross-country motorcycle trip can trace its genesis to this book about Quality.

Hitch 50 by Scotty and Fiddy: Two friends, recently graduated from college, decided to hitchhike to all 50 state capitals in just 50 days.  With a pleantiful helping of humor, they made it — even to Hawaii and Alaska.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson: A fictionalized account (“gonzo journalism”) of a pair of real-life, drug-fueled trips to Las Vegas in the early 1970s.  I have seen only the film, but the book by the same name is supposed to be excellent.

And of course, the trips of friends, including those of Ed, Vince, the XUS crew, and others that I’m certainly forgetting.


Stopping [pucks] in every state

March 11th, 2010 Comments off

Trips of the visit-every-state variety are hardly unusual.  Turns out that it’s possible to hitchhike to every state capital in just 50 days, or visit every state in a week’s vacation.  My challenge has a few extra twists.

First, all of the legs are done by car (except for Hawaii).  Flying to Alaska, or limiting oneself to the Lower 48 seems to be more common.

Second, all 10 of the Canadian provinces are included in the challenge.  How many Americans can even locate all 10 on a map, let alone say they’ve visited them?

Third, “visit” consists of more than a touch-and-go for me.  “To have visited” means, for me, “to have played hockey in.”

That last point adds the most severe complication.  It constrains vehicle choice.  It adds more equipment to haul and worry about.  It has the potential to make the car take on the distinct “smell of hockey.” But the most severe constraints are ones of routing and scheduling.

Not every city in North America is like Blaine, Minnesota, where there are at least 10 indoor sheets of ice within a couple miles of each other.  Certain rinks are open only in the winter.  Even where there are indoor rinks open year round, multiple users compete for the ice times.  Hockey and figure skating don’t mix.

For me, playing hockey means playing hockey as a goalie.  On ice.  Against and with other players.  So chalk that up as one more constraint.

It’s a logistical nightmare to find rinks and coordinate schedules.  Open hockey?  Sub for a beer-league game?  Impromptu ice rental?  Outdoor ice game against random Canadians?  Routing for minimal downtime?

Uff-dah.  More challenging than a 2-0 breakaway.