Day 01: Del Mar, CA -- Independence Day

Tomorrow morning begins a Great Adventure...

For several months, this idea has been coming together, evolving through stages of development.

Several planets have aligned, and the time is at hand to begin.

I feel like Superman (the movie), when the boy was about to leave home and start his public life as a superhero...  He was standing one last time with his earth-mother who found him as an infant.

She held his hand softly and asked: "Where will you go?"  After an introspective pause, The Man of Steel replied resolutely: "North"

And so too, I will go North.

One reason for going north is to attend the wedding of a good friend. His invitation for me to attend, was harder to decline than all the other invitations to visit his home in Seattle. He has been a guest in my home many times, and we are good buds.  I would say of him the way a friend in Australia says of me:  "You can camp by my fire anytime."

For months I have known the wedding date. I figured I would just hop on a plane to Vancouver, then rental car to the destination.  Simple. Easy.

But, during the waiting period for the wedding, other events have been coming together.

I bought a new car to replace my aging Jaguar XK8 convertible, now over 5.5 years old and out of warranty.  And, although it is in good shape, and a stunningly good looking shape in Pacific blue,
with only 32,500 miles on the clock, I have to admit I was getting bored with it.  After driving the Viper GTS for 5 years, and the Ferrari 550 Maranello, the Jag seemed to be lacking at least 100 horsepower.

I have been looking through the crop of interesting rides, and settled on the Corvette as the best bang-for-the-buck. Then over several weeks studied and searched for a model I could like, with the right color, options, etc.  I thought I wanted a sedate dark blue, with gray interior.  But my last 3 cars have been that color,  so I was open to other thoughts.

And then I saw the Monterey Red color.  In cloudy conditions it reminds me of my second Ferrari.
Burgundy. I love understated beauty.  A beauty so quiet you almost overlook it, and then you discover it waiting humbly for your attention.

In the sun, this burgundy comes alive! It is so brilliant, it could be candy-apple red, and more.  And with the metallic highlights, the slightly shaded shapes retreat to the mellow and retiring burgundy.

What character! I was sold on the color, and chose black for the interior and top to subdue the package even more.

No car existed such as I wanted, not anywhere in the USA, not with the options I wanted, in the color I wanted.  So I had to order it and wait six weeks for delivery.

It did not excape my attention that the possible delivery date of the new car was a couple of weeks before the wedding.

Now, these two events, the wedding of a friend in Canada, and the purchase of a new car, were completely independent, and as serendipity would have it, when they came together in thought, an idea leaped into my mind:

How great it would be to drive the new car along the California coastline, and the Oregon coastline,
and Washington coastline, with the top down...  A great idea for a road trip.

Two planets were now aligned.

While I was loving this new idea, the idea of driving back home was unpleasant.  I hate to retrace my steps.  The road to adventure lies ahead.

And then it hit me: I would take my pool cue, and after the wedding, instead of coming home, I just stay on the road.

The western United States seemed achievable. There are only 11 of them. Granted, they're big, but they're good big.  Lots to see and do. And I know some people in a lot of those places.

How long could I stay out on the road?  I wanted to be in Philly for my father's 91st birthday in the middle of August, so that would leave me about 40 days on the road. That's a serious road trip!

I could just park the car at any Chevrolet dealer, for an oil change and checkup, and I can get a cab to the nearest airport fly to Philly for the birthday party, and fly back to the Corvette, wherever it is, and continue with the road trip.

Will it ever end? Sure. The big focus of the extended road trip is to prepare for the US Amateur championships in late September. I really should be back at least 2 weeks before that.

So at the outside, that's 60 days on the road. Shooting pool. Driving a hot car. Through magnificent territory. Seeking the meaning of Life. A Journey of Self-Realization. Can truth and beauty be found in pool halls?

In quiet moments, this whole thing seems too much. So I tell only very close friends, to judge their reaction, to see if they think that maybe I have completely lost touch with Reality.

I keep thinking of the joke/truth: "If you want to make God laugh, make Plans."

So I don't make too many plans, telling myself that will make it more of an adventure. And more enjoyable without the stress of a schedule.

Insecurity assails me, with thoughts like: "Who do you think you are, to do such a thing?"  I am Fast Mikie, shooter of pool, student of the game.

"Why do you do this?" Because I can. If I could, and did not, you would fault me, and I must be true to my Destiny.  This is a dream since my college pool-shooting days.

"Alone? Won't you get lonely?" Not in the least. I'm a hermit. Duh.  "Won't you miss your Home?" Aye! Now there's the rub. A hermit and his home are not easily parted. Mikie's Fun House is an island of Perfection. A Place I have built to be that way. My refuge by the sea.  But Home is the price of Adventure. And Adventure is the price of Home.

Ah, the wonderful Duality of Reality.

Today is July 4, 2006. Independence Day seems appropriate to launch such a road trip. Although I will leave tomorrow morning, it is Today, with this writing and publishing, I give this Adventure my Commitment. I will sleep fully and awake with Resolve, I will pack my bags and walk out the door. And I will go North.

And yet, it all seems so overpowering. Looking at maps of the Western US, it is a huge territory. So many pool rooms, so many trials. It is too much to deal with all at once. And I am reminded that a journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step. It is only one step at a time, one day at a time, one ball at a time, one breath at a time.

I am reminded of other Great Adventures. They were even more extraordinary. And longer. And they happend just one step at a time.  Breathe in. Breathe out. Smile.

The seconds tick by, the sun sets into the Pacific, night falls, the moon rises, and soon enough the morning will come...  I wonder what will happen next!

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