I wanted to get yesterday’s ride documented.  Left out a couple of things.

I found another “Great Song To Bike To.”  I see I’m going to have to create a playlist that includes all of these songs.  Any time I hear one of them, while on the bike, I start singing along, forgetting the physical exertion necessary to propel the bike, and wind up doing amazing things like climbing huge hills without even realizing it.  I guess you could say I totally zone out with the music.

That’s a good thing, ain’t it?

I also heard Charlie McCoy’s version of Shendoah:

Which brought back a flood of memories from around 1973 or so.  Father’s Day was rolling around and my dad loved Charlie McCoy.  So my brother and I went in together and bought a couple of 8-tracks (yep, you read that right) by Mr. McCoy.  It would be the only 8 tracks my dad ever owned.

To “make sure they worked” my brother and I tried ’em out in the Ford Country Squire station wagon that was the Owens Family Truckster:

Truth be told, the real reason I was “testing” the tapes was to listen to Shendoah.  Absolutely beautiful music.  It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say that song soothes my soul.

Side note on that Ford.  I remember we were going on vacation.  (That was an incredibly rare event for us.  We never had money for vacations.  Vacation was daddy not going into work for a week, staying home and catching up on “honey do” work, cutting the grass, working on the car, and having more than a couple of beers on the last weekend of his vacation.)  We were headed to Penascola.

Except there was something wrong with the car.  I honestly don’t remember what was wrong, but I got the general sense that, yes, it was fixable, for exactly the amount of money my mom and dad had set aside to go on vacation with.  Another week of cutting grass and working on the car for my dad.  No escape for him.

My Dad and I.  This was at least a couple of years ago.

It’s amazing that one song — Shenandoah — could have released such a flood of memories.  My dad died on March 7, 1995, six months shy of his 62nd birthday.  (On Friday, January 3, 2020 I will be older than my dad was when he died.  That is, if I don’t get run over by a truck while out bicycling.) 

Millington, TN is what I consider my home town.  I joined the Navy in 1977.  My second duty after VP-93 in Mt. Clemens, MI was . . . Millington TN.  It happened to be home (at the time) to the world’s largest “inland” Naval Base.  It’s still a huge base, but all of the aircraft related training was sent to Pensacola decades ago. 

On a day off, I took my dad down to the Mississippi River.  We’d gone through Shelby Forest to get to a part of the river that not many people knew about.  We spent a couple of hours exploring the banks of the Mississippi, watching barges go by, and just having a good time hanging out.  My dad would have been a little younger than than I am now.  Days later I remember my mom asking me what we’d done.  He hadn’t given her any details.  But he kept going on and on about what a great time he’d had with me that day.  That one memory stands out as my most favorite moment about my dad.

This wasn’t taken on our trip to Old Man River

In 1981 in the Navy I was given the job of running our computer systems.  The Navy had contracted with an outfit called CADO Systems.  The computer I was tasked with administering had a whopping 20MB hard drive.  (Not GIGAbytes.  MEGAbytes.)  That beat the last CADO system I worked on which used 7 inch single sided floppy disks.  No hard drive at all.

My dad was always amazed with the things I knew about computers.  I believe technology in general fascinated him.  That he had a son who was particularly adept at understanding and using computer technology was a point of pride for him.

All of that is a long way to get to this point:  I wonder what my dad would have thought about me going across country on a bicycle?  I first raised the issue back when I was in high school.

My mom — who passed away just this last January — would have been completely supportive.  But she was that way with everything.  She may not have understood what my brother and sisters and I did (the lady was flummoxed trying to figure out how to turn on my television) but her overriding mantra was:  “If it makes you happy, I’m ok with it.”

My dad could afford to be a little more judgmental.  He’d not out right tell you it was a stupid idea, but within five minutes of you explaining The Master Plan he could come up with 30 or 40 things you’d not thought about.  (Sadly, I think I do that with my own two girls.  Sorry, girls.)

I wonder what he’d think of a cross-country bicycle ride.  I wonder what things would occur to him to consider that haven’t even crossed my mind yet.

Strange how your mind can wander during the course of a song that’s only 181 seconds long.