It has been 2 months now since our cross country expedition ended. During this period, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect back on the trip and what it meant to me. At the end of the prologue, I cited 2 quotations. With respect to the one from Twain, I can say without question that despite many long hours being cooped up together in a car slogging across thousands of miles of interstate highways, each new day was filled with a spirit of adventure and a whole lot of good humor. I’ve reflected more upon the second quotation. I am very thankful that I made the decision to take this journey with TK and Cali. A cross country trek is something that I had always wanted to do, but just never had the opportunity. Twenty years from now, I will be very pleased with having made that decision because it was an epic adventure that I will never forget. In the words of one of my best friends, the expedition gave me an upsurge in my pioneering spirit.
I asked TK to share his thoughts and reflections for this epilogue. His comments follow with my interjections written in italics:
How does one write an epilogue that can summarize the events, lessons and proceedings of a story that he was not only involved in, but also helped shape? My days since David left have been….. exciting. Not many people have the chance to move across the country and I consider myself one of the lucky few who have been able to do it with a true friend.
Once during our travels, we were in Missouri, I asked David if he collects anything. I told him how I collect shells and organic ocean debris, and I currently have calcium carbonate/ fossilized remains over six animal phyla (echinodermata, mollusca, chordata, arthropoda, brachiopoda and porifera) from Maine to Costa Rica. Ahem, and you call me a nerd! His response was that he collects friends, and while I sat pondering this, I tried to reason out this man’s ethics. Here he was, at great personal and financial cost (he used Amex points he could have spent on a nice exotic vacation with Cathy) exclusively transporting my dog and I across the nation. Would this be Kant’s Golden Rule and the subsequent manifestation of his absolute view of good and evil? How about Kohlberg with his communitarianism views? I couldn’t pinpoint it. Over the course of the trip I realized exactly what it was; true, unadulterated, Gloverism. Nothing like Kant or Kohlberg. Although I am without a doubt in the rationalist camp, I am better described as a contemporary Eudaimonist, but, for the record, I prefer the Dao of David. And besides, everyone knows that Immanuel Kant was a real pissant and was very rarely stable…. For the uninitiated, let me enlighten you. Gloverism is the ethical philosophy, popularized by the influential text called the Captain’s Log, that through a selfless act enables an individual to reach his potential. The teachings of Gloverism (add to personal dictionary, I think so) involve a series of didactic personal experiences entwined with a one on one purposeful misinterpretation of the Socratic method, with splashes of equal parts Tom Waits, amazing food, smooth bourbon, eclectic beer, and delightfully self-induced miserable mornings punctuated with recollections and rebuttals of the previous night’s discussions. Inquiries for prospective student applications are currently being evaluated, though not necessarily accepted at this time.
The shining moment for me was Vedauwoo, the campsite that shouldn’t have happened. For those indoctrinated with Mr. Waits, this was when Big Joe Phantom 309, when the moon was holding water, came to our rescue.
David never complained on this trip. Seriously. Not once. The closest he ever came to it was, “I do not think I can do it”. I will not fault him for “fucking Nebraska” because it a universally held belief that Nebraska is the worst. When we were finishing up the leg the day after Nebraska and he heard the news that it was going to rain in Colorado, our designated and reserved camping site for that evening, he looked crestfallen. We really did not have the gear to make it through a rainstorm comfortably, especially since we had already lost a tarp. The executive decision that followed was one of the shining moments of that trip. The moose greeting us, the rock formations, the sunset and early start sunrise were completely worth any sacrificed good luck karma. Vedauwoo for me was the pinnacle of my trip. Chili with Chipotle beer? Check. Mango IPA craft brew with semi-charred chaparral? Check. Rock formations imbued with every shade of pink and orange and firelight red you can imagine? Check, check, check. Park ranger wrong about a shitty forecast? Bingo. Honestly it was just one win after another, and while it was the coldest evening of the trip, and I had no blanket or sleeping bag, I could not have been happier.