Before I even kick off the Epic All-American Road Trip, there are a few people I need to give some credit to, who have given me the courage to make it even possible. There will be another set of thank-yous at the end for everyone who put up with me, let me sleep on their couch, take a shower when I roll in smelling of road and dirt, and giving me food and good laughs. Without them, I probably wouldn't be doing this and getting to see the rest of you.
My mom. She’s pretty cool when she agrees with my wild harebrained ideas of adventure. Maybe it is because most of the time I am too busy being responsible, but also because in her day of mid twenties she was a pretty strong and spontaneous woman. I may have only been an egg then, but when I hear her stories about road trips with my dad, and the places they saw on their myriad trips across the country, I have a certain level of respect and desire to have done some of the stuff she has. I can only imagine that when she had only known my dad for 4 months before deciding to move to Colorado with him she must have been a little scared. But luckily for me it all worked out because they stayed together through some interesting vehicle stories, practically living in a school bus, driving a VW van across the country with a cracked engine block, and having two crazy kids along the ride, otherwise I wouldn’t have had such cool parents to make me realize that these things are what make you who you are, even if you are a little crazy.
Uncle Ben. For someone who isn’t actually a blood relative, he does a pretty good job as an uncle. He was along for a majority of my parents’ crazy adventures, and probably a main reason for some of them. A significant majority of my memories of family include him because he has always been “Uncle Ben.” Last week I was feeling a little blue about not having my Dad around to call for advice, or an ear to listen while I was freaking out about taking this trip. Luckily, I still live close enough to him that when I need someone to “stand in” for my Dad when I’m feeling the void that is his non-human presence, I can call on him to tell me a great story about motorcycles, bars and adventure. It reassured me that this trip is going to be a blast, that there is no need to be afraid, and that my dad will be along for the ride. Plus I got a lot of great suggestions where to eat and drink in New Orleans.
The Bank St. Crew. If I didn’t have them in my life the last two months, I don’t know where I’d be, and probably wouldn’t be taking this trip. Even though I should probably buy their winters worth of oil in repayment for letting me sleep there for a few weeks, they still think I should do this.
Luis. Because he said “Do what you think you should, but don’t make your decision based what other people want you to do.” The ‘anyone else’ category included him, because literally irregardless of the situation, he is my roommate and he still thinks I should go for it. In addition, he is going to take care of my belongings while I am away. Team DooDoo Butter will reconvene for Trivial Pursuit up on my return.
Kristine & Geoff. Letting me use the GPS so I don't or do get wildly lost and might possibly be able to find my way back to civilization. And for holding my beer making stuff while I am gone, and I am sure putting it to good use and keeping it well oiled. Sork.
Melissa, Desiree and Brenna. My friends who impart invaluable wisdom and advice when I call them and need help making decisions. Or in Desi’s case, keep her awake on AOL instant messenger because she lives in Spain and phone calls are pricey… but not for long (I’m keeping her here).
Brian Smeltz (my dad) of course. I am constantly consulting him in thought for major decisions in my life. I’m 87% sure that the decision I make would be the one he would support. And on that note I will leave you with these last two words to live by…