Tuesday, June 13, 2017

(Boys) Trip of a Lifetime

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I spent last week on a motorcycle trip around the state with some friends.  Doing a long bike trip is something I've wanted to do since my pilgrimage to Sturgis a couple of years ago... heck, since I started seriously riding a bit over a decade ago... and this was the year that it happened.

Those of you who have known me for a long time realize that I've been doing annual Boys Trip vacations for roughly 25 years.  These trips started when I had a conversation with Darin and Greg, two friends I've known since sixth grade, where we reminisced about how much fun we used to have camping and canoeing as Boy Scouts.  Greg said that we should spend a long weekend canoeing down a river in the area.  We all agreed, and Greg made the arrangements.  We had so much fun that we decided to do it again the next year, and before we knew it we had an annual tradition.

Over the next couple of decades, we did a lot of trips... downriver canoe runs... a few years of whitewater kayaking... a couple of island-hopping lake excursions... a journey to the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota... even a long weekend in Vegas.

The tradition came very close to dying last year.  Greg, who was really the founder of these trips, committed suicide in October 2015.  In 2016 we made one last canoe trip to scatter his ashes.  That trip was incredibly sad... sad beyond words.  It took place on the river where it all started.  His parents, wife, daughters and many, many close friends gathered around as we scattered some of his ashes in the river next to the cabin where we stayed for the weekend, and those who were able spread the remainder as we paddled down the river.  It was cathartic and gut-wrenching.

Throughout the rest of the fall and winter, Darin and I discussed our options for this year's boys trip.  We both knew that we wouldn't be doing another canoe trip in 2017, partially because of the memories of Greg, and partially because Darin has health issues that prevent him from spending a lot of time stuffed into a canoe.  We considered scrapping the tradition... letting it die with the founder.  Instead, we decided to try something completely different, and we agreed to do a motorcycle trip.

After Darin and I decided to keep the tradition going, I talked to a few other close friends.  By the time the date rolled around, there was a core group of three going for the week, and a few who joined us for part of the trip based on their available vacation.  Over the next few blog posts, I will tell you about the trip.  I hope you stay tuned, and I hope that I can adequately relay the fun and adventure that we experienced on this boys trip of a lifetime.

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