Stories From A Motorcycle Road Trip

What we can learn about the current state of our economy by traveling and visiting with others outside of our home turf is amazing. For many of us in the investment business, our view of the economy is easily warped by statistical reports and interpretations prepared by professional economists. Even when we do leave our home turf, we often end up somewhere visiting with other individuals who see society through our same set of rose colored glasses. Yet we know the 325 million citizens of the US, from the rich to the poor and all those in-between, are the ones who produce the wealth of this nation. 

Getting out and listening to others’ life stories can teach us more about our economy than graphs, statistics, and opinions. It can also add to our faith that there is a positive future for all. So I want to share with you the stories of a paint salesman, a widow on disability, a valet, and a veteran. 

The Trip

A couple of months ago, my wife, Kathy found out that the singer and songwriter Joe Jackson was planning a limited concert tour in Canada and the Northeast.  Many of you may remember that Kathy has had a lifelong love of music. That love has been inherited by all of our children, though old Dad’s musical talent is unfortunately limited to playing the radio. I can tell you that getting me to attend the numerous concerts throughout the years can come with a price. This time, the price was a motorcycle ride. The concert we chose to attend was being held at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Burlington, Vermont. 

The Flynn venue is an intimate 1930s Art Deco theater. Burlington is a city on the shores of Lake Champlain, home of the great sea monster Champ, a cousin to Nessie of Loch Ness. I am fond of Art Deco, and with the added opportunity to see Champ, as well as the beauty of Vermont in summer, I felt this was a fair price to pay for attending the concert. Besides, Joe Jackson, with his days as a punk rocker, his hit songs Steppin’ Out and Is She Really Going Out with Him?, and his classical compositions would be enjoyable, even for me.

However, for Kathy, the price was a bit more extreme. It is approximately 1,000 miles from our Rock Hill, SC home to Burlington, VT. The last semi-long ride for Kathy was not that enjoyable for her.  On that trip, we blew out a rear tire on the bike while riding pretty fast on the interstate highway. This did not leave her with very fond memories. So I was quite surprised that she agreed to ride to Vermont.

I pulled out the oldest of my motorcycles, a 2002 BMW K1200LT, changed the oil, and added a few amenities for comfort. We planned on a leisurely pace of two and one-half days to Burlington, one day of rest, and a two and one-half days to return home. That would give us plenty of time to see the country and visit with people. So, on to the stories.

The Paint Salesman – The American Dream Fulfilled

Early one day I was finishing up the morning ritual of bike preparation when a gentleman came along to inquire about our ride. Since it was six in the morning and both his wife and mine were still asleep, we sat down over coffee to visit. I found out that he was at the hotel with a baseball team of 9 and 10-year-olds who were playing for the state championship. They had won their game the night before and would be playing in the state semi-finals later that night.  He let me know with great pride that he was the coach. He had coached youth baseball for over thirty years, and this was the best team ever. I imagine it takes far more than the love of the game to spend hours and hours with these youngsters. I’m sure it takes an extra-ordinary individual whose true reward comes from sharing the ups and downs of life with these few lucky kids.

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Disclosure: Anderson Griggs & Company, Inc., doing business as Anderson Griggs Investments, is a registered investment adviser.  Anderson Griggs only conducts business in states and ...

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