What I learned on my Summer Vacation

​“Everywhere is walking distance, if you have the time.” 

Steven Wright


​Well guys, I’m back.  Oddly enough, it is good to be back.  Prior to my departure I had been working daily on the book.  It is coming along better than expected, but still there are good days and bad days with it.  We have just returned from our long planned and long overdue summer vacation.  My wife and I, just the two of us, doing one of the things we love most.  We hit the road on our motorcycles, packing as little as possible, with the intention of seeing some of the greatest sights of the plains and the northwest.  We were quite successful, far more so than I could have anticipated.  

​I remember once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away we used to have to do reports on what we did for our summer vacation once we returned to grade school.  I thought they were stupid because I had to listen to kids brag about going to Disney Land when I didn’t get to.  This time however as a late 30’s adult male, I wanted to share with you my report of what I did, and even more importantly what I learned on my summer vacation.  I honestly feel like I am closer to back to my old self than I have been in a very long time.  Maybe some of these words will help some of you find yourselves again as well.  Without further ado, hit it! 

​Number one, vacations are VITAL to your long term sanity.  I don’t know about you all, but right before we hit the road, I was getting to where I simply could not take much more.  I could not take the constant Chinese water drip of COVID in the news.  ALL. DAY. LONG.  Listen guys, I am in in a small Montana town that I will not identify because I value my privacy and the safety of my family.  However, we do have two or three radio stations, I cannot really remember because I only listen to the country station.  Even my small little Podunk radio station WILL NOT stop giving second by second updates of COVID 19.  Fear.  Despair.  Masks.  Lockdown.  CNN.  MSLSD.  Faux News.  Biden up 15 points nationally!  Trump is an idiot!  We are all going to go bankrupt and die!  Arrrrgh!  You get to where, you simply cannot go on unless you take time to escape it.  Escape the noise, as I call it.  Noise for me is, anything that directly or indirectly complicates my life unnecessarily.  I loathe it.  That’s one reason that I ride.  Guys, take a vacation at least once a year.  Preferably two if you can.  It clears the noise, and it resets the bearings in your mind.  

​Two.  Vacations help you realize what is actually the most important in your life.  The reset your sense of perspective. I fully had the intention of continuing to ride even when our paid leave was up.  Taking the money in my pocket and in the account and disappearing.  Never to be seen again.  My wife and I joked about it often.  We woke up when we wanted to wake up.  We left when we wanted to leave.  We stayed where we wanted to stay.  We had beers for breakfast.  We ate like slobs.  I ate cheeseburgers until I never want to see one ever again.  We stayed up too late.  We spent money like drunken sailors on shore leave.  We did whatever we wanted!  Then something happened.  A week passed by and I, well I really missed my kid.  I found myself wondering several times throughout the day how she was, and what would happen if something should happen.  My wife did with her children as well.  We quickly realized that living like Gene Simmons of KISS and doing whatever the hell you want to do all the time, leaves life very much meaningless.  It is fine for Gene Simmons, but it isn’t for us.  We decided that we were ready to be home that night, but there was still one more adventure left to be had prior to packing it up.  The perspective I had lost that I found again, I thank my daughter and my wife so much.  Thank you for helping me track that missing piece of myself down again.  

​Three.  This country, and especially the ground we covered on our ride, is an absolutely spectacular and wonderful place.  Full of wonderful people.  I saw so many sights that I had not seen since childhood with a set of adult eyes, they were captivating.  Mount Rushmore though? Well, you decide on that one.  I won’t spoil or sully anyone’s opinions.  The Black Hills, Devils Tower, Deadwood, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Shoshone, Big Horn Mountains, Yellowstone, the Montana plains, and of course for me, the coup de grace, the Beartooth Highway.  I consider myself very lucky to see the sights that we saw.  There isn’t anything like it in the entire world.  Especially on a motorcycle.  My advice?  Get out.  Get outside.  Get the fresh air and see what the world has to offer.  Not only is it good for you, but it will be so much more so for your kids.  They’ll thank you for it! 

​Four.  Now, don’t come apart on me for bringing this up.  It is a simple observation.  Something I learned on my summer vacation, remember?  Folks, in the state of South Dakota for instance (wonderful state by the way).  It is absolutely, 100% Trump country.  I have never seen a thing like it in my life.  Trump gear everywhere.  Trump swag stands.  People unafraid to display red MAGA hats in public.  Trump yard signs everywhere.  Unreal.  Incredible.  Later, we ride through Wyoming.  One of the reddest states that was ever in existence.  Do you know how many Trump signs there were there in about 300 road miles?  Three.  Exactly three.  I could not believe it.  I figured this was a very bad sign.  When you get on the ground though, when you actually start talking to people, when you actually ask, people will definitely tell you what is on their mind.  As a matter of fact, I alluded to this on Twitter a couple of nights ago.  I was at a bar in Cody, Wyoming with the wife.  A lady struck up a conversation with us that eventually led to the dreaded, “Do you support Trump?”  Nowadays, one never knows what he will encounter if he gives his honest opinion.  This time, I could not help myself.  I told myself I won’t hide who I am for anyone or anything.  My wife and I replied, “Absolutely.”  We were met with a, hell yeah!  Why the divergence?  Two states that are so similar as they should almost be exactly the same.  My wife’s theory is that there are campaign open display rules in Wyoming that may not be like the rest of the area.  I get that, it’s possible.  No doubt.  May I suggest to you another possibility?  The hidden Trump voter, is even more hidden underground.  With Antifa, BLM, so on and so forth, Trump supporters are more afraid than ever to display their support.  They were never this attacked and shamed and ridiculed in 2016.  I believe, the hidden Trump vote is massive.  More massive than we can begin to believe.  Will it be enough to win?  I have changed my views on that and I will save them for another time.  To be continued.

​Finally.  This one is aimed at you, fellas.  Strictly for the men.  Don’t worry, I am in this with you.  I am going to be the first one to fall on my sword here.  What did I learn during my summer vacation that was probably of the most importance?   I learned about my marriage.  I learned about my wife.  

​Guys, I never write about my wife.  Very seldom do I mention her much.  She values her privacy just as much as I do, and I don’t write with the intention of drawing unwanted attention to her.  Today however, I am going to.  You see, during my summer vacation I remembered just how wonderful of a woman she is, and that she is for me.  Intelligent, funny, beautiful, thoughtful, caring, loving, affectionate, the list goes on literally probably into next week.  I however.  I want to confess something.  I want to get something off my chest.  I have not been.  I actually have been a fairly shitty husband a lot of the time.  I am stubborn, I always have to have my way, I always have to win, I always have to win an argument, I hold grudges, I am impatient, I have a hot temper, I am everything she is not.  I am nothing of what I promised her I would be on our wedding day.  I am what I despise.  A grown ass child.  I hate myself for it, I admit.  

​I was married before guys.  I don’t want to get in to it much.  It was 10 years of marital misery and another two and change of, well, dating I suppose.  She gave me a wonderful daughter but other than that like I said, no need to go there.  The reason I bring it up is that my wife during our trip and during a couple of instances of bickering, made it known that she didn’t feel like she was ever going to please me.  Like she felt she could never make me happy.  I zipped back in time to my previous marriage.  When I had a wife that I bought anything she wanted on this planet!  Trucks, horses, houses, tools, furniture, TV’s, the list goes on!  A small animal farm!!!  No matter what I did or what I bought though, it never made her love me even a scintilla more.  I zipped myself back to the future, with my new wife.  I realized just exactly what I had done.  The damage I was doing.  Once again, I was being who and what I hated, the most. 

​I was doing the same things that were done to me, to the woman that will literally do anything I ask of her at the drop of the hat.  Who puts me before anyone.  Who has given me anything I could possibly want.  Why?  Why would I make her hurt the way that I hurt back then?  Because I am a selfish and inconsiderate prick.  And, I am truly ashamed of myself.  I remembered how badly I hurt during that time.  How hopelessly alone I felt.  How I felt like all was lost.  How dare I do that!  How dare I make this woman feel like that!  I made the choice at the end of the trip that I had to start over.  That I had to be the man I told her I would be.  I am trying to pick myself back up once again, but nothing has an overnight fix.  

​Guys, love your wives.  Love your women.  Their hearts are softer than ours are.  It takes literally no effort to bruise them.  Treat them as such.  You don’t want the guilt of having not done that, believe me.  That may have been my greatest lesson this vacation, that I have a good woman that I have taken for granted for far too long.  

​One quick post script that I remembered!  God, DEFINITELY exists.  We had a near collision near the crest of the Beartooth Highway, because a jack ass motorcyclist passed our line on a blind 20 MPH corner when a car appeared from the other side of the corner.  He passed narrowly between the lead bike and the car with definitely no more than a foot and a half of daylight.  That’s right.  He squeezed between a damned car and a trike pulling a bike trailer going probably 50!  If he had no made it, the lead bike, my wife, myself, and three bikes behind us probably would have been killed.  Why? Because some idiot was hot dogging it.  Either way, there’s no way that pass or turn gets made with no one unscathed, without the hand of God.  It defies the laws of physics.  Simple as that.  

​I know my time is not up yet, and I know how blessed I am that, that is the case.  That is just one out of many, many scrapes the good Lord has gotten me out of.  Why?  Who’s to say?  God is good, and gracious, and patient, and long-suffering because of who HE is.  Not because of anything we did, or didn’t do.  

​That is all for today guys.  As always, thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me a chance to write and do what I love.  



Published by Robert Frederick

Career law enforcement officer of 18 years, and veteran turned writer. Aspiring author (currently working on first novel), researcher, skeptic, and free thinker. Please follow, like, share, and email us any time to learn more and contribute.

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