In Loving Memory

Yesterday, the Bro asked the hotel desk clerk what the anticipated temperature would be in the morning. “Cold” he asked? “No!” she responded. “It’s been warm lately. It should be in the 40s,” she cheerfully continued. The Bro chuckled: Warm is a relative term. For someone in Williams, AZ, a May morning in the 40s is warm. For someone coming from CA, 40s is cold. It turned out to be a regular heat wave this morning. It was in the 50s. I bundled up with 2 tee shirts, a thermal vest, jacket and windbreaker. I looked like the Michelin Man.  The Michelin Man with very stylish sunglasses!

Bundled up against the elements; we headed off for Flagstaff, AZ and a petrol station. From Flagstaff, we continued on Interstate 40 towards Tucumcari, NM; tonight’s designation. Riding on an Interstate gives one time to think and reflect. Since the Bro and I are taking our brother’s and father’s ashes back to Indiana, my thoughts turned to family. As kids, we had visited this area on family vacations. All of us kids in the back of the station wagon, whining to stop and see the dinosaur bones. “But why can’t we stop at the giant Tee-Pee and buy some genuine Navajo moccasins?” we would endlessly complain. We were SO deprived as children: We had loving parents, a roof over our heads, 3 meals a day, clothes on our backs and family vacations. None of this mattered since we couldn’t have genuine Navajo moccasins. We could stop now and buy ourselves the much-coveted moccasins, but somehow, the interest was no longer there. At lunch, the Bro and I reminisced about the lunches on those family vacations: Bologna sandwiches on balloon white bread that would immediately go stale in the desert wind, or worse yet, sardine sandwiches with ketchup: My personal least favorite lunchtime memory. As adults, we can have whatever we want for lunch. Neither a bologna nor sardine sandwich was offered nor ordered.

Wigwam Hotel Holbook, AZ

Wigwam Motel
Holbook, AZ   

Arizona Desert

Arizona Desert

El Rancho Hotel Gallup, NM

El Rancho Hotel
Gallup, NM

Continental Divide

Continental Divide

We didn’t make it to Tucumcari for the evening. Whilst it was only another 60 miles, we opted to bed down for the night in Santa Rosa, NM. The last hour of riding wasn’t challenging or anything; it was all interstate travel. But, we were tired of sitting on the motorcycles and fighting the never-ending crosswind. Continuing on would only make us miserable to the power squared. Immediate gratification of a hot shower, good dinner and soft bed was just to alluring to pass up. Well, that and, this morning I received some very sad news. My dear friend Janet passed away last Saturday evening. According to her husband, she passed surrounded by her family, quietly and in no pain. We should all be so lucky to pass this way. It was prophetic that I receive the news whilst on a motorcycle ride. I first met Janet and her husband whilst on a motorcycle ride in New Zealand. We became fast and lifelong friends since our first meeting and have taken several motorcycle trips together in CA and Europe. The last time I was with Janet was last fall on a motorcycle ride in Sicily.  Her husband was unable to attend Janet rode as a passenger on my motorcycle. Whilst she is no longer physically present in this world, she will always be with those who knew and loved her through our cherished memories of the amazing person she was. I also feel better knowing that I have a guardian angle watching over me. Soar high and fly free Janet. You will be deeply missed.

In loving memory

Italy 10.14.2012


Janet Campbell

02 February 1950 – 04 May 2013

4 thoughts

  1. So sorry to hear about your friend Janet. I’m sure she’s enjoying this ride with you… she’s in great company with your Brother and Father. Ride on.. and ride safe.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about Janet. I know what a great time you all had in Italy and what a fantastic way to remember her, on the back of the bike enjoying every minute.

  3. So sorry to hear about Janet. I called Dee right away and although we are shocked and sadden, the overwhelming emotion is gratitude that we had the opportunity to spend time with her in Sicily. Although we knew her for less than two weeks, we will always remember her and cherish those memories.

  4. I echo George’s comment and fondly recall that when Janet and I met on the Sicily trip, we had an immediate rapport, like we had known each other for many years. I will always treasure the girl talks we enjoyed (often at the friendly expense of the guys) on our trip.

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