• 21 Oct 2008

    It should come as no surprise that there is a direct correlation between the songs that a person sings into their helmet and their mood.

    In the weeks before I left on this trip, my motorcycling friends offered extensive advice on subjects ranging from safety to comfort. All appreciated and mostly complied, there was one suggestion that was made almost unanimously, that I rejected. It was to equipt myself with a bluetooth enabled helmet. This would not only allow me to use my cell phone, but also my ipod and a radio.

    I knew almost the moment that I conceived this trip that one of the benefits would be the long periods of silence being on the scooter would require. While it was never a monastic impulse, after years of filling every non-scheduled moment with the Daily Show/Colbert Report, 24 hour news and NPR (yes, I secretly love you Ira Glass) it was clear that part of my personal journey needed to include some quiet time.

    It has been remarkable. For now, I will spare you the personal revelations, but here are some general learning’s about singing on the road.

    1.  Know more than one verse - No matter how much you love a song, repeating the same verse over and over is just, well, sad.
    2.  All Motown music will result in head movement which other drivers will find unsettling - Just take my word for it.
    3.  Show tunes, particularly early Sondheim or anything from Guys and Dolls, are good.
    4.  If you find that you are lapsing into the Battle Hymn of the Republic, take a break. It is not a good sign.

    Special note: If you have not heard it, I invite you to listen to Sarah Vowel tell the story of the Battle Hymn of the Republic (This American Life , Sarah is Act two, approximately 22 minutes into the episode). Priceless.

    Today was mostly show tunes and Van Morrison. I was mid-Moondance, and pulling off the interstate when I noticed that I was being followed by the only other scooter rider that I have seen on this trip.  He was riding a Suzuki Burgman 650, which is over twice as powerful and heavy as mine and it was nice to meet a kindred spirit.

    Meet Raymond Fowler.  A disabled veteran, Raymond lost his leg in service to our country.  We talked outside the Exxon station in Clarksville, Arkansas and, even through the road noise, I think you can hear his genuine concern and love for our country.   

    Raymond Fowler

    Posted by jm-admin @ 8:54 pm

6 Responses

  • Bob Mc Friend Says:

    Sing some Al Green. More than your head will be bobbing up and down. :)

    I just finished reading Sarah Vowel’s “Assasination Vacation”. I think you have abetter reason for your roadtrip.

  • Sharon Says:

    Don’t forget The King and I, South Pacific and West Side Story. Try “Whistle a Happy Tune” from The King and I when the gusts blow off the semi trucks (”whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head erect, and whistle a happy tune, so no one will suspect I’m afraid.”) Keep singing, Julie. I love your song!


  • trilbe fortunati Says:

    Dear Julie
    My Mom taught me many, many songs while I was growing up. It is amazing how my head is filled with miles of verses from songs in the past.
    I’m so glad I know Heather so I know you. I’m enjoying your trip!
    Love, Trilbe

  • Katie McDaughter Says:

    So, has luck be a lady come up yet? Great song.

    Haha, and yeah I can totally hear what you were talking about on the phone last night. Too funny..

    It’s about time to come home now, right? :P

    Love you

  • Dianne McSister Says:

    Don’t forget early Dylan and Peter Paul and Mary! Puff the Magic Dragon, Michael Row the Boat Ashore and The Times They Are AChangin’. From Bob’s pen to God’s ears!!

    Love you Julie! Give my best to Elvis!!

  • Linda Says:

    Keep singing Julie :-) and don’t forget songs we sang in the car as kids: 100 bottles of beer and This Land is Your Land!
    Hugs and enjoy!