*This series of posts is written by our National Events Manager, Taylor. Offering a perspective no one else can, Taylor takes us behind the scenes of The Carhartt Woodsman Tour and gives us a glimpse into life on the road with the merry band of Carhartt Storytellers and – while at it – teaches us all a little about life and love and stopping & tasting. Enjoy.*
Day 5 was a day of journeys. We traveled physically, emotionally, progressively…it’s safe to say we didn’t end where we started, and I’m not just referring to the change in time zones.
We kicked off the day visiting Nicholas’s childhood home. The well-traveled musician hadn’t been back in over 40 years, and we weren’t even sure it would still be there. But when we pulled down the street, we saw the old brick house in all its glory, now converted into a Montessori school. I don’t claim to be a poet, but a more perfect metaphor for new beginnings doesn’t come to mind.
After that emotional stop we had an 11 hour drive ahead of us, and planned to knock it out of the park. So, yet again, 7 grown men and our new friend Katie piled into VANessa and hit the road.
Unsurprisingly we didn’t make it too far before we stopped for lunch. Kansas City BBQ was calling our name, and we were not disappointed in Woodyard BBQ. We were greeted by smiling faces and hungry cats, but the brisket and beans were transcendent. As Drew Nelson described it, they “filled an empty space in my life that I didn’t know I have”.
The respite from the confines of our vehicle was short lived, and before we knew it we were back in VANessa and cruising down the highway again.
And then…Kansas. Miles and miles of empty expanse spread before us, giving us a mesmerizing view of the sunset. How small I felt before the enormity of it all.
However, I was quickly reminded of Jerome Mandel’s famous lines: “Nothing gold can stay”. The landscape slowly faded from an awe-inspiring sea of grain to a monotonous, repetitive trial of patience.
It was then that we looked inward. We started to share our favorite jokes. Phones were passed around as we shared old photos from our past. We entertained ourselves as best we could, sometimes by pretending to be British commentators from the travel network describing the never-ending ocean of grass, other moments naming all the flies we had accumulated along the way (Fillmore and Barry were the worst).
We finally rolled into camp in the early morning hours and collapsed into our new home for the next 2 days.
As I struggle for just a few more moments of clarity before sweet slumber takes me, as the coyotes sing a lullaby, I reflect on Day 5’s lesson:
Don’t rely on material things to make a moment memorable. Television, the Internet, these things are crutches for the human experience. True mirth is found within. Surround yourself with good people. Speak with an accent for a few hours. Name a van. Name a fly. Give each other nicknames, and bring the diner waitress in on it.
True happiness can also be found in sleep, which I will actively seek now.