Steve McAlphabet Motorcycling Music Across America
Week One of Motorcycling Music Across America

Week One of Motorcycling Music Across America

It’s been 7 days since I left Sarasota to ride my motorcycle to Seattle, and I’ve made it to Mobile, Alabama so far. I camped in my hammock for a night at Indian Lake, stayed with my nephew for two nights in Gainesville and got to meet up with my friend Sarah, and I stayed at a janky hotel outside of Pensacola before making my way here.  It’s been a very hot although enjoyable 900 miles.

I like taking scenic routes and enjoy going places I’ve never been. That means I generally steer clear of interstates and chain restaurants. But I have patronized a couple of chains so far on this trip. 

Two of my hosts have ordered pizza from Papa John’s, which I haven’t had in awhile, but I still like their garlic sauce. And my nephew wanted to visit the new Sonic near his house, and since going to a drive-in on a motorcycle seems kind of stupid to me, it was a first time for both of us. I am glad that I can cross it off of my list of things I haven’t done and I never have to eat there again. 

I’m not against chains entirely, and I can understand how they offer familiarity and comfort for those absorbed in the “review culture” where people are on their quests to find their favorite everything. But familiarity doesn’t inspire me, and I’m not all that interested in being comfortable. I prefer being happily surprised and enchanted by uniqueness.

Riding through Panama City was largely abhorrent to me. Perhaps it was the section I was riding through, but every restaurant and store were part of some franchise carrying the same products their customers can find at any of their locations. I can safely pledge to never patronize an Alvin’s Island. 

However, a place like Mobile, Alabama is a different story. Downtown Mobile is filled with independent shops and restaurants you can’t find anywhere else in the world, and they feature art and amenities that can only be experienced in Mobile. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit a few.

The hand breaded fried mushrooms at Bob’s Downtown Restaurant were fantastic, the po boy at Debris is incredible, and The Blind Mule is a great place to enjoy a Oyster City Hooter Brown Ale. My host Leo and his friend Daniel also took me to The Insider, a bar and eatery where the Cedar Street Social Club meets every Tuesday night for an acoustic jam, and I got to play with and meet some local musicians.

Although my guitar was kept strapped to the motorcycle for most of my first few days in Florida, I’m glad I had the opportunity to actually play some music during my first week on the road. I can’t very well motorcycle music across America without making some music. I played a few songs for the dozens that had gathered, and one of the old-timers said he’d been coming to the jam for years, and I was the first person he ever heard do “Werewolves of London”.

Gotta love those happy surprises.

But beyond just motorcycling and music, I do have another vision as I explore America. As people will gather from the themes in the songs I’m releasing, I believe in a better way of doing things, and I have hope for the future that is not often spoken of on mainstream media. Mainstream media is similar to chain shops and restaurants in that they keep offering the same stuff in convenient packaging to keep you coming back, but they don’t offer much in the way of the substance most of us are really looking for.

As I continue on my journey, I’m asking my hosts and people I meet along the way questions about what’s important to them. None of the answers I’ve received are necessarily world changing, and I suspect that a thinking person may even change their answers from day to day. I just want to get people thinking about better things than what they’re fed through the mainstream media.

I based my four questions on my ABC Squared Economics theory on how we can cultivate Artistry, Business, Citizenry, and Community through a heart/mind/body/spirit approach. I ask people what they love about their lives, what knowledge they want to share with the world, what they appreciate about where they live, and what they’re passionate about. I’ve had some really great answers so far, and I’m looking forward to more.

While the essential goal of this trip is to ride through the last 8 states I need to so I can say that I’ve ridden my motorcycle to all 48 contiguous states, I think there’s a greater purpose for it than that. I’m not entirely sure what that purpose is, but I think it has something to do with understanding one another better. Maybe we can all find greater purpose together.