I know I haven't changed much inside. My heart still harbors most of the same passions I felt years ago. I don't often act on those passions, don't put myself in new or uncomfortable circumstances in response to those impulses.
I've wanted for years to ride my motorcycle to the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, Buddy's West Texas hometown, on February 3rd, the day the music died. Why should you care? I'll try to explain. Why Buddy Holly? I don't know that I can explain.
I've never been to Graceland and wouldn't walk across the street to visit there. I wouldn't ride across town to meet Chuck Berry, wouldn't care to visit George Harrison's grave or Jim Morrison's. Would I ride 1,000 miles to visit my parents' graves? I don't know. I went to my father's funeral and watched the box go into the ground, but I've never been back and probably won't ever go.
I've lost other people, family and friends, over the years but never wanted to visit their hometowns - only the one guy's, Buddy Holly's. Maybe it's like Harley guys used to say: If I have to explain, you just won't get it.
Holly only had a two-year career, y'know. Whatever he did that we remember he did in those two years. I liked his work then and feel it still stands up today. My musically savvy friend Phil says that musicians who control their own output owe a debt to Buddy Holly; he asked for control and got it. The Beatles were called the Beatles because Buddy's band was called the Crickets. Lubbock, weirdly, is rock 'n' roll holy ground.
My idiosyncrasy and I live in eastern Colorado, not far from Kansas to the east, a few hours from the New Mexico line to the south. Lubbock is not all that far from here by western US standards: seven or eight hours in a car - or one day's hard ride. Maybe.
The idea is to be there to visit the grave and the super-cool Buddy Holly Center on February 3rd. If you've read this far you probably know: That's the anniversary of the Iowa plane crash that killed Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson, who was known as the Big Bopper.
On a nice spring or summer day, you could ride from Denver to Lubbock between sunrise and sunset. February days are short. The weather is unpredictable. If the wind's blowing or it's raining or the bridge roadways are icy, you might not make it in a day. Probably you wouldn't.
Here's my idea. I plan to ride to Lubbock. I've seen Buddy Holly's old Ariel 650 twin in Fort Worth at the BMW store. He was a rider, at least casually. I feel it's appropriate to ride there, to do this pilgrimage by motorcycle.
If I can't ride there, if the weather looks too awful or the bridges are too scary or it's just too damned cold, I'll rent a car. I'll get there somehow for the 3rd.
Here's where you come in. Maybe a few of you miss Buddy Holly the way I do, or loved the music or the glasses or something about him that you can't even explain. If that's how you are, and you'd like to pay your proxy respects in Lubbock on the 50th anniversary of the crash, here's what to do:
Email me your snail-mail address at email@example.com
There's an I-70 on-ramp a few miles from my home. I'll travel I-70 east to Limon, CO, where I'll turn south on US 287 through the OK panhandle and into the TX panhandle. I'll spend the night in Amarillo (if I get that far) and head south to Lubbock the next morning.
Postcards are on me. Be my pleasure.