Dodging the RoadkillClarksville, Tn –– I met Rob Leunberger during a recent memorial run he organized for a friend who tragically lost his life on the back of his motorcycle.  You can read that story here.

As I joined the group for the day’s ride, I was on the outside looking in.  I didn’t know most of  those who had gathered to honor their friend, on this scorching hot summer day. 

At the end of the day though, I had witnessed an amazing friendship among men and women, brought together by a motorcycle, with a love for one another that was special.  They would do ANYTHING for each other!

Rob would tell me at the end of the day’s ride, “I’ll always sponsor this run, even if I’m the only one riding in it.”

That’s LOVE right there my friends!

So the other night as I was scrolling through my social media, I ran across a Facebook post he had written about an upcoming trip he was planning to take;

“As many of you know, I am about to embark on a journey of a lifetime. A journey only a small percentage of people have experienced. Rare is the opportunity to take off, leave most things I love behind and chase my dream. This journey isn’t only just about the miles, vistas, and wind. This journey includes a feeding frenzy for the gypsy in my soul. The desire that has drawn me to the road so many times over the years. The hunger that seems impossible to satisfy.”

“I will hold dear in my heart the loved ones I ride away from. I cannot thank my wife enough for accepting the passion that drives me and encouraging me to follow that voice inside me that calls me to a place of peace and understanding most cannot fathom.  I look forward to sharing this epic, soul cleansing experience with all of you through pictures and written word.  If you are a God loving person, when you pray, we would all appreciate asking Him for safety and health.”

Rob And Carol Luenberger

Rob and Carol Luenberger/photo by Hank Bonecutter

I just stared at my computer screen.  I could feel his passion.  I could feel his need to be free. To be on the road.  To satisfy whatever hunger he was feeling. 

I paid him a visit at his Indian Mound Tennessee home, to find out what drives him and to learn more about this adventure of a lifetime.  This sounded like a big deal, and I wanted to know more and I knew my readers would be able to relate.  

“I’m a rebel.  A free spirit.  I’ve used the word “never” too often and it’s time I went” he told me.  “I grew up poor.  We never really had “things” so now I can appreciate what I have and WHO I have in my life and I’ve prepared for this trip and I’m going” according to Rob.

Luenberger is headed out on a five week journey that will take him north to Canada, then ultimately to Alaska, which will be the 49th state he’s visited on his motorcycle.  He’ll visit family in Iowa, camp under the night sky and then ride the final 100 miles on gravel roads to reach his final destination.

“I’ve been planning this trip for 18 months” he said.  “This will be the longest I’ve been on the road,” he would tell me.  “I’m just not one to be inside.  There’s this spirit inside me and I’m not getting any younger.”

Rob And Carol Luenberger

Rob and Carol

Rob’s wife Carol is on board with this adventure, even though she won’t be traveling with him.  Support like that is important, because he can’t be worrying about things at home while he’s gone.  He has her support.

“She understands who I am and why this is important to me” he said.  “I can’t sit still and I MUST get away from civilization and feed this spirit inside of me.  It’s important to me and it’s a hunger that I have to satisfy.”

Along the way, Rob will walk across the headwaters of the Mississippi River.  A place called, Lake Itasca.  A small glacial lake, located in north central Minnesota.

He will find himself in Angle Inlet.  The only place in the contiguous United States north of the 49th parallel.  It is the northernmost place in the United States.

Ultimately, he’ll find himself at the North Pole where he plans to deliver Christmas lists to Santa Claus for young members of his family.

What an adventure!  What amazing memories!

I have been amazed at the passion I’ve witnessed from the bikers I have met on this journey.  It’s something that we all feel, but can’t explain to anyone who doesn’t ride.  There’s just something that burns inside of you, and when you bond with other brothers and sisters, it’s that passion that fuels this brotherhood.

Many bikers have come before me, and many more will follow, but Rob Luenberger has shown me that you should quit saying “never” and just make it happen.  Life comes at you fast and the opportunities will fade as we get older, so don’t put it off any longer.  Whatever you’ve dreamed about and whatever you’ve longed for in your life, you can do it, and you SHOULD do it!

Be safe my brother Rob, and may your guardian angel ride with you and bring you back home to those of us who love you.