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10/27/2016 » 10/28/2016
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Motorcycle trip to Alaska and back provides new perspectives for former ISBA president
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Jay Eaton, ISBA past president (1999-2000) and current Ways and Means Committee chair, checked off what most people would describe as an item on their bucket lists this summer – a motorcycle trip from Iowa to Alaska and back.

Only Eaton doesn’t have a bucket list. "Never have,” he says, in the almost-daily blog he used to record impressions and pictures of the nearly 12,000-mile, two-month journey that took him to places, some with familiar names and many without. Along the way, he saw many sights and met many individuals that the majority of people will never experience.

The Waukee, Iowa, resident, who retired in December 2013 from the Nyemaster law firm in Des Moines, Iowa, and is now of-counsel with the firm, recorded these thoughts about life on Aug. 1 as he departed Pickstown, So. Dak., for home on the final day of his adventure:

Personal Note:
"Do you love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.” -- Benjamin Franklin
My take on this is living in the moment intentionally, not necessarily industriously.
Bucket List:
Is today enough?
Am I fulfilled?
What is fulfillment?
Narrowing that down a bit brings "bucket list” to mind.
So many have asked me whether my Alaska adventure was on my bucket list.
I don’t have one.
Never have.
From what I hear, bucket lists are often full of "wants” and "shoulds”. And what are they?
Wants focus on what I don’t have. That doesn’t fulfill me.
Shoulds too often are social guilt. That doesn’t fulfill me either.
Which brings me back to today. Being in each moment intentionally.
That seems fulfilling enough for me. At least it’s a good start.


Looking back on the trip now with the perspective of a few weeks back in familiar surroundings, Eaton describes the experience in three words: "Vacuum,” "re-entry” and "friendship.”

"Vacuum,” he says, consists of "silence” and of "pace.”

"I have been ‘unplugged’ for over three months (including three weeks in Italy with Kathy [his wife] and my two-month Alaska adventure,” he says of the "silence.” "No TV. No newspaper. No web news. No familiar territory. No familiar faces.”

As far as "pace,” he says, he has had: "No schedule. No appointments. No deadlines. No daily destination.”

With regard to "re-entry,” he says, he is extending re-entry for as long as possible, avoiding the clutter of previous routines, opening the window of other opportunities.

"I missed many friendships,” he says simply of the "friendship” aspect of his perspective.

While there was certainly a lot of riding, and certainly a lot of camping, Eaton says his trip was more than just riding a motorcycle through beautiful country and camping under the stars. He muses eloquently at times about what some might consider mundane things as in this blog post on June 17 at East Glacier, Mont.:

"A few random thoughts I’ve had recently --
About seats:
The original seat on my KTM was narrow, hard and had sharp edges. That creates hot spots and stiffness where you really don’t want them!
So, in California last Oct. I rode the KTM into the Corbin factory and got a custom-made seat. I have Corbins on my other bikes, and have always been comfortable on them. I hoped that would solve my problem.
The Corbin and my posterior liked each other from the start, tho somewhat from a distance. I think they must have needed a little breaking in.
Over 1,500 miles into my trip, it dawned on me yesterday - while feeling absolutely nothing - that their relationship and cooperation have matured immensely. You could even say they’ve bonded.

Read Eaton’s complete blog and view the photos he took here. For an overview of his trip (sort of a table of contents complete with thumbnail photos) click on the "ARCHIVE” button at the top of the first page, or

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