All of a sudden, that time has come. In two days, I will be leaving my home to make a short pit stop in Virginia before turning westward for the big journey: following the PGA Tour in 2010. While I feel that just about everything is ready, I can't help but feel that I'm forgetting something. Perhaps I'm forgetting a lot of things. But at the very least, I guess deep down I'm hoping that I'm still insane enough to pull this off.
It's funny, but at this point I think I've created too many lists. I have scrap pieces of paper, an entire notebook, Excel spreadsheets and Word documents full of words telling me what I should be doing on a daily basis throughout 2010. But who the hell really knows what my schedule is going to be like? Every tournament is different, every city is different, and I have no doubt that every single day will be completely different than the one before it. So what the hell am I doing? Why create lists at all if it's possible that none of them will even apply?
Another thing I can't help but notice is the weight I've put on since October. Well, after Turning Stone anyway--I certainly burned calories that week. But since then, I’ve been focused on developing the site, researching different aspects of the trip, and enjoying Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and whatever other day I can stuff my face before I start eating out of cans. I suppose it's ironic that I spent so much time sitting on my ass to research a proper diet. But I think it will all pay off. I also think that the first 2-3 weeks of this trip will be quite painful and exhausting, given my current state of fitness. But how else am I going to whip myself back into caddie-esque shape?
As far as driving is concerned, I am amazed at how exponentially difficult following the PGA Tour becomes as you move through the season. Oh, sure, the beginning seems logical enough: four tournaments in California, and then we move to Arizona, then Florida, and then our first tournament in Texas prior to Augusta. It's almost as if the PGA Tour rubs the belly of the United States like a grateful kid who's just been saved from the bottom of a well by Lassie.
But after the Masters, the PGA Tour becomes Mr. Hyde as far as me and my car is concerned. I'm sure I will feel a lot like a pinball machine: South Carolina, Louisiana, North Carolina, then back to Florida, then a few tournaments in Texas before the Hail Mary-- where I can expect over 90 hours of driving in four weeks. First the Memorial in Ohio, then the St. Jude in Tennessee, then the U.S. Open at Pebble (back again after the AT&T), and then the Travelers Championship (I couldn't have said it better myself) in Cromwell, Connecticut. I don’t care who wins that last tournament—they’re all coming in second next to me after THAT freakin’ voyage.
The rest of the year is a little more manageable, with the exception of the PGA Championship, which will be tucked against Lake Michigan in Kohler, Wisconsin. The tournament is the week of August 9th, and I'm sure everyone will still be freezing their respective asses off.
The way I see it, I need a storage bin / bed where the front passenger seat used to be, so that when I fold down the back seat I have a bed to sleep on in case of a worst-case scenario. I will also set up some smaller storage bins in the trunk for clothing so I won’t have to cram all of my items into a backpack. Looking presentable is such a big part of “blending in” with the patrons at any tour event—and I need all the help I can get.
At this point I think I have a place to stay at most of the tournament locations, and who knows, I may end up having a place to stay everywhere I go. I found campsites or other similar locations along the way just in case, however, so I'm bringing a tent and a sleeping bag as well.
Although it probably should’ve happened already, the weight of this journey is finally starting to sink in. All the work I put into the website, the countless revisions to my writing, all the lists for food, shelter, daily tasks to get my writing done, etc. Even the preparations for my car kind of scared me. But I’m here, damn it, and I feel ready to get this thing underway.