Road Trip!


This started out as a travel blog. Not the kind where I tell you what I ate and where I slept. This blog had a different purpose: to seek out the quirky, the odd, the unusual. More than anything, it sought to show that no matter where you go in North America, you can find interesting things to see and do, and fascinating people to meet. Even in Podunk, North Dakota.

Since last summer, however, this journal – and I – have been hijacked by a cancer diagnosis, and since that time it has mostly covered a different sort of journey – my cancer journey.  It is now time to return this journal to its original purpose.

Today is a landmark day. After two tongue cancers, two cancer surgeries, plastic surgery to replace the part of my tongue that was removed, and 5 1/2 weeks of radiation, my last radiation treatment was today. Let the healing begin.

When you finish radiation, they have you ring a big bell on your way out, signifying that you have now “graduated:”

In my left hand is the Mask of Terror that secured my head to the table on which my body was offered in sacrifice to the Death-Ray Gods.

My medical team has emphasized that healing will be imperceptible for the next two weeks, and slow and non-linear thereafter. But the cancer is gone, and in some number of months, I will be able to say goodbye to the Ensures and milk shakes on which I have been subsisting, and once again enjoy seafood from the Pacific Northwest, Mexican food from the Southwest, Cajun cooking and BBQ from the South, butter tarts and poutine from Canada, and yes, maybe even walleye and meat loaf from the mid-west. It is not clear whether I will ever again be able to fully appreciate a fine Willamette Valley pinot noir or a lusty California cabernet, but my fingers are crossed.

In the meantime, I have pulled out the maps and travel guides again. It’s time to start planning the next road trip. I’m thinking maybe the Blues Highway from Nashville to New Orleans this Fall. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Road Trip!

12 thoughts on “Road Trip!

  1. I was so very happy to read that you have finally finished this difficult journey. It sounds like we not only have SCC in common, we also both have a love for travel. Enjoy the planning and anticipation. Be well and be safe!
    Ted Fransen
    Winnipeg, MB


  2. Good for You . . .You graduated! So happy to see the words “the cancer is gone.” Enjoy life!!


  3. Congratulations Ken! Thank you for your incredible perspective on life. You are an inspiration and blessing. I wish you good healing, good travels and good eats!



  4. Thank you for sharing this tough journey. So thankful you are through the radiation and on to healing. May it be complete. May you enjoy another road trip and lots of good food. Have fun planning !


  5. You can write a blog about anything, as far as I’m concerned, Ken, and I would read it. I sure didn’t care for this journey for you, but thanks for bringing us along in your usual vibrant, compelling, smile-inducing way. I’m thrilled you are leaving radiation behind and on to happier trails soon. Praying for faster than expected recovery, wine aficionado-esque taste buds, and many adventures ahead! Ginormous hugs to you and Carol! Happy graduation.


  6. Great to hear your news, Ken.🥳 The Blues highway sounds like a fantastic road trip. New Orleans is on our list. Big hugs to you both, and hope your taste comes back way faster than expected!!
    Jean and Harvey 💌


  7. Ken, What excellent graduation news! You have fought the good fight with well-deserved results. Live on, my friend.

    Douglas B. Jensen

    5260 North Palm, Suite 421
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    Tel: (559) 432-5400 ext. 202
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