Carl Falsgraf was a researcher and educator for 30 years, then, at the age of 55, left his prestigious and well-paying job to chart the last third of my life.

“I lived in the back of a 1999 Toyota pickup truck for seven weeks, traveling alone 11,231 miles across the United States. Highway Blues is the story of that internal and external journey. I think that my story resonates with Rotarians because, like you, I was a successful and respected member of the community. Then I walked away.”

Here are a few notes from Carl’s presentation:

  • Was director for applied second language studies at the UO
  • Received his doctorate in 1994 and built a successful national foreign language research center
  • He held a staff meeting to break the news…that he was stepping down…right before his 55th birthday
  • He was following his gut but had no idea what he wanted to do next
  • He knew he needed to totally clear his head and get away for awhile
  • His trip was 49 days long and he lived in/slept in his truck the entire time. He never paid for lodging.
  • The most common reaction to what he was doing was “I’ve always wanted to do that.” Others thought he was crazy and that it was unsafe.
  • Carl left his wife who he was a caregiver to, also. His wife was the one that found tons of alternate care so he could follow this dream.
  • The beginning of his journey was a near-miss accident with a semi.
  • Blues music was a big part of Carl’s journey. He played & sang at rest stops and in public parks. A couple samples were provided.
  • Loved the scenery, the people and the solitude he experienced.
  • At one point, in the middle of Nevada, he found himself deeply depressed.
  • Carl ended up selling raffle tickets at a Rotary club event in Casper, Wyoming for their duck race…just by happenstance.
  • Somewhere in the Midwest (MO), there was an epiphany that this more peaceful life was how he wanted to live. Tranquility was found on the road.
  • Since, he wrote and promotes his book. He published a CD and is writing a second book. The book is for sale on Amazon. You can find it here: