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Excerpt's from the Metal Cowboy's Vault (Click
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a book from this web site and $20 from
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support CampCreative!Featured Excerpt
from "Momentum Is Your Friend"
Is Your Friend:The
Metal Cowboy and His Pint-Sized Posse Take on AmericaJoe
Quinn and EnzoMy
Princes of the PacificMy
Kings of the Coast
am I looking? I don’t want the truth.What
am I doing? I ain’t in my youth.I’m
past my prime, or was that just a pose?It’s
a wonderful lie. I still get by on those.—Paul
never enough until your heart stops beating.—New
few things you should know about me: I’m involved in a rather
relationship with caffeine; it’s been going on for years, and
I have no
intention of breaking things off. Also, by my twenty-first birthday
more jobs than you’ll ever have, leaving me free to follow
for a strapping young man of questionable aptitude and work ethic: I
writer. When folks ask me what that’s like, I tell them to
with no special powers. You’re all Clark Kent,
all the time. Worse,
along the way, probably my mother, convinced me that I did possess
abilities. This will turn out to be in my imagination.
else? I don’t know when to say quit, especially around
or after I’ve climbed onto a bicycle. Often, combining my
with my stubborn resolve makes for lively entertainment. Case in point,
raced a greyhound on foot along uneven New Mexico
sand teeming with barrel
cacti. This, while an
entire deck of partygoers looked on. I was not drunk or running for my
nor was this a high stakes wager. I just thought it might be fun, and
me actually believed I could beat this graceful animal, (see mom, and
special powers ruse) and because someone needed to wipe that cocky grin
would learn too late that centuries of breeding are responsible for its
smile, not to mention its incredible speed out of the blocks. Also,
is no margin of error when running between barrel cacti.
more thing, I have what teachers euphemistically referred to on
reports as socially excessive verbal proficiency. I’m chatty;
review. What we have is a jittery, unemployable scribe, a tenacious
be sure, but lacking a certain intellectual curiosity, who wants
than to ride his bicycle . . . and won’t shut up.
as surprised as you that it’s worked out this well.
aim of life is to live, and to live means to be
aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely divinely aware.–Henry
thyself? If I knew myself, I’d run away.-Goethe
did every single thing as
if he did nothing else.–Charles
a healthy series of switch backs through the chill of a Colorado
I don't feel tired. I don't
feel the miles I pedaled yesterday or the weight I'm carrying now.
warm air hug the corners of the road. I spot wildflowers, rebels
altitude, clinging to the washes as I clear tree line. When I look over
shoulder there's another cyclist, some industrious insomniac out for an
morning ride. He's determined to catch me before the top, but it
We rest beside a sign marking CottonwoodPass,
at more than 12,000
feet above sea level.
every man’s secret desire to raise a middle finger to the
High time to stick it to the reaper while I still have the lung
capacity. I want
to humiliate that cloaked coward. Put Death in polyester bellbottoms,
gold medallions, cue the DJ and make him do “The
Hustle” for the
that maybe we’ll dress life’s little party crasher
in tight Lycra, ride
hard, then drop Death like a wet bag of dirt on some slow rise in the Midwest.Who’s
with me?! "You're coming from where?!" Insomniac asks a second time,
looking over 14 feet of loaded rig: my two boys and the tagalong bike
trailer I've been towing for 1,576 miles.
nods reverently. "And here I thought I was doing something this
let that hang there for a few moments. In an uncharacteristic show of
I try to shrug it off. The cycling equivalent of Jack Lalane pretending
hasn’t just crawl stroked the English
pulling a hundred speed boats by his teeth.
kid yourself." The Insomniac spreads his arms wide, in an effort to
in the whole monstrosity, before he gives up. “Oregon
all the way to Washington,
pulling that? My
man, this is a bold
statement.” I want to agree with him, but my perspective
somewhere back in Idaho.
These days, unless I’m in well over my head, it’s
not even interesting.
should probably have that checked.
it comes to needing a competent mental health professional, Insomniac
certainly give me a run for my money. It turns out bold statements
backed up by
equally derelict actions are his operating instructions. He has to be
thirty, but when the helmet comes off a spectacular abundance of
in one ear alone, and a little metal pipe, glowing cobalt blue in the
light, runs the width of his pinched and punctured forehead.
marriage of tribal art to a pack of angry teens. You know the ones who
smoke, curse and nod with no enthusiasm from the steps of the public
maybe a tribal leader failing community college who’s stopped
parents. “I lost my sweetest trick bike into Blue Mesa
promising way to open an anecdote, it brings my second grader, Quinn,
whatever reverie he’s lost in across the horizon.
through the top flap of the bicycle carrier, a prairie dog emerging at
first whiff of excitement on the breeze. “It wasn’t
a road bike.” As if
explains everything. We wait him out. “I do BMX most
extreme jumps. People know about me . . . I mean people outside the Colorado
community.” We nod encouragingly. “Dudes,
recognize this behavior. To back up bold statements, a certain amount
grandstanding is required. Not always pretty, but absolutely necessary
wants to complete the motion. “On weekends, we toss up a
railing of the bridge. It’s sixty feet to the water. Crowd
Music, Frisbees, lots of vans, a real Dead Show vibe.” But
and Incubus music is my guess. “Never a question of
‘if,’ I’m just
until the crowd can’t take anymore tension.” Or
they’ve run out of
perhaps?! “Where was the other ramp?” Quinn asks.
His question makes me
and a bit melancholy, motivated as it is by a sense of safety and his
belief in self preservation as a universal human trait.
can tell Insomniac lives for moments like these. “The lake
Big Guy. I’m
the top and landing in the lake . . . roll tape, news at 11. You want
huge air, nail a triple spin like you do this every day, then kick out
bike before hitting the water. No one wants to be near their ride when
lands. Bonus for a quick resurfacing to snag your swag before it sinks
watch Quinn’s world-view shift before my eyes. As though
orangoutangs hanging on high vines doing something foolish with fruit,
hose and their nostrils. The evolutionary connection has been made. I
to watch my eldest son more closely the rest of the way to the Atlantic. “Nailed the
jump but did it get ugly
on the way
down. Bike came back under me. I had to take evasive action or else . .
else monsters would get you?” Enzo’s into the story
upright in the bike carrier, solar cover thrown back and bracing
the top bar . . . essentially turning his rig into a de-facto
himself into a mini pontiff. We’ll teach him the official Vatican
wave later. “Or else I’m impaled on my
bike seat and they’re
res for my remains.” Insomniac winks, playing to his
audience. “But I’m
going down like that.”
interpret for the boys, complete with hand gestures. We should all have
to a diplomatic translator in Lycra. “Speared, splattered . .
cliffhanger before breakfast… it just doesn’t get
any better for my
. . . I have to give the handlebars a roundhouse kick, then torque my
around like some circus performer, Dudes. Hit the water so wrong I
everything until I’m pulled out and panting back on
boys sigh at the same time and in the same pitch. The only thing more
satisfying than Insomniac’s ending would have been if it
the bottom of the box. They might be done, but I have a few loose ends
need tying. Like how he has come to possess such a high performance
“My brother took it in trade for a drywall job. He says
I’ll bury his
by the end of the summer.” Replaying how Insomniac stalked me
like some sleek jungle cat leaves little doubt. “You know,
a lot of
crossover between trick riders and roadies,” I say. Insomniac
the mountain. Its angle and the distance to the lake below are
something out of
a Dr. Seuss drawing. Then he eyes our bikes, the boys and the radical
the Earth in the other direction. “There ought to
be,” he says, not a
guile in his voice. “If this ain’t extreme, I
wait for sunrise at the top of the world—casual gods
kingdom that spans for miles in every direction—then roll the
into another day on the road.
is a perfect world, riding on an incline.—Talking
a few weeks and brutal headwinds beyond our triumphant cresting of
12,000 foot CottonwoodPass.
Quinn pokes at me with a bike pump in the same fashion I’ve
roadkill. “Get up! We’re almost over the
rainbow.” I’m lying yards from
afternoon rush hour traffic. The mercury tops 106 degrees and
is to both the Judy Garland classic and the name of the steepest hill
. . . probably
less than 500 feet above sea level, which I’ve failed to top.
my left is a church, its spiral steeple penetrating the heights that
reach. To the right, a hospital… which will come in handy if
edges of my vision continue to grow.
clearing the Colorado
Baum’s Oz classic, even calling Kansas City its
spiritual home. The
boys are to be on the
lookout for a horse of a different color. I’d give anything
they could locate a canister of oxygen.
on the humidity-stoked hill
of Rainbow Blvd., straddling Kansas
caught between the cracks, that I wish there were
“do-overs” in long
a minute. Why not join me down here on the gravel? That’s it,
road and let the burning asphalt blister your sweat-drenched skin,
the tips of your lungs poking right through your throat and try to roll
the shade like some wounded Green Beret hunting for a depression on the
battlefield, only to find that shade, like everything else inside the
breadbasket of America, is a Heartland lie. Okay, that could be the
talking, but we are stretched across what most call a gutter, two
from the summit, seemingly incapable of forward progress, two kids
us and it’s not getting and earlier, I’m allowed a
since you’re down here, I’ll tell you what
we’re looking for; somewhere
the gravel pocking your soft spots and glass shards boring into your
ants going about their business as if you don’t exist and the
grass carrying memories of renewal . . . is our will to live.
or, at the very least, faith enough to fake it.
more thing, don’t lie so close to me, I really should take in
one’s been breathing for awhile.
nine blocks, less than two miles from our destination, but I
can only recall it’s something of an oasis, the home of close
God parents more or less, and their beautiful daughters, one of whom
heart in all the right places years ago. Oh, and there’s a
tall pines and lush flowering plants.
comes with a price tag.
can’t beg or borrow the strength to do what is necessary on
the angle of our slope divided by the build up of lactic acid in my
then carrying the remainder of the day . . . nope. I’d better
little longer, until my math improves or time and nature grinds the
down to an acceptable size.
Laaaannnce!” Followed by a few yips and yeehaws from the
pickup truck. I’m too far gone to let its sarcastic
undertone, or what
been snickering from the back seat, touch me. Nothing’s
thrown in our
direction, so there’s that. Quinn wields the bike pump like
an old man
his cane at the neighborhood hooligans.
“Dad?” Lack of
forward motion has
five-year-old’s afternoon nap. Enzo emerges from the cave of
holding a spray bottle of water. It sports a little fan attached to the
you have any chocolate?” He comes to a halt over me, stares
shakes his head. My current state does not offer him much hope of
cocoa product. I hear the little fan whirl into action. Enzo spritzes
few times, then, in an act of unprovoked kindness, what I choose to
empathy, he turns the mist on his old man.
one’s out of gas around here until I say so,” Quinn
one of my
favorite self-help seminar lines. He gets in close, eyeing me with the
disappointed glare of a high school football coach. “Get up.
don’t even make an attempt. “EmeraldCity
for you two, maybe,” I say. My
breathing is reminiscent of someone locked inside an iron lung.
all tornados and flying monkeys right now.”
turtles his neck a little and scans the skies for aerial chimps and
I’m not trying to scare them, just buying some time. It
occurs to me
that if I
can still make fun of my situation, there might actually be something
the tank. “Another minute, boys, that’s all I need.
Quinn, get me some
Clif recovery powder from the right pannier. It’s in a
manage a seated position without blacking out.
Quinn has my water bottle in one hand and a bag of powder in the other.
. . . that bag’s your grandpa. I’m talking about
the other Ziploc, next
gel packs and Band-Aids.” Did I mention we have three
After my dad’s heart blew, Thanksgiving morning of 2000, his
up in my
home office. Not much of a final resting place. The man spends a
grinding it out inside cubicles . . . it didn’t seem right to
up any longer. Deserving better in life, but when all that’s
go big. That was before every ounce mattered, back when rolling weight
bicycle was just an abstract theory and a source of future bragging
when the road hits this hard, every item, even your long suffering
remains, feel like a burden. With Pop back in the bag, a few gallons of
electrolyte therapy down my throat, and a pair of wobbly sea legs under
support, we soldier on. It’s asking too much to straddle the
pushing it the short distance to the top is no picnic either, even with
help. Enzo has located the dregs of a lollipop along the floor of the
silencing him for the moment.
adventure hits rock bottom at what could be the highest point of Kansas
In my bleary
excitement to crest the rise, I surge the bike forward faster than
coaxing it up the hill. Not by much, but it’s enough to catch
with Enzo’s trailer. I can only watch as he performs a slow
forward. My stomach jumps into my throat. I’m on the wrong
side of the
handlebars. I can do little more than witness him hit the sidewalk.
bike gloves and one of the knee pads work like a charm. Little
the other knee, scuffed under the pad just enough to raise a light but
patch of blood.
rage and recriminations are perfectly natural. The only surprising
thing is why
it hasn’t happened before now. For a seven-year-old, over
bike adventure, he’s been, with a few exceptions, Jedi-like
down by the rig that has brought us all such joy, and by a father who,
now, has protected him from injury, not caused it; all this is too much
betrayal to let stand. His outpouring of raw emotion is a Cal Ripken
ball to my head. Knowing it’s coming doesn’t make
it hurt any less.
exhaustion and this hapless feeling of failing my son nearly sends me
pull him close, a bear hug he’s both encouraging and
violence. I take a deep breath, absorb the worst of the blows, and for
really question the wisdom of this endeavor. Am I giving them the time
lives on two wheels, or making them do hard time in the saddle? We stay
that until his tears dry up and his breathing levels out. I’m
but for the first time on our “Boys of Endless Summer Freedom
see some cracks.
when he remembers the swimming pool. “According to this sweat
map of Kansas
best BBQ joints, it’s nine more blocks. Just nine,”
I say. Helmet
to helmet, we lock eyes. “Gonna take all my strength (and
transfusion) to get us there, son. I’ll need to go radio
silent . . .
could count us down, block by block?!” Enzo removes his
guys can do it.” And with that we have our momentum back.
important is this underrated law of physics? Here’s the thing
push pounds of metal, gear, human cargo and two thin strips of Kevlar
miles across America.
At some point, no matter who you are, after the excitement and
purchases and preparations are behind you, the full weight of your
will threaten to crush your deepest ambitions.
mountain roads focus your attention like finding religion or dating a
supermodel, ancients navigating motor homes around blind curves send
down the small of your back, hills go on without end, windstorms blow,
settles in, flash floods threaten, black flies bite, humidity,
traffic and worse try to break you like balsa wood under a well made
. . . is the only force on Earth that can possibly carry you through.
you want to come out the other side with more than miles, then
grab the brakes, get off the bike when your gut tells you or your legs
you, and have a good look around.
decide we’ve seen enough of Rainbow Boulevard.
It’s time to
take us to the water. “56th Avenue!”
calls out clear and strong, like he’s a cadence jockey on the
postal team. The miles have really worked him into quite a stoker,
“car back”, and “on your right”
as though he’s been riding for years.
block, boys.” I’ve been stifling back cries of
focus the pain into a meditation of little circles, suffering in
tears run the length of my cheeks. I burned the last of my fumes back
searching around for the packaging it came in so I could torch that up
The top of each short but deadly rolling hill is achieved by digging
muscle memory, then letting the enthusiasm in Quinn’s voice
push us along. Anyone witnessing our caravan barrel down that blvd.,
good from tail to hood, has no idea, not a clue of the battle raging
inside. It’s that way with most of us.
son’s screaming now, a half-mad third base coach waving me
in. We round
corner and it all floods back. I know where I am. It’s 1980.
old, fueled by lust, Little Kings beer in the bottle and Black Sabbath
tickets. The world and my hair, know no boundaries. It was quite a
pedals crank on one last surge of energy. I dump our rolling whale on
lawn and crumple in a happy heap. No ticker-tape parades, brass bands
ceremonies; the hum of cicadas in the high branches is our only
Chain grease covers my calf, gratitude the rest of me.
on my feet before the boys can locate bike pumps and spritz bottles.
out back.” Quinn hits me with a bear hug, Enzo whoop-whoops
We’ve come halfway across America,
and, for the moment, all the way home.
don't want to sell anything, buy anything,
or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought
processed . . . or buy anything sold or processed . . . or process
sold, bought, or processed . . . or repair anything sold, bought, or
You know, as a career, I don't want to do that."—Lloyd
agree that your theory is
crazy, but is it crazy enough?"
Niels Bohr (1885-1962)
1 | 0 MILESPortland,
stop weeding their flower beds and let hoses spill water down porch
steps as we
wobble by. “Feels like a parade,” Enzo calls from
the trailer. I can
hear him at this distance, but I’m glad he’s
enjoying himself. “We are
parade,” Quinn points out.
Steve, an engineer who is never without his smokes, bottled beer or his
convertible with suicide doors—the John F. Kennedy
the curb shaking his head. He smiles at us through a prodigious cloud
T minus two hours until lift off and I still have a few bugs to work
even this minor victory tastes sweet. I imagine it’s what the
savored high on that hill. Granted, we’re going to have to
than a couple hundred feet, but considering that 24 hours earlier our
engineering set backs had reached an Apollo 13 rescue scramble, and not
rocket scientist in sight, I feel pretty damn good.
arms look like Popeye,” Quinn says. It really is taking some
the rig and soldier forward on our pancake-flat boulevard. I try to
fact that we aren’t even fully loaded yet. Pannier ballast
and straighten the ride, but add to the overall rolling weight.
regarding a winter regimen of free weights and hours spent wrestling
basement Bowflex machine—Spanish Inquisition style.
wave to the white haired woman on the corner who wears nothing but
or billowing pastel moo-moos no matter the season. This innocent action
takes us to the ground. Adrenaline, angle, and dumb luck avert a
seems to level out our ride so I increase it. More reactions from front
and other pedestrians. A blind man could read their expressions.
look at that! He thinks we haven’t thought about some foolish
the daily grind? But what sort of man acts upon such things? And with
opt to nod instead of wave this time, hoping to hold off a call to
services. If there was more time, I’d stop and explain
myself. It’s like
this; I misspent the better part of my youth on a bicycle, with a
of 100,000 miles and counting. That includes six coast-to-coast
2,000-mile epic across Australia's
crimson-red Nullarbor Plain, and up-and-down rollers on both of New Zealand's
islands. I've chased ice cream trucks around Baja and pedaled a
the breakwaters of Jaco, Costa Rica.
If a 12-step program
for addicts of open-road adventure existed, friends would have tackled
the ground years ago.
was raised in a community of Tupperware pioneers making damn sure no
want for anything they could order from a catalog. This left me
parochial and restless. Who wouldn’t wander into traffic?
did stop rolling long enough to find a full life. But a wife, two boys,
books, and one mortgage later, the dangerous notion that it doesn't
have to end
in one zip code keeps surfacing. Still, a meandering, unsupported,
seventeen-state ride from Portland, Oregon, to Washington, DC, at the
summer, my two sons in tow, Beth lost to us at grad school, and the big
set at sixty-five days and counting?
bookies call this one a sucker’s bet, throw open the window
and try to
their grins as they take my money clip. Close friends talk around me in
tones. Several have the backbone to come right out and predict
whole fiasco hooked together, realize my folly and call it off in the
my wife seems serene. Maybe it’s the thought of all that
it’s more than that. We’ve witnessed enough of each
others lives to
resolve. “You need this,” she says during a rare
respite from the chaos
our homestead. “But if this is about our promise of always
awake. You do know we were young, foolish, and strung out of
Springsteen at the
time. Okay, and only because I know you’ll be the same
freak of a Dad
are. So, have fun storming the castle.”
went well, considering that my backup plan was nothing more than to say
heading out for some Snapple, then keep going. We’re calling
tour. It stands for What Would Lloyd Dobler Do?
those who missed the 1980s, or VH1’s “I Love The
80s,” Dobler was the
teen’s hero in Say Anything, a very smart film starring John
despite a few hairstyling missteps, feels contemporary even today. It
with love, tax evasion, kickboxing as a career choice, and how to look
holding up a forty-pound boombox. (Answer: make sure it’s
Gabriel.) Dobler had it together even though it didn’t look
like it. He
chances on things that mattered while wearing a trench coat right
August. He’ll be our patron saint for the duration of the
had T-shirts printed up with WWLDD on the front, and Dobler’s
star-making speech on the back. Along the way our shirts will elicit
I expect: “great flick!” catchphrases from the
movie like “Keymaster!”
pantomiming of someone holding a boombox while they shout out the
Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” Other
reactions will catch me off
never expected so many thumbs-up signs and “amen”s
Bible Belt. They mistake it for a variation on What Would Jesus Do? In
case, What Would the Lord Do, or Decide to Do? or What Would The Lord
sweetheart of a gal behind the meat counter at a country store in
Indiana went so far as to ask me, after reading the “I
don’t want to
anything . . .” quote on the back, if Dobler was some holy
the acquaintance of yet. Maybe on Sunday morning TV?“As
I live and breath,” I said. “But these days,
he’s only on cable.” Most
mavericks looking to instill a bit of rebel yell in their sons would do
start each morning by teaching them the lyrics, plus hand motions, to
such as Violent Femmes “Blister in the Sun”, and
read aloud from Huck
every night. I’ve taken this prescription a step further.
of a raft, we’re floating on five wheels and so much forged
Standing in for the Muddy Mississippi is every blue highway, back road,
occasional farmer’s frontage path ending abruptly in barbed
Tom and Huck had the ingenious if not quite literate Jim, Quinn and
to settle for Papa Joe, clever in a limited sort of parlor-game way,
a fault and, for what it’s worth, fully matriculated.
fought racism and a return to share cropping serfdom. We will battle
and the end of their summer vacation.
you think I lack for loftier goals to leave as a legacy, our plan
learning, to public-performance level if asked, a full catalog of
Brit punk, Talking Heads and three-part harmony on Bob
Cry” because there’s nothing more satisfying than
really putting your
white-boy back into the line, “Oba, Oba serving the
the good people we meet” in a faux-Jamaican accent.
It’s been known to
heal the hurt when the engine of injustice bears down on your rear
simple Trenchtown gift from Mr. Marley, which I want my boys to make
if only for singing in the shower, or in lieu of slugging a nasty
Tuesday morning twenty years from now.
while I doubt our tales of chainring rebellion will be banned in
classrooms someday (couldn’t find myself in better company
audacity of our endeavor is obvious. You heard the body-pierced man of Colorado:
called us a
bold statement. And if that impulse-free adrenaline jockey of a man
as a radical, I must be completely off the map and I just
is as Stupid pedals, Sir!
our project doesn’t want for wanderlust, a solid grab at
head-clearing simplicity of graceful transportation and enough
commitment to make the ghost of Twain tear up a little. Braving first
with my pint-sized posse in tow, shaking off the easy pleasures of
the merits of good sense all summer, we’re entering serious
the face of it, blame falls squarely on an article deadline imposed by
national magazine, but that would be taking the easy way out.
all about personal responsibility, sometimes.
that end, I’ve been up nights assembling a long list of
ride and for doing it now, but here’s one that feels
forty, and there's no denying every man's fantasy—no, not
other one—to see if his body, tuned up to its current best,
stage a bloody mutiny at the bow of the boat or hold the lines.
other words, do I still have “it”; the soaring
finger-roll into the
while two men guard me, (almost had that once) the perfectly executed
from the three-meter platform. (never had that)
I did have “It.”
we have then is an old-fashioned Texas
cage match pitting myself against the easy athleticism I might have
with arrogance in my twenties. This could get interesting.
be pulling 14 feet of traffic-stopping rig: My custom-made 27-gear
touring bike, plus four expedition-size Arkel panniers loaded with
from replacement parts to fishing poles to pots and pans.
pedaling a Burley tagalong cycle attached to my rear rack; Enzo will
his Chariot trailer, wedged between sleeping bags, bike pumps, and the
occasional watermelon. Most days this 250-pound caravan will feel like
hauling a Hobie Cat behind me. I draw inspiration from the unsung
working Everest and New World
weighed down by armor and battle axes. This brand of insanity always
safely from our “startle the neighbors” tune-up
ride, we begin the
of refolding map after map covering the hardwood floor of our living
of an accusation than a departure date, the red circle around July 1
from the piles of papers. By pedaling Oregon,
a bit of Wyoming,
high country Utah,
and the length of Colorado,
we'll get heart-pounding scenery instead of choking heat; I simply
to notice how many times our planned route crosses the Continental
highlighting every mile of a proposed route is akin to cartographic
masturbation. Once beyond the Big Muddy we’ll improvise our
way to the
bringing the red light saber for you, Dad
. . . ’cause that’s Darth
they say you’re always the hero in your children’s
laser battles from here to the Atlantic
doesn’t bother me as much as what those light sabers weigh.
a long holiday weekend ahead of her, Beth will pace us out of Oregon,
she’s about the tough love,
agreeing only to cart our front two panniers and some extra grub in the
be less of a blow that way.” She notes from the front seat of
windows down, AC blasting enough to compete with the Coldplay CD. Beth
to be enjoying my burdens a little too much. I’m reminded of
patrolman who wrote me a traffic ticket from a cool, comfortable,
position, with the notable exception that I never slept with any of
we finally take our starting positions, the day turns against us. Not
wrath-of-God thunderclaps and plague-of-frog proportions,
far worse. A thin, hazy summertime cloud cover traps heat and humidity
the length of the WillametteValley. I
soak through my
first jersey standing in place. It’s 2 pm, our rig is a few
prairie schooner, and there’s a slight breath of sticky wind
not. I’d look back but I wouldn’t want to turn to
salt or lose my