new border : New Mexico

June 24, 2010

My speedometer has broken down again, that is not good, I’ll have to diligently keep track of mileage in order to keep my maintenance up for the bike, the other thing : I have no clue how fast I am going.

I know that when it sounds like the afterburners are firing up, the high pitched whine kicks in, I am approaching a 100 mph. I was watching the tach to try and assess my speed but it’s not very precise, at what seemed like the same speed it hovered between 4500 and 6500 RPMs… yeah, no high tech stuff here.

I barreled down the 40. I felt torn. For some reason that I don’t understand yet, it gets harder and harder to head East and to leave the west… I feel pulled back, I don’t know why or by who. As the darkness moved in I felt this more and more.

I lie down, chest on the tank, the semis are aplenty and I am shaken like James’ Martini and stirred like a leaf in the wind.

I discovered another thing with the bike. like a horse, if you apply pressure with your thigh it will respond. As i passed the trucks I would use the outside leg of the turn, just like on a horse and press in and the machine would diligently and smoothly change direction. So I was playing with that, practicing passing the trucks and sliding between the reflectors embedded in the road.

As the sun goes down, the beige fields turn into gold, pink and purples, there are these broken hills in the distance and the blond grass, also turned in a shade of pink made this look like a dreamland. Incredibly beautiful, full of emotion and finesse. Again the moon, getting close to fullness, shines above.

This land is host to spirits lost between worlds. I feel them. I talked to Leonard this morning in Flagstaff if I remember correctly he is Navajo, and we talked about that. Leonard, I feel them.

It got to be night. I stopped about 10 miles from the New Mexico border, I didn’t know I was so close. I had set out to cover lots of ground after the Grand Canyon and the generally slow pace of the last three days. I did so covering nearly 200 miles between dinner and bed time. I stopped at this gigantic truck stop, I had seen the sign earlier on a large billboard by the freeway, wi-fi, showers, laundry, restaurant, store, gas, cheaper gas if you pay cash, souvenirs, anything you want.

There must be 50 rigs parked around the premises, there is a loud hum of diesel engines, dust billowing up, in the glow of the neon lights. The gas is cheap, 2.50 a gallon. I fill up again. I took advantage of the wi-fi to check my email while sitting outside of the building. I find that Josee has written a song inspired by my adventures. cool, I laugh.

There is a caffuffle as a trucker almost side swipes the pick up truck of the gas attendant. The guy who had been so sweet to me was now hollering at the trucker, his voice thundering over the noise. Wow, I though, if I had that kind of volume to sing…

A man looks exhausted taking a short nap sitting in his pick up as his family shopped in the store. The two kids and the mom piled on the bench of the old green chevy, there is a washer and dryer in the back and more stuff covered with a dark tarp. Maybe they are moving… The man starts the truck, it dies. Starts it again, it dies again. Third time lucky the engine blasts, he puts it in reverse, this truck seem to come to life, growling, snarling, he shifts in first gear, second, they are on their way.

I noticed on the freeway many cars hauling the classic orange and gray U-Haul. People moving? Many people moving? Some sort of quiet exodus.

It was a bit strange, as if the same scenario was played over and over : a few semis, a few SUVs from California then a small car pulling a U Haul, over, and over. As if I was in a loop…

So as I rest outside the store I look at the map. OK, the next town : Gallup, distance 20 miles. it’s pitch dark. I drink an iced tea that proclaims it’s the true southern sweet tea and it is filled with corn syrup … no so classic… Gotta remember to read the labels.

I hop on the bike, rev it up. head out to the freeway, it’s F#$% wild. trucks haulin’ ass down the freeway, cars, all going at a mad pace. It’s getting cold. I lost a glove today… duh.. now I have my left hand tucked on the tank to keep it warm. a truck shows up behind me and flashes his lights. I had slowed down trying to keep warm and somehow he had caught up with me. I floored it, left him in my dust, in seconds his headlights were the size of impertinent bugs in my rear view mirrors.

Gallup : next 3 exits. I have arrived. There are about 20 signs for motels. the Budget motel looks the cheapest at $32 with free wi-fi.

I pull in, an East Indian lady is at the desk, I get room 201. It’s ugly as hell. the face cloth look like someone used it to check the oil in their car. But, there is a bath, a bed and I don’t give a damn. A few days ago I slept in a 5 star resort with feather bed. Last night I slept under the stars, tonight the ubiquitous cheap motel.

The Budget Inn

I found a cafe with wi-fi which is where I am writing this from. I had a good breakfast. I have no idea where to head out from here. I might wash the bike today. Give it some dignity back!

This morning when I was about to leave, this man approached me. He asked me point blank : how long are you staying here? Where are you going? Where are you from?

We got into this strange conversation. He’s a journalist from Washington DC, He’s here. He’s got a master’s degree. Could I spend a few days here? We could share something safe, no strings attached… and it went on zig and zagging around the elephant in the room.

So I asked what he wanted. he says a bunch of stuff and then finally “the sex, well, only if you want to give it, I’d gladly take it.

What a freaking line… “If you are willing to give it”… As far as my radar is concerned, that’s the only thing he wants.

So I am standing there and I can’t help but laugh, this is kind of silly. The strange thing to me about all this was that about 30 minutes earlier I had that thought about sex… But I can’t tell him how funny this coincidence is! Some people are way too serious.

I said that what I needed right now was to eat breakfast. Who wants this sort of thing anyways? It’s desperate, sad, it’s dessicated like the lands around this place. Masters degree or not.

Hugs to you all, the road beckons.

From my seat at the Coffe House II in Gallup, NM


One Response to “new border : New Mexico”

  1. Josee Says:

    I don’t know why, but the desert scares me. I would feel like dying! Howver I bet if I was actually there, I’d feel like flying instead!
    I love the photos and the stories, makes me feel like i am there with you!

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