Sigh…. Ahhhh….

June 27, 2010

Saturday June 27 Santa Fe

Full moon,

I am in a Motel 6

I just had a very brief altercation with a bum at the motel lobby as I went to get a bottle of water.

The vending machine was sold out of water.

Well, well, well.

This morning I woke up very early (for me that is…) around 6:30 AM. That followed a night on a bed that consisted of a cheap, cheap, cheap, did I say cheap? rectangle of foam over plywood. It took forever to get to sleep then I woke up numb in the middle of the night, had to do stretches to my arms, shoulders and back to convince my body to lie down again.

The advantage to getting up early in a hostel is that you get the early bird as to your choice of a chore. Yep, it’s $18 for the night and you can eat the food that’s there but then in the morning you gotta do chores… I was one of the first on the job so I got the proverbial worm : “Wipe the two oven tops with a soapy washcloth and remove any crumbs”. I did feel somewhat guilty as some of the other chores were much more involved : Clean the men’s showers. Pick up garbage from all garbage cans (the place is huge…) . And so on.

I was glad I got to say good bye to the Ozzy hiker. This man from Australia WALKED hundreds of miles of the continental divide… I got to ask him the details again. He made me realize that there is a whole sub-culture of hikers. I mean not the type who go up Grouse mountain on Saturday morning before brunch at Sophie’s. The type who hike on foot from Mexico to Alaska for months on end with nary a thing with them. Made me feel like what I am just doing is pretty cushy.

the hiker from Australia, beautiful soul from the road

He took a picture of me in the morning

Yours truly up at 7 something AM... Ungodly..

We had a great conversation the night before. He went to bed and ten I played some guitar. There was a guitar in the hall that I had seen and I longed to play. I miss it. People quietly got closer and listened but no one asked for covers or tried to pry the thing out of my hands or such things that usually happen when there is a guitar around. I just kind of played for myself, sang a little and didn’t really want to stop but it was time to close the lobby. The makeshift audience complimented me and said they enjoyed it. I kind of like this incognito playing. No pressure. Nothing to prove. Just play the thing and enjoy the sounds.

So this morning was my earliest morning so far, I felt OK until about 40 minutes into it when my bad sleep and caffeine depletion caught up with me. I had the intention of finding a car wash and clean the chain from yesterday’s rain (rain will always clear out all the lubricant and cover the chain with sand and dirt… interesting law of nature) I could not find a car wash before I got out of town so I stopped on the side of the road to lube the chain. I imagine it must look a bit funny as I walk the bike a few steps, spray the chain, walk it a few more steps, repeat step 2… (don’t have a center stand)

I then stopped again barely 10 minutes later to figure out the the road number, I had left without checking… then stopped yet again another 10 minutes later at a grocery store parking lot looking again for the specific road…

Then… the big question came : Where am I? This is something that has been coming up quite a bit lately. Where am I? That is the kind of question people never ask because usually you are where you live. But now I live where I wasn’t, or is it… I am being where I am but I am not where I live? Hmm.

I asked this passerby, and since he lives there he knew and he generously told me but he had a spanish accent and I did not understand or recognize from the names on the map… we chatted for a while then it was time to go and since he was going in the same direction he guided me to the proper road as I was already heading the wrong way. (sometimes not having coffee can be dangerous to your health) He then did almost the whole ride with me up to Taos. It was fun.

But out of this absentmindedness I realize a great advance : I am at a point where I can barely think, remember, cogite. But. I can riiiiiide! As befuddled as my thinking brain was, I rode these real nice curves bends, turns, shifts in complete confidence. This is good. I mean, it’s always better to get the thinking out of your activities. Less mistakes more inspiration and instinct. Thinking is a dangerous activity. Life goes by while you do it.

Entering Taos and there lays another expanse of malls, ugly shops, lights and tourist traps… Sigh.

I get to an intersection and of course, take the opposite direction to the one I was planning. Sigh…

I decided to try and trust that maybe this was the universe’s plan for a perfect day. So I soldiered on this plain, flat, regular sort of road… Until we hit the Rio Grande Canyon. That was actually cool, a nice surprise.

The Rio Grande Canyon


Rio Grande take 2


Rio Grande take 3

Another long flat stretch where I could see the thunderstorms and rain clouds gathering and starting to run after me followed the Rio Grande.

I SWEAR! They are running after me! The clouds are! I raced them on.

I continued on with the 64 and up and up and up we went. 10 thousand feet. The bike is drinking gas like water and it idles really really low. It’s bike voice has become a low baritone growl, the first gear is reeeaaaalllyyyy sloooow to geeeeet gooooiiiinnnng…

As we went up the temperature went down and to my extreme surprise : I am freezing! Freezing in New Mexico in late June!!!!!! Sigh…

Finally, I get down the mountain which did not look like New Mexico, with meadows, pines, grass, farmland, lakes…

Finally the most amazing visual candy break of the day came with my favorites : the red hills.

my favorites, the red hills


The sun is cooking, I stop, take some photos, eat a bit, and just hang out by the side of the highway. A massive pick up truck slows down… A dark handsome man and his sidekick in a huge black 4×4 Ford pickup truck with a Supercab U-turns on the highway and pulls next to me.

Are you OK?

Yeah, no problems. Just enjoying and eating.

Where are you going?

Oh, not sure yet.

He looks at my plate. “Are you from BC? Did you ride all the way here?”

-”Yep. Loved it too”

“You’re a wild one hm?! Hey, there is a motorcycle rally in Santa Fe tomorrow, you gonna be there?”

“well I don’t know, with my kind of bike the Harley guys look at me funny sometimes”

“Hey, you ridin’ that’s all that matters. Got a phone number?”

“Well, yeah, but it’s from Canada. they charge me a buck fifty a minute when I use it so I don’t”

“Oh, well, maybe we’ll see you there”

“Yeah maybe”

“Ride safe” “Yeah ride safe” said the sidekick.

“Always!”

The man backed up the truck in a very manly fashion , both of them waved one last time and they took off. I hung out a bit longer, put on the helmet, jacket, gloves climbed back on my rocket and took off too.

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