Sand storm, Friday thoughts,

April 20, 2013

It’s Friday afternoon… I’m zonked. I’ve been working for 3 weeks straight now on a translation project; 41 scripts to do in 4 weeks, simple math, 10 a week and I’ll make the deadline.


I like the project, it’s a really well done French animated series. I’m starting to feel like a cartoon character myself. Actually when I wear my motorcycle gear, the step is not really big and I’m there… superhero riding ninja! On a Suzuki that is!


After all these cartoons I’m starting to hear, see, think in terms of “Whap!” “Oooohh!” “Zonk!” and everyone is smiley…


And that whole universe is making me forget what’s at hand… Leaving for Turkey. I wrote a letter last Sunday and it made me realize that I’ve had no time at all to think about the journey much. The questions such as “when, how, what” are left unanswered. The little bit I looked into it, the logistics seemed impossible to tackle. So I let it ride… Answers always come…


Oh, it is Friday afternoon, it must be getting close to 80F and a breeze blows gently. I feel my brain pinging like hot metal. It is so peaceful. The cat sits on the couch, eyes half opened. The chimes tinkle in the air, hummingbirds dive bomb the feeder, competing for an endless supply of sweet water.. human like… aren’t they?


Last Sunday I went to see my friend Steve race at Willowsprings in the high desert. Well, I started the day too late to see him race, but I figured I’d see some races and see him and that was good enough. The mountains were cloaked in angry looking clouds, Steve said it was windy on the Lancaster side of the Mountains, so I figured one way or another, the 2 might not been a good choice, especially considering how tired I was so I elected to go the long way ’round, via the 210 and 5 and 14.


Once on the 210, I noticed this BMW 701 sleek machine kind of keeping up with me. Then I noticed the two guys in there, young, excited and looking for some sort of thrill. I realized they were kind of racing with me. At one point I was treated to the rock and roll salute and I responded with a peace sign.


One thing I do on the road is to always stay away (meaning ahead) from clusters of cars, from cars that slowly “pass” by keeping me in some blind spot. I always get away from drivers who step on their brakes when there is no evidence of the need for braking for anything and of course I stay away from the ones who drift either left & right or fast and slow.


When I do get away, it’s usually about accelerating quite fast, then making sure the culprit is quite small in the rear view mirrors, then resuming speed.


I think that strategy had the kids in the BMW thinking I was playing a game with them. So the whole way towards Lancaster was a spring and sprong thing between us. At one point I looked over and they were practically jumping up and down in the car… I laughed… On the 14 I laughed again when I saw that EVERYONE was doing 140 KM per hour (my speedo is in KM) The speed limit up there is 104 KM per hour… I must admit, it’s something to like about California… people GO!


About half way up the 14, the kid in the BMW gave me the finger… still can’t figure out why??? Maybe there are some rules to this game that I am not aware of… Peace, I thought, and kept going.


Cresting the hill just before Palmdale, strong winds hit. Nothing unusual there… it’s a few miles down the road that I realized something was amiss…


In the distance, brown walls… Sand. Hiding the whole mountain side from view… Hmmm…


I got off the freeway and edged towards the track. The brown walls bigger and bigger and fast approaching… could that be… a sand storm?


That was one of the things I said I had never encountered on a bike… or otherwise come to think of it. I kept going and as the field of vision narrowed to beige, on the pavement in front of me waves of shiny, thin stuff were washing away… just like a snow storm, but of gold color, fascinating. Cars coming in the distance were blurred, like in a snowstorm, by the sand blown by the winds…


I stopped to look at the GPS since I could not find the road I was looking for. Within seconds, my phone was completely covered in sand. I put it away and kept going. I realized I had the wind in my back when I turned right. Suddenly I am getting pounded sideways by a wind so strong it was hard to keep my head straight, I actually could not keep my head straigt, the bike was at an angle and the road became blurred, I could hear the sand beat on the helmet. I thought of the air intake, wondering how much of this stuff was getting in… Would the engine choke? Then my eyes started to hurt, at that angle, the sand was getting inside. At one point, the sand turned into light gravel and just blasted us… that was when I wondered if this was going to end well…


But it wasn’t too long after that, I took a right and with the wind in my back things were quite a bit easier. I made it to the track where they are shielded by the hills behind, so it was still windy but not sandy.


So there I had it, my first sandstorm. I actually enjoyed it… I realize more and more how much I am a “high intensity moments junkie” mix the unknown, the bike, speed, wind and I’m really happy… I love not knowing what’s in the curve ahead. I love letting things happen. I love to see if I can gracefully absorb what it brings.


And that takes me right back to the “when, where, how” questions about my trip.


I had two alternatives: Land in Turkey or land in France, get a bike there and ride to Turkey. Since I’ve had no time to look at any of the logistical issues involving getting a bike in France, I’m starting to think I should just land in Istanbul, settle then look at the bike thing. The other issues is the money. Getting the bike right away means I have to spend quite a few dollars I don’t have of yet.


But I’m tired, long week, long month so far… I’ll sleep on it a few more days… See what the winds and the Gods come to whisper in my ear.


This is the bike before heading into the sand storm.. nice and clean!



Love to you all

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