Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day 12, June 7, 7 p.m., Beaver Lodge ------------ more reflections

A double-jointed girl on a bike with a buggy fresh in from 2800 miles, a 6’7” photographer on the largest bike made in production knocking off over 100 miles a day on the mountains and living on 10- 12 thousand calories a day. A social studies teacher from Madison, Wisconsin enroute home from Anacortes - a rocket on a bike, harder than stone, loves Obama, says his kids do, too. A female vet pulling a dog that picks up trash as demo when she gives talks to kids about “Leave no trace” - carrying total of 215 pounds, bike and buggy. Five women from Canada biking 60 miles a day on annual tour. And friendly support folks all along the way. This “Northern Tier” has, over time, created an ambience that we are drawing from. Today on our stop, we sat for three hours at Beaver Lodge greeting and meeting cyclists from both directions. A turned on bunch makes me curious about selection process and the consequence of doing this. Who, why, and what’s the outcome? Would be a good study. A population self-selected - then an outcome, might try to do that with help of Adventure Cycling.

Todd, the 6’7” guy has been on 16 tours in 19 years. Has come from Alaska through Mexico. Says Day 21 is the day when change overtakes you - “like your tether evaporating” and you become “one with the bike and experience” (my translation). We’ll see. I do know
I’m beginning to liken the cockpit of my bicycle to my office - and like my old office, see my job to be fully alive, curious, interested and willing to value what I encounter in that space. The grind is there but is not the sum of the experience. If I let it, it becomes my day. As our training kicks in, this “higher” way should be easier to achieve. The climbs behind us now - have certainly challenged my ability to see beyond the pain at times but getting easier to rise above it.

Relationship with Dave going well. We’re very compatible - no difficulty negotiating decisions nor differentiating differences. Both enjoying the people encountered. Much humor and shared chagrins at demands these bikes and climbs are putting on us. Dave says we are “equal” - I see him as much stronger - but so far I’ve kept up, if a bit slower. Both learning about bike and efficient living - camping. The camping a big addition to the experience. Both prefer to motels though hot water wonderful when our paths collide.
We go down Tiger Pass tomorrow to Ione. Reading this on the map yesterday pulled a huge file - a Google keyword - as it turned out. Dreamed of Buzz, her sister, and had flood of memories of Boyce. Shared with Dave who has encouraged me to write about it. Maybe I will. Seems as if space opening in my consciousness. Drawn to short stories. Maybe writing. Feeling more irregular, less contained, militantly expressive, out of the box. Enjoying the ride - of bike - and of my consciousness that is stripping its bounds. Never was actually fit for polite company.

Few are the counter forces, valued to constantcy, within or without, and sad and pervasive are the myriad consequences if this tendency to constantcy within is never challenged.

Pat Sewell

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