Monday, June 1, 2009

Day 7, Monday, June 1, Tonasket, Washington, 8 p.m.

It was another case of best laid plans gone awry. “An easy day - one of recovery” - it was to be and then the elements conspired. Bigg headwind, 2 g’s worth. Beat us back, beat on us, denied us the relief expected under a hot dry sun. 90 degrees. Our wishes irrelevant, our presence anonymous. Bugs on the highway squashed - but to live again. Made it to Tonasket by the hardest. Legs gone, will sapped and on David’s bike, a chain broken. “When it rains.” He walked in the last four miles while I sought refuge for the night.

I spent the day studying the near roadside - as archeologist - getting to know the locals by their roadside trash. Saw one golf ball, two forks, a cell phone case, two American flags (both made in China - and one I kept), many gloves, many socks - probably blown off previous bicycle riders by this wind, many disposable - and disposed of diapers - (didn’t check on contents), many car parts (no Asian), numerous ice chest tops, a dozen or so deer carcasses, two shrines to the dead - one with small stuffed bunny that I did not recycle, despite urge, much bailing twine, one loaf of bread (no fish) and a few hundred thousand beer cans with Coors being the more popular, edging out Bud Light. The big mystery is the golf ball which I am at a loss to explain. Baby swallowed - was in diaper? Fell out of the shorts of orchiectomy patient where acting as prosthesis? You try, I give. I do regret not picking it up but at the time I would have pulled and tossed my gold crowns to reduce weight. Today I’m thinking about going back for it. That’s state versus trait stuff for you.

It’s also noteworthy that I saw no condoms at roadside. Combining this with the number of diapers seen I can only deduce the thusly seen hand of the Catholic Church. The naïve might say condoms have little use on a major highway, and that might be the explanation. We archeologists however ignorant, must call it as we see it, much like people are inclined to do, whatever the subject, wherever they find themselves. This amounts to a lot of convicted expertise at roadside everywhere that generates a whole lot of refuge and debris that contaminates all our lives.

Give me some ambiguity
And I’ll give you a me
Changing whatever, to fit my map
I’ve long been the expert, no ordinary sap.

Pat Sewell

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