Love vs Fear
Unnamed, But Not Unloved
If we really do choose our weather, then I’ve been choosing well these days. My internal territory is sunshine and ease, and this has been expressed externally in my ride. I’ve either been extremely lucky or wonderfully blessed, or I’m really that accomplished at moving clouds. Entire coastlines from California to Washington are sun-drenched and gorgeous, with just the right amount of occasional fog to offset the heat, usually appearing at the perfect picturesque moment as if cued by a set director. It’s been a beautiful and comfortable ride.
If you were to dissect my heart, you’d find inside a great portion of its left ventricle occupied by a bike and a road heading north. I don’t know what that is -- magnetism, feng shui, or past life stories of nordic treks. Yes, I’m a happy girl when my front tire is pointed north and the sun is shining.
The F800 has proven to be a reliable and versatile, and, dare I say, worthy, machine. Somewhere around Big Sur, I began to fall in love. It took five thousand kilometres of mountain passes, busy freeways and coastal highways, but love doesn’t always hit you over the head with cinnaheart candy lightning flashes. This bike, I’m realizing, has “ease” bundled up in its little Bavarian-engineered heart; and ease, I’m also realizing, is a rare quality in machines, and humans, and something to strive for, not scorn.
Its quiet demeanour and its simple elegance had me thinking it was demure, shy, even, (boring?) with not much personality; but now that I’m on the far side of six thousand kilometres, having taken it through just about every kind of territory I’d want to travel with a metal and rubber being, I realize that it had nothing to prove. It was simply confidently waiting for me to drop the Henk filters through which I’d been experiencing it and see it for what it is -- a brilliant machine that does the job flawlessly -- without ego...but not without soul.
Thank the Trees
Shadows came out last night under the full moon in the redwood forest. Big beautiful mysterious shadows cast by thousand year old trees in ancient round-table communion with the stars. Not all is light under that omniscient moon. Ask the trees, if you dare, and they may reveal in dreamtime your own shadows...
Northbound in California
Bed of eucalyptus bark under old trees with beards by a rushing river. I’ll be asleep in minutes, and will probably fly in my dreams after the long gorgeous day gliding up the southern California coast toward Big Sur Heaven, arriving just as the sun was throwing diamonds across the surface of the Pacific. Happy to escape LA traffic and breathe oxygen and campfire smoke and eucalyptus. Feeling instantly myself again. That’s all it takes - a ride. Pursuit of passion. Saying yes to adventure. Seeking solitude. Jump off a cliff in Big Sur and soar... Gratitude for the Grandfathers, the Grandmothers, and the Great Spirits of the Road.
Coffee in Big Sur
It’s 8:40 in the morning and surprisingly sunny in Big Sur. I thought I’d have to wait out the usual Big Sur fog, but already it’s warm and dry. Still, I’m taking my sweet time with this gorgeous west coast coffee and hearty Big Sur Bakery bran and currant muffin. This is my last day on the road for a few weeks and I’m going to savour it. I will get there when I get there. Right now, I’m happy being here.
I’m sitting under the scented canopy of a giant Santa Lucia Pine. A west coast Blue Jay is perched on one of its dangling branches directly above me, eyeing my bran muffin, trying to look inconspicuous.
If this had been my usual northern adventure with Henk the Buell, by now, I’d probably be arriving in Dawson City, exhausted, road worn, and feeling grateful to be alive after some harrowing breakdown or biblical thunderstorm, and a heroic rescue by the Alaska Highway Angels. I’d be sipping a soy latte at the River West Cafe, exchanging stories with other adventurers far from home.
Early this evening, I’ll arrive home in Venice feeling grateful to be alive for very different reasons. With this new bike, chosen for its reliability, and the much softer, more forgiving, warmer, sunnier and much less isolated southern route I’m on, the adventure has not been nearly as action-packed. But it’s been no less epic.
I’m beginning to appreciate this bike for the things that Henk is not. It’s provided me with a worry-free ride, smooth, elegant, articulate, intelligent and willing, which has given me the opportunity to consider that perhaps I’m finished suffering...What if all that cold, those thunderstorms, the potholes and chipseal, the intense isolation, the discomfort and the breakdowns were inside me? And what if all this sunshine, ease, fluidity, warmth, flexibility and dependability were also? What if I could simply make a choice moment by moment whether to be in turmoil or in grace?