Rolling on a Dream Part III
Dropping the bike along with EVERYTHING I thought I knew about the road - as well as my gauge on exaggeration.
Something happened to me the next morning that I will remember for the rest of my life. I woke up a little late, letting the sun stir me around eight. It was a lovely morning. My joints weren't as stiff as usual and it was easy to pack everything, but that wasn't the shining moment that I speak of. After I left the campground and headed North, I got a little lost. It was nothing troubling as I was indeed headed North, nevertheless, I wasn't sure which road I was on or if I was on the right one at all. But then I thought to myself, was there a “right” road? Of course not! Who says I need to be on a specific road to head to where I'm going, especially if I don't even know where I'm heading today? I wasn't sure if I was going to Portland, to Lincoln, to Tillamook, or even possibly heading into Washington for all f*cks given. As I came into this new sense of freedom – even more liberating than what I had already felt—I saw a fellow motorcyclist on a cafe racer riding towards me on the other side of the highway.
Without another second of conscious thought, I reached my left hand out towards this new friend with all the energy bursting out of me. Now, if you don't ride motorcycles yet, you should know that it's a common “thing” in the motorcycling community to wave or show some sort of small gesture of friendliness to fellow bikers. It's sort of like a “secret” handshake that's exclusively reserved for fellow free spirits who share a love for the road that caged drivers could never fully understand until they sit their own asses on two traveling wheels. I use the term “small” because it usually is a small gesture that requires little energy because one: you usually want your focus to stay on the ride, and two: riders are known to frequently ride in packs and it's a little hard and unsafe to wave actively to a mile long group of riders while you're taking a stroll through some twisties. This was the first time I had ever done anything more than a simple little peace sign from a convenient side of the waist, and it was definitely not in vain. Within that same second, the other rider reached out to me as if they too were trying to touch me. Of course there was a divider and an unsafe speed between us, but the way that we stretched towards each other would've made anyone believe that we were trying to grasp fingers. I nearly fell off my bike from the amount of energy that radiated between us. We were communicating without speaking.
“Isn't this the most amazing thing in the world!?”
“I can't believe it either!”
“I have never felt so alive!”
My heart exploded with a love that I had never felt before. And within that same second my friend was gone and we would never see each other again, but I would always remember that feeling. It's been a month since that ride and I haven't experienced anything like that moment since and yet I can still carry with me. It makes me smile every time I'm on my bike and the throttle braaps and I can feel the spirit that I felt that day, still with me on every turn I curve.
That energy carried me for the rest of the day. I knew that no matter what I encountered that day, I would conquer and relish in all its struggle. Sure enough, I was given some fun to relish in just shortly after. I pulled into a Chevron somewhere on the 101 again and was considering which pump to pull up to when I guess my deliberations took too long in too low of a gear and onto her side lil' miss Gypsy went. I had easily hopped off and even had enough time to turn the mirror in as she toppled over so as not to break my hundredth mirror. I wasn't embarrassed like I used to be when I first started riding because I knew better now. I knew it was something we all did, but the second time it happened within about a minute interval … I must say I was a little embarrassed. I forgot that my gear was strapped on about as well as a Sports Illustrated bikini, so as soon as a couple of station attendants and I lifted her up to her side stand and I hopped back on to waddle her to the pump of choice she toppled right back over only this time throwing me with her. I smacked both my left shin and my ego on her handle bars.
“I once dropped my bike four times in a row, dude,” the teenage looking station attendant's friend informed me as the two of them helped me lift Gypsy onto her wheels for a second time, “you're totally fine.”
Cool, bro, I thought to myself as I hopped around in circles on my right leg trying to delude the pain. A wonderful man from a shop across the street had seen me go down and without being asked had brought over a pack of ice for my shin. My ego was instantly mended by all of their kindness. It's near impossible for your spirits to remain down while you're on the road; there's always someone with a heart to lift them.
A trio of women passed me and I quickly topped off and thanked my group of saviors in the hopes of catching up with the ladies, but as soon as I was turning onto the road they had turned around as was pulling off right into the station I just made myself a character in. My momentum was on “go” so I decided to rev on down the road and figured I'd catch up with them sooner or later.
I continued on the 101 past Lincoln City, not wanting to turn inland just yet. And what a mistake it would've been if I hadn't followed my instinct. The hills were beautiful to the eye and the touch. Green soaked my vision and the curves caressed my girl's wheels as we embarked up and down the empty highway. It seemed everyone else had decided to go inland because the highway north of Lincoln was desolate and perfect. The land looked as if it hadn't noticed that anyone had traveled it since Lewis and Clark. The trees were alive and untainted. The dispersed lakes whipped their waters into the sky with every flip of the wind. I couldn't believe my luck. How did this place still exist? How is it that the filth and decay of the human race hasn't wrapped its fingers around this beautiful gem yet? And it didn't stop for miles.
Through Tillamook and all the way to Portland, I couldn't believe my eyes. Like a Winslow Homer painting, the farm lands stretched out over the old valleys quietly watching time grow and go by every year. I pulled off on an appealing-looking country road and found myself at a lonely graveyard quite literally in the middle of nowhere. At first I thought I had found a solo grave from a tragic railroad accident, seeing as it lay tucked into the trees directly beside an old unused railroad. Both were covered with long wild grass and trees, so it was easy to miss the dozen or so other headstones that hid amongst the growth. All of these people had died over a century ago; all of these people had seen another world, and yet … this place looked like it had been untouched for as long as they had been gone; their world had not moved but their spirits had, and that touched something inside me that I still cannot explain.
That day I learned that sometimes something as small and fleeting as a gust of wind can give you more of an impression than a hand against the face.