Thursday, June 5, 2008

Day 40

Up at dawn and at breakfast before 7. It looks like another headwind day, but at least there won't be any more passes to climb. The ride today was all about the big horizon. Not much to see but the Horizon. Without visual distractions there is more time to become one with the surroudings. I think that in some eastern religions the ability to free your your mind of all thought is considered a state of enlightenment. Not much to see but the horizon seven miles distant in all directions. Without visual distractions, the other distractions like chaffing shorts, cracks In the chip seal, passing trucks, and headwinds all make freedom from thought more difficult. There have been brief moments when it has felt like I'm aware and almost ready to waken.

It has been a long headwind and crosswind day. So much so that my shirt has flapped so much that it has rubbed my nipples raw.

At a brief rest stop we again heard stories of a british guy about a week ahead of us riding the original fixed gear. He apparently has been around the world and has logged over 17000 miles on a penny farthing.

We made camp in the Eads city park and took advantage of the sprinklers for our showers. The winds contued to build and by midnight the trees above us were swaying like hula dancers on on caffine. Just before dawn the sky was lite with rapid fire lightning flashes. The rain started soon after. The rain cover Cora made kept me dry.



Timothy said...

Pete's Great Plains Haiku

I sit on bike too
long with headwind blowing my
mind free now and then.

Love all those momentary lapses into the great foundation of life, our immortality, the urge to merge ground and field. Glad you are getting in the deep groove on your ride across America, land that I love.

I am reading Rebecca Solnit's "Yosemite in Time" right now-- and just to take you back to those waterfall days oh so many weeks ago on the 13th, 14th of May, I am quoting her here.

Solnit writes of hiking up Yosemite Falls, but she could easily say Nevada Falls or the Mist Trail we hiked up:

"Early in the morning, I dashed up the Yosemite Falls trail top the closest point it gets to the bottom of the upper fall, a third or half of the way up. Springtime's high water made the fall thunder amazingly, and its mist reached me long before I got anywhere close. The roaring water from the cliff's edge thinned, swayed like drapery, dispersed into mist as it fell those hundreds of feet. It looked as though non of it actually reached the bottom of the fall, but was swallowed up by the air. At the base of that fall was a huge cone of ice, from which another torrent flowed into the second fall, as though the ice were a holy grail that could pour forth water forever without running dry. "

"Water was water, was ice, was mist, vanished into air, emerged out of it, seemingly dying and being reborn in that strange space, as though other forces governed it than the usual ones, or as though those forces were somehow concentrated there into something uncanny."

"And this kind of experience happens over and over again in places like Yosemite (and the Rockies, the Great Plains, the trip across America-- TSC ;) the place reminds you that it is bigger and more mysterious than your descriptions, your pictures, your theories, your predictions, that your own timescale is tiny compared to the forces of geology, erosion, evolution. You can measure destruction but not glory. This is what John Muir must have felt, and why his real work was as a poet, not a scientist, why his factual descriptions are always sliding over into invocation and evocation, and why joy is so important in his writing. He realized that there are things that exceed our abilities to define and destroy. Thoreau famously said that "in wildness is the preservation of the world;" Muir saw that in some way it lay in human smallness, in the forces that remained beyond us. That eternal beyond was the source of his hope, and ours."

R Solnit is one of my favorite writers.

You can google her sometime to get her other books.

Enough for now --

Just in case you've gone into the timeless land of Buddha sans calendar -- tomorrow is Sprint Day -- so make a work out up-- and enjoy your day!



Anonymous said...

God, I mean--I look at the photos and see these amazing mountains and open sky and cozy tents and sleeping areas and think I want to be there! And then I read about chafing shorts and raw nipples and think... I better go underwear shopping.

Won't it be fun to ride around the Lake (!!) when you get home :)
YOu two are awesome. I do wish I was there for part of it. xox Tatyana

Bill Reeder said...

What great visuals in your writing,, As promissed flew over you today.. looked like lots of BAD weather... Don't fret the horizons, every now and then there will be a tree that will block it...

Was 94 when I left Austin, was 49, when I got to Seattle, and raining hard... Went for short ride on mountainbike head wind up hill both ways.... Honest