There’s a good chill in the air, Sun looks out while clouds are building in the east. I rub the sleep from my eyes and take in the surroundings. The fire from last night has just enough glow to fan the blackened pallet pine back to life a cup of water with coffee grounds is brought to a boil. Bike sits unloaded off to the side leaning in the loose dirt amongst spent shotgun shells and Fleabane and Camphorweed. Drifting large shadows fill in the folds of the elevated desert where cedar and pine and scrub absorb the morning warmth where the shadows have yet to reach. One hell of a front yard. I walk the dirt road of Forest Service 443. “Mornin’.” a good ol’ boy slowly driving past says and I wave.
The heart beats out here with this land that can never be known well enough I can’t even think of not doing this. Day by day the sheer freedom of accessible choice is intoxicating. The spirit of moving in the vast North American countrysides where almost any type of landscape is to be had. What am I doing out here? I take a serious attempt at this question and I’ll never have an answer.
My roots haunt me, a notion that the ride is over upon return to the Mountain State.
But now I see how naive that notion was as Home is wherever I am from the wise words of Zach, “We visit family at their homes in West Virginia, you visit me at my home in Oklahoma, and I visit you at your home wherever you are.”
The sweeping land of plains and valleys and mountains scream to me for understanding. The land is where the variety is, not the concrete cage of a city. The trees are my skyscrapers and the mountains are the sculptures placed perfectly in harmony in the park that has no fence or manicured lawn. I can breath out here and my mind expands with the unobtainable horizon that must be reached for. Others have done it before me and others do it with me to this day. North America once revered the individual that couldn’t sit still. What I gather from the general consensus is if you aren’t working or raising a family you’re not worth a damn but I am working, tramping with the American Hobo at heart and in spirit of Lewis and Clark, living like this has been my best creative gig to date and the brothers and sisters I meet along the way is the family I am raising.
I’ve been asked, “What are you running from?” and “Don’t you want to settle down?” Baby I have settled in. We are blood meant to ride the veins through our countryside I have found myself at home. Two-wheels at thousands of rotations per minute no matter pavement, gravel, dirt or grass I become familiar with my backyard living off a dirty odd motorcycle.
“I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do what you’re doing.” Theo said.
“Sure you can. Just have to make it happen.”
“It’s not that. I would not be comfortable meeting all the people like you say you do.”
An AP Poll found Americans don’t trust each other. ‘Less than one-third expressed a lot of trust in clerks who swipe their credit cards, drivers on the road, or people they meet when traveling.’ (AP News)
The motorcycle is my medium floating from here or there and a bit of everywhere. The thought of Home turned my understanding that Home is where the bike is allowing me to traverse the roads that are scribbled upon the land and offering glimpses into reality of what’s going on. I imagine a world where we are all the same and I receive a bitter vanilla taste, safe and predictable. That extract we’re told to swallow from day one of an eight hour school day preparing us for an eight hour work day, it scares me and I want to step out and stretch. We’re an honest sort making ends meet in turn to make sense of what we’re about and we’re not all on the same path. It’s those stories I want to hear and be a part of, the trails and paths these individuals have experienced. The lands stretch far and wide out west and unlike the east, there still resides the raw feel of the rugged land and the people who inhabit it. Where would we be if no one stepped out to see what’s on the other side of the hill or past the horizon? I don’t care if it’s already been documented as I have to see it for myself. Witness it instead of reading it. Though there’s no way to do it all at least I can say I took the plunge and approached it in my own satisfying manner.
It works both ways us being leery of one another and I appreciate the individuals that go out of their way to approach this disheveled individual upon a disheveled bike. It strikes interest on their behalf of what I am up to and a bit of daydreaming by breaking the chains of expectations. Outlaw travel living bare boned on the road I’m in contact with all kinds of people and my results found that the vast majority can be trusted. There was that ride with Crazy Frank but he was just crazy and I’ve been around plenty of weirdos, hell I’m a weirdo, but never have I been in a situation where I felt trust was an issue. This is how I meet the neighbors a couple thousand miles away next-door. Get out there and see what everyone is doing as Jackie K. nicely put it. Experience, man, the Ride. Sleep exposed and vulnerable sometimes trespassing in strange surroundings, meeting the strangers of the surroundings and all is good. “How ’bout you get off that motorcycle and drink a beer with a couple of Indians.” And I did parking with the truck and trailer in the middle of a New Mexican dirt road with a couple of ranchers.
I must experience my yard before venturing abroad as it is here I shall find out who I am. The Ride is not only physical but also the trip in the head and the conversations I have with myself bebopping the roads. Not afraid of being alone I’m comfortable in my own company. Sitting still and quiet observing Stars and listening to Wind in the pitch-black where no one else is around besides the coyotes I howl along with. There’s a lot of solitary time tramping especially upon the motorcycle. It’s just me and my thoughts thinking about nothing in general and a little bit of everything, I sing and I cry and I talk and I scream a triumphant call, “I am alive!”
A commitment is now in place that I must ride on and maintain what I’m good at, this is what I do. Charged with every new day it’s purely natural and like water I go with the flow. No restrictions of materials or specific address my mind is home and my family of both blood and surrogate branch out wide. The ride has turned into a conquest. A conquest of experience and a strike against expectations proving it can be done however desired as there is no set template to living. Living should equal freedom but we humans put restrictions on ourselves slaving our good years away spent in turmoil of the cesspool known as career in indentured servitude to the boss. I’ve been there and done that, necessary for me to realize that is not my path. Let me tell you something, the only boss is yourself and I travel for everyone’s proof it can still be done to this day. Good spirits come from within and life is worth the experience if only allowed. Home is where the heart is and my heart is so god damn big I keep adding on.
“A traveller! I love his title. A traveler is to be reverenced as such. His profession is the best symbol of our life. Going from–toward; it is the history of every one of us.” Henry David Thoreau, The Journal, 1837-1861