Into Winter, or, Foolishness Across America, Day 1

(Arbitrary and often belated writings from my current motorbike ride across the United States. Notes from this trip will be interspersed with past writings)

   I rode out this morning, having finally found a hole in the weather large enough to fit a Honda Shadow through. The job counting birds along the Colorado River starts in twenty days. Being the crew leader this time around, I've got a stake in arriving alive and mostly on-time.

   Last night, I strapped on satchels and saddlebags and stared awhile at the unlikely carriage. All of autumn spent wrenching and riding, all of winter spent prepping and planning. And now, suddenly, it was here. I propped the bike on the centerstand, loaded and fueled up, and went to sleep. The night was fitful, having many things on my mind, not least of which being one very sad girl lying in bed next to me. Morning rose and the smell of mushroom omelets came creeping up the stairs. I ate slowly, enjoying the last breakfast I'd share with my folks for many months. They both came out to see me off. Dad wished me luck and blessed me with an Iranian good luck prayer that his mother had always recalled before long trips.

   I rode off to say goodbye to A. It was terrible and sad and left me with a heaviness in my stomach. I left her at the park and rode southwest. Snow was still falling in thick powder flakes, touching only a moment upon the road before melting away. LW and PorkRoll met me in Newark for a quick coffee. PorkRoll had decided to ride out with me a few miles for good luck and I was grateful for the company. We roared down Main Street, stopping a minute in front of Homegrown to see Birdman. We gunned the engines until he came rushing out, in full cooking gear, from the restaurant's busy kitchen. We went on, heading dead south for the canal. We rode, changing leads and weaving across the highway at full speed. I slowed a few times to let him off, but PorkRoll pressed on, following all the way to Middletown before cutting back home. The road was mine alone now: naked, empty, and limitless. I raised up high in the saddle and squinted, trying to see all the way to Arizona.

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