A wandering nomad once told me that your soul was born free. That it was your pride and prejudges that steal your freedom. The more firm your resolve to live well later in life, the less you actually will live both sooner and later, then he put his hand out. I wasn’t sure if he was looking for a donation or some skin but I slapped the palm of his hand, thanked him and pedaled down the road. I was flat broke and hungry, three days of un-intended fasting had me on the prowl for some grub. There would be no food on this day but a hot cup of coffee would settle my stomach enough for sleep which always comes easily after a hard days riding.
Chika is locked and loaded at all times just in case I need a late night escape or an overnight journey. She rides easy, is perfectly balanced and straightens even the gnarliest of trails even when fully laden. How I would love to go back a few generations and hand my bike to my native ancestors. I can only imagine their delight to experience an iron horse that doesn’t need feeding, asks for very little in the way of attention and will carry you virtually anywhere your mind can imagine. At any given time she carries my house with a full kitchen and bathroom, a few Days of snacks and a minimalist bike shop capable of fixing almost anything.
I’ve been searching bike routes for the whole month of March just in case I flip out and need to do a bit of exploring. I don’t need established routes but when people have gone ahead and done all the hard work its like paying a well earned tribute. I always get a little wacko this time of year. The need to burn shit, swim in ice cold streams an go a little feral is almost as seasonal as the spring storms that crush this part of the world. To wake my fat, lazy slumbering body, get reacquainted with my unused muscle and to fight the elements until i have relearned to flow with them. There is a freedom in the wilder places but it can also be a dangerously this line of finding water and shelter from the storms. There is no weather forecasting, just look at the sky and pray.
Hungry bears and lions, annoying raccoons and skunks and those damn snakes that rattle when they are miffed. Its so quiet you can hear the individual drops of rain pummeling the dry earth. The crackle and pop of your tires protesting as they carry you inch by inch up the sides of mountains. Spend enough time out there and you will learn the song of the birds and what they all mean. Nothing comes without warning in nature if you know how to listen. One needs no plan in wilderness other than to survive. In the city I feel large and powerful, I use little pieces of green paper and people drive me around, feed me and clean up after me. In the mountains or at sea I’m insignificant. Nature does not care how hard you struggle, how great you suffer or if your belly rumbles louder than the clouds. There are times in this life that we must lose our way to find our direction. To enter these places you must love your life enough to risk living it.
“I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news”
― John Muir