I did not sleep well. Exhausted, I dragged my worthless feeling carcass out of bed and stood under the shower for a while trying to shake this funk I was still in. It wasn't as bad as the previous day, but I was still down.
The hotel wasn't bad and there was a cafe downstairs. I had an omelette, which has become customary on this entire trip. The waitress, who I believe was Chinese and spoke with a thick accent, remembered me from before and asked me if I was staying in town. I mentioned that I had ridden up to Deadhorse and back and was just passing through on my way back home. It's funny how people react to this idea of riding a motorcycle somewhere. It doesn't matter the persons background or culture there's something about doing a lot of miles by motorcycle that captures peoples imagination.
I had noticed a Starbucks down the street the night before and eagerly awaited my first cup of real coffee in what seems like forever. My little motorcycle espresso maker hasn't been doing well for me. I don't know if I have a bad bag of espresso or the machine just isn't getting hot enough, but the espresso it makes isn't nearly as good as it used to be.
"Ahh, real coffee ...", I thought as I sat outside with my sunglasses on. The sun was shining and it was warm. The bike had been making an odd noise which I was having trouble identifying. This was because, well, I'm a fucking genius. More on that later. A friend who had read my last post was concerned about me. She was texting trying to pull me out of the darkness. Sometimes the smallest gestures can have the biggest impact. A number of friends sent messages. Thank you. My friends are family. Without them I would never have made it and I would not be standing now.
My guts were hurting again. It seems like this has been happening more often. I was, once again, fortunate to be so close to a bathroom. This has started to get a bit old.
As I pondered the state of my motorcycle and my guts, I was reminded that I was in the Yukon. You ask, "How can you tell you're in the Yukon?". Well, a very hot barby doll blonde wearing silly sunglasses walked up and started talking to an Innuit looking guy pretty much right in front of me. She could not have been more than 21.
"Hiya!", she says to the Innuit looking guy who was probably in his early 60's. He speaks very softly and I couldn't hear what he was saying. She exclaimed to the guy, "Oh ja, In the fall, I'll head up North of Fort Yukon to my uncles cabin, eh? Ja. I gotta haul some wood. Then I'll go huntin' and trappin'. Maybe I'll do some fishin'. Cool, eh?". I can never remember where they put the "Ja"'s and the "Eh?"'s, but you get the idea. "Ja, I know, right, eh?".
If the hot blondes haul wood, hunt, trap and fish, you know you're in the Yukon.
They parted company and I was once again left with my thoughts. "It's going to get less interesting from here on out.", I thought as I considered the difference between heading up to Deadhorse and heading away. On the route up, I met countless like minded adventure riders who all had the same goal. It added a group quality to a solo trip to see the same faces randomly over and over on the ride up. But now, with all those riders dispersed I figured this would be much less likely to happen.
I mustered the willpower to avoid a second cup of coffee, got on my bike and headed for points East and South on the Alcan highway.
It was beautiful as it had been before. There were a ridiculous number of lakes.
Some were larger.
Some were smaller.
The weather was beautiful and I was feeling a bit better than I had been evidenced by the fact that 66 miles rolled by before I looked at the odometer.
It was warm and the bugs were out in force.
I rode on, still not in the mood to take photographs. I spent the time thinking. "This writing thing helps.", I would think as I considered what effect it's had.
In this space I attempt to share this journey. With that sharing, I have to explain and describe myself in ways I never have. It's happened quite a few times now that I write something only to read it later and realize that I've never thought of myself in those particular terms. There are things on this trip, details about travelling by motorcycle, details about myself, that people seem to find interesting that I would never have considered describing.
I have often said that "knowing yourself" is not an accurate phrase. You know who you are to yourself alone in the dark. What's important is to know yourself in relation to others. If I know how I am different than you, how my experience is different from yours and yours from mine, we can have a basis for better understanding how to get to know one another. We can better know how to explain ourselves to each other. Misunderstandings, misconceptions and miscommunications are easier to avoid if you understand yourself in relation to the person or people you are with.
But somehow, you have to discover these differences.
In my case, writing this blog has helped me see some of these differences, differences in experience.
"What other things would I never think to write about?", is a question I repeatedly ask myself.
I ride a motorcycle. Not everyone does. Fewer ride a motorcycle well. Fewer still have ridden one for over 250K miles or travelled across country. Even fewer have ridden for as long as I have. I was forced into riding motorcycles at the age of 7 which was 35 years ago but that's a story for another time.
Out here you forget that not everyone rides or has taken Long Sunday Drives. Everyone rides a motorcycle and I am the noob, the untravelled one. My story as a motorcyclist out here is completely uninteresting. "It's just miles.", one rider said.
But the vast majority of people who I know have never ridden. "Interesting.", I thought. "Is there something here, something so familiar to me, that it would never dawn on me to describe?", I asked of myself.
Why a motorcycle and why not a car? The thought of travelling by car is entirely unappealing to me for some reason. I think about a car. You're in this cage, this box. You can't feel the wind. You can't really feel the road or the engine. You are looking at everything through a glass window much like a television set. These are the typical things I hear riders say. I say them myself.
But there's more to riding miles by motorcycle than being out in the elements. There's more to it than being able to lean, or feel like, as so many say, you're "one with the machine", a cliche that's gotten over used. I could use flowery language and attempt to capture the culture, the poetry, the romance, and the calm meditativeness of many miles by motorcycle.
In a car, you jump in, distracted by gadgetry, you turn the ignition and you go. It's purely a means to an end and the focus of most vehicles especially now a days is to isolate you from the details; maximize convenience, minimize involvement with "the machine". It's a means to an end. A way to get from here to there with a minimum of hassle.
In contrast, travelling by motorcycle is almost nothing but hassle. It's cold. It's wet. There are bugs. BIG bugs. And they splatter all over the place. After a while, your leathers, despite all the comments that have been made about them, begin to stink something fierce. You hurt. You hurt alot. You get dirty. You have all this gear which you have to load and unload. Your tires wear out in 6,000 miles, not 60,000. You can fall down. Parking lot maneuvers especially on wavy gravel can be embarrassingly challenging. It's tiring. Because of the Risk, you are more vigilant on a bike than you are in a car.
"But yet", I thought, "I would gladly travel across this country on a motorcycle, on my motorcycle, than in any car. Well, maybe with the exception of a Porsche 911 twin turbo. Why is that?".
And that is a question I have never asked. The answer for me is so self evident, so inately obvious, I don't know if I can capture it in words. Anyone with a pulse who has been Out Here knows this, understands this. You can just tell. It's evident on the faces of riders everywhere.
There is something visceral, something primal about the motorcycle. It seems to cross all cultural and racial boundaries. It may be that it evokes some primeval genetic memory of riding horseback.
There's an inherent culture and ritual to motorcycling. All of us Out Here feel it. It's not some made up artificial ritual that we decided upon because we felt out of touch. The rituals of motorcycling grow organically within each motorcyclist just out of the necessity of the task at hand. And out of this necessity that produced these rituals a common culture evolves. And this culture trancends political boundaries.
This is not over-romanticized. It's a simple fact. Talk to any rider from any country anywhere in the world. There is an instant common basis for communication, for exchange, for understanding. There is an instant basis upon which to share an adventure with that person. It goes well beyond a shared hobby, some little diversion.
I would imagine sailors share something similar.
As I considered what's different about the riders out here and I consider my closest friends I ride with, Ian, Duncan, Bruce, I found myself wondering what is it about motorcyclists, the ones who do this seriously, that produces this instant common basis, this common culture.
Motorcycling is dangerous. It involves risk. We all understand this. We talk about it all the time. "A friend of mine crashed yesterday on the Dalton and shattered two vertebrate.", was a conversation today. I have always felt it's this common understanding of risk, that we are Out Here doing something challenging, something risky, that produces the ritual of waving. As you ride and you see a motorcyclist approaching, you wave. The left hand comes off the bar and you hold your hand out low as a sign of respect.
It's part of the common culture. You will see motorcyclists everywhere around the world do this. I wave at every single motorcyclist that I pass. It's courtesy. I've done it maybe 50 times this very day. I even catch myself from time to time doing it when I walk down the street. The first time someone waves at you when you are on a bike, it feels like a rite of passage. "yes, you too are now Out Here, one of us, solely because you have taken this risk to be on two wheels."
A Harley rider once said, "It don't matter, as long as you're on two wheels with a motor I wave.".
Strangely, I don't wave at scooter riders. Scooters are about convenience and I think that's what separates them from motorcyclists. The rituals just aren't there on a scooter because it's too convenient and thus there isn't the factual basis for a shared culture.
Motorcycling is inconvenient. Beyond risk, there are other practical realities of miles by motorcycle that create a ritualistic backdrop to the activity.
In the morning, and yes Out Here I experience mornings, you have to pack up your gear. Space is very tight on a motorcycle. You can always tell the ones who have been Out Here for a while. Each and every item they carry on their bike is considered and has it's place. There's an order and process to packing the motorcycle which is born out of necessity. There's just not a lot of room. Do this enough times and it becomes ritual. Be around someone else who has done this enough times and there is instantly a common ritual.
The gear is carried out to the bike. There's a tank bag which is affixed atop the gas tank, hence it's name "tank bag". Here is where you carry your camera, wallet, maps, gps and other gear that you use while you ride or stop on the side of the road. There's the tail bag, which goes on the back seat of the bike or the rear cowling, which typically contains your clothes, your tent, maybe food, stuff you only use once you've stopped somewhere.
It takes time. Ride with someone who has done this for a while and there is no sense of rush. It takes however long it takes. Sometimes you fumble. Sometimes you just can't get it all put away just right. It's part of the experience.
Then you put on your jacket. It has impact armor around the shoulders, in the elbows and down the back. You have long since put on your "lowers", your armored pants which have impact armor around the hips and knees. There are few pockets, so what you would normally carry in jeans pockets, you put in the tank bag. Putting on the jacket is awkward.
There's a silly zipper that you use to connect the jacket to the pants. If you fall and go skidding down the road you don't want the jacket to ride up on you exposing your back. Not everyone zips their pants to their jacket, but I do.
Then in go the earplugs. Especially on my bike, there's alot of wind noise. On goes the helmet. Often times, this is the point where you've forgotten to get out the plastic cleaner and rag to clean off the array of bug entrails that have splattered against the face shield. It happens to you. You are patient when it happens to others. You affix the strap and put on your sunglasses. You put on your gloves and wrap the gauntlet around the outside of the end of your jacket sleeves so no bugs can fly up into your jacket that way. Yes, that happened to me once.
You throw your leg over the bike, or if you have alot of gear it's more of a step through motion that looks silly. You put effort into lifting the bike off the side stand or pushing it off the center stand. Key in the ignition you set the fast idle and press the ignition. I usually wait a couple of seconds before pushing the ignition. No reason, it feels right to me.
Then you wait. Virtually every serious motorcyclist you will ever see will pause at this moment. The engine idles slightly fast, but not too fast. The oil is let to circulate through the motor for a few moments. Then, if you are riding with someone, you nod acknowledging who will be leader and who will follow. The clutch lever, on the left bar, is pulled in. You click the bike into gear with your left foot giving it just a little bit of throttle and you let out the clutch. You lift both feet simultenously and put them on the pegs regardless of the surface you're on. (Newbie riders will always "walk" the bike along or leave their legs out while they gain enough speed for lack of confidence.) Riding relatively slowly you don't rev the motor too high until it's reached operating temperature because you are more involved with the engine and tires on a motorcycle. Through experience you know the bike doesn't feel right cold. It vibrates more. It doesn't make the power it's supposed to. The tires slip much more easily. So you wait, you wait until the bike is warmed up. The tires are warm and sticky.
Then you go.
This reality, from having to lug gear and affix it to a bike "just so", to donning all that gear like some middle ages knight preparing for battle, to being involved with the machine .. it all takes time. After you have done it enough times, it becomes a kind of meditation. To go by motorcycle involves this time. There's no getting around it. Even if you are in a rush, even if you have to go NOW, you must go through this ritual. Do it too hasitly and gear falls off the bike. Your helmet isn't on right. You've forgotten your earplugs or sunglasses. Things just aren't Right.
And, as I think about what makes miles by motorcycle so different than miles by car, it's these rituals. It forces you to pause. To prepare. To understand that there is a ritual separation between being still and Going. By the time you are under way, you are in a different place internally.
You are more involved with the machine when riding a motorcycle. You feel the engine, how it vibrates. You feel the tires and can immediately tell how well they are gripping. You are more involved with the road. Surface becomes a concept. "good road, good tarmac, good pavement" are concepts. The little squiggly black stripes you ignore in a car, called tar snakes, are slippery when hot. When wet, did you know the yellow and white paint lines are a slippery as oil? Every motorcyclist who's ever hit brakes on one or taken a corner too sharp over one knows. It's quite the wakeup call. Different kinds of pavement, different surfaces, have a different feeling. You can sense it on a motorcycle.
Motorcycling is active, not passive. You are Out There. You lean. To brake you tense up your leg, stomach and arm muscles to counter the braking effect so you're not thrown over the handlebars. You worry about "the line". A corner comes up. How often do you think, in a car, about how you're going to take that corner? Is it ever a thought? You approach a slow right hand corner on a fast road, you move to the left of your lane. You move your whole body to the right a bit. If it's a sharp corner and you're going fast, maybe you move your ass off the seat and stick your right leg out preparing for a lean all the while counteracting the center of gravity change which makes the bike went to lean. Then you pick your entry point to the corner. You go in late, letting the bike go further into the corner than you would in a car. This enables you to look through the corner to see where your exit point will be and what hazards there might be. Then you let the bike lean ... and it falls into the corner with the feeling that you're flying. Sometimes you can lean the bike over so far your feet will scrape the ground. And when you've travelled through you accelerate moving your body back towards center and with a slight press on the handlebar the bikes stands up again.
On a motorcycle each corner is prepared for and considered. There's planning. Forethought. You have to. Of course, there are time you slip up and you don't plan right and you come into a corner too hot and get scared. Or there's gravel. Motorcyclists fear gravel. In motorcycling there is fear.
It's another thing that binds us. Common fear.
Riding is also a strangely lonesome yet social activity. You are confined in your helmet stuck on this machine carving canyons. It's alone time. It's quiet time. It's time to think. To imagine. Away from the distractions and interruptions of life.
I think I travel by motorcycle because of all of the above. The process, the rituals, the culture, the riding, the challenge, the skill. It centers and focuses me. It fires my imagination and fuels my dreams. It provides me a ritual space where I meditate. It calms me. Out Here I am free to think and dream in a way I find impossible in a car or at home.
I hope to find some time at some point to bind all this together better. It's a hint at what I feel and think about motorcycling, but in rereading it doesn't capture it as well as I would like.
But more than enough rambling for now.
I was feeling ok. The miles were ticking by. The bike felt good. The road surface was good with just the occasional gravel patch. I was making good time.
I stopped to get gas. I was well on my way to Liard Hot Springs where I had intended on camping. So many people had said to go there, that I was intent on making it. It was 400 miles from Whitehorse.
It was a log cabin lodge and restaurant like so many gas stations along the Alcan. Despite feeling pressure that I wanted to make time, I decided to stop and get something to eat. I wasn't hungry but I knew I wasn't feeling well and being hungry would just add to my burdens.
As I sat there, waiting for my food and sipping on a cup of bad coffee, through the window I saw an adventure rider roll up. He was riding a Honda Transalp which I immediately recognized as a European-only bike. "Ok, that's interesting.", I thought. I saw a sticker for his web site, www.daninviaggio.it. I saw the "Long Way Dany" sticker and thought this was someone to talk to. "Long Way Round" is one of my all time favorite movies/miniseries.
He walked in and I asked pointedly, "So where are you riding in from?" With an Italian accent he answered, "Land of Fire, Argentina". "Damn!, how long have you been on the road?", I asked, which is the typical question one asks. When I say 46 days most people seem to be impressed.
"Two years", he said.
"Holy shit!", I thought. "Here, sit down, please join me.", I said pointing to the seat in front of me. He wanted coffee and asked the waittress. She pointed him at the pot. He poured himself a cup and then offered to refill mine.
We got to talking. Because of the number of people who have said I need to do that trip and the varied impressions I've gotten I was very curious.
"So how was it travelling from Tierra Del Fuego to here? Did you run into any problems?". He said, "No not really. The bike ran good." "I mean with people. I hear all kinds of bad stories. Did you have any problems with people?", I asked.
"Oh. Yes. I got robbed three times. Twice with a knife. Once I was camping and three guys broke into the tent while I was sleeping.", he said matter of factly, "but it can happen anywhere. You just have to expect it."
"What happened?", I asked with increasing interest. "They took stuff. Money. Once they stole my laptop. It's manageable. You just have to be smart and careful. Keep your money separated".
He went on to explain that he had planned and saved up for two years to do this trip. When he started out he had no real agenda as to where he was going to go. For, I believe he said, the first year and a half his, now ex, girlfriend was with him. He travelled from Argentina all the way up to Deadhorse and was now travelling across Canada to New York. He was doing this on the most incredibly tight shoe string budget. "I have $1200 right now. It has to last. I've been camping for the last 30 days straight. You live in a tent for two years, it gets to be old.", he commented without sounding at all like he was complaining. He needed to get tires soon and was worried about the expense. He explained that he would stop in places and get odd jobs to make money to fund his trip.
He had also intended on heading to the Liard Hot Springs.
"Why don't we ride over there together?", I suggested. He was hungry so ordered the same thing I was having, a salsbury steak without sauce along with a bunch of steamed carrots.
"Do you have a woman?", he asked. I looked at him puzzled. "I mean you married, kids? or have a girlfriend?", he clarified. "Nope. Nothing. No wife. No kids. No girlfriend", I replied. "Is best.", he said. Then he corrected himself, "I mean when you travelling. Maybe for life is not so good. It's good to have a woman to share your life with, just not when you are travelling for a long time.". I mentioned Thomas and Andrea, who travelled together by motorcycle for one and a half years. They stayed with me for a wonderful week. I host their website, miles-to-ride.com. "If a relationship can withstand a trip like that, it can withstand anything.", I said.
I was really enjoying the conversation. He was very Italian and had that European perspective that I encounter too rarely outside of the German meetup group I attend.
As I listened to his stories of travelling for this length of time and invoking famous stories from ages ago, I found myself thinking, "now this is a real adventure rider".
"It's just kilometers.", he said. "I don't care about how long or how many kilometers. That's irrelevant. I like to travel. I have a passion for motorcycles. I combine the two. What's important for me is what I learn along the way. The people I meet. The story."
"This sounds strangely familiar to me.", I replied thinking about things I believe I mentioned even within this blog. "A kindred spirit.", I found myself thinking, "maybe it's a European thing.". So much of what he said rang true to me.
He had mentioned how tight money was and how he wanted to get back to Italy and possible ride South through Africa or maybe East through Asia. "When you are Italian, you can do these things. Nobody cares about Italians. We are not important.", he would say. "People always say 'oh, Italians, good looking, good food, beautiful women.". "But if you have a US passport it's hard. I've seen so many Americans have problems at border crossings. From what I have seen the world does not like Americans.", he cautioned as I mentioned maybe wanting to do other trips. "It's best to have an EU passport. You'll have no trouble.", he advised.
I asked if he wrote a blog. "I have a website but it's only in Italian. My english is not so good.", he explained, "mostly I produce videos. Sometimes I write for magazines."
When the bill came I asked if I could buy lunch for him. "I have some money.", I said. I paid the bill and we agreed to travel together to Liard. "I haven't camped in two weeks, I think.", I said. "I've camped every night for the last 30 days.", he replied. "Well, if I have someone to camp with, to talk to around a campfire, then I'm happy to camp. This is good.", I replied.
It was agreed. We walked out to the bikes, got on our gear. Because I had never ridden with him before I suggested he lead. I didn't know what kind of rider he was or how fast he liked to travel. He was riding a Transalp, which is a 650 twin. not a very fast motorcycle but bulletproof and very highly regarded. Many world travellers ride them.
We got underway. He has what I would imagine is an Italian riding style. He likes to use the entire lane swaying back and forth. This was a bit disconcerting. My friends and I ride military style, in a formation. The leader picks a side of the lane. The follower rides on the other side. The rest behind stagger accordingly to offer each rider the maximum view and stopping distance in front of him. Dani liked to use the whole road. But it was ok. I got used to it and the speed was reasonable.
His bike is not as fuel efficient as mine so we did stop to get gas along the way in Watson Lake. The bugs were just terrible. It seemed like we had to stop every 50 miles or so to clear the faceshields.
Eventually we crossed from the Yukon into British Columbia.
We got onto the section of the Alcan where they were doing construction. Alot of construction. More than I remember. So we stopped at one of the stop/slow guys. It was a several minute wait so we pulled off our helmets. I was grateful for this as my earplugs were killing me. Agony.
The slow/stop construction guy was happy to take a photo of us.
After we got through the construction site, the sun was pretty low on the horizon and we heading east. He had mentioned that he liked to shoot video so I had mentioned my GoPro hero cam that I can mount to my helmet. I rode ahead and motioned for us to stop. "Would you like me to shoot some video of you on your bike?", I asked figuring that maybe he didn't have any shots of him for his videos underway. "It shoots in 720p", I explained.
"Yes! Thank you! In two years I never thought to ask anyone!", he said.
So I fumbled with the camera, started recording, mounted it to the helmet, adjusted the angle and we got undderway.
It's always too easy to misalign the camera so you never know how it's going to turn out. Later on we found that we had done it correctly. The video wasn't bad at all. Good light.
After about 16 minutes of filming I stopped to pull of the camera. At 70mph, Kevin the mounty, that's a typo, I mean 70km, the wind resistance on the camera is quite strong and it strains my neck.
We rode on and once again encountered the buffalo. He had never seen one before.
We rode on for the rest of the way. It was a 200 mile stretch that we rode together. By the end it was starting to feel like a long way. The fact that I had not slept much the last two nights was catching up to me. I was having some trouble staying awake. Then we came up on Liard Hot Springs.
"Shit, campsite full", I thought as I read the sign. We stopped. "The campsite is full. I don't know how far the next campground is.", he said. I was tired. I was too tired to continue. We were in the parking lot of the lodge. I saw a vacancy sign in the window. "Fuck it. Let's get a room at the lodge.", I complained because I was tired. "I can't afford it.", he said looking very tentative and apologetic. "I bet they have rooms with two beds. My treat. I can't ride any further.", I said.
"I haven't slept in a bed in 30 days.", he said looking grateful in that honest way that only someone who has truly been uncomfortable can muster.
We checked into the room, performed the ritual unpacking of the motorcycles, and decided, since it was still light, to go check out the hotsprings. Thankfully Bruce had given me a pair of swimming trunks. I grabbed a towel, the trunks and a camera. Dani grabbed similar items. We stuffed them all into a bag and we walked to the springs not knowing what to expect. "Oh look. Beautiful sunset. We should take a picture.", he said.
And we took a photo at the hotsprings park entrance.
There was a long boardwalk through a landscape that reminded me of Yellowstone. Most of the land here was covered in mineral water.
The hotsprings themselves are exactly as advertised. Beautiful.
This is actually where the hot water emanates. It creates a layer of near scaldingly hot water about 3 inches deep on the top. This mixes with another cooler spring, not shown in the photo, to the right.
They are not entirely wild though. There's a changing room and a bathroom and steps leading into the springs.
There's a small falls and a lower pool that is much cooler. It the flows into a small stream that I can only describe as being something out of Pan's Labyrinth. The stream has cut a winding tunnel like moss covered path between the trees. Ledges angled in. I should have, if I was the genius I claim to be, taken the indestructible water proof camera. It was simply beautiful and was a landscape described in fantasy novels. Amazing. I have not seen any place like it ever.
Since we were here, despite it being near closing time, we decided to give it a try.
The Italian seemed comfortable in this nearly searing hot water.
The pale displaced Germanic beast from the deep was less so.
Egads say it isn't so. It went into the water. Without it's shirt on.
It was hot. Very hot. But you got used to it. So of course, being masochists, we had to move towards the source of the hot water. It was crazy hot. Near skin burning hot, but we perservered. The formations and the source and how the water bubbles up in little streams from underground was fascinating. Very cool indeed.
We only stayed for about half an hour. It was just too hot.
As we walked back, I heard something in the distance. I do not know why but, upon hearing the sound, I immediately knew what it was.
Moose! Or as Carol might have said, "Meese!"
This time I captured the silly ears up being curious look mooses are prone to make when looking at something they don't understand. This moose and it's calf were quite a ways away. At extreme zoom in low light my camera does not do that well.
We went back to the room and examined the videos we had shot earlier. He showed me some of the videos he had produced which are available on YouTube. Some are in English.
I had a bottle of Irish Whiskey and I offered him a shot. "BMW guys seem to always have Whiskey", he said knowingly.
He had asked me some time earlier, as so many people have, what are you doing out here. My answer has been simply, "I've been through some bad times. I'm out here trying to get my head screwed on straight.".
I was tired and about ready to call it a night when he asked, "So tell me, what happened?". This is always dangerous, but he seemed honestly interested and asked questions, so I gave him a moderately brief yet honest run down of the Nightmare. Strangely, in this telling, it seemed worse to me. I shared with him maybe 25% of what happened and even with that he said, "It's too much.". Meaning I guess it's too much for a person to handle.
"I can tell you still have alot of pain, alot of anger, about this story. But it's over. You have to close that door and live you life. Enjoy you life.", he commented.
"That's not hard. What's hard is trying to figure out how what's happened is affecting how I make decisions. Part of why I am out here is to See and Think Differently, but to do that I can't close those doors. I have to understand how what happened is coloring my views of what I think is possible."
It's a small world. I spent a day with a guy whose trip makes mine really look like just a simple and mundane Long Sunday Drive. He's from Italy and he rode his bike up from Tierra Del Fuego, was robbed at knifepoint more than once, has had untold real adventures. I found myself thinking he's a kind of man who seems out of place in this modern world. In this time. The age of exploration is over, but this man would have fit into that age very well.
To which he would say, "It's only kilometers. I've met people out here who have been riding for years. 5, 10, 15. It's just numbers. What have they learned?".