Listening to a 35 year-old song in a 26 year-old van I feel like a historian trying on the artifacts.
He is riding in the rain, a downpour so powerful that it drowns out the music and the rattle of the old motor jangling on broken mounts in the chassis. A rain so complete, that I imagine there is no space left for the air he is sucking as he climbs the long grade into Taylor county. Loaded down with full racks, he is not the visionary or the vagabond, but a rider prepared for the journey. Is he a one-day epic artist or a cross-nation explorer? Despite the sheets of water and the speed, I can see this is a young man.
I want to pull over and offer him something, and why is that? To see the pilgrim on hajj is to see free will flexed, and what inspires more than free will, enjoyed and asserted? In my instant assessment I determine he needs nothing I have, and truthfully, it makes more sense to stop and ask him, “What can you spare for me?” Can you part with a little courage? Afford me a small handful of freedom from fear? Peel off a bit of ache in the knees, and the conviction to ease up just a tad, but keep going through the rain to a soaking campsite and a camp-stove under the fly to warm the spirits. Perhaps a little extravagance of rum stuffed in a sock and stashed in a cook pan? Brother? Can you help me?
Sitting at the San Felasco trailhead, with the bike in the back, I watch it rain and rain, and I can’t be bothered to unload for a sloppy, slow grind that won’t be enough to break me from the tethers that keep me from tumbling off the earth.
The truth is I am a working man, who owns a bike. I like to ride it when I can, but it’s raining today and my dress shirt hangs ironed behind my head, and people are expecting me to help them tomorrow, with things I can’t ignore.
So is this still the adventure? Is he killing time, or am I?