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North is so.

Written on: Sunday October 26th, 2008

POP!            I opened my tiny bottle of champagne in celebration of my defeat. My momentarydefeat. I am eating gourmet cheese puffs and champagne for dinner. I have 2hard boiled eggs and crackers too- but lets not get too extravagant.

 

Again, I learn that when I wake in the morning there's notelling what may happen before I sleep that night.

 

Another late night in LA last night. Tried to get to beearly but was not really sleeping until after 3:30. Breakfast date with dearfriend Rachae had me up at 8:30- groggy and grumpy at first- then pleased aspunch. We inspired each other and talking with her put me in just the righthead space to begin again on motorbike. By noon I bid farewell to my sweetstill sleeping Justin and Josh and was on my way.

 

Something shocking happened nearly immediately. Afterslow-go trafficking my way to the freeway, I was moving in the LA four lanepacked auto land. And I felt comfortable. Almost immediately I felt calm.Peaceful on the freeway in LA. And I was enjoying the ride. Half an hour laterI was on the 1, on the water. And then I was really enjoying the ride. Me andmy buddies the wind and the waves on the pacific. Just movin like we do.

 

The day past and then at dusk: rapture.

 

There is a stretch of highway that cannot possibly exist. Nostretch of highway in the world is so beautiful, so alive, so moving. Nostretch of highway can tug ones heart strings so emphatically. No stretch ofhighway could convince a woman that she was with a lover when traveling on saidimpossible un-existing highway.

 

but let me tell you, it does exist. You should beincredulous. It couldn't possibly. (delightful invitation to practice theimpossible.)

 

The sun had set. And the sky was full of the dusky glow asamplified by the great reflectioning of the sea. And I was riding onunbelieveable roads. People have told me that the Pacific Coast Highway isbeautiful. That the Pacific Coast Highway is curvy. They were not incorrect.But I'm not sure that any one has ever ridden this particular stretch of thePCH at dusk before or else surely people would speak more passionate poetry.And everyone in the whole world would know about it because it can't possiblybe. But it is.

 

25-35 miles south of Gorda. Or so. Who's counting?

 

Never ever did I imagine. The bike. The setting and set sun.The undulating ribbon of road. The mountains. Leaning. I can only say it waslike making love.

Now I know I got family members and perhaps some folks withupright sensibilities tracking my travels via this blog. But there is no otherway. There is no other way that I can tell you that this impossible stretch ofhighway is actually possible and that for all the fuss I might make about it-there is no way for you to know. There is no way for me to tell you really, theemotion that moving pulled from my chest. The sensation when a blast of warmair would suddenly sweep up from somewhere below me. When I first encounteredthis particular stretch of road, I thought how much it was like dancing to rideit. Then once I had begun to bend into those tight curves, I realized that meand this particular stretch of road were going to be more than just friends.

 

I was not riding wildly. Not recklessly. And with only themost metered abandon. But caution did not dominate my experience. More thatonce I pressed right up against too hot around a tight corner. I laughed outloud that I should be so bold.

 

No cars behind me. None in sight ahead. Just me. And thesea. Huge and bright below me. And the bike. And the mountains. And the curves.And this particular stretch of road that redefined my sense of the possible.

 

When I say that I was moved to tears by the beauty of it. Ido not mean that my vision was blurred with salt wells. I mean that more thanone sob shook through me. And waves of salt water on my cheeks reflectedtiny-ly the dance of the sea. That such sight might be available to me.  That this world includes suchimpossible beauty. And that I might move through it, with it, and boldly.

 

 

 

At dusk I knew it would be dark soon. As I said my lastgoodbyes and iloveyous to that particular stretch of road, I knew the roadsahead were going to be real different in the dark.

 

No other bit of road was as dynamic as that one- but it wascertainly still curvy mountain side. And the falling rock signs weren't joking.And the plows that scoop them off the road go south in the right and the leftlane.

 

At dusk, knowing it would be dark soon reinforced thebrevity of ecstasy. A passing sensation. A gift. That would then be gone. Like a love affair between people- it arises dramatically and gorgeously, then later it gets difficult and the perfect light that was there is just gone. And I wouldn't trade it for nothing.

 

And when it was dark. Really it wasn't so bad. I settled in.I took my time. I got behind some cars to use their lights. I found the rhythm.The salty wet air coated first my visor, then my glasses, them my eyelids, thenmy eyeballs. That was ok until I hit fog. Foggy lenses, ok. I'll just take themoff. Fog for real. And thick. On twisty mountain side road. No thank you. Myimpulse became very clear. Head back to little enclave of Big Sur. Call KellyPeach and tell her I will not be making it the last 71 miles to Santa Cruztonight and can we please have brunch tomorrow. Stopped at the conveniencestore. Arm and a leg kind of place. All sorts of organic selections. Hellamoney too. Got my bearings and headed to the campsite that caught my eyeearlier. And they took my $30. THIRTY DOLLARS. Goes against all my guts to paythat kind of money to sleep some place. Hot shower my ass. Had one yesterday nothank you. But I was tired. Intimidated by the road. And ready to rest.

 

But then came the hard part.

This camp ground. Racket as it is. Is one of the slantiestplaces ever. I have not got the energy left to describe in detail thedifficulty I had finding my assigned THIRTY DOLLAR camp site. Slanty darkplace. Almost dropped the bike one time after heading up a slanty steep hillthen realizing that was bad news and backing down it slowly. Then I did dropthe bike. when I came around that same wrong way and didn't want to go up thatbad dead end hill?. Stopped to fast and the slant got me. Had to ask for help.Got it. got lost again. Back to the front desk 20 minutes after I left therethe first time. Was directed to my site. But couldn't turn the bike around togo back that way where I was shown. Tried again to follow the map. The righthand turn I thought was on the road turned out to be a down hill slope exactlyinto the rather narrow campsite of a couple in their tent. I was stuck. Facingdown a steep hill. Dusty and slanted. Defeated.

 

They came to my rescue. Peggy and Daniel. Patiently abidedmy apologetic defeat. Helped me push the bike up and out of the slope. Andguided me by lantern to the elusive THIRTY DOLLAR site # 76. Daniel even leftbehind a glow stick should I need the extra illumination.

 

When they headed back to their 200 feet away campsite, I satdown on this THIRTY DOLLAR picnic table and cried. Sobbed even.

 

It was the first time I felt lonely on the whole trip. Ididn't want to be in this bullshit camp ground. I hated that I dropped my bike.I hated that I couldn't fucking find campsite 76. I was embarrassed. And upset.

 

And it felt good to cry. To sob even.

 

And after a few minutes of experiencing fully feelingdefeated and foolish and weak and sorry for myself and angry and displeased andgenerally woeful, I set up my tent, I opened my tiny hooray-for-woe champagne,ate my cheese puff dinner, and wrote about it.

 

Now I am going to go to sleep on this patch of ground I haverented from some one who is real sure they own it. and tomorrow I will wake.Entirely uncertain about what I will feel and see when I sleep tomorrow night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Aunt Ann on Oct 26th, 2008

Defeat? No way! Just smart,focused & wisely cautious. Please, please retain that `smart' approach! We travel with you and enjoy our vicarious adventures as we joyfully read through the accounts of your travels. Take care of you. We love you - Aunt Ann & Uncle Sonny

From Mom on Oct 26th, 2008

Yelp! You are the bravest of all, there is so much magic flowing with your engery. Every moment you are giving yourself and ALL of us the guts to face our days. Love you so much.