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Last Leg.

Written on: Wednesday October 29th, 2008

Last Leg.

 

I am in Eugene, Oregon. 120 miles from Portland. Tomorrow night I will be home in Bellingham. Swimming in me is a sense of disbelief. Bellingham has been this tiny solid fixed point in the distance- across the great expanse of space- and now I am so close.

Not there yet though.

I must say I am rather looking forward to doing some things besides riding a motorcycle all day long. And also I am super curious to see how much and how often I will ride once I get home. I think I may take a little ride to the Ferry to Port Townsend on Sunday. Already making plans?

 

Dad called this morning and said don't rush through this last leg. Take your time and enjoy it. Well, I am not rushing. But I am choosing the slab and not the little highways- and totally not the coastal highway. The experience of riding those roads- especially the 1- has been extraordinary and enchanting and the top of exhilarating. And also exhausting. I must admit I am a little tired. And I am not ashamed.

 

The 1 knows nothing of moderation. It is not moderately breath taking. It is not moderately gorgeous. It is not moderately curvy or moderately steep or moderately demanding or moderately gratifying. The 1 has no shame. No shame demanding everything from those who chose to ride her. Every last lick of devotion. Every drop of presence. What a study in the practice of experiencing the immediacy of every stunning second.

 

I was 12 hours in the saddle day before yesterday- from the Bay to Arcata. Only about 300 miles. My stops were brief and not terribly frequent. It was 12 hours nearly entirely in the Saddle. And nearly entirely demanding the highest of my ability. San Fran traffic- rode through the city and over the Golden Gate Bridge. A nice time, but added an hour and a half on my trip. Then the 1- mile after mile after mile of 20mph curve stacked on top of 20mph curves. Right on the water. Through the mountains. Up and down them. Sometimes suddenly.

 

I learned about breath. My attentive determination, my prayerful awareness- When I came around a curve, especially the downhill ones, and I was leaned way over, at my max- instead of a quick sharp breath inhale of fear- I pulled the breath in slow and strong in through my nose to the back of my throat, exhaling only when I came out of the curve. Only 2 times did I cross my center line- both left crves. Once, I could see far enough ahead to know there was no oncoming traffic- I was giving myself a second of break to not press it hard over. One other time- I was just praying. Barely barely on the line, but I was. And once I drug a peg. First my boot. Then the peg. On a sloping tight up-hill curve to the right. I thought I might be going down. And aside from the split second of panic when my foot actually hit what I can only identify as the road- I was utterly calm. I thought- well, I could be going down. And I knew I was close enough to the ground that I was gonna be okay if I did. No way was I gonna freak out on the breaks and highside myself into imminent injury. Not even a consideration of maybe. So I was calm. It was not really even one of the more scary curves. Not until my foot hit. And then I rolled right through it. Pressed a little harder. Gave a little more gas. And I was through and on to the next. Grinning. I couldn't wait to tell my dad.

Understand that I was not trying to test my limits. I was only responding to the demands of the road. I was always pulling over for the cars and trucks coming up behind me to pass (and get the hell off my ass). Had I gone slower I would have gotten run down. Like I said, the 1 knows nothing of moderation. I sure did learn something about how to take curves.

 

Then it was 5:30 and I still had 150 miles to go.  So then I was riding in the dark again. Then on the 101. Wide lanes but not with out curves. And apparently, in addition to deer, there were elk who may suddenly appear in front of me. Damn it sure is harder to ride at night. Curves at night. No thank you.

 

Arcata was great. Great to see my friend Daniel. We are hatching plans for a Hafiz inspired circus show in the spring?. Curious.

 

Yesterday I rode to Williams, Oregon. Stayed with Sam and Kelli Mae who were also hosting Jessica, Lebn and Zack. They are subletting this gorgeous place amongst lovely Oregon trees. So wonderful to be with dear friends and do some exciting juggling. I have decided to conceptualize the Bellingham Juggling Festival, beginning this Friday, as my own personal welcome home party. I am so excited.

 

The ride yesterday was pretty short, all on state highways that were entirely lovely and a nice balance of fun and easy. And today riding on the 5- first interstate I've really spent time on since I got to LA. Wacky how relaxing it feels to ride on that big flat slab of asphalt. And this is an especially lovely slab. Through these fall-colored trees, sloping Oregon mountains and hills. Even some nice curves. 50mph curves. Real different from 15mph curves.

 

Frost on the bike today. Didn't want to start too. hank heavens for electric clothes! This vest is rad. I hooked it up yesterday and oh heck am I ever glad. Top of the wish list: electric gloves. Dang my fingers get cold.

 

And now on to Portland. Remembering that I do not know what these final miles have to show me. Remembering that I do not know what I will know when I sleep tonight. Tomorrow night even less.

 

 

 

 

 

From DLock on Oct 30th, 2008

Almost home. Unbelievable trip. I can't wait to see you top this one! I wonder what would happen if someone gave you a boat...

From Mark Renfrow on Nov 3rd, 2008

Becky - It is a rare and wonderful thing to give a gift that changes the life of the receiver. I know some of the lessons you have learned in the last month (the world is slanty!) Maybe solo motorcycle trips aren't the only way to learn some of these things, but it's the only way i know. We now know: a person can learn to ride in a month and be sittin' by the pool in LA. It takes a pretty rare and wonderful person, 'tho, others need not apply. It took me about six years of ridin' to ever drag a peg and I am amazed you have reached the level of skill and concentration required to be calm in that moment (it's a gas afterwards, ain't it!) As someone said, you feel so damn alive. Just remember my riding rules and stay that way. I'm so lookin' forward to our next ride together. Maybe top of the Rocky's to Johnson City, TN? Here are some things I think you need to do soon: Chang your oil! Look up your local airheads, check your tire pressure, (and how are they holding up tread-wise?) Think about submitting your travel tale to the BMWMOA ON. Sleep late (at least one day). Look southeast and think about all the folks that direction that love you. Live. Laugh. Love. I'm so proud of you and love you so much. Ride safe - Love, Dad Postus Scriptus - I wanted to share the note you left for me with the world. Thanks. "24,553 miles, 10/07/2008, My home on the hill in the woods in Kentucky; With enormous gratitude and all my love, I set off on my way. I'm so grateful for the time I've spent here with you. Thank you for sharing your passion with me and thank you for giving me two wheels to ride. You'll be on the road with me in all kinds of ways. Thank you Dad. I love you, even more than I love riding :) Take care of yourself. See you soon. Love Beck"