April 26th, 2013
Wake up, forget over-thinking things, just go.
I pack up and take off. In a half an hour I pass over the Parker Dam, crossing the Colorado River, bringing me into Arizona and reminding me why I’m on this trip. It’s beautiful.
First stop is Lake Havasu where I embarrassingly drop my bike in the parking lot of a supermarket. The good news is that it’s surprisingly easy to pick up which is a relief. Who knows how many times I’ll need to pick it up on this trip? After driving around the town a bit, seeing the London Bridge (the actual London Bridge imported brick by brick from London), all the crazy girls in bikinis, helmetless Harley riders, tourists of all kinds and taking in the overall vibe of the place I head down to a more secluded off-road path leading down to the lake. This is my first time taking the bike off-road and it’s on a sandy trail. I get close to falling but make it fine and have a nice time swimming and having lunch by the water. I imagine and hope that I will have many more moments like this by bodies of water. I don’t know what it is about water but it is opposite to the dry desert sand I’m having my picnic on; it is lifeful.
I make it out of there easier than I got in and head to Route 66 where I cruise the next several hours with a thousand other motorcyclists, 99% of those being Harleys. At one point there is even a Harley traffic jam in Oatman, Arizona. I get sick of windy roads on the edges of cliffs after a while and am happy to get back to the interstate and take my mind off of immediate dangers. I am comfortable, not on my guard, then suddenly a gust of wind blows me on to the freshly painted white shoulder line and I’m thrown into a high speed wobble. I quickly release the throttle and just ride it out, continuing with only a scraped and bruised confidence.
All the distractions and beauty of the day make way for my troubled mind again. what am I doing? I’m not even sure if this trip is the best idea and I’m risking my life to do it. I imagine the worst; living the rest of my life paralyzed, never being able to follow certain passions, probably never meeting a love or having children. I’m sure I would make the best of it but I don’t even want to start thinking about that. Everything that is important to me becomes a bit more clear and I appreciate and love what I have. Life once again seems bizarre and I find it hard to grasp the concept of size.
After mellowing out, I continue with the vow that safety comes before everything on this trip. I peacefully enjoy the last hours on Route 66 finally pulling off and camping on a ridge overlooking the deserted highway. I wake up frequently during the night, paranoid about every little sound, impressing myself with the power of my imagination. Every leaf rustling is a dangerous animal and every sound of the tent flapping in the wind is a murderer’s clothes as he slowly approaches his victim…