stairs to nowhere

May 27th, 2013

Day 34

broken washerI’ve spent the last couple of hours working on my bike in this parking lot where I slept last night.  My speedometer hasn’t been working since day 2 so I bought a new gear for it only to realize that the gear is fine but the washer that surrounds it is broken in two.  I come up with the clever idea to use epoxy to mend it since I don’t have a  replacement but it is too thin of a surface to have real sticking power.

fixing speedometer

I’m in Virginia now and spent all of yesterday going through quite remote swamplands and populated peninsulas to get here.  The highlight of the day yesterday was riding over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge right at sunset.  It goes so far out in the ocean that I felt I could be swept away at any moment making it all the more intense.  I also got to see where the Wright brothers  set flight for the first time in history.  I was surprised to find it was on a very thin peninsula with not much room to fly over solid land.

I finally just put the speedometer back together the way it was  and accept that I’ll have to buy another washer the next chance I have.  In a couple of hours I’m in Maryland and in a couple more hours I’m in Delaware.  The east coast seems much easier to make progress compared to the west.

delaware path

Before I know it, it is time to start looking for a place to rest for the night and I don’t want to keep pushing my luck as I’ve done so many nights already.  I have time so I go out of the way and head for the coast  to look for a spot on the beach.  It proves difficult as there are neighborhoods surrounding most of the public access beaches.  I finally go to some wildlife refuge and take my motorcycle behind a bar that would normally prevent a vehicle from passing.  Another one of the benefits of motorcycle travel. I go down to the end of the forbidden path and find a nice little nook to hide my bike inside the bushes only a couple hundred fee from the beach.

lonely path

The sky is grey and there is no one around.  The only sound to be heard is wind rustling through the plants.  There are not even ocean sounds because the water is perfectly still, stagnant like a pond. I walk down to the beach and sit on a lonely set of stairs leading to nowhere.  I feel as if I’m in a dream, a lonely dream, wandering purposelessly around an empty beach with no idea why I am here.  My reverie is interrupted by a siren moaning from a distant coastal town.  I recognize this sound from World War II movies: the air raid siren that heralds death and destruction.  I feel a very strange mixed emotion of loneliness, vastness and now an unease that runs through my whole body as I sit on my purposeless staircase and wonder what this siren means.  It stops after a minute and I’m left with just these mixed feelings and silence.

stairs to nowhere

I go to bed at sunset after spending an hour hopelessly looking for the lens of my glasses that fell into the high grass around my campsite.  Accepting that I will have to drive the next day with half blurry vision adds to the uneasy feeling to create a nice balance of loneliness and unease.  I can’t seem to sleep and am “awoken” from my thoughtless gazing by the sound of voices approaching…  I check the time and it is 1am.  At this point I am too tired and out of it to use energy on paranoia so I accept whatever may come.  The voices of about five people pass by and although I have no idea what they are doing in this remote place, they seem harmless.  They pass once again an hour later and at some point after that I am asleep after what seems like hours of tossing and turning.