Sunday, May 3, 2015

Traveling between the space-time continuum and swimming through air

Riding through the Arizona desert late morning April 2, 2015 on day five of ten of a 2000 mile motorcycle trip – the air was warm and comfortably soothing. A bright spring sun was shining. The conditions seemed ideal for a perfect day but trouble was brewing.

I was with boyfriend Lowell and our friend Pierre. We'd been traveling for four days together, each on our own motorcycle. There is a distinct rhythm that occurs when touring over long distance and days when on a motorcycle. I could describe the feeling as some kind of meditative hypnosis and is the result of being outside for hours at a time, having all five senses stimulated and then being lulled into relaxation of sorts with the sound of the engine. This state of suspended hypnosis is my excuse for why I didn't step into action when Lowell told me at a gas station 30 miles south of Wickenburg that he was hungry. My response was “let's just push on and eat in Wickenburg”. When arriving in Wickenburg, I pulled up next to Pierre on his Harley and asked “how are you doing? Should we stop for food here in this town?” Pierre largely existed on only two meals a day at noon and six p.m. and when we stopped to eat at any other time, Pierre enjoyed what I referred to as “air sandwiches” and cigarettes. So of course Pierre responded with “let's push on and find a cafe just outside of town.”
It wasn't ten minutes later that I heard Lowell come on the communicator (a Scala G9 device on the side of our helmets), “what the hell, I thought we were going to stop for food?” then some minutes went by and again Lowell comes on “when did you two start making the decisions? I thought you said we're going to get food? What the f*&K?” Another minute and then a seemingly endless barrage of anger came through my communicator. I thought hard about what to respond with and nothing came to me. It isn't often I'm struck mute but my anger was percolating from my toes. Here I was just really enjoying the scenery of the barren desert and though my hunger was brewing too, I was putting that feeling at the end of my needs list.

One last assault of angry sentences came into my helmet and then I was suddenly filled with my own rage. It was like waking up from a slumber to find I had turned into a dragon and my hair was literally on fire. The surge of anger raced through me from the ground and I proceeded to shut off the Scala and rip it off of my helmet.  With all the force I could muster in my left arm, I flung it into the desert to the side of the road while doing 80mph. I no longer wanted that god damned device that allowed for communication because it was a conduit of pain. The resulting sensation was like stepping out of heavy cloying nylon clothes on a hot day -- I was free. I couldn't resist looking in my rear view mirror to see what Lowell was going to do. Sure enough, his headlight got tiny really fast as he immediately slowed to a stop.

I continued on at my 80 mph average with Pierre so far ahead, I couldn't see him. He had not known what had just happened as he himself was in that comfortable soporific state of riding trance. After about 15 minutes, I saw a motorcycle headlight getting bigger in my rear view mirror. In no time it was Lowell passing me and then from in front, he signaled me to pull over. It turned out he had broken his shift lever while traveling at about 150 mph to catch up to me. He extracted some tools from under his seat and did a make-shift repair that took about ten minutes while I honored the silence echoed around me as I studied the shape of the tumbleweeds. No traffic on this road whatsoever, highway 60 West Bound toward a town called Salome that I'd never been to. I didn't do my homework enough to know that there is absolutely nothing between Wickenburg and Salome. It is a 53.9 mile ribbon of 2-lane highway with an occasional abandoned building.

After Lowell's repair, he walked over and handed me my Scala device but for the life of me, I can't imagine how he found it. He said “put this on your helmet and let's hug it out.” I'll admit to being surprised at the state of perfection this little unit was in after the “flying lesson” it received. I apologized to Lowell as well and we both go back on the bikes and headed west into the unknown. About ten minutes later we happened upon Pierre on the side of the road, not even in the shade as he waited for us. Then as a group with me in the front, we pushed on and arrived at Salome, Arizona in the early afternoon.

Seeing the “Salome Cafe and Bar” sign was like an oasis after the miles we just traveled. The fact that the “Stanford inn” was closed didn't concern us. Salome is a place I felt could be used for the next Bagdad Cafe movie. The only detail about Salome that I found on the Internet is the notoriety of the town's founder Dick Wick Hall who was another stubborn Taurus like myself (his birthday being two days after mine)… born in 1877 and marrying a woman named Daysie May Sutton, he died young but spent his career writing in the genre of humorist.

The ensuing lunch was the quietest meal in the company of others that I have ever experienced. The inside of the restaurant was wedged just outside of the space-time continuum. A big open square room with probably 25 people sitting at a sprinkling of tables. These people ranged from law enforcement officers to retired couples sitting opposite one another and not breathing a word or even looking at each other. It was 2:30 in the afternoon and the bright sun was piercing through the windows as occasional murmurs from diners but mostly deafening sounds of TV news was the background sound. Even our waitress had trouble getting a full sentence out as we ordered our food. Several television sets were mounted from the ceiling in the corners of the room and all turned on to a FOX News channel. And though I didn't time it, the wait for food seemed interminable. When the meal finally arrived, it was a hamburger that looked like it had been in a warming oven since 1967 and tasted the same. At some point we managed to finish eating and though I wanted a piece of Apple Pie due to the suggestive advertising at the counter, I wasn't willing to wait in the uncomfortable silence a minute longer.

I took the opportunity after the meal to photograph an empty swimming pool next door to the restaurant. I couldn't help but listen to a young man sitting on a chair between the restaurant and the pool talking on his cell phone about personal details of his dating life, not caring that I heard every word. In the photo you can see the man just outside the fence near the building. This empty pool had a magnetic attraction for me. I posted this photo on my Facebook and a friend commented “Bikers Welcome, Swimmers not so much.” That summed it up. 
Salome, AZ ~ bikers welcome, swimmers not-so-much

To see the full photo album of our trip, all 110 pictures can be viewed by clicking here.

1 comment:

bit_base_player said...

There's got to be a bright sunlight equivalent of noir. Harsh. Just when it would be keen to get some some clarity, some serenity, the minions of the empire creep into my consciousness , too, though in my case it's not Fox News, but the pallets of Roundup, Propane, and barbecue sauce that seem to define profit in the great outdoors at the retail giant where I pitch solar power.
There's an acidity to the era, it's good, could be better, and I want what's best. What will survive?