Mexico / Canada
Mexico to Canada. Three days up, two and a half down. There's nothing quite as exhilarating or exhausting or demoralizing as traveling 3600 miles on US interstates on a motorcycle. As the hours unfold, you will surrender to relentless desert heat that fuses clothing to skin; you will submit to mountain storms and sudden micro bursts delivered by towering armies of marching Cumulus clouds that drench and freeze your extremities and turn roads into blackened rivers shrouded by grey curtains of impenetrable spray; and you will wander as a fragile autumn leaf as you land-sail amongst the infinite and unforgiving articulated convoys crossing expansive valleys of volatile and turbulent crosswinds that will slap whatever confidence you hold forth into a violent and laughable reality of absolute submission, injected with equal doses of abject fear and humility. In many ways it feels as if you are traveling without forward motion.
It's as though an endless rug is being pulled beneath your wheels while tree branches car-wash your visor and painted white lines are blurred and hypnotic and you are a voyeur to the glass cocoons of human beings lounging in silent repose as vehicles slide effortlessly by, and you are ever vigilant for the darting buck or the crumbling rock falls that scatter upon the cracked highway like so many shot marbles or the domino bursts of bright red LED's as brakes are squeezed and steering wheels are shaken with indecisive zeal. Without refrain, buffeting winds will sap your strength and assault your hearing and the landscape will rise and fall and remain constant and unchanged and memories of old will creep into the quiet, open spaces of your mind and taunt you with cruel and playful remorse and the engine will whir and purr and whine and bellow and you will be numb with cold and stillness and then you will blink and a slice of yellow light will stab your eyes and bathe the world in clarity and warmth; where shadows are blackened and a steep descent into a new world is laid before you like a bright and perfect Christmas table and you will stretch tired limbs and sit straighter and your smile will broaden and blood will rush to your fingers and you will twist the throttle and once again you will be born anew.
From the dark Spanish complexions of the south to the hardy faces of the First Nations of western Canada in the north, every race and culture and nationality of the world is dotted along the highways in between. Not so much a melting pot as a ribbon of humanity that ties every individual to a distinct place and time. All, that is, except for you. You follow no one. Your trail is not defined by lanes and traffic and feeding stations and mundane conversation and drowsiness and stale breath and tedium. You are in tune with gravity and you are as one with the elements. You are being watched. You are the focus of daydreams. You are heralded and pitied. And you are the exception to every rule.
And then the temperature gauge starts to climb. Really? Now? Here? Fuck. It must be a faulty gauge. It’ll settle in a minute. Shit. What’s that smell? Boiling coolant. The devil’s cologne. A path of bright green liquid flows like a glacial river around your front tire and meanders into the distance with a certain poetic grace. This bike sucks. Why me? What did I ever do? There’s no reason for this. Shit. What do you mean I have to take the crash bars off? Who designed this? Special order? Two weeks? It’s a five inch rubber hose? I’ll make one. At least it isn’t raining. Shit. It's raining. Oregon rain. Okay, think. Oh, yeah.., maybe this will work. Yes! I fucking rock! Please don’t leak. It seems to be holding. I’ll take it easy, see what happens. Man, that sun feels good. I’m hungry.
I love this bike.
All photos and text ©2016 Mark Warford/Cry Desert, Inc. All Rights Reserved.