Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mommas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys.

After a quick supply stop in Paisley this morning, I ride down into my first real patch of desert, all blasted sand and scrub brush. I spend over an hour on one endless patch of road so long and straight that receding vehicles disappear into the distance before I can see them turn. The distant heat shimmer reflects the sky as clearly as a deep mountain pool.

Screaming hawks ride the air currents above me, their enormous shadows sometimes crossing my path. I once startle a desert hare and watch it lope off at twice my speed. Flocks of small black birds scatter in my wake, trailed by that electric blue aura superimposed my glasses.

The emotional roller coaster and physical sufferance of the first few days have settled into a calm confidence and steady routine. My legs have been retrained to the constant pedaling; they feel best when I resume riding after a good stretch. The travel has become not only survivable, but sustainable, emerging into not merely a trip, but a lifestyle.

The solitude, the bare elements, the glorious, unimpeded views of the road all give me the room I need to think. I know it's cliche, but I feel like this is the life I was born for. Guess I shoulda been a cowboy.


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