Thursday, January 10, 2008

January 9, 2008

Today I awoke to clear blue skies and a chilly morning. The sun came up over the nearby mountain and my friends and I sat in the sun, soaking it up.

After breakfast I grabbed a hose and washed down the bike, working hard to loosen up the clay that had baked on from the day before. I should have done that as soon as I got in, but I realize now that I was exhausted from the day before. San Diego to Mike’s in one day is a long haul, and the rough road at the end finished me. So I scrubbed my boots, got the bike all clean and went for a walk while the bike dried up.

I took three hikes today actually, and walked up and around the surrounding hillsides. I followed the road or some bike tracks and the two dogs that call Mike’s home followed me with great excitement. One of the dogs is a young German Shepherd and was majorly stoked to go for a hike. As most young dogs do, he’s run up ahead then come back, run off to the sides and then come back, all the while the other, more mature dog just trotted alongside. It reminded me of when I had dogs and the long walks through the forest or fields with them. It made me miss canine companionship and I told myself I’d have a dog again one of these days.

I (we) got back from the hike and I started in on my bike. So I got out my tool roll (many thanks to Heather) and started bending the brake pedal back to some semblance of where it was before. It actually bent easier than I expected which probably explains why it was bent in the first place. So I got it twisted around enough where the pedal engaged the metal strip and after working on it a bit more, decided that was as good as it was going to get. I then got out the owners manual and looked around.

It became clear I had not gotten very familiar with my bike before this trip. Sure, I had skimmed through the manual and I had ridden it plenty and gotten familiar with how it felt, but as for how it functioned – not so much. The wipe-out/brake bender actually pushed me to really get acquainted with my bike. So now I can bend brake pedals, know how to turn off the ABS (anti-lock brake system), adjust the windshield, tighten spokes, and adjust the suspension system on both wheels according to weight and road conditions. All of this I did today. And I hope the suspension adjustments help out on the road back to the highway. I also hope my gas holds out too.

This afternoon was lazy. And I sat and read, wrote and looked around. It’s amazing to me how busy my mind can be when it’s very quiet around me. I am so used to being in a busy, noisy environment and I am constantly doing something, making plans, checking this, straightening that. So being out here, alone and surrounded by mountains and silence, has confronted me with my lack of – and desire for – inner stillness. I am doing a lot of praying while I’m out here. I also hope to pray in silence too.

Tomorrow I am headed back to Ensenada. I have decided that it’s too far out to risk getting to Puertecitos and being turned back due to rough dirt roads going south, so I’m headed instead to San Quintin or El Rosario on the west coast. It’s some back tracking but I’ve decided it’s worth it. On my return trip I’ll swing by Coco’s Corner and ask Coco what he thinks about taking Mex 5 up to Puertecitos. Until then, I’m going to head down to Loreto for a couple of days, then on to La Paz. At least that’s the plan. While in Ensenada I will be within cell coverage and will check in with family to see how grandma is doing. She is in the sunset of her life and I certainly want to be there with the family when she dies. So depending on what I hear I’ll head either north (back to the States) or south (to El Rosario).

I’ve really enjoyed Mike’s Sky Rancho and I’m ready to keep moving on down the road. I am also looking forward to being less alienated from civilization. I am coming to understand about myself that the lone wolf days of my youth has given way to a desire to be in connection with people. Or put this way: to find solo-ness in the context of togetherness, rather than togetherness in the context of solo-ness. So that has been an important self-realization.

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