Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Comic Strip
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."
Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
It was an average afternoon. A typical October day in Southern California. Not warm, not cold, just somewhere in between. I had come home from work, packed some things in a bag, and headed for the freeway.
North. Toward Monterey. On multi-lane freeways and rural highways, only one of which I can name today. In my defense, I saw little outside the narrow beam of my headlight as my motorcycle throbbed through the night. That BSA didn't roar, it sounded more like a steady, loud, hum that filled time and space and blotted out reality.
The sun was setting as I passed along the coast near Ventura. I rode mostly on US Highway 101. The song about "the terror of Highway 101" kept rattling around in my head. Cheers - Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots
I didn't think I could go a "thousand miles before the sun can rise", I didn't need to. It isn't much more than 350 miles to Monterey from Long Beach. But that's a long way on a narrow seat... in the dark... in the late evening chill.
I stopped a few times for gas along the way, possibly 3 or 4 more times for food or coffee. After each stop, it was a little harder to get back on the bike, kick it into life, and get back on the road. Once I did, however, the details of the stop left my mind as the details of a dream does after you awake. There was only the road and the bike and the drone of the exhaust and nothing else.
I began to ache maybe 2 hours into the ride. You feel it in your shoulders and your lower back first. Your hands are already numb and stiff, something you only notice when you make a stop and find yourself prying your fingers off the grips. But I just kept going. Just kept telling myself another half hour, another 40 miles maybe, and then another stop for coffee. But I really didn't want to stop at all.
I am sure I thought deep and meaningful thoughts as I rode through the darkness, I just cannot recall any of them. I remember only a few things about that trip.
The sunset along the highway. A stop at a bar where I got coffee that was more sludge than anything recognizable. And the two by four in the road.
I was doing 80 to 85 (MPH, not KPH) most of the way, slowing only slightly for the tighter curves, when along an especially dark stretch, my headlight picked up the object in my path. It was a piece of wood, a 2x4, maybe 3 or 4 feet in length. It lay at an angle in front of me. Like this: \ It was too late to slow down or to try to go around it.
Maybe that was why it didn't have much of an effect when I rode over it. I was going too fast, I made no attempt to avoid it, just met it as best I could... prepared to have my handlebars twisted out of my hands and crash. And then I was past it with only a modest bump.
Some days I think about that event and wonder if we do not exist in multiple universes. In one I passed safely over the piece of wood and in another I crashed and died on a two lane highway somewhere north of Santa Barbara.