WanderlustBy Sam Lepore

Subject: Finishers Wander 3 - Midwest City, Oklahoma
Date: Wed, 07 Apr 2004 20:17:06 -0700

Reality is a harsh mistress.

    Not that I mean that euphemistically, but it is sad and startling to be reminded of how dangerous society can be these days. Or, more accurately, how cautious we must be about the dangers of the edges of society. I do not have any solution, only observations.
    After writing last night's segment, I went to a fast food restaurant with one of those multilayer children's playhouses. Waiting for my order, I saw a 3-4 year old girl with her mother. She was obviously eager to go play. Her mother gave her the ok, but just before she entered the play room someone left by an outside exit. Her mother called "Wait, Taylor. There's another door." A 3 year old can't be let out of sight because there is an outside door in a child's playroom through which she could be snatched. I understood she was trustworthy, but what might come through that door was not. Was life really so much simpler when I grew up? Or were we just not as aware.

    Immediately east of Albuquerque are some of the biggest round weather-buffed boulders you will find anywhere. They are not so much mountains as they are massive piles of geologic BBs. This is the tail end of the Rocky Mountains, and are they ever rocky! Then barely 40 miles later begins the american pampas, nearly a thousand miles of slightly sloping flatland leading down to the center of the country. This is the true High Plains through which I am drifting. Still over 6000 feet altitude and flat as my cheeks after three days in the saddle. The pine begins to give way to chaparral, then later mesquite. I applaud the people who live in eastern New Mexico, betwixt and between. I'd call them the Taints. Taint Texas and taint the west. Considering the (lack of) population density, you have to like being alone to live here. And considering the windsock to gauge crosswinds on nearly every overpass, you have to have a calm personality to live in these blustery conditions. Today's windsocks could be used as smiling Bob in a male enhancement commercial ... (when traveling, you have to endure the weather channel and its incessantly repeating ads)
    At the Texas border, I40 drops from 75 to 70, and the trucks drop from 80 to 77. I continue my GPS indicated 78. About 30 miles outside Amarillo, I noticed a solo headlight behind me. This is the first bike I've seen in my direction, although there have been a bunch headed west. The bike slowly catches up to me. He eventually pulls even and waves. I wave. He keeps waving some kind of weird signal. After all my years of motorcycle road travel, I can figure out most signs, but this is beyond me. I drift ahead, still at 78. He makes another lunge to get even and points ahead, then lifts a handheld walky talky from the seat between his legs, waggles it, and points to slow down. Ah, nice of him to care since his and my speedometer show well into the 80s, but again my GPS tells me true. I point to the GPS. He shrugs his shoulders and in so doing almost flips the radio over his head. But he manages to catch it just before he knocks off his loose beanie helmet. Combine those loud pipes of his with his lack of earplugs and I doubt he ever heard anything about what's ahead. He dropped back. I never did see any enforcement.
    Saw the first redbud tree in full bloom in Amarillo. This is a sure sign I am in the east. But there is no getting around how boring it is to cross Texas on an Interstate. Riding IN texas is a taste of fine, riding ACROSS Texas is a waste of time. Then a sure sign of something, left to be deciphered, was the BMW Motorcycle demo truck headed west just as I crossed the Oklahoma border. Remember my comment about one horizon at a time? Their ever changing enticement slogan painted on the side of the truck has taken a zen turn with me: Become one with the horizon. Ride with us.
    The K75 engine was a koan across Oklahoma. Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

537 miles
Albuquerque I40 Midwest City
Sam Lepore, San Francisco

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