The Heat and The Wave

This morning I zipped south from Moose Jaw to the U.S. border crossing. They rifled through my saddle bags, backpack, and duffle bag strapped to the frame, but neglected my front pouch which I later realized had one beautiful Cuban cigar inside (this is a lie if you’re reading, Obama). So good news for weird dads with fanny packs and kangaroos alike. We’ve fooled ‘em once, shame on them. But fool ‘em twice..and..uh.. they won’t be fooled again! There, Obama, now I’m not playing favourites (favorites). 

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The big ol’ North Portal border crossing, Sasky to North Dakota.

…And then it was flags and Jesus billboards; ‘Merica the beautiful. Time to blast through to Canada again. I started off well by going to pass an RV when the passing lane began. But why are all these cars coming at me? Are they all passing the same car at the same time? I looked at the line again…oh…is that yellow? Shit! I swerved back over and thought to myself, but isn’t this a divided highway? I can see the westbound lane across the median! See, there are cars coming! Wait a minute, wait a minute, yes, that is in fact a train…

This could have potentially been a hint of future road-weary delirium, but I don’t buy it. Sometime in the North Dakota evening the weather hit its peak; the temperature was hot-steady, the wind was gone, traffic disappeared, and there was just a hint of rain that barely formed but added the subtlest cooling. I had “Here Comes the Rain Again” in my head and I’ve now figured that the week on the road and the week on the coast left my mind pretty eased. Every thought that could have arisen on such trip arose and passed. There was nothing left to work out; nothing left to worry about. This song was playing in my head and I knew why: when I was a kid my dad always had three albums in the van: Eurythmics’ Greatest Hits, Sheryl Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club, and Sounds of Nature. The rain set this one off and once it was rolling it was rolling. The next thing I know I’ve gone a hundred miles and it’s dark and the only thing I remember is seeing the gauges glowing in the dark and being right back in that minivan fifteen years ago sitting in the backseat and watching those same lights reflect in the driver’s-side window. It was always at the end of a family outing and I was floating in that zone between post-vacation excitement and pure exhaustion, so I would sit back and stare at those lights for hours without falling asleep. My dad would cycle through the CDs and every once in a while he would slide his hand back between his seat and the door and grab my hand and give it a squeeze the way I was now slowly rolling on the throttle. I’d give it a squeeze back and say nothing; I’d just think, I love this guy and someday that’ll be me night-driving behind the controls. I had this fifteen-year gap closed for hours and it didn’t open again until I slowly came up to a little traffic and passed a family in a minivan. A kid was sitting in the backseat staring out his window at me with no expression, and then he gave a half-excited, half-fearful wave and just watched me. I remembered being that kid, but not waving; I wanted the other guy to wave so I knew it was okay. After all, he was on a big motorcycle and it was dark and I was in pure awe. I waved back at the kid and just like that it was over. He watched as I rode by and I saw the next city sign in the distance and realized those hundred miles had just gone by.

Fuck, that was a feeling. You don’t get those very often, and had I done nothing else on this trip, that alone would have made it worth it. I won’t forget it.

But back to reality, I did forget the feeling in my butt because it’s been numb for hours. Days, really.

When I get home I’m going searching for an acu-butt-puncture remedy. I just hope it’s not some guy named Acu.

I had to decide whether or not to push on tonight or save it for tomorrow. I figured that since I was still moving at a good clip and the weather was behaving, I’d ride on into the early morning and catch a nap in Minnesota (you might know it as Minnepop over here). I checked the weather at a gas station a few hours later and storms were forecast for the next while, so I grabbed a room and I’m about to crash after this unreal day on the road. If there’s anything left in my brain to dream of, I’ll be impressed. I bet I’ll only wake up with morning would but had no inspirational cause.

Talk to you after Chicago.

Kokott, you busy? I’ll shout the sound of a crow as I pass by, just in case.

Night, folks.