After my moonlit piss I climb back into my tent where I waited for hours hypnotized, envisioning my journey to come. I thought about each muscle that felt sore. I contemplated how best to pull camp and re-pack my gear. I imagined strategies I would employ on the return ride home, strategies such as walking up inclines and not pedaling too hard down hill. The key was not to get there fast but to get there less slowly than walking alone and not being too worn out. I envisioned myself as a dolphin moving effortlessly through the ocean.
4am I got out of my trance and broke down my camp, this time redistributing my gear till i could walk upright with my pack. My tires were low on air but there was a gas station a mile away that I could reach. I got there and had a sandwich and a pear for breakfast. On the road again and I was on my way home.
The moon was still out but the trees and cliffs created deep shadows in most places as I rode parallel to the Lewis and Clark trails. I rode and walked along side logging trucks in the dark. I passed Beckon Rock which looked like an ancient nordic tower.
At this point I felt fresh and ready to go. I felt as though this shit was easy. I kind of felt like a real monster in the body of a mortal man. I shared a road with tons of fast-moving steel and cargo. I traveled on roads others have told me where forbidden to me. The law was on my side and I was confident and alert. I had ridden many miles to get to this point in my life where I felt powerful and free. I found many skeletons along the state highway and they all said the same thing.
FEAR IS THE FAT THAT BUILDS UP ON YOUR MIND AND SOUL, IT IS ACCUMULATED THROUGH COMPLACENCY!
After four hours of hoofing and pedaling my way up hill I sat down at the side of the highway on top of a hill and called my grandmother while signaling the truckers to honk their horns. It was half entertainment and half acknowledging other lone travelers. It was my way of saying to these titans of the road “I DO NOT FEAR YOU BUT I DO RESPECT YOU!”
I mostly just had to cruise down the road, sometimes walk but there was very light pedaling and much nature to enjoy. The closer I got to Vancouver the hairier it got with all the traffic going by, but there was plenty of shoulder. I recalled the Bridge Of The Gods crossing and how the lady at the toll booth told me to cross at my own risk, but is not life always at my own risk? It can only do so much but one still must try to be alert and ready to deal with anything that may come.
I could not help but hoot and laugh as I came more and more into signs of city life starting with the suburbs and working my way to the I-85 crossing into Portland. On the bridge I asked a Portland cop if the path would take me near the Airport MAX station. He directed me to keep heading south and I would find a sign that pointed the way. The Portland cops were on the bridge waiting to ambush anyone with too heavy of a right foot.
I headed on cruising down the path with little effort. I arrived to the station but had run out of water three hours earlier and skipped lunch. I go into a frozen yogurt and shop and had the best tasting yogurt ever. unfortunately they had no ice so I had to have room temperature water.
I could very well have ridden home but decided I had nothing to prove to anyone. I had marched on for hours with a heavy burden and did mit alone. I slept in bear country, I wiped my ass with dry grass, and rode on windy roads with cargo trucks in the dark. There was nothing left but to go home and eat shower and sleep if I could not get laid.
So I did all that, got home, poured myself a tall cold glass of rum, had a big pork chop and eggs and sat in the shower then napped. I had gone beyond my own boundaries and come back happier and sharper. Nothing in Portland would seem to far by bike. Nothing anywhere would seem too far. I had burned the fat I found myself worthy of my adventures.