April 26, 2009

Moped Diaries: Day Four

Finally, I got the acheies to write again!

Our stint just across the Oregon border didn't last long, the place by far was the most beautiful leg of our journey, yet the journey wasn't half over. My hands held onto the cork and leather handlebars tightly, feeling the vibrations of the little two stroke, hearing the gasoline sloshing. I revved the engine again, lurching forward, faster, over the small hill, and up into the sky. I twisted the handle yet further, the moped roared into the sky, leaving the ground, floating or being pulled up by strings as if some great being desired to meet me in my bike. Suddenly, before me, the clouds amassed themselves, to form a great greek temple, and sitting was a great, white stony face of Zeus himself. Where his pupils should have been, only was a great distance of white, like in those ancient roman statues. His mouth opened, lightning seem to flash into it, and began to suck me into his mouth, darkness enveloped me. Shutting out all light, the world closing thick in, there was a terrible ringing. It didn't cease. It was like the sound of a million hammer heads falling onto one single anvil.

My eyes popped open. It was Ashton's fucking alarm clock going off. What a weird dream, I hadn't had a dream in years, taking careful note to orient my bed in a way in which dreams wouldn't filter into my head. But I guess, in the wilderness, that doesn't matter whichever fucking way you slept. Today marks our fourth day, four days since I last showered, since I last shaved, shitted in a porcelain god, eaten in a restaurant with leather bound menus and since I last remember sleeping on a mattress between clean bed linens. I looked around me, a low misty rumble kept me constant companion, other than Ashton of course. The tent seemed to sag with a bit moisture, the entire thing in itself wanted to suffocate the two of us. Ashton had thrown the clock out of the tent and resumed his face plant into his small bundled up jacket, now an improvised pillow. I leaned back again, closing my eyes, squeezing the lids as tight as possible and opened them. That bleak green color of the tent burned as I stared. I sat up, grabbing my fountain pen and the weather-all journal. I wrote a few lines and tossed them aside again.

The past three days, I had been wearing a ratty pair of old Abercrombie and Fitch jeans, and once, a pair of Columbia waterproof pants. I looked at the old jeans. There was a hole where the seat would be, the threads were stretched bare thin. I chuckled at them, reached into a side pocket of my backpack and pulled out a small silver case and an old paisley bandanna. I ripped it into two, sewed it into the seat and replaced the items into the little pockets here and there. I retrieved a silver pin from the case and gave Ashton a quick prod.

"Morning sexy pants
"Oh hello. Me breakfast in thirty?
"Sure sure. Cook it yourself mkay?
"Lol, Of course.

I pulled on a thick pair of corduroy pants, I wrapped the thick pea coat around me, placing the cashmere scarf she had given me between my neck and the rough wool. I stepped out, pulling on my heavy, sheepskin lined boots. I chunked around the campsite, nudging the remanants of the fire pit from last night and trying to stoke some life into it. I threw a few dead branches, a few wodges of newspaper and a little splash of fluid. I dropped a match onto the papers and they sprung to life. Opening up and crisping again as the newsprint faded into obscurity. I placed another log on top, then arranging the cooking platform on the side and placed the kettle with a small amount of water into it.

Ashton stepped out, walked to the bikes and pulled a smallish rectangular box from a rear side pannier and a small blue enamel bowl. He poured several handfuls of Cheerios into the bowl and commenced eating. I took a tin of sardines and a slice of bread and speared it with a sharpened stick, held it over the fire for a few moments and removed it and placed the little sardine fillets onto it and rolled it up. We both looked at our watches, mine said 9:30am, ashton's for some reason said 10:10. We looked at each other, puzzled, and grabbing each a section from the newspaper, we walked off to defecate. The newspaper served purpose twofold. Literally.

We put out the fire, loaded the panniers, buried the trash and unlocked the bikes. Portland, here we come!

I read a book somewhere about the amazing and beautiful bridges of the Oregon Highways once. The pictures in the book certainly did no justice to the genuine articles. They simply were amazing as our little motors hummed peacefully over them. The graceful arch of concrete, design celebrated and oriented carried our loads so carefully over the span, Ashton and I were compelled to take pictures of each and I remembered again to remount the camera on the front pannier rack. Ashton took the lead and we were chugging it north, further north. We arrived in Florence around lunch time, only a third of the way there. We refilled on gas, stocked up on provisions and treated ourselves to lunch in the diner. I had ordered a small pork chop with onions and mashed potatos on the side, Ashton ordered himself a salad with a side of tuna. We left the diner, our tummies and our gas tanks full and we roared off again.

By three PM, we arrived in Tillamook, this was our farewell to the 101, We now had to turn up onto the five and continue into Portland. Portland would be the first city where we would treat ourselves to a night in a motel. As a chance for the tent to dry in the shower and for once, enjoy sleep in a spring mattress and with clean white bed sheets. By five, we arrived in the outskirts and we checked into a Super 8 motel in the north part of town. We parked our bikes in one parking space, locked them and took our bags off. We checked in, then placed the panniers and bags all over the room. Then took out the tent, shook it and hung it to dry in the shower. We exchanged looks and stepped outside again, and unlocked the bikes.

We rode into the downtown, grabbed a few drinks at a local bar and rode back to the motel. We pulled a map out and stared at it. We literally could now walk right into the state of Washington. We covered the majority or Oregon within one day and dash it all, it was fucking amazing. Tomorrow morning, we would follow the five up into the city of Vancouver and enter the State of Washington. We each took turns using the shower for the first time as well as making use of the washing machine facilities in the building. Soon we both looked decent again, with the exception of our fairly scraggly looking beards we both now sported. Ashton's fully fledged and possibly hiding a bird, mine only covered my cheeks and my chin and upper lip. It didn't hang, it looked like lichen clinging to a tree. Our clothes cleaned and packed into the leather and canvas and nylon bags, we each climbed into our beds and turned out the light.

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