Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Road Trip to a Rite of Passage

las cruces city limits
Now that we're 13 days into our 180 day road trip, it's starting to feel like we're on a vacation, yet at the same time, I find myself getting into a groove.

We left San Diego on April 25th, and since then spent 3 nights in Yuma, 1 night in Ajo, 7 nights in Tucson, and 1 night in Lordsburg. Tonight is our first of seven nights in Las Cruces.

It feels like a vacation in that we're experiencing new places, new people, new roads, and continuously dealing new sets of variables as we roll into a different town and take up quarters in a new room. And I like that lifestyle, where my world is in a constant state of change and adventure and I have to figure everything out. It's like being handed a newly scrambled Rubik's Cube and having to put it all back together.

But there's also a small set of things that remain constant.

Our motorcycles are always the same. The clothes we brought, our laptops, and each other, are always with us. The little book that a friend gave me and Sash's pink Hello Kitty blanket, are reminders of home.

"It's starting to feel like we live here", I said to Sash as we waited at a stop light in Tucson, the day before we were set to leave. "I can't wait to get back on the road".

"Funny", she said.  "I was just about the say the same thing."

Once we've figured out how all the roads in any given city connect, along with going to the same bar and coffee shop two or three times, and when all the mystery seems to have vanished, that's when we know it's time to leave.

The Maverick Room Lordsburg
The Maverick Room, Lordsburg, NM
And that's how I envisioned it. We'd stay in a town long enough to feel it and live it, and just as we start getting used to the place, "Adios!"

But there's a certain psychology that goes into it also.

I don't think Sash and I have ever dug our roots into any place. I mean, my family moved all over Southern California when I was a kid. Just when I started to feel like I belonged somewhere, we'd move. Sash was the same, except she moved more frequently than I.

And there's that sense of not belonging to any family or group of people. Getting passed along from one set of step-parents to the other, not getting the pat-on-the-back from our fathers, or the attention and nurturing from our mothers, leaves an emptiness in you that can't seem to fill. You want so much to be loved and liked, but at the same time, you're angry from the abandonment and abuse of your youth, it makes it difficult to keep friends.

That anger also rises between Sash and I, often from the littlest of things.  We take up our respective defensive positions and let the words fly.  Afterwards we realize that we're not angry at each other, it's just those old demons haunting us.  Even though we're the only ones who understand each other, it's still hard to escape from the traumatic experiences of our pasts.

Often, I feel like a ghost that wanders the highways. I don't stay for too long in any one place for fear that I'll only cause trouble and make people regret that I ever walked into their lives. If anything, they'll only catch me in the corner of their eye, and when they turn their head to get a better look, I'm gone.

kitt peak arizona motorcycle
Kitt Peak, Arizona
The old dive bars lurking in the darker, lonely parts of town seem to recognize our vibe and offer a welcoming gesture.  From the Formica chipping off the bar top, the cracks in the Naugahyde padding, and the voice of Merle singing "Mama Tried", reeks an empathetic old spirit who provides a soothing relief for those men and women who's number had never been called and are now ready to address it.

Perhaps that's part of what has kept Sash and I together thus far. Perhaps that's what has put us on motorcycles. Maybe this whole trip is some kind of calling we have to answer before we can take the next step in our lives.

The road trip is more than just a vacation.

It's like we're stripping away the facade, getting naked in the proverbial sense, and forcing our inner children to grow up and make critical decisions.  We're literally deep into nowhere, in the middle of nothing, with no one but ourselves to rely on.  I can't wait to discover the man inside me.

highway 80 motorcycle
Highway 80, Arizona

highway 80 arizona motorcycle
Highway 80, Arizona

So now we're in Las Cruces. I can't wait to check out downtown and the Old Mesilla area. I've already looked up the local brewery and taprooms. We've already asked people for recommendations on the nightlife. It should be a fun week.

7 comments:

  1. Las Cruces.... buddy you were about 45 min away from my hometown.. El Paso, TX.. I like reading your adventures... I don't ride.. but it's as if you are riding for me..

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  2. Steve:

    " And there's that sense of not belonging to any family or group of people . . . "

    that paragraph also sums it up for me too. I have never felt belonged and when I see other families enjoying each other's company I get a little sad inside that I didn't have a chance to be happy in my younger years.

    In my current family situation, no one else rides, so riding has become a sort of selfish thing that I have to do Solo. I try to balance out my "alone" time with family time so I usually only do one bike trip a year, and perhaps another weekend or two. The rest of the time would be taking road trips in the car. Also, couples that ride together don't realize how lucky they are. They have each other to share these new experiences and are not really alone.

    I on the other hand would have to duplicate the trip in the car so that I too can share these experiences, but then I am always going to places that I had already been.

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

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  3. We really are riding along with you and Sash, Steve.

    Nice update.

    Dan

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  4. I've always found that riding is the perfect time to contemplate some of the deeper meanings of life, love, and happiness. You get into the groove and the riding becomes almost automatic, allowing the mind to wander and so you just think - something we all do far too rarely. I get the sense that these posts are written just that way, while on the road, alone with your thoughts, and trying to put some sense to them. And it's working. I'm really enjoying your posts from this trip because at some level, they resonate with me and, I expect, many, many others. Thank you.

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  5. Just remembered today about you guys from San Diego. I haven't been on your blog in awhile. I'm following your story up here in Toronto, Ontario - Canada.
    Catch a spectacular view for me.

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  6. I was going to write that this is an amazing road trip. But that would be the wrong thing to call it, for it is truly a journey, in more ways than one. I am loving reading about your adventure and what you feel about it. It isn’t much about motorcycling, but more about the next stage in your lives. Ride on!

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  7. You passed through Tucson? Nice; I'm about 20 min south of Tucson.

    Have a safe rest of the trip

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About Steve

San Diego, CA-based motorcycle rider who likes long road trips, old rustic bars, craft beer, and tough women. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, writing about the mysteries of life. (Read more...)