Thursday, July 25, 2013

Desensitized From the Distance

Now that Sash and I have hit the 3-month mark on our motorcycle road trip across the USA, I find my perception of community greatly altered.

That is, we just left Sash's uncle house in Lincoln University, PA, where we stayed for five nights.  Her uncle lamented our departure, and repeated his assurances that we were invited to stay with him again at any time.

"Yeah, we'll definitely be back on our next swing to the East", I said, referring to our plans to make our motorcycle road trip an indefinite, if not permanent, way of living.

But isn't riding your motorcycle across the United States, from one coast to the other, supposed to be a huge endeavor?  Isn't that something riders only do once (maybe twice) in their lifetime?  Yet here I was, telling Sash's uncle that we'll be back soon, right after we ride back to California for a breather.

It's like my sense of geographic neighborhood has changed.  Somehow, my "backyard" just got huge, really huge, in a short span of time.

In fact, just this evening, Sash and I talked about our next nine months of destinations, spitting out names like Montana, Texas, Florida, South Dakota, as if they're just weekend getaways, like the distances between these states are insignificant.  I mean, it used to be that going to Texas was a vacation.  It meant saving up money, asking for time off, and paying the neighbor's kid to pick up newspapers off the driveway.

Now, Texas is just another fix in our road trip addiction.

"What do you feel like mainlining?  Some Indiana?  Some Wyoming?  I hear Oregon will get you really fucked.  Yeah, let's shoot some Oregon!"

I mean, the sense of how far and how long it takes to ride a motorcycle to one of these states is now lost on me.  They're just names now.  They all have motels, they all have bars, and they all have Wi-Fi.  Otherwise, what's really difference between Oklahoma and Pennsylvania?

If anything, riding our motorcycles to another country like Mexico or Canada would generate some excitement, because now we're talking Pesos and Loonies, Spanish and French, Modelo and Molson.

And we'll do those countries in time.

But then what?  Will I be telling a sad-faced Alejandra that we'll be back to see her on our next swing to Chihuahua?  Will Sash and I start tossing up names like Yukon, Nunavut, and Prince Edward Island as if they're in the same backyard as Palm Springs and Bakersfield?

I guess as I get to a point where I become more desensitized of how far away these places are, the unique topography of the land, the accent in the voices, and the nuances in the culture, all becomes static white noise when I walk outside of my motel room.  It's still just sunshine and asphalt, birds and butterflies, barking dogs and honking horns.

Some mornings I wake up, and I try to recall what State I'm in.

5 comments:

  1. Good post. I wouldn't have thought of you being desensitized to the distance.

    Makes one think though. You thought you were way out there with the six month trip so how will you push it further?

    There are a lot of countries out there. They may be calling you name soon.

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    1. There's a lot of cities, roads and national parks we haven't seen yet, and we only saw a small chunk of the east coast. It may take another few years to do it all.

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  2. I don't like to think of being desensitized by all my wandering. My whole deal was/is to be sensitized not the opposite, by my travels.

    I'd like to think that I've been de-intimidated by distances but remain sensitive to how far it is that I've come.




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    1. I try to remind myself that wherever I am, it took a long ways to get there. Sash and I only ride about 150-200 miles when we travel. And we spend several days in the same town before we travel again. So, it doesn't feel like we've moved all that far. Before we know it, we're at the Atlantic Ocean, and already we're talking about Utah and Nevada, as if we could just reach out and touch it.

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  3. Whatever you're feeling, or choose to call it, it appears to be working for you two. I specifically refer to the pictures of you and Sash. In the one I posted from Mount Lemmon your smiles are there, but they seem anxious and questioning. The recent ones, like in the previous post, the smiles are more relaxed and you both seem happier. Maybe Road Therapy is more than just a saying

    Continued safe travels my friends.

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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...)