Saturday, May 14, 2011

Highway 16, July 2007

I woke early to the sound of mosquitos
It was just getting light.
Dawn. Soon. 5:30am.
The tent was dry inside
I lay there, with a dry mouth
and a head full of thoughts
I recalled the night before
When I had found this place
Riding the motorcycle at a decent clip
About an hour east of Prince George
I had left Fort St. John early that morning
and rode all day, south
I wanted to camp in the wilds
As I had done throughout this journey
At least when I could
I liked the feeling of being alone
In the wilderness
With a book, a candle and some music
The motorcycle sat beside the tent
Spark plug removed, just in case
Nobody was starting up that bike but me
I was riding along the highway,
scanning the shoulder for a trail or a service road
where I could pull off and find refuge
away from the noise of the trucks in the night
I lit a small fire to keep the mosquitos at bay
And to feel some comfort in this place
I read some of the Steinbeck
Red Pony, what else would you read
at times like these?
I tried tuning in some radio,
all I could get was new country stations
And I think that is the most depressing music in the world
I just sat in silence after a while
Listening to the odd cricket or frog
I eventually drifted off and dreamt
In the morning I poked my head out
Into the dawn and looked at the sky.
It was going to rain, I was sure of it.
Apprehension filled my mind
I had a long ride ahead
And rain is no companion to the rider
I packed up the tent and the stove
and the tarp and my clothes
I loaded them onto the bike
Secured them with my bungee straps
Filled saddle bags
Started the engine and let it warm up
Glanced around the camp
I am always a bit pensive to leave
Like I have memory there now
Some sort of personal ownership
The place offered me shelter, after all
I throw a leg over the bike and idle out of the clearing
Down the gravel track
Out to the highway.
A semi trailer truck passes
It is starting to rain
My coat is zipped up tight to my chin
I pull out onto the highway and accelerate
As as I do every morning
I ride for a while and look for a place
To pull over for a coffee
And perhaps some breakfast...

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