How appropriate that I’m publishing this on the 100th anniversary of the National Park System! Upon waking at Zion, I realized that I really didn’t have an extra day to get to Motos in Moab like I intentionally thought. I buzzed my way through Zion and made my way back across the Arizona state line. There was a good portion of the road where my hands were freezing in my leather gloves, the road never-ending and I felt like it would last forever. No gas stations in sight, I was really at the mercy of time and the road.
“So, um, what do you DO when you’re riding?” people always ask me.
I’m assuming because it’s such a solitary activity; people think you’re instantly bored if there isn’t music playing or there isn’t a soul to talk to. But in reality, you’re so present and in tune with what is going on. I remember so much more on this trip than on my previous ones where I was in a car, distracted by music, etc. My thoughts accompanied me on the road, but I never felt extremely alone. This day in Monument Valley and Horseshoe bend was really the first time I felt extremely alone and I fortunately found another (bicycle) adventurer to help pass the time with conversation. I did everything from talk to myself, improvise movie lines, mimic voices, think through my deeper life issues, take in the scenery, stop and talk to my friends and family, etc. My most favorite part of everything was taking in the scenery I would’ve missed otherwise. Being on a bike requires you to be so present. You start noticing the little things, like how many people are overwhelmingly taking selfies at horseshoe bend instead of sitting still and taking in a marvel. I can’t tell you how many people hiked the one mile in, only to take one hundred selfies and then walk back.
I took my photos, waited for the prime spots and then took the time to look out. I’m not saying that to sound holier-than-thou; but instead to encourage you to do the same. Take a bit of time to conduct a social experiment and see how much you can remember without your phone or camera. For fuck’s sake; try writing down everything in detail to paint a visual picture. When you go back to daydream, your vision will be so much clearer. In our culture; it’s rude to stare. It’s customary to move quickly. I’ve never been the hare; more of the tortoise. In these times, being slow comes in handy. Being on a motorcycle is anything but a blur — you’re more conscious and willing to slow down than ever.