‘Wh-ho-o-oaa ooold school – ‘
Not a foot down the forested path into the biker/hiker camp spot, and I’m already getting repped by a man with dread locks down to his waist who’s smoking American Spirits from a pipe, and cooking pasta with curry sauce on his little homemade alcohol-fueled stove. He’s referring to my set up – a 10 speed 80’s Bianchi road bike, classic drop down handlebars, with all my gear loaded on the back. I’m sporting my favourite brown boots, red handkerchief, and my #classy# green brocade coat- like someone who doesn’t give a fook (or, more likely someone who didn’t get the memo on proper bike touring gear). Another couple, who I’ve been sharing the road with for the last 2 days (and who so graciously helped me out after my spill) repped me a little more,
‘Yeah she’s from Canada, and she’s quick’ —
‘Damn, what is it with Canadian girls?’
‘Whenever we meet a Canadian on the road and we ask how long they’re out for, they’re always like -mmm, well I’ve been on the road for a month or two-, and they never seem to have a job or home to get back to.’
‘Canadian girls, damn, what are they doing up there.’
My gear is really not efficient, and only practical in that I already owned or was gifted most of everything I’m carrying, but every proper bike tourer knows ‘30% weight on the front, 70% weight on the back’, and that 18 gears minimum for all of the hills that one is destined to climb.
Someone asks; ‘How did you handle those 3 big climbs yesterday?’
I answer slightly confused, ‘Ummm ahah I actually already can’t recall them, so I guess fine’
‘I’ve been riding a one-speed in Vancouver for a few years, I’m used to charging hills’
I locate my sweet sweet isolated spot surrounded by fallen trees, ferns, and soft moss, set up my tent and get everything ready for sleep so that I can enjoy the festivities that are destined to take place in this little camping area nestled in the woods, – a home for people who like to get around.
I bring my little pot and food to the picnic table that Dreads has already claimed, and proceed to start chopping my tofurkey sausage, red pepper, kale, cucumber, and avocado (produce is sooo affordable here!)for the sweetest little meal I ever did have, and another man proceeds to come by and sit down carrying a bottle of wine, ‘Anyone interested in helping me finish this?’ – Ok. We’re all eyeing each other up, what we brought with us, and talk of gear comes up so I zone out, because like I said, I really don’t give a fook. Wineman and Dreads fight for air time, and I sit back passively listening and observing, getting a look at their personalities, and savouring my most excellent meal. Not carrying a cup with me, I grab my mostly empty jar of honey, fill it with wine, and as it sits there the flavours mingle and my taste buds soar once again with sensual delight. Burning so many calories in a day, the allowance in which to consume is astronomically high, and I am still unable to eat enough to prevent my waistline from whittling away, which is the best thing ever.
Dreads, from Arizona, who had just rode away from the Beloved festival in Oregon. Though he’s been up and down this coastline at least a half dozen times, he’s doing it again, carrying with him a bong made from bamboo, and weed that had been gifted to him and grown in Nepal (clearly, I am impressed, as was intended). He has a lantern with a candle in the middle that lights our table as night approaches, and he’s brewing Chai that he makes from scratch, as he talks about his philosophies and life experience (he likes to talk), and only Wine man tries to engage him in any other conversation, though is more often interrupted. Knowing when to talk and when to lay low provides me with uninterrupted dialogue when the time is right, and we get along well discussing Ecuador (the promised land, and my ultimate destination), food forests, food politics, ‘what are they spraying?, and ‘what the bleep is in the water in some of these towns?’. Talk of the ever enlightening minds of the generations, ‘I was just in the woods with a bunch of kids for a week, they know, man, we’re going to be all right,’ and differentiating between Hippies of the era prior, and the enlightened youth of the day, how they may look the same there are key differences in mentality, using his experiences at the festival as a reference.
‘You’ve got two kids with dreads, they look almost identical in their lifestyles, but one of them is struggling to put their tent back in the bag, and decides it doesn’t fit – ‘it doesn’t fit, maan’, so they throw the bag away, and the other rolls it up neat, like he never had a tent at all.’ The latter, enlightened, the other, a god damn fall back hippy. Or another example, ‘You’ve got two kids with dreads smoking tobacco, one finishes up their unfiltered joint and rips what remains into pieces so small it is absorbed back into the earth without a trace, and the other finishes up and throws their filter into the sacred fire set with ~intention~ by a Chief, that which has been burning for weeks in prayers and blessings’.
Fully understanding the contrasts, with a little honeyed wine in me, I was quick to point out that one will remain ignorant so long as he’s never been made aware of it. Rather than point the finger and blame the ignorant, you empathize with their plight and show them that they’re ignorant so they can decide to change; and if he is indeed on the same path as the other, his ways will change in order to align with his true nature. I asked for him to consider, ‘Two men with dreads are sitting at a table in the woods, one is telling stories of the sorry state of ignorant ‘hippies’, and the other isn’t, ~so there~.’ Arguably I was a little more persuasive in my indignant soapbox spiel, and he did pick up what I was throwing down, ‘Yeah, I suppose there are people out there who would be using me as an example, ‘He’s burning paraffin wax? What a no good f’ing hippy’.
The night burns on, conversation and other delights flow. I take rest.
I am a hodge podge of everyone I’ve ever met (getting cooler by the second, thanks to You) and I am grateful for every one who lives so authentically that they don’t have to say a peep in order to light the Way, their authenticity illuminated as its own unique flame. The people in my life blow my mind with their gifts – insight, creativity, intelligence, open-heartedness, and still they suffer from their own ignorance, which is why we have and need each other. I need you to light that proverbial match and show me that I’m a critical, moody, insensitive little shite, in the most painful ways some times, so that I can continue to find that which lies in the bowels of the darkened interior of my mind. My darkness is your darkness is my darkness, no-one is exempt from the collective unconsciousness.
Today is a rest day, and the rains began late last night and continue to fall, so I do laundry and write stories. My shoulder is not as achy as yesterday, and my spirits are up up and away as I am reminded once again why I’m on this road along the coast. This feeling will go away, so I soak it up and savour it, using it as cushioning for the next time I fall. I’m going to spend the rest of the day reading and eat :3
I LOVE YOU!