In Nevada, which should have been the hottest and driest stretch of the trip, or so I thought, ignorantly assuming north was the same as south, after brief periods of minor showers we made our way to the western half of the state. Â Cruising along in calm air, a sudden change of wind hit us head-on, bringing a cold ominous foreboding that physically slowed our progress, and mentally assaulted my resolve, so that, in confusion, I stopped at a barren rest stop, void of even a single wall as shelter. Â But there was nothing to do, nothing but go on right into the thick of the menacing storm heralded by the bitter relentless gale. Â My resolve would be tested yet further as the wind pierced deeper, driving cold wet closer to our souls. Â Not heat and aridness would we find, but winding roads littered with fog, snow, and mud–and of course a most beautiful sunset. Â Other bikers turned around. We shrugged as they passed and turned our faces forward, the throttle open, and the handlebars naught.
On the other side of it, tired and shaking uncontrollably and rattling frozen bones, I proposed an early stop–why not right here? It was not too far till sundown. Kim was unreceptive and indomitably undeterred, thankfully dragging me out of my momentary weakness. We’ll say the back seat is shielded, more pleasant, less draining. That’s what we’ll say. Knowingly into the dark trap, then. We let the sun duck under the hills and spring an ambush, catching us on the road with a falling shroud of darkness. Groping blindly along the highway, occasionally accompanied by one of the shrugged-at bikers who’d apparently decided to turn around a second time, we snaked westward. At the hotel, we booked the last room and received free cookies.
A grim glorious day that was, but perhaps not as grim as the escape from San Francisco. The transportation networks were choked with traffic; a plethorous mass of human flesh clogging the roads out of San Francisco, slowing the flow to fully stationary, punctuated by brief rolls forward half the length of a car. Â Even outside the city, the swelling hominid profusity pressed out and filled all spaces, not sparing the â€œin and out burgerâ€ we stopped at. Â Living talking ape meat spread its teeming overabundance into every seat and table so that we were forced out when we eventually received our order, and we ate outside. The masticating mass was repulsively nauseating. As repulsively nauseating as the pink centre of my burger, which I pushed down my throat in a clinically calculating decision to gain nourishment to counter sleepiness without needing to stop at another restaurant. A cheery employee walked by and asked how the food was. Â I gave him a cold, dead, â€œitâ€™s pinkâ€. Â As dead and cold as the centre of my burger. Â â€œWhat?â€ Â â€œThe burger is pink.â€ Â â€œSoâ€¦ thatâ€™s good?â€ Â â€œNo. Â Itâ€™s bad.â€ Â â€œOhâ€¦ sorry.â€ Â And he walked away.
Later we rolled into Mark and Shannon’s driveway with the relief of Atlas at the apocalypse.