Another morning found my cocoon. Residual clouds were trapped on the ridges and in the canyons. The air was buttery.
Still not hungry, I made a couple small coffees and drove down to Service Creek.
The scene was different this morning. The cafe was packed and there were some trucks with trailers. Cyclist after cyclist came flying down the hill, stopping to check in with some folks who were directing the traffic. I asked one of the helpers what was happening.
BRNW (Bicycle Rides Northwest) was coming through. I asked where the cyclists started, and they told me Fossil. I asked where they were going. I was told Spray.
I said “huh”.
Thirty miles didn’t seem like a very ambitious day. They explained that today was the mid-ride break. The riders would only be expected to do the 30, but had a couple of options for adding 20 to 30 more if they wanted. Tomorrow would be an elective day of rides from Spray too. They were camping at the School. Later in the week I checked the website and their schedule was even more grueling than mine. 58 miles a day. 4,200 vertical feet per day too. By contrast, my goal was 50 miles a day for six days and I averaged a little more than 3,000 vertical feet per day.
Their group was 300 riders. To some extent this makes the challenge a bit easier (while you are riding). There is safety and motivation in numbers. Maybe this year I will start riding with other people on multi-day rides, but For Sprayquest I needed to be alone. I was on an inward journey and the chances of finding depth in my consciousness in a one week conversation with anyone else seemed slim.
Conversations are mostly reaction and projection. Surficial at best.
With my kit assembled I was ready to climb. My head was anyway.
It didn’t take long for my legs to warm up too. I was excited to go to Fossil. It had been many years since I had been through, and I had never stopped for anything but gas in the past. It is a pretty little village, perched high in the Blues, about 25 miles east of my camp. It has all services necessary for life including a radio station. I was curious to find out what it all felt like.
About halfway up the canyon there is a delightful little park on the east side of road 19. It is called Julia A. Henderson State park, adjacent the Shelton State Wayside. It would be a fun remote location for an event–like a wedding or family reunion. There are protected picnic tables, a cool outhouse and a spring running strong at the end of June. I don’t know if it has water in late summer. In most years it probably does. The aesthetic of the park would fall under the architectural term “Picturesque” for it’s naturally manicured look. It blends with the primal forest nicely. I made some notes, filled my water bottles with spring water and kept climbing to the pass.
From the pass it is several mellow miles further to Fossil. The warming summer air was a bit turbulent. Perhaps the afternoon would be hot today. It had not been hot for all of June. Quite frankly it had been abnormally cold. Soon I passed by Kinzua Road, where I should have come out the day before if my morning ride had gone as planned. A few miles later I hit the edge of town, greeted by a billboard advertising the local low-power radio station KFSL. In 2011 they announced that they would be online for listening soon. In 2020 the station is still not available via the interweb. If I had the money I would enable this for them. I am curious about what they broadcast. The world should be able to hear what the people of Fossil have to say. Perhaps there is a lot to learn from life in the Oregon Outback.
I stopped first at a cafe, putting my order in at the Korner Cafe. A Philly sandwich and blue cheese salad. Then I ran across the street to the General Store. This turned out to be overwhelming. It is a tremendous asset for this community. everything you need. I bought postcards and a t-shirt for my daughter. A woman in the store overheard me asking for post cards. She owned the salon next door and said she had postcards for sale too. I took the bait and bought a few at $2 a piece, only realizing after I paid her that she didn’t leave any space on the back for the mailing address.
Not a postcard.
It was a postcard shaped advertisement. It is OK. I got the beta on a wreck I had seen coming up the hill earlier in the morning. Beauty salons are good for information.
Evidently a teenager with epilepsy had not noticed the warnings from his service dog and had flipped his car off the road during a seizure. The kid somehow walked away with just a broken arm. The dog was still missing a week later.
Back at the cafe I snarfed down my sandwich and wrote the postcards quickly, now excited for a spur ride out to Kinzua. Evidently there is a 6 hole golf course in a ghost town. There were other interesting interactions between Andy and the locals, but that is mostly judgement on my part.
I enjoyed myself, and my judgements were mostly positive. I like Fossil.
Kinzua is an abandoned logging town. At one point it was a village of 125 homes with all the fixin’s. School, church, food, etc. In 1978 Kinzua was razed and planted with timber trees. Maybe it forms again in another 100 years. Other infrastructure associated with the operations of the company town are all abandoned too. Several rail lines that connected this Blue Mountain paradise to the Columbia River commerce are also abandoned.
The road to Kinzua is paved, but the last mile to the golf course is not, and I didn’t want to ride the rough gravel on my road bike, so that will have to stay on a list for the future. Sometimes I just want to see something because it is oddly placed. The diversion, was worth it in spite of not seeing the golf course. The 14 mile round trip added needed miles to my day and more than 1,000′ vertical to that count while crossing a climate boundary from high desert to dense forest and back again. Visually, it was splendid.
The afternoon was truly over me by the time I rejoined road 19 back to Service Creek. Soon I wouldn’t have to pedal for ten miles.
That moment came and went. All good downhill runs that don’t end in catastrophe should become one moment when done correctly. On that day I was racing the storm again, so I opened it up completely and made it to my van just as the first drops were threatening to make the road slick.
It was raining a bit but not consistently so I stopped at one of the side-canyons I had passed by on my bicycle the day before. Grassy Dell Creek became my subject for a half an hour. It was hot and humid now on the river bottom. The storm was coming. Parking was a challenge, but quickly I got off the highway and up in the canyon a bit. The land climbs fast here. In the first 1/4 mile hiking up I probably gained three hundred feet. Three hundred very interesting feet. It was a good photography stop, but I turned around when, somehow in this pristine wild land there was a colostomy bag in the creek. How did it got to that spot?
America is sick on so many levels.
Driving into Spray the tent camp at the school was getting drenched. It was raining as hard as the day before. I hope everyone had a good tent. That was serious rain.
Up at my camp my drum tent had not blown off the mountain. I have never drummed in a thunderstorm and probably never will again. It was a unique opportunity that would be difficult to recreate. It would be the last time I use my drum kit–maybe ever.
I had been drumming for a few years. The kit was set up in my basement. I never got to be very good, but I did develop the stamina to play for an hour without fatigue. It was respite in my day three times a week. My only discipline aside from exercise. I was displaced from the basement when it became clear that my teenage daughter would need more space than the little bedroom adjacent ours. I spent the spring gutting and rebuilding the space into a nice bedroom for her. It was a labor of love that resulted in me losing a space I had needed, but perhaps no longer do.
That evening I tried to find an appetite. I was still not hungry. The rain just kept coming and I thought of the other riders–probably socializing in the gymnasium or cafeteria of the school. I was cozy in my Sienna nest, isolated from the stress of human interaction. Would I try to relate to these people if I was a part of a ride like that?
Probably not. I have never enjoyed being part of groups. I find that the weakest egos or greediest people in a group always seem to suck the energy out of the creative people in the group. I have boundless energy interacting with other creatives. My energy quickly gets spun negative when I interact with the people I will simplistically call “marketers”. That is a weakness in me–something I am working on.
Business people without actual talent, lawyers without a moral compass, and racists.
To me they are all the same person. They move through life with a sense of entitlement and projected fear. They are all parasites on the hard work of other people. All of them lack ethics and empathy.
What can you do for me? How can I skim profit off of a creative producer with the least amount of effort from myself, and in a way that leaves a creative, sensitive person feeling they owe for the fruits of their creation? How can I demoralize a creator into feeling like they do not deserve the credit or money for their work?
Leaches, ticks, scabies and lice.
All have a higher ethical standard than your average political attorney or “marketing professional”.
Some business people, especially, seem to have no problem with theft. Their souls are absent, usurped by their ego–craving material wealth and adulation.
You may ask…How do you lump racists with the other scum you mentioned?
Here is how. Racists are inherently insecure. Correct? All xenophobia is based in cowardice and fear. Racists are only secure when they are oppressing or stealing freedoms from other people.
It makes them feel powerful. No different from a business person or lawyer who views every interaction as a transaction for their own enrichment. If the person they interact with isn’t put at disadvantage, they view themselves having failed. Their only goal in life is to “win” each transaction. Absolutely perverse.
Racists see the oppression of their “opponents” as a victory that builds their sense of self-value.
Of course their perception of “winning” comes entirely from ego. They do not know self. If they did then we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in right now with the whole end of the world thing that is really happening despite deceptive republican talking points.
It is clear that I hold resentment for greed and greedy people. It doesn’t mean that I cannot interact with it or them, but I am no longer complicit, and I have found the courage to call anyone out in their ignorance of self. I hope they find it. I cannot help them. I only found mine in a moment of the complete submission of my life.
I hope people can get there without such an extreme route. What happened to me took only a moment, but I have spent the last two years trying to understand what I learned in that moment, and will spend the rest of my life practicing the good message of ancient teachings. I am not a Christian, but most Christians aren’t either. It is just a title, nothing more. A true Christian would live without ego, actually espousing the teachings of Christ–not just cheer leading for salvation. The same hold true for all the major religions except Buddhism, which isn’t actually a religion. More of an eternal goal.
The rain kept up all night, only clearing out at 4am. I woke to the sunrise and the radio telling me that Michael Franti and Spearhead were playing in Bend that evening.