Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 27 - Santa Monica, CA

It's Sunday morning now as I write about yesterday, day 27 of my cross country trip.  Day 26 was way back on July 9th. That's quite a break between road trip days.  One interesting advantage to the long break is that riding west is a lot easier now as the November setting sun is not straight in front of my eyes, but further left.  I can appreciate the color changes without squinting to see the road in the last hour of day light.  Of course, the sun is going down a lot sooner now then it did in the summer.

I love riding the winding roads one finds in the mountains and I look forward to enjoy them again. But the day's ride reminded me of the value in riding a long straight road in the desert.  Have you ever listened to trance or techno music? It's that repetitive dance music with the constant beat and the songs tend to last twice as long as anything else on the radio.  Well, if you have a chance and willingness to appreciate a song like that, you'll notice something.  The repetitive beat, a beat that would keep time in another song, is so repetitive and continuous that it no longer keeps time.  Instead, those occasional variations in the sound that come in once in a while serve as the time keepers while the repetitive beat alows you to fall into yourself and look around, see what you see.  There are interesting things in there.  That is driving in the desert.  The miles go by and time is not kept by the majority of what is out there, only by the occasional variation.  And in between, there is a lot of one's self to explore.  I fell into myself for a long while riding in the desert between the day's start in Phoenix, Arizona and the day's end in Santa Monica, California where I am writing this now.  I remembered how good it is to ride, I felt myself normal again on the road, I felt my body relax and my mind settle in to an alertness that is simultaneously contemplative. And occasioanly in the desert, a helicopter or a new rocky hill on the horizon would remind me that time was still passing and that I had travelled miles in my mind and on the road.

That meditation mind set changed when LA showed up.  The alertness necessarily become more important than the contemplative mind as the traffic increased.  Nathan and I came into civilization with the sun already set and worked our way to Santa Monica where we got a hotel near all the excitement.  We went on a walk through The Promenade and talked while we took it all in.  The Promenade is a beautiful street with trees lit up, shops, restaurants with sidewalk seating, street performers litteraly in the street because it's closed to cars, and so many people out walking and enjoying it all.  We also met up with Nathan's friends, Sam and Caroline, at a restaurant-bar on top of a hotel. I had a good time talking with them until very late.

I would say it was a very good and full day. It started with family and ended with friends.  In the middle, I challenged my fears and remembered what it is to flow and enjoy the world passing by in my mind and on a motorcycle.

I'm looking forward to day 28 today.  I'm looking forward to the traveling and to seeing my wife with her giant pregnant belly.  The traveling part won't get started until Nathan wakes up.  He stayed up talking a lot longer then I did last night. 

In the mean time, I'll enjoy this very comfortable bed in a room that looks out to the ocean.

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