Monday, April 29, 2013

Desert Wilderness

Women-Motorcycle20 miles out of Yuma on Interstate 8 and my wet vest was already nearly dry. Since it was drenched when I layered it over my leather vest and a long sleeved t-shirt, I had mistakenly anticipated it would stay wet a couple of hours. The back of my leather vest and the seat of my jeans seemed to be the only cool places on my body, and looking out at the stretch of painful desert ahead, I was grateful for them.

The desert Interstate was straight and long. Saguaro Cactus began to pop up now and then on horizon, if only to remind me how far from home I had traveled. The desert plants were different here in the Sonora Desert than the plants I had grown accustomed to in the Mojave Desert. Living in Barstow for a number of years as a child, the desert still has a place in my memories.

The desert of my childhood was lonesome, barren and dry. I lived in isolation, without comfort, in the wilderness of my family. Imprisoned, I would stand at the edge of our little town seeing the Interstate 15 in the distance, wishing I could run to it, because that was the way back to my father. But I knew I was no match for the rattlers, the dry sand and the sun. I had learned early what a dangerous place the desert was, so survival came first. Listening to the cries of the lonely coyotes at night, I focused on surviving my childhood, knowing that greener lands lay out beyond my vision.

But riding today I didn't feel the fear and sorrow I had as a girl. The desert perfume filled my helmet and reminded me of childhood smiles; rain dancing with my brothers, camp-outs with my family roasting hot dogs on a stick over an open fire, walking hand-in-hand with my Mother picking wildflowers. Memories of the laughter and happiness flooded my mind with the scent of sand and sage.

Today the desert was not my captor, but my host. With Katie Scarlet between my legs I felt secure knowing that my time here was not permanent. Highway riding Blackbird followed us, ensuring we were safe and not alone. As long as we pressed on, the sand and the rattlers could only watch us go by. Mile after mile I felt the sun sap away moisture, first from my vest, then my clothing, then from me.

Girl-RiderOur goal had been to reach Gila Bend, 120 mile stretch which normally would be a breeze for me, but today was not that day. The oasis of the Rest Stop 32 miles shy of town was a welcome sight. I motioned to Highway towards the sign that read "Rest Stop 10 miles" and pulled my throttle hard. Screaming at 90 mph it still seemed an eternity to reach the oasis.

It has a way of doing that, the desert; making time pass so slowly it seems to never move at all. The vastness, the consistency of the horizon, the subtlety of the changes, they fool the mind, fool the eye. Katie pressed on hopeful and anxious, like my heart, knowing greener lands lie ahead.

She was right. All of us, Highway and Blackbird, Katie Scarlet and me, we've all come so far.

6 comments:

  1. That stretch of road is a good place to practice being an optimist. It's a place where the glass is definitely full of something.

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    1. Thanks Lucky! I couldn't agree more. :)

      Sash

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  2. Rattlers are no match for motorcycle boots, yo.

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    1. Absolutely Right Chris!!! Bahahahaha!!! I hadn't thought about it! ;) Yeah, I love my damn Carolinas more and more every day. I even wear them with skirts and dresses, and yes, I'm sexy as a Motherfucker in them! LOL!

      Sweet Rides Chris,

      Sash

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  3. Sash:

    I was thinking of buying an evaporative vest for my trip but they are cheaper down there so I will wait until I cross the Border. I think you are wearing it wrong. It should be "UNDER" your leather vest, otherwise your vest is stopping the cooling action, plus it would dry out too fast being in direct air flow.

    Long, straight, boring, barren roads gives you lots of time for reflection & thoughts

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

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    1. Oh, I know you're absolutely right Bob. It was an experiment this one day that turned out to be an epic fail! I have two leather vests on the trip; one that fits snugly and one that fits loose. The next ride I wore the loose vest over the wet vest and it worked much better. In the past I had my textile vented jacket I wore it under and it worked much better. I just had to give it a try. . . It didn't work. LOL!

      It was a wonderful ride in many, many ways.

      Hugs to you,

      Sash

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About Sash


People call me "Sash" because I'm a former beauty queen in my old home town. My father used to ride in an MC which got me interested in the culture. After my last divorce I said "goodbye" to Susie Homemaker and became the rude biker chick I always felt inside. (Read more...)