Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tampa to Jax
After a general hold off in fear of suck weather conditions I finally rocked exit from Tampa on the moto. I suppose it was a good start to my thirtieth year.
At the last sip of tea I twisted the throttle on the common road, glancing on occasion to the rear view mirror where the city grew smaller and smaller. Eventually I hit the familiar moto run, a network of roads that the homies and I attack on clear weekends. Strange to be on these roads alone. Like, who am I grazing this apex for? Where is the witness to my skills? Who will pull me from the gravel if I hit that dirt patch? Without my squad, I was confined to the content of my helmet and nowhere else. I noticed more of the scenery. Massive fields in which horses or cows lazily snacked on grass. The branches of wise oak trees weighed down by moss and wind. At the depths of small rolling hills, I felt subtle changes in temperature. I passed a lake for the first time and smelled the scent of a spurned friend. But there was no space to consider that guilt when I hit the interstate in pursuit of a BMW moto.
My head was thrashed by the wind since I could tuck no lower than my tank bag. I hadn't wanted to touch the interstate at all, but I was behind schedule, losing daylight and agreeable weather. I figured that maybe I could link up with a maroon Bimer, decked out with luggage and cruise control. He cleared the on-ramp before I even got a turn signal. Maybe if we rode together we could have a better time of highway traffic styles. I passed him and introduced myself. Then he took the lead. We rode for a while in a lonely formation. Long enough for me to guess his next lane change from his body language. Finally he told me that he would be getting off in a few exits. I wish I could have followed him his whole journey, but my own exit approached quickly. I waved goodbye and entered the land of the Gators.
I didn't stay long. I had no soreness from the journey so far and the last leg of the day was less than sixty miles. So I rocked the exit. I saluted a group of riders headed the other way and thought once again about how at home I felt beside the Bimer. Without a rider beside me I took comfort in the Broadcast.
Every few seconds, my phone checked with a satellite for my location. Then it sent the data to the internet and the info was displayed on an embedded map on this blog. Okay. Whosoever chose could see my location, speed and direction in something close to real time. It reminded me of radio.
A while back I would sit before a console of faders and buttons and broadcast a rather bootleg show to my college town. I spoke into the mic and played music. On occasion the phone would ring, but I rarely answered. I spoke out, like Cioran's insomniac, but no one could speak back. Much like my gps style. Much like this blog, come to think of it. It was a kind of one-way intimacy.
I think maybe more acts of communication are like a radio broadcast or a gps tracker than we would like to think. People speak out on their frequencies or raise a flare with a great yearning to be found. But no one tunes in. Or the lone cat who listens on the same wavelength is simply out of range. For some, it makes no difference to be in a squad of riders or the last vehicle on the road. The Bible had it wrong- a house on a hill can be hid. All we need is a crowd that doesn't care to inspect real estate.
I made it to Jax in darkness. I knocked on the door at my family's home. No one was there. Eh. The driveway was good enough for me to consider the first part of my trip done. My longest ride ever was a mere 214 miles. The Atlas leaned against his kickstand as though I hadn't traveled at all. Kind of like my birthday. Seemingly epic but basically unchanged.