The sunlight is coming in shafts through the trees, the peacocks down in the valley are wailing plaintively, and as I stand beside Bosco considering my life's next chapter of plunging into the great unknown I am faced with an old familiar question: Should I take The Antelope?
Well of course I should. Why the heck do I drive a small SUV if not to throw my bike into the back of it whenever I please? But the process of putting The Antelope in single-handed is daunting, especially since the first time when Bosco was still shiny and new and I managed to get a nice big grease smudge all over the upholstery. But I like to bike. And....I like my Antelope.
(Mind, "The Antelope" isn't its model but its name, like Fred, or Joe Jackson, or Fluffy. It is a good name.)
So it's fiddle off the front wheel, grope around for a nonexistent "good grip" as the handlebars swivel around to smack my knees as the whole bike slips back on the remaining tire. A regrip, and now I've forgotten to avoid pressing the greasy chain against my clothing (but I'm wearing dark colors - whew!), and now the sharp bits of metal where my front tire used to be are threatening to gouge plastic and break windows, and now I finally have it hoisted up halfway into the car (I see for the first time "Made in China" written on the side. My bike was made in China??? Did China even make anything back then? Aaah, my bike is Chinese!!), and now the petals are punching down into whatever it is underneath the sheet I've spread across the rest of the packed stuff, but has it done damage? I like to keep it a mystery. And now I am spending two coils of rope lashing The Antelope to every tie-point my car has to offer, because I picture it flailing around in there and doing mighty, terrible things if I don't.
That's how Bosco and The Antelope get along. One of these days I should probably invest in a bike rack.
The entire time I was wrestling to get the bike inside, between mild expletives, I found myself asking questions. So many questions. Why do people travel? What's in it? Why don't more people do it? Is it a way of life or a break from life? Can it be a constant? And why do I travel? What do I hope to find, and what have I found already? If I forget everything from my past travels, have I really ever travelled at all?
The answers could come in cliched bits like, "Americans have always been on the move!" (Like some 1950's "Ride the Train" poster), or maybe something about the struggle of man vs. nature, I don't know. I didn't want to go down that route. There's something far more satisfying in the asking of the question, and I seem to be doing a lot of that lately. The questions come easier than the answers. Maybe I should be a philosopher, heh? Or a police interrogator.
But I have at least one question answered for today. The Antelope is strapped down and ain't going anywhere but Colorado. So that's a "yes."