October 01, 2007 GMT
Colorado and the Anasazi.

A nice and early start, tainted only by the onset of a hangover. It didn't really start until after visiting the cliff dwellings, grogginess was the only initial set back. Strong coffee and magnificent views were enough to delay the pounding headache, which persisted for the whole afternoon's riding. I came to the Mesa Verde for the Anasazi cliff dwellings; the cliffs, canyons and views alone were worth while. Climbing up to the top of the Mesa was awesome, the horizon stretched as far as the eye could see, viewed from so high it gave a god like over view of the world. The formation of sandstone was excellent, a slow, steady climb had to be made to absorb all the surrounding beauty, despite the yearning for a thrilling, boot scraping ride over pristine tarmac and round sweet sweeping bends.

It would be wrong to conclude I'm a speed freak, very wrong! Its not speed alone; there is something about leaning the bike over, right over, and accelerating out of a bend. It is thrilling, but not pure adrenalin; its smooth, graceful, Tai Chi as opposed to kick boxing, meditation as opposed to masturbation. It can be very exhilerating at higher speed, but the goal is poetry in motion, beauty within the beast. But the devil in me does take over, at times, when I'm going to overtake everything I come across on the road, drive my bike to its extremes and push my personal limits till its scarey.

I followed the 160 from Durango, across to Cortez and, after my tour of Mesa Verde, continued on that route to Tuba City, where I pitched my tent in a hotel car park, wierdest place yet. Also the first time I've had anything go missing on this trip, god'damn tea leafs! All I done was to leave a top out on a picnic table while I went to the bog, came back, packed my stuff, and only later realised it was gone. Such a shame, it was one of my designer tops, so I'll just have to go out and buy another nice one to make up for it. I assumed I'd already packed it, another lesson to be learnt! In Latin America everything is at constant risk of vanishing, including my bike.

The Mesa top was so good for long range views, even better for the depth and frill of leaning over the cliff tops. Its amazing to think the original inhabitants used only toe and finger holds to climb up and down these cliffs, every day they'd climb out, to hunt and farm the mesa tops. They certainly get my respect, now-a-days there's no access for climbing, what a damn shame! The workmen in the picture lowered down off a mechanical boom. There was only a water pipe left, drooping down off the cliff top to provide a water supply for their work. I did think to switch it off, to see them get hoisted back up, deciding they'd only radio and get someone else to switch it back on I curtailed my immature impulse and carried on enjoying things in a more constructive way.

It is strange the wierd thoughts that come to mind unbidden, people tend to keep them to themselves, for obvious reasons. However, they shouldn't crucify themselves for dark, negative thoughts. They are only thoughts, acknowledging them can open deeper parts of your mind, recognise what's there and strengthen yourself, never to become that dark creature we are all capable of being. I was surprised today at the thought of how easy it would be to steer my bike over the edge of the road and plummet hundreds of feet to the canyon floor. More surprised at having such a thought, actually no; I made an observation, not an intention. It was recognising suicide could be that easy, and dramatic, beautiful, but most of all destructive. How could a person do this to those who treasure them? In my mind at the time, how much damage would such an act do to the historic treasure I was visiting? The thought of free fall past all the cliff dwellings was strangely, appealing; if I were inclined to wasting my life in such a way, which I ain't, so forget the comments on that one folks.

Riding away from Mesa Verde took me into desert, and it stayed that way for days. Lots of people complain about Arizona, "...just continuous desert, boring, uninspiring, monotonous.." screw them! Take some time, have a closer look at the variety of sandstone there is. Colours vary from light, light beige, through yellowy orange, bright red ochre, to dark mud brown. And the different shapes, wow, jagged peaks standing alone on the desert floor, bluff topped slopes spreading for miles along the horizon and weird swirls/worls looking like a kids attempts at mud pies. I couldn't keep my eyes on the road, there was so much to look at, just as well the roads are extremely straight. But bored? Never!

There's been an increasing tendancy not to hang around the last few days, on open and straight roads I've been blasting along at 80-85 mph, wazzing past all and sundry. In some way trying to outrun, or work off, a growing frustration. I've been making myself stop to take photo's, when the impetus is to ride hell for leather and get to the next place, as quick as possible. Being plagued by, "whys and what ifs" over Cai's death have been the driving force here. I know he was doing what he most wanted to do at the time, but what if I never rode bikes? What if I never went adventuring? Why did I not pick up the bikes in a pick-up truck, like planned? Why did we set off straight down a bloody great freeway? A thought directed at Cai marvelled at what a good choice we'd made to buy new KLR650's, then I was consumed with guilt, his death seemed to be attributed to a fault in his bike! Why wasn't I on the red bike? And on, and on..... This may well be an amazing experience doing this trip, but the cost is not worth it, Please can I go home and have my son back?

Posted by Leslie Kay at October 01, 2007 10:46 PM GMT

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