Wide graveled ranch road hours, an exaggeration of mostly straight precision for dirt and verge, so when it zags curves and ends at a iron gateway with a name wrought into the arch, we detect the significance even if we don’t know the meaning. The sign says no motorized vehicles so we pedal on and then a collection of buildings, dog barking from in between some utility vehicles. I angle off to a ballcap and Carhartt figure to assess the situation, would be inconvenient to backtrack. Of course the road ends on his property, laughs hearty at the GPS line, we trade stories of where from and who with, it’s light and he draws a connection to his hunts in Alaska, the emotions of being far from home pursuing something a little different, a fracture from ordinary life patterns.
He’s apologetically sure that we can’t get through—not the legality of it, the practicality. Talks us through an alternative with obvious turns and asphalt, but we stand together for a bit more.
One of those intersections that you’d think is impossible, as if the universe doesn’t have enough dimensions for the lines to cross. I tell him we’re from New York City and with an Australian, Daniel’s Long Island accent would have given it away already, and we decide or it’s decided that we’re not going to brace for a wince or tell a joke to relieve the discomfort of being outsiders. We say it matter of factly, and the facts are just bricks, our talk mortar—one could build walls or a paved path.
I ask one last time, now we’ve met for a spell, words themselves were mostly superficial but they’re pinholes through which to achieve, impressionistically, intuitively, what’s underneath and the sense of how our eyes glint at landscape, how we haven’t, I hope, traced our fingers on the map with fear but instead in honesty and checked assumptions. He looks at the bikes again, well maybe, and there would be some pushing and well, I bet you could make it and he gives us directions through abandoned fields beyond his ranch and a climb and keep an eye out for rattlers killed one yesterday but they don’t sneak up on you.
We pedal on into the brush.