Category: Observation

Parks and Rides

Zion National Park

I remember half my life ago moving out West into gritscapes, furnace sunrises, impossible canyons and skies, cottonwoods. Where true myths like national parks or limitless wilderness were invented as a complement to wishful libertarian graspings, the ranches, railroad towns, mining claims, mountain enclaves. And now the glinty waterwasteful clean modern America superimposed in a dappled here and there.

I don’t live there anymore but the vital road tripping bikepacking high speed skinny tire touring hiking boots visits find their way into every future.

(Apologies for the awful pun of the title.)

Zion National Park

Mojave National Preserve

Joshua Tree National Park

Above St. George, UT (on the doucherocket)

Southern Utah

The question hardly has sense, “what’s the most beautiful place you’ve been?” but that doesn’t stop the asking or the answering. As if affect and mood weren’t substantial factors, if one’s history there, the afterimages […]

Cairo journal entry

I arrived in Cairo, a lone cyclist pedaling into a metropolis, on the evening of 28 January, 2011 at the end of a tour of the western oasis circuit from Luxor. From the warnings of local contacts I knew that I should keep vigilant. The city — indeed much of Egypt — was rising to a new pitch in the protest against the government. Today, Friday, a day off work and a day of consultation after prayer, was expected to be a turning point, and it was. By now the world knows of the events on that day from television images of burning and overturned police tactical vehicles, teargas braving mobs, rocks against rubber bullets and water canons, allegations of live fire in some cases, and tanks rolling across urban bridges and through downtown streets.

Rough touring myths

Think about the durable myths of adventure bike touring, namely those things that everyone assures you are absolutely true, the rules that, if you don’t follow them, you’re probably going to die hungry and miserable in some remote place.  These myths turn out to be, at best, a mixture of harmless firm opinion without basis and well-meaning reasonable suggestion that you can take or leave. There is also a lot of what I think amounts to just foolish habit.

Why go?

Mostly I enjoy cultivating the suffering of traveling in speed and gritty, sweatfilth because soon enough it’s not, and then that mythical enclosed self is blown outward toward unconceptualized being in a place. I recognize […]