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Old 02-09-2015, 08:08 AM   #1
AllSeasonRider OP
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Joined: Feb 2008
Location: North Greenbush, NY
Oddometer: 139
Butterflies, Sunshine and the Machine

Moving slowly behind the tanker truck as it ruins some fantastic sweepers and envelopes us in thick black smoke only minutes ago is just a distant memory, and the freeway jaunt to get here receives a similar fate. We’ve now found ourselves on a desolate stretch of mountain road in the middle of God knows where, a place where these machines are bred to thrive, and there’s not another soul in sight.

The asphalt twists and turns in such a manner that the man driving the paving machine must have kept a bottle of Dramamine in his shirt pocket. This stretch of roadway would be absolute bliss aboard a more sporting machine, but the general sensation of neglect of the tarmac, save for a few haphazardly placed repair patches, makes my choice for the day a more comfortable one. The amount of sand and gravel strewn about its width prevent any daring corners and reminds me of the blanket of snow that covered everything I see not long ago. Today is about taking my time and enjoying the world going by, there’s not race to be won.

Crackles and pops from the engine going into the turns give way to a low rumble pulling out, as if it were taking long, slow, deep breaths. The faded yellow lines are the only form of official guidance on where to be and where not to be as this ribbon of highway meanders alongside a rocky stream. Steep mountainsides on my right provide elevation for roadside waterfalls, glistening in the noontime sun like chromed wire wheels on an old British sports car, which then pass under the pavement to meet with the stream to my left. The water is flowing fast and shows white in color as it passes over the rocks and boulders, harkening to the rain and storms that have tormented the area in weeks past.

But not today. Though the air is thick with humidity, all is dry and the temperature still comfortably cool as the sun begins to break up the grey sky and peer through the trees for the first time today. This slower pace allows time to notice things one might otherwise not. I liken riding past the droves of butterflies alongside the road to swimming through a school of tropical fish as they dart in all directions, their pale yellow color keeping them easily in sight. The rare, short stretches of straight road give me a brief moment to look up at the sky, take in a deep and satisfying breath and appreciate the surroundings I find myself in. Rides like this are my favorite, providing a means to discover nature through the machine and, strangely, to discover the machine through nature. Everything feels in harmony, at peace, pure.

As we turn left onto a bridge across the stream the trees begin to open up and the land level out. The fast approaching stop sign with highway markers nearby are all that are needed to take note that we’ve moved on from the woods, from the road that feels forgotten save for those few who love it, and into a slightly more hurried state of travel. The serenity of that mountain road won’t be matched for the rest of the day, and while I failed to take a single photograph, I find myself with all the pictures I need.
Ride Report: Tubing Across America (2010)
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