An excerpt from the upcoming Emerging Human
Outside of Lake Tahoe with picturesque scenery, Jennifer and I ride into town hoping for a unique old American frontier. We come around the last bend seeking refuge for the night after a long day’s ride out of California. We throttle down into a traffic jam of busses and rv’s. We crawl to ten miles an hour, then five. I have to keep my legs down and feet gliding over the pavement.
There is an Applebees on every corner, an Olive Garden and a Casino. Inauthentic America, all corporate and overrun with clichéd stores and shopping: Padagonia, Gap, Starbucks. This is America. This is our capitalism. Mom and pop shops are no where to be found. So here is some prepackaged authenticity and a cookie cutter dream. There is nothing unique or special as we suck up bus fumes and sit at light after light after light. Corporate machines behind the brick, stone and wood facades. We were hoping for a scenic town of wooden cowboys and working saloons not to mention a thick juicy steak.
I would twist the throttle of my 650 but there are lights and weekend warriors and fat families eating ice cream cones crossing the street in front of us. We all stare at each other waiting for the light to change. Five miles of it. Ten miles of it. I can’t take it after the freedoms of twisting roads and plateaus leading to the deep sky while sandstone, pine, horse and goat farms ran alongside us. There was space to be found in the hills and tall grass. There was a silence except for the howling sixth gear of the engine. Every man needs space. Every man needs silence. There was crisp air that we craved. We can’t stay here, I thought to myself. I can’t think here. I can’t breathe here. Even though we are tired and asses hurt we must keep riding.
Twenty minutes later we take a right turn on the state road on the outskirts of town after forty minutes of corporate bullshit. We scurry up the mountain side in a cool burst of engine combustion. A half hour later in quiet Carson City we shut the bike engine off at a Best Western where two other cars sit in the parking lot. The dry grass hillsides wave in the afternoon sun. We check in for sixty bucks. I roll the bike over to our room. Jennifer and I throw our bike bags on the bed and head back out hearing the click of the door lock.
With grumbling in our stomachs we walk next door to Grandma Hainies Kitchen, for some chicken fried steak, their specialty, a root beer and a salad. That night we slept like the dead in the comforting peace of our minds. I dreamt of being on the road still moving along the contours and natural landscape with the kind azure sky welcoming us.