Thursday, June 27, 2013

Meet me at the Cantina

Outside the grubby Beacon station a fellow cyclist is sitting on a bench in the shade. Eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Of course it is Bill!

Nine hours of silence definitely hit the spot. Riding solo has both sharpened the senses and restored my equilibrium. Still there's something to be said for sharing.

On the road to Susanville Bill was having some shifting problems which he traced to a fraying cable. The weak spot turned out to be near the lever. If a cable breaks at that point the orphaned end sometimes gets stuck. So you don't have gears but it also can't be fixed. It was touch and go until he got to the bike shop here in town.

Riding with other people is how you get better skills and instincts. You watch what they do, how they solve problems that come up. Turns out I could have watered up at the Grasshopper CDF Station. Hidden around back a GRR volunteer was still in place with water and Cokes. Not just any volunteer but Tim Houck from the 400K! Next time I won't give up hope so easily, not where water is concerned.

A few miles after passing me that Budget rental truck rolled down the window and gave Bill my position. At the time half an hour back. A gap that felt as wide as the Modoc Plateau, when in fact Bill and I would roll into town within a few minutes of each other.

Now we're both rested, refueled, repaired. Reunited. A good time to relax and take a break. Watch the parade of characters in and out of the gas station. My first encounter here was to get directions to Safeway and 90 minutes ago the locals seemed a little mean, menacing. When you're with another person and less vulnerable the same scene can be fun and edgy. Hey it's the Mos Eisley Cantina! Get the Star Wars movie folks out here....

They are not the only colorful ones. Bill was missing a critical piece of equipment, a sweatband. The bike shop had them. Well they had just one design, black with orange flames all over. For extra style points... Then he says I'm brave to be wearing a black wool jersey in the heat. At least my forehead doesn't look like the hood of a hot rod!

So here we are, all done up in reflective triangles and not-from-here energy in a baking-hot prison town, deciding where to go next.

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