Saturday, November 8, 2014

Another day

Manzanita with scars, Mount Hamilton Road
The road up Mt. Hamilton is narrow and twisty, full of blind curves. People come up here after a long week working in the valley. They need a change of scenery. It's an adventure just a few miles away, and the views—the views are amazing. In the cars with the day trippers are a few residents, as well as the crew at the observatory. The rest of us are on motorcycle, and bike.

You might think without a mirror, a cyclist has no clue of what's behind them. In reality, it's possible to feel the low vibration of a slow engine. The even-lower-frequency of huge tires on pavement. The absence of normal sounds like birdcalls, blocked out by a large mass, hovering back there, waiting.

As it pulls out to pass, the sight of a dark red Ford F350 van, a third longer than your average full-sized truck, makes me inhale and hold it. Not exactly the vehicle for this road. It's pulling some sort of trailer, adding another 10 feet. The driver is careful to leave space between us, which means being almost entirely in the other lane.

Another cyclist comes round the bend, heading down. There's not enough space. The truck corrects to the right toward me again, to avoid the other bike. Like in a dream, I watch the huge red body making room, getting closer, shrinking the buffer between us. Blocking out the view.

Now it's the trailer next to me, close. A little wider than the truck. On my skin I feel the air moving around it.

It starts rolling away again. There's a kink, an elbow, in the angle of the trailer where it meets the truck. Instead of forcing me off the road, or running me over, the truck and trailer pull away safely and continue up the mountain.

That's called pointing the turn. The driver did that just right.

This sunny, warm morning with a gorgeous blue sky here in the Diablo Range, will not be my last.

1 comment :

  1. I held my breath reading this one - glad you're okay, and the other cyclist was okay. Glad the driver was competent and considerate. Whew.

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