It’s a frosty morning in the desert. I find myself boiling coffee in a parking lot and shitting in vault toilets. It’s disgusting. The toilet, not the coffee. The coffee is obviously wonderful. I accept all small luxuries with open arms.
The various road conditions coming into Yuma create matrices in my mind. Like, you know, calculus and shit. I took CALC 2 three times as part of my 4 year degree that took five. In one matrix of sorts, my preferred road condition involves a smooth surface combined with little to no vehicular traffic. Thems is pretty much the unicorns.
Most miles on interstate 8 have mainly provided the smooth and very well maintained surfaces but with heavy traffic at damn-why-does-everyone-gotta-be-in-a-hurry-to-almost-kill-me kinda speed. So, yeah… fuck that quadrant.
A lot of today we’re on quiet roads that are all kinds of torn to shit. Whether desert-weathered aggregate that is probably older than me or farm equipment pounded ripples and bumps everywhere — it’s like riding an mediocrely maintained mountain bike trail. We deal with almost zero cars, but can’t move any faster than 6 or 7 mph. I stand for much of it. With a fully loaded bike the risk of blowing a spoke is through the roof in this corner. Ask the state of Mississippi.
Being kind and rewinding back to me leaving that stinky outhouse near Imperial San Dunes: Our first half of the morning jaunt into Yuma is a horribly ripply speed bumped section of Interstate 8. It’s kinda like a rail trail that has an annoying root bump every 5 feet, except add the good ol boy 84 mph club in for shits and giggles. This is the worst of all worsts. Neo dodges bullets, I dodge wheel damage and assault via deadly weapon at high velocity.
With all these surface conditions afflicting us, I dig deep into the fictitious bike scriptures and call on the awesome power of the spoke gods. It is a completely made up, yet highly controversial practice that is not without consequence. Part positive intentions, part trail hallucination, it is wholly necessary at this junction.
Praise be the spoke gods, may they keep our rides true and may they find it within them to have mercy on our wheels. Should they find us worthy, may they also provide us smooth surfaces. We roll over rough terrain at 6 mph for hours upon hours, singing the spoke gods praises. Calling our. In a humorously ironic amalgamation of church and state, we hit the US Army Yuma Proving Grounds and these military-owned roads are as soft and gentle as baby uncle Sam’s ass. Or was it baby Moses’s ass? Whatever. The spoke gods have spoken! The spoke gods have spoken.
Head winds roll. We push on. Beyond the Proving Ground the roads are smooth sailing. Grocery store burritos are crushed. Finally as the sun starts to set, we tuck into a public park for a little remote sleeping. I raise the travel condo and suddenly Butterfield park has a penthouse level and a perfect view of the sunset. Zzzzz.