Covered shop at my disposal, a pre-departure oil change gets added to the morning docket.
Riding Rufio inside, I take note of the line of neatly organized supplies, the clean cement floor. Morning light streaming through the high windows, I pull on a pair of gloves, think how I want to be particularly tidy in this space. Go about completing the messiest oil change to date. Go figure.
Shop cleaned up, I head into the house. Grab gear and pile it up in the grass. Roll Rufio into the sunshine and hose him off. Looking the bike over, I dig around in the sidecar. Grab the can of chain lube. Anytime I don’t feel like oiling the chain, I imagine Dean on one shoulder and Jack on the other. No matter who I listen to, the say the same thing, lube that chain!
Sitting on the back step, I shove the napsack into its bag. Squish it as small as possible. Grab the blanket and force it into the remaining space.
At the sight of a strange dog staring at me across the yard, I have a flashback to the last time I faced down an unknown canine. My sister’s goats were being attacked by two rogue dogs and I launched into autopilot action. Ran down the stares hollering, Not on my watch! Leapt off the porch and sprinted for the pasture. Grabbed a shovel from the side of the house and jumped into the pen, determined to save Kelsey’s tiny goats at all costs. Those dogs were no match for my crazy family-protecting instincts. I’ve got a lot of zen, but mess with my sisters and I’ll come at you like a spider monkey.
Goat memory in mind, I tell Baylor and Big Mama to get in the house. Stand on the step locked in a canine staring match. Walk slowly across the yard to take stock of the situation. Noticing the strange collar on the dog’s neck, I gather this must be one of the bear hunting dogs Paz talked about. Getting closer, the dog wags his tail ever so slightly, doesn’t seem likely to go into attack mode. I try to shoo him away with my hands, git, git on out of here. But he just cowers. Edges for the shop. Lies on the cool cement floor, looking at me pleadingly. Oh dude. I hope your life isn’t as sad as it appears. You can stay there until I have to leave, but then you need to go. Bear dog sighs, rests his head on his paws.
Picturesque day in full effect, we weave through colorful forests under bluebird skies. Heading east, the land flattens, road straightens.
Rolling through the tiny town, I turn off the main street. Follow a trail of internet reviews to my coffee shop office of the day. Stretching, we walk around the patio. Pick a place where Baylor can alternate between sun and shade, drink water, get scratches, snooze to his heart’s content.
In the work zone, I don’t notice the time until the owner is locking up for the day, moving furniture around the patio to complete the closing ritual. You can stay as long as you like, just close that umbrella when you go.
Dark setting in, I clock out for the day. Look at the map and note a post office is just a few blocks away. In a two birds, one stone situation, we enjoy a pre-ride walk and send out G Bub’s weekly postcard.
Night firmly in place, I’m happy to see the sign marking our entrance into the national forest. Follow directions and pull into the field. Scanning the area, I can make out at least two camps. Large horse trailers with living quarters. Generators rumbling, lights twinkling.
No horses, on a motorcycle – I don’t think we’re going to blend in here, Bay, I say looking to my right. He stares up at me from his sidecar, looks through his goggles, lifts an eyebrow. I can’t help but laugh. Yeah, you’re right. Not blending in has never stopped us before. No reason it should now.
131 days down. Many to come.