Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Going the Distance - Day 4

Some days of every motorcycle trip call for dogged determination to cover distance to a destination.  Today was one of those days.  It was a great day; sunshine and very warm, no "events" to mar the ride, and lots of variation in the scenery as we travelled over 600 miles (975 kilometres).  The day started with a 730 am departure from the motel in Missoula.  We literally flew east along I-90, as the speed limit is 75 mph, which we only rarely exceeded.  At a place called Crow Agency we left the freeway for Highway 212, a scenic route dotted with historic but tired-looking towns like Busby, Lame Deer, Alzada, Muddy and Broadus. Each place was populated by a disproportionately large number of dilapidated buildings and few, if any, amenities. The reason for existence seemed to be limited to a cemetery, like the one at Little Bighorn, or some other footnote in some history text gathering dust on a library shelf somewhere.

We went virtually the entire breadth of the great state of Montana today, ending around 8 PM in Belle Fourche, South  Dakota, just north of the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore.  In fact, we are at the same motel, and ate at the same restaurant, as George and I patronized last year July 4.  And there are still 4400 folks living in this town but, despite the re-paving of Main Street, it seems to be fighting a losing battle against age.  It has past its prime.

It was not particularly difficult day, just long, with the heat causing more fatigue than normal. We covered lots of countryside, interrupted infrequently by siting grazing antelope or some historic town clinging to hope and relevance in a world that passes by on freshly paved roads without any need to stop or even slow down.  There was lots of time to think.  I thought of my life and how sometimes parts of the journey feel more like perseverance than important.  But I realize that my life has times when it is necessary to get to a new place if I  am to stretch and take in an experience outside my current space and comfort zone.  And there are times when I feel like one of those tired towns along the way, desperately wanting to be noticed and relevant rather than just getting a drive-by glance at a relic reminder of some faded historical fact. 

For me, the day was like my Parkinson's disease; a necessary discipline through a sometimes dry country, letting go of the past with its now outmoded dreams, and aspiring to a new direction with new challenges, new opportunities and new relevance.

1 comment:

  1. Your previous day reminded me of the gumball rally. It's a movie. Have you seen it. If not, you really ought to.