The ten hour ride from Vancouver to Portland should have been closer to six.
Picture the worst riding conditions imaginable. Rain, wind, low visibility, freezing cold temperatures and high volumes of traffic. The wind screams adventure as it forces it’s way past my goggles and into my helmet. I follow the vague red lights ahead, as if looking out from behind a frosted window. I can no longer see the road surface, just mirror images of the lights of the sea of rapidly moving traffic that surrounds me. The rain strikes my body like bullets from a kalashnikov, legs now numb, are responding less and less to my brains commands.
I pull over to seek refuge from the storm. An all night diner, inside people’s faces say more than the niceties they speak. I no longer feel alone. The cold is now recognisable as an externalisation, something my physical body is aware of but that I no longer fear. I feel our universal connection, empathy or even compassion, I know they feel my pain.
When I finally got into Portland, 10 hours after leaving Vancouver (4 hours later than planned) my Canadian sim card wouldn’t work. It was 10pm and I was trying to find my friends address so I could get into a warm bed and finally rest. After 30 minutes of driving around in the dark looking for his street I came across a domino’s pizza spot, the same one I had come across 30 minutes before. I had been going around in circles. I went inside and got the delivery driver to draw me directions. Who ever said pizza couldn’t save lives? 11pm I finally made it onto what seemed like the worlds most comfortable sofa and passed out.
The next day, my hosts Tim and Mark take me to Pittock Mansion to see what I couldn’t as I rode into town the night before. As in life, reflection requires clarity of vision. Often we are too caught up in the physical and emotional to see the beautiful wonder of life.