"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

it's called "tapering," not sloth...really...

Swim yesterday felt good. Managed about 1100 yards in half an hour. Since the actual swim is only 800 yards, this was reassuring...though I know that trying to avoid getting kicked in the head by people in front of me might take some extra energy.

Did a whole lotta nothin' this morning. Got distracted looking at the maps on the adventurecycling.org website (stay tuned for live link) and didn't even have time to soak in the condo chlorine bath. Celia pointed out that the cycling maps are frequently updated and since I'm not going to be able to take 2 months off work any time in the next couple years, probably impractical to purchase the full transcontinental set at the moment. I held back and purchased only the Fallon NV to Cedar City UT, the Astoria OR to Crescent City CA, and the Eugene to Astoria. The epitome of thrift.

On the other hand, I love reading maps. It helps if the map is of a place I would like to travel through (or of possible new routes through a place I've already been) but map reading is pure escapist entertainment. You can pore over a good topo map for hours and still not really know anything about the place it is supposed to represent. You get there, and the wind is blowing, perhaps it's raining, and there are big rocks everywhere. The real hills are always much steeper than they look on the map. Mosquitos and people filling the park with their RVs, and deer hunters are generally absent from maps as well. The map allows you to take numerous idealized, imaginary versons of the trip. A long weekend and purchase of gasoline are not required.

At some point it becomes unsatisfying only to read the maps though. At some point I will have to ride Hwy 50 across Nevada; I fear it is inevitable. The seemingly innocuous map-reading obsession will lead to the less innocuous reality of waking up one morning halfway down the "Loneliest Road in America." Fortunately since I first talked about wanting to do this, Celia has been considerably worn down to the point that she almost thinks she wants to do it too. Still working on other potential victims--oh, I mean riding companions. Join us...you know you want to.

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