I realize that only a nincompoop brings a camera to 5000 feet at noon in Arizona. Whatever. Catalina highway is a really nice motorcycle ride. In just a few miles, it goes from scorching basin full of saguaros, to towering range ringed in vegetation zones that seem to change every 90 seconds. A sixty degree breeze almost makes you forget the dehydrating sun.
Dust. Trudging the yellow grass. Hearing the click and flee of grasshoppers. Kickstarted, each zooms on the noise of paper fan wings. They land bewildered and furl, always cocked for another flight.
Some tiny desert skunk, hard of sight, tail a white flag, the noxious weasel. Small and shivering under the bush, piggy nostrils flared. Why interrupt, he begs. Arch and dichrome, he threatens. Awkward apology, distant defense, shadow communication. Range of spray? His bombs quiver under sphincter control, barely in check, promising to be more than his spare, hairy carcass of sinew is worth. He'd love to just return to the rustle and snuffle, his nose-down day.
The rumor of breezes, the seed heads draft and crash together, applauding the air. Their tinder nestles tight to clumping dirty rhizomes. Rank fur of the hillside, not bothering with spines. The living is hidden just below. The rest is simply useless and dead enough to be ignored. Until, maybe, that rummaging skunk sniffs the castings of a rooty insect. And tunneling below dirt and grass, retrieves the little treasure. Fuel to amble off, searching the next.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Monday, November 19, 2012
It can get pretty easy to obsess over a mode of transportation. Think of all the bicycle nerds you know. The ones who order screws and pedals on the internet, or get ransomed in the Trek store for the astronomical price of a digital speedometer and a few ounces of lycra. Or recall the high school years when everyone was saving up their drug money to buy body kits for Mitsubishi Eclipses and Honda CRXes. Maybe it's four-figure tire sets for your jacked-up truck. Maybe your Escalade has chrome spinners and a blacked out headlights and neon underneath. Somehow, transportation becomes more than just a truck or a bike or rollerblades or whatever.
Anyway, point is, there will be no snide down-my-nose-looking upon those pastimes. Because Katelyn and I spent about a hundred years finishing this motorcycle that encapsulates a hugely deceptive amount of internet goods and unnumbered hours of toil. It goes pretty fast. Looks very cool (especially when she's on it), sounds great, and is pretty satisfyingly functional. Maybe it's a little more than a motorcycle, but since we were mostly trying to come up with ways to get rid of things that usually come on a motorcycle, it's actually considerably less than the bike it used to be. They called that one the 1980 CB650 Custom at the factory. This one still hasn't earned a name yet. Probably since '2012 Honda Bloodsweatandtears 650' is a bit much to say.
I'll post video proof that it exists when I'm happy with the edit. Which will probably take as long as the bike did. Maybe by then she'll have a name for it.
Friday, November 16, 2012
I spent fall in the West Virginia hills along the New River Gorge, knee deep in autumn leaves. This is a frame from a series of timelapses that are slowly finding their way into a motorcycle video. Fall has always been my favorite season. So many things that leave the forest in autumn die forever, and so much else only sleeps to wake up in spring. Also, it's real pretty. No wonder so much deeply ambiguous death-lore comes around the end of October.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Katelyn and I just drove from the Appalachians to the Sonoran Desert this week, and outside the windows I saw pieces of America I might have dismissed. But after living with my friend Shane Darwent, there's no way I could miss this one.
He's in New York, but has a show in New Orleans right now with some other friends. If you're nearby, definitely go.