Friday, June 22, 2007

On the Way To Eden Valley

There is a road which leads out of a small town just west of where I live. The name of the town is Avon and the road is a numbered highway. Highway 9. It leads to nowhere and everywhere. As far as I can tell it won't lead you to any place that would be considered a destination but wherever you're headed, this road is its own reward. These horses were eyeing me with suspicion. I don't think they'd ever seen Vespa before.

This photo is actually from the first set I took today. Its a poor composition (and lighting) but it gives an idea of the beauty of the areas I'm priveledged to ride. You can see that here in the central part of Minnesota we have vast tracts of open farmland. In the distance you see the forests.

There are sections of this trip (which I should have captured for you) where you ride through forests hanging over the road. Gnarled giants hold their arthritic limbs high overhead while you ride underneath, feeling like you want to scrunch down in your seat because there's an ominous feeling about them. They remind you of the kind of foreboding you felt reading good fairy tales as a child. And its hard to shake a Brothers Grimm fairytales feeling. Their whispers of apprehension in the middle of the story. On long stretches beneath a tattered tent of dark leaves and thick branches you can't help envisioning the memories casading over your "adult" thoughts. The slight tickle of fear that ran up and down your spine the first time reading them.

The road is dark and dropping away in steep decline. Sun behind angry clouds. There, on the right. If that crazy girl from the Grimm tales was ever to step out from the shadows it would be from behind those monstrous trees. But the canopy breaks up and you emerge near the bottom of the slope to open fields. More twists and turns and the memories of the fears of children is long gone.

The road rose and fell. It banked a lot harder than most of the roads I've been on around this area. Must be the lakes. The map show this region to be more blue than any other color. A sign the road would bend to nature's dictum. Glorious.

Suddenly, without any fanfare I'd found a back door to Eden Valley. It didn't look like much, but sometimes that's the beauty of these sleepy little places. Or it could be I simply arrived on the wrong side of town. I won't know until I ride back there again. Maybe tomorrow.

I saw a man on a scooter go by. But this thing was not like any I'd seen so I tracked him a little and we stopped. It turns out he bought a few Chinese models to sell and this was his last. It was interesting looking to say the least. But we spent time talking about history and the military. People of his generation have a wonderful way of weaving stories within stories. While the scenic beauty of the road to get here was incredible, it doesn't hold a candle to the people I meet on these rides.

I don't know what an Adley is, but its definitely one of the most unique looking scooters I've seen. I know what you're thinking. There are moments when you can bring up safety gear to a rider you just met, but this wasn't one of those times. And I'm pretty sure someone has given him that advice before. With greater freedom comes more choices. And more responsibility. It also demands a level of tolerance and respect in order to be true liberty. People know the gear is out there if they want it. Let them choose what they will and be who they are.

The ride back was just like the ride down, only in reverse. Maybe little faster paced ....



Bryce said...

That part about the trees was really nicely written.

You're right about the gear thing. I'm in a weird position about talking to people about it. As someone semi-professional about scooters, I know that I really need to be a safety advocate. However, I also recognize that I'm not anyone's babysitter. So I generally wear gear and try to lead by example, I guess. Both of my parents wear modular full face helmets now, so I guess I do have some influence.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post.

-Fran in Seattle

irondad said...

Most good finds happen from fortuity. If the journey is the destination one's mind opens to wonders others overlook. Your post describes exactly what the freedom of two wheels is about. The freedom to discover.

Nice post. The mental pictures your words conjure are interesting in a neat way.

American Scooterist Blog said...

Its nice isn't it. To know they saw what you're doing and took a cue from you. I'll bet more often than not it isn't what we say but what we do that influences those around us. Thanks about the tree part of the post.

Anon, thank you.

Thanks Irondad. I'm better at writing than picture-ing hehe. One of my main goals has always been to convey the thought in such a way that the reader can easily transpose it into something the reader is very familiar with. The connection of one mind to another bridges a gap where an image only shows the reader where the picture taker has been. No matter how good that shot is, the connection seems to jump a gap. The picture may be the best ever taken, or instill an emotion very deep. Yet it still leaves a distance between there and here, so to speak. I want to bring us together. To finish the connection in a place reserved for thought where the mind conjures up its own images. While I might on my best day show you where I've been, I can't really take you there. But if I relate things in ways which remind you of your own world or past, we connect on a completely different level. Maybe the best can reach that high water mark, I don't have that ability. In other words, I can see someone else's world, but its hard to esperience it. Based on what I've just written, maybe I'm not that good a wordsmith either.