I woke up the morning of August 2nd prepared for a 43 mile bike ride. (the blackberry bramble). I had chosen the shortest distance as I had only been back in the saddle for a few months to train.
When i got down to EWEB plaza to check in i was met with my first disappointment... no caffiene for the riders. So after i checked in i rode over to allann bros, ordered 2 cups of tea and put em in my water bottle to suck on till i got to the first stop (20 miles down the road).
The first 20 miles was a pleasant drift out loraine hwy and spencer creek road. My Ipod sang my favorite tunes and everything was right with the world. The temperature was a lovely cool 60 something degrees and still too early for any kind of wind. As I rode past the fields of Queen Ann's Lace and wild grasses i could feel their faint 'bouquets' crawl up into my nostrils. It was just me and the road.... 8am on a sunday morning. Before I knew it I was pulling into the first pit stop at Applegate elementary school in Crow. After slamming about 2 quarts of water I found bananas, mixed nuts, granola, and peanut butter all just waiting for me to pick em up and put them in my mouth.
I felt really good after all the carbs and fresh air so instead of heading back to town (the 43 mi ride) I took off out towards Noti on a road I had never been on before (the 65 mile ride). There were broken down houses, mobile homes and mansions all interspersed with each other. At one point i passed an old wooden structure (i think it was a school bus stop) and it read "Cougars Only".
Then I meandered into Noti. It consisted of 3 buildings all on the same corner that looked like a big wind would bring them all down. On the sign outside the tavern read the words: "Wanted Beer Drinkers, Details Inside".
After crossing hwy 126 I got to poodle creek road which had more houses with 'for sale' signs on them than houses that didn't, a blatant reminder of just how bad the economy was. I indulged myself in a brief fantasy of living out on this lovely little country road with it's own private creek running right next to it, but too suddenly, i had to make a turn on highway 36. Big jacked up four wheeling trucks were barreling by as if the sight of a cyclist pissed them off. By this point I was about 50 miles into the ride. My feet were starting to swell, the knees were feeling a bit weak, and my thoughts turned to "What have I done?"
Just then I stumbled upon a pile of rubbish (see picture above). There was an empty bottle of vodka, some plastic jugs filled with motor oil, two old window shades and a dead rat. Sitting amidst all the rubbish was a steel sign that someone had painstakingly cut the words 'American Dream" into.
Immediately I knew this was the reason I had decided on the longer route, even though i was going to pay for it with pain later on.
I jumped off my bike, moved the vodka bottle to the center of the 'composition' and took three or four shots of it with my portable camera. In my mind, I had myself a perfect little Tom Waits American dream moment.
When I got home that afternoon I was too tired to jump in the car and go get that sign, though i really really wanted to. So I promised myself i would do it first thing on the next morning.
I guess someone else had the same notion, (or possibly a neighbor had put the sign out just for the day?), but by the time i got out there (around 9am) the sign was gone.
Driving home I figured it really wasn't about having the sign anyways, it was about the photo op. American Dream, indeed!
I love making art. from mixed media jewelry to small sculptures it is my soul-food. biking and walking are other loves of mine. they clear my brain and body out after hours in the 'imaginary realm'. your comments are most welcome since art (in my humble opinion) is basically a visual conversation.