by YONA C. RIEL

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

american dream


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!

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