It may be my greatest desire some days to dissolve into the ether and not return. A long ride away from everything which grinds me against the lush consumer circus. If one could break away from everything that makes them comfortable and tell no one, where would they go? Whenever I ponder telling no one, and drifting away, I also contemplate the bliss of a specter, concealed in a wall or tree, watching how people may react to it's absence. Will you be fondly remembered? will your favorite things matter when they disappear. Getting away is the destination alone, and wherever that is, it never seems to matter as long as I am not right here, right now. A bit of anonymity, and a bit of adventure brings calm, anticipation, and excitement where we plan to slough off the toil of the day to day, and pretend we are out of work. ...And so it began. But, Fuck Hollywood screenplay garbage, we have serious business here... I set about to put the pieces in place for the next bikepacking trip. Calculating the gear, the grams, and the weather, which inevitably leads to new gear, new kit, and provisions which were formerly unnecessary.
I meticulously removed tires, and cleaned the inner skin, re-seating them with new Finishline tubeless goo. I wiped the bike down and cleaned the chain up a bit, broke the mechanism down & dressed it in foam, then zipped in into the virgin carton like a newborn papoose. I spun off the disc rotors, and packed them in padding and packs, and chose each ounce of my bare necessities until I had arrived at the most meticulously packed bike and gear to date. The frame was an U.P.P.E.R, by Open, and the packs waterproof, stuffed with the Zpacks Two Man Dyneema tent, Quilt by Enlightened, and all the shelf stable sealed bacon by Pedersons, that I could fit.
Watching the Tracking like a trans-ocean sailing race, the bikes deviate at day two and begin to divide at a fork mid-country, whereby one heads through Texas and the other through Oklahoma. I've forgotten which was which.
Four days into the race to California, the bikes stop, along with my heart. One begins to progress again, and the other just sits there. No scan, no movement, no update, no explanation, just waypoints, without reason. Sounds a bit like my life plan.
Have you seen that movie where the guy goes off into the wilderness ill-prepared and never returns? Yes, me too. He may have been wearing three FedEx Package labels and a cardboard box -- But you know that they don't have bar code scanners in the Canadian wilderness. Yesterday my brother told me that, "UPS Breaks shit, and FedEx Loses it". So if you need something/someone disappeared, then place it in a brown paper carton, and then into the capable hands of either carrier, and your outcome is a bit of roulette. Here, the day my bike and gear were to have arrived, was the tracking status:
Delivered January 1, 0001.
Odd date, yes? January 1 is a fabulous time-table considering I had shipped in In February, and that it's ETA stated March 1, 2019. So it came and passed, and nobody knows where the package is. Literally No one. The trace shows it offloaded into a facility, and never being loaded or scanned again. The local warehouse manager asked for pictures of the box, so that they could look into their "Cage". You know the land of misfit toys, or that sinking feeling when you get off your plane late for an international connection and your luggage is sitting scattered about the airport baggage area, with some scary street dwellers, and enterprising nare-do-wells lurking about. You have precisely two minutes too little to find yours, re-check and get on the next flight? You know that feeling when you've specifically sat on his lap, and asked Santa for Legos, and you end up with socks, and a Book? It's like that. ...And then it was gone.
I know what you are thinking. Your advice is that I relax, and do some mindful meditation with our friend Sam Harris. That the stress and pain is not real and that one merely needs to get out of that mind-space. Or... You are thinking I may have actually benefitted by going back in time, (considering my age and the time warm that could bend me backward from shipment on February 25 to arrive on January 1) -- So here he is; just arrived on January first, and so I should be grateful, as long as I can align my temporal plane with that of my bike, and my Gear, and then I should be great! And who doesn't need to step back a bit in both time, and in mindfulness and hang in the shadow of what has been to reflect upon how foolish it all was? All of the toil, and the heartbreak? after all it's just a bike, and we Americans have three months of vacation each year, Right? --
So what's another week wasted? No Bike?, No Problem, so long as you get to go back a full two months this winter, and re-live the coldest February on record.
My bike has been off the grid for three days, perhaps with that guy in the Yukon. Man I wish I was off the grid for three days already. I rented a minivan about an hour ago. I have a plain white minivan for my bike-packing vacation in California. No Tent, No Bag, No Bike, No Bottles, No Bacon, and no Pedals. I suppose that this defines the "Eggs in one basket" anecdote.
I miss my bike, and worse, I really miss being able to watch the tracking as it faded into some obscure guys home between Chandler Arizona and Sacramento. The blip fades like a dot in the vector of a Tempest pattern. No place, off the radar, and into the sea of other people's orbit. Lost in space, like a frisbee into a murky pond.
Tip: When you want to disappear, be careful what you wish for, and pack well, because if someone gets it wrong, you may never emerge from your cardboard nightmare.
Age and Treachery will overcome youth and skill.