Roughly speaking it was 1,200 miles to and another 1,200 from Cambridge. The last day was the longest day which was 725 miles in about 14 hours. The lessons were many but the one that came all the way down to my DNA I knew intellectually years ago. Life is in the journey and not in the goal. It is simple; life is in every breath along the way. Once the breath is gone, everything is academic.
The last sight as I took off from Providence Zen Center was Zen Master Bobby Rhodes in the kitchen making tea as I was getting ready to leave she was getting ready to go to work. I think one of the great appeals of the Kwan Un School of Zen is that all the Zen Masters work every day jobs. Maybe they don’t write many high level texts and etc. but they understand the trials and tribulations of everyday life. I got this thing about warm and friendly kitchens. Just love them.
Again it was cold and the Dragon Princes was sitting at the ready in the parking lot of Providence Zen Center ready to embark on a 1,200 journey that was to be laced with rain, cold weather and who knows what other forms of adventure and tragedy. She had a full tank of gas and all systems were a go. She was lit up like a billboard on the highways we traveled. In the two rain storms we hit on the first days, my sense was that no one crawled up our tail pipes because they were so well lit up. The storm was so heavy in Virginia that our visibility was reduced to about 50 feet and the GPS started to malfunction.
Any journey through New England in October would be derelect without mentioning the autum changing of the leaves. This is where I got it that life is a journey and the passage of time is clicked off with one breath at a time. This is where some of my photos started getting blurred because I had thick gloves on and working the camera was a challenge at highway speeds.
I think one of the saddest realizations of the trip was witnessing the decay of American society as I knew it. My experience along the highways and byways of the nation as well in the cities I visited is that the service industry is made of India Indians or Latin Americans. There were no kids at the bottom of the employment totem pole where all the lessons of business are learned. It is these lessons that provide the basis of management skill needed for businesses to thrive. What I see happening is that those men and women from Latin America and India that are providing the workers of today at the bottom of the service industry are going to become the managers at progressively higher levels because they know the business and have the work ethic. This seepage will eventually go all the way to the top as umemployment and welfare roles grow.
This displacement is not at all unlike what happened to the Negros in Miami. At the time of the Mariel boat lift in 1980, it could be said the Cuban presence was minimal. However, these men and women from the boat lift took any job they could find and would work at almost any wage. Today, they have moved into all levels of management and have become the economic engines of the city moving the Negros into the lower economic status.
The design of motor cycle gloves. There is a unique feature of motor cycle gloves that goes unnoticed by most. On the top part of the index finger is a strip of soft leather. This so that on cold days at highway speeds a rider can blow his/her nose into the open air and then quickly wipe the remaining snot of with the finger of the glove. Then the soft leather can be rubbed against the pants leg and it will dry in short order and be available for the next sneeze or drip on a runny nose. Neat: hugh?
Now, this is my kind of pit stop and only found it in New York City. This is a stop along I-95 that was maybe 200 feet deep. The first building coming off the inter-state is a long thin Dunkin Donuts. Then there is a small gas station with maybe four pumps. Right in front of the Teller’s cage is an ATM machine that can not be seen here. In every sense of the word this is gas and go with minimal distractions. It took me 14 minutes to fill my thermos with hot coffee and tank with gas. Too bad there are not more along the highways and byways of the nation. At a minimum we need more Dunkin Donuts as they have the best coffee.
This was the first of two rain storms to hit on the first day on the return trip. I bumped into it as I got on to the Jersey Pike and it stayed with me till I got to the big tunnel in Baltimore. It was the first gas stop on the Jersey Pike that I went into the worst skid/fish tail that I have ever experienced and for the life of me don’t know why the bike did not go down. There were three other bikes in the parking lot but decided after the rain had about half an hour to wash the oil and rubber from the tires off of the road way that I would push on.
Got to Washington at the hight of rush hour and left more boot rubber on the interstate that I did tire rubber. As the stop and go traffic ambled on, I was trying to guage the time I had prior to getting my second soaking of the day. At this stage it was maybe 1700 and had precious little day left. My hope was that I would get to Southern Virginia prior to the down fall. No such luck. Got soaked pior to hitting Virginia and stayed that way for an extra two hours riding in the rain at night in visibility that was maybe 100 feet. Sure could have used a second set of lights on the road. Will get a light bar for the road as one light is no where near enough in these conditions and this will also be needed on the run to Deadhorse.
Weather on the second day was not bad but still had on the heavy gloves and as I had 750 miles to make decided to be focused on riding. However, did run into a pack of maybe 12 or 13 well disciplined riders with lots of gear and could not help but take this photo. Don’t know what got into me but decided the Dragon Princes had to show them her tail and so started to pull up to and pass them. One bike at a time and waved at each one as I passed. The down side of doing something like this is that you have to stay ahead of them and that I did.
Pulled into my last gas stop in Georgia and saw a monk coming out of the gas station. Went up to talk to him and he did not speak any English. So I lifted up my skull cap and point at him saying sunim. He then thought I was an American Monk. About that time is escort came out to explain that he was from Korea and belonged to a temple in New Jersey and was on the way to Jacksonville. I handed him a Gateless Gate card we bowed and went our way.
At about 2200 hours on Tuesday night, pulled into the driveway having clocked 725 miles. The GPS was ruined by vibrations and weather. It is the 7th or 8th in the last two years. Friday, will go to Electronics Plus or some such thing and get a new one. Some time ago in Sioux City, SD the clerk suggested I get a two year warranty and just replace them as they went bad and this I have done. Only wish I could replace my body with the same ease. Being as I could not exchange my body, it was to bed as I had a five am wake up for practice and classes at Lowell. That closes out 2,500 mile run up and down the east coast and a ride it was.