I was thinking I could just go on forever, or at least for the whole day. Maybe even 2-3 days. It was cool, the sky was absolutely crystal clear, and the morning sun was at by back. But perhaps I should back up a bit.
The unusual weather, unusual for the early part of August in north Texas anyway, cleared in time for the weekend. So Saturday was spent re-trenching and edging the yard followed by the necessary mowing and extensive clean-up that accompanies a day full of such activity. While the yard may have been a tad squishy, sort of like walking on a soaked sponge, things were dried out enough where the mower could handle it without my having to stop periodically to hose it down underneath. It just would not do for the yard police to come sneaking around and decide to issue me The Threatening Letter.
Well, with all the yard chores done on Saturday, my Sunday morning was free and I could make my semi-regular weekend run to Starbuck's - kick back early in the morning with a large hazelnut latte, a chocolate old-fashioned, and my current at-work reading material [I am about half-way through re-reading Dark Sleeper
by Jeffrey E. Barlough so I can go ahead and move on to The House in the High Wood
and Strange Cargo
.] So, I throw my sunglasses and my book into the saddlebags, hop on Serenity and run down to the gas station to top off the tank. While I'm filling up, a big Harley-Davidson touring bike rolls by. Then another cruiser pulls in to gas up. I finish, wipe down the windshield, fire my baby up, pull out away from the pumps and ... make a left instead of a right.
A-yup, I heard the call, and it was very strong. I decided to take a leisurely run up to St. Jo Texas and back. That's my normal, getting away for a few hours route: Krum north to Slidell, then Forestburg, and then to St. Jo and back again - winding through the shallow canyons and up over the caprock bluffs. But today was going to be a great day. I know this because I wasn't a quarter of the way along when I came across Brother Coyote. He had stopped and was eyeing me through the the barbed-wire fence after trotting across the road right in front of me. I always consider it the best of signs when Brother Coyote makes an appearance, but today it felt especially significant. I knew in my soul that something was very different today. The further I went, the more my head started traveling to strange places.
What if I kept going? Why stop? I could go all the way to Lawton, OK and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. It would only be another hour or so - get there before noon. Maybe ride to the top of Mount Scott.
Then again, why not ride out to Palo Duro Canyon. All these years and I've never paid a visit. I had come close a few times, but never went. It would be a long day's ride, but it is my day, right? And Crowfoot went all the way to Las Cruces NM in a day.
Say - to hell with Palo Duro Canyon. I could just ride out to Fort Davis, TX. It's the Big Bend country, my favorite spot of all, and it's been a couple 3 years since I've been there and never on Serenity. She'd love the Scenic Loop, Big Bend National Park, the Rio del Camino. I could take a couple of days off, spend them out in my version of heaven.
But why stop there? Let's keep going. Never saw the Four Corners area and I could see Serenity and I cruising north out of Durango CO and head on into the Black Gap of the Gunnison. Who'd care? Who'd miss me? Well, Annorien would be worried to death. But Brother Coyote surely a sign - just chuck it all for 3-4 days.
I continued on, enjoying the scenery and the cool morning air. I arrived at St. Jo and took a spin halfway around the small square, and ... went on. Serenity and I continued north, cruising onward to the Red River and Taovayas Indian Bridge - the Texas-Oklahoma border.
I turned around, rode out into the middle of the bridge, and parked. The only sounds were the birdsong, the Red River sloshing around below, and the metallic tinking as Serenity's engine started cooling down. I spent a good half-hour to an hour standing on that bridge and enjoying the solitude. Then Serenity and I started back towards St. Jo and then home. We came up out of the river's flood plain and passed a handful of big-horn sheep grazing on one of the ranches I had passed by on the way north. I re-entered St. Jo and did not turn west. I turned southward and home.
I really could have disappeared for awhile. Y'all do know that right? After all these years, I think I have earned a bit of an eccentricity ... an adventure outside the box of the reasonable.