Day 5: New Mexico – the Land of Entrapment
Despite a few “hiccups” (as a friend in Ireland used to say) today went really well. So far my favorite part of the trip has been New Mexico. This place is absolutely beautiful! The roads were great-smooth, well paved, the scenery simply magical. Even the interstate overpasses were beautiful, painted in adobe brown and turquoise. That’s why it made complete sense to me when the Harley Davidson service technician in Albuquerque told me that New Mexico was known as the “land or entrapment” because once you come here its beauty, and lifestyle entraps you.
What was I doing at the Harley dealership? Well, it was my turn to have bike problems. But I was so fortunate in that the problem happened when I was just coming in to Albuquerque. For those of you who’ve never ridden a motorcycle the clutch is on the left handlebar and the gear shift is down by your left foot. Coming into the city I noticed that there was a lot of play in the foot gear shifter. Something was wrong and it was only going to get worse. But I was confident that it wasn’t a complicated problem and that if I could find a Harley dealership, they’d probably have the parts and I could get it fixed. No way was I going to get stressed about it. That’s what this trip has been all about for me. Hasn’t it? Don’t worry about the past or the future. Stay in the present. Be – here – now.
I was right. I found the place, they were brilliant and I was back on the road in an hour and a half’s time. (I was $200 poorer but believe me I was happy to pay it over to ensure the bike was okay.) It now shifts better than it ever has. The road from Albuquerque to Gallup was again magical. A few surprise wind gusts but otherwise great.
Right now I’m in Gallup, New Mexico and Jeff and I are planning tomorrow’s route. I’m drinking a lovely St. Pauli Girl and watching a PBS television about the Polish Ghetto.
Power corrupts. We never learn this lesson.
Anyway, Jeff and I were chatting about one of our favorite writers Walker Percy and an essay he wrote called: “Questions They Never Asked Me So I Asked Them Myself.” So, since there are lots of people reading this blog who don’t know us we thought we’d do a similar thing. Let us know if you like it.
Here’s my initial entry.
Questions They Never Asked Me So I Asked Them Myself
What kind of bike are you riding?
I’m riding a 2004 Harley Road King Classic FLHRCI, Lava red
Naked, just out of the shower, it weighs 710 pounds.
The basic specs are:
· Engine Type: Four-stroke, 88 ci, 1442 cc, air-cooled, V-Twin
· Bore and Stroke: 3.75 inches x 4 inches
· Compression ratio: 8.9:1
· Valve Train: OHV, four valves, two valves per cylinder
· Induction: Fuel injected
· Ignition: Electric
· Transmission: Five-speed manual; Standard heel-toe shifter
· Final Drive: Belt
· Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
· Estimated Fuel Economy: 37/46 mpg city/highway, which has been pretty accurate.
· Brakes (Front): 11.5 in. (292 mm) dual front disc
· Brakes (Rear): 11.5 in. (292 mm) disc
Chrome fender and seat emblems
Wire laced wheels
Electronic fuel Injection
Vibration-isolated, Black and Chrome Twin Cam 88® Engine
Air-adjustable rear touring suspension
Electronic cruise control, standard
Finally, it has Screemin Eagle Stage 1, 2 and 3 upgrades resulting in:
Custom ported air intake, Power Commander custom tuned on a dyno, a geared oil pump not one that’s chain driven, non-warping lifter rods, pistons re-ringed and polished, piston pots polished, all cables changed out to stainless outers, high performance cam culminating with @90 hp at the rear wheel.
Do you really understand all that?
No, not really.
Does anything ever get sore, ahem, when you ride?
For the most part no. Unless I forget the sunscreen. Now, I would never enter an Iron Butt competition (ride 1000 miles in 24 hours) but I’m okay. A buddy of mine has a cushion and uses Anti-Monkey Butt powder and still gets sore. But I won’t name him.
What do you think about while riding?
I try to not dwell on the past, to let it go. I try not to think of the future. God has given me this day to live. It’s the only day I have.
Do you listen to music while you ride?
Never. For me it ruins the meditative benefits of the ride.
If I get really tired I’ll sing to myself.
What songs do you sing?
For fun-Lydia the Tattooed Lady
If I’m getting tired and trying to hold out to the next exit- Rock Around the Clock.
Are you a Christian?
Bikers get asked this a lot at truck stops and anywhere else folks decide to chat them up. I’m happy to talk with anyone but sometimes these conversations feel manipulative, as if they are only interested in me for conversion reasons. To me the most important thing is to show loving kindness and compassion to others at all times. Anything that gets in the way of this is useless, or harmful.
I try to smile, nod and say “hello” to everyone.
Sometimes you get kindness in return; a man asked me today at McDonalds about my bike. Said he was a rider too. He was friendly with a gentleness, a soft smile and kind eyes. We talked for a while. He asked where I was going and wished me a safe trip. He told me if I ever get down to Nacogdoches, Tennessee I should look him up; he said “I’m known as the preacher that rides a Harley.”
I am a Christian but Taoism and Buddhism have helped me become a better one.
What kind of motorcycle would Jesus have ridden?
Harley. Road King, of course. But now Buddha would have ridden a scooter. Lao-Tzu, the founder of Taoism, would have ridden on the bike pillion style-on the back seat, going anywhere the rider wanted to go.