Day 8: Bishop, California to Carson City, Nevada – 200 miles; Zen Poem; Woodpecker; Gratitude; Saddle Tramp.


Bishop was getting ready for its annual Mule Days Celebration and folks were swelling into town so it was time for me to hit the dusty trail. The road started climbing as we ascended the Sierra Nevada and the scenery began to change. There was still the light green sagebrush but now there were more pinyin pines and junipers. I passed the road to Tioga Pass, which was closed, due to snowfall. This was the road my buddy El Jefe and I took years ago when we visited Yosemite. Highway 395 crosses five mountain passes, including Deadman Summit, DSCN0096at 8,036 feet (2,449 m) in altitude and Conway Summit at 8,138 feet (2,480 m), the highest point along US 395. Mono lake came into view and I snapped a picture of Big Red from above it. Snowy mountains accompanied me as I rode the entire distance.
It reminded me of a Zen poem. I forget who wrote it.
In spring hundreds of flowers,

In summer, refreshing breeze.

In autumn, harvest moon,

In winter, snowflakes accompany you.

If useless things do not hang in your mind,

Every season is a good season.

Part of this trip is about letting go of the useless things that hang in my mind, and focusing instead on gratitude.

I was growing weary and having a hard time concentrating so I decided to find a place to rest. I pulled off the road at a rest stop and lay down under a cottonwood tree and took a nap. I slept for a while until I heard a sound from above. It was a woodpecker pecking on a dead branch above me. Time to get up.
I rode down into Carson City, Nevada and stopped at a Starbucks for some coffee to wake me up. I decided to bunk for the night at a Motel 6.
Where am I going next? I don’t know. It’s a weird feeling waking up in the morning and not knowing where you’re heading. To not plan something and instead head out and just trust. For now, I’m just enjoying the road and being a saddle tramp.

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