I feel very alone. As usual when Im lonely, there are people all around me, but nothing on earth is more isolated than being surrounded by people who youve made up some reason to feel apart from. Whenever Im somewhere that there arent any people at all, Im too excited about tanning my genitals to remember that Im supposed to be lonely, but I digress. I feel alone because my best friend just made a left turn, where I made a right one. At least I hope it was right, we were heading SE and I turned SW, but you can never know what lies ahead, so calling it a right might be presumptuous of me. Weeks of camaraderie and companionship are behind, and weeks of I dont know what are in ahead. It wouldnt be so bad, but I crashed this morning when I wasnt planning on it, and that always shakes me up. It takes a while to start trusting the tires and feeling at one with the bike once its let you down all the way to the pavement, so Im feeling a bit like a jilted lover whose dog just ran off. Things could be worse, but they could also be better. It doesnt help that its raining, either. Im in the jungle, and it feels foreign and a little bit dangerous, and I dont like the rain. The roads dont like it either, the water is beading up like it would on a freshly waxed car. Perhaps a better metaphor would be beading like water in an oiled skillet, the waxed car image just isnt quite threatening enough. Its not an overt threat though, its a cowardly malignancy that you can just catch in the corner of your eye. When you examine it closely, it disappears, only to hover again from another oblique angle. But theres nowhere to go but ahead, nothing to do but lean the bike into the curves and hope I can make it across this mountain range to the next town before it gets dark. As usual when theres a lot to think about, Ill avoid it by riding somewhere. The roads here have ridges that would run parallel with the painted lines, if there were painted lines, which there mostly arent. The tire grabs these ridges and noodles back and forth in a way that may not be dangerous, but feels like 10 slides per second starting and ending, constantly shifting around without any input. The mountains are rugged, and the roadbuilding budget was for a small bulldozer not a big blasting crew, so the road is unendingly twisty. Worn knobbies on a wet road = be careful. Worn knobbies on a wet road with longitudinal ridges = tightly clenched sphincter. Worn knobbies on a wet road with longitudinal ridges when you crashed once that morning? That, my friends, is enough to make you wish for a hot day on I-10 across Texas. But its not a hot day on I-10, its a cold night with only a little light left and a mountain range to cross. Theres no future in staying here, the future is over there, and I need to quit feeling like Im going to fall down and start remembering how to ride. This is how I remember a trip like this, in sharply relieved points of consciousness, carved into my head as though sculpted there by a county fair chainsaw artist- big, hard, full of edges, and not perfectly reflective of the truth. And thats how Im going to tell the story, just how I remember it, with no consideration for what came first or what came after.