Friday, August 17, 2007

Life in the fast lane.

The ascent out of Yakima valley into the Yakama reservation was the most harrowing mile of the trip to date, a slow climb with narrow shoulders and fast, aggressive drivers. My mirror is a blessing and a curse here; I can see when vehicles behind me are hugging the line. In one instance I saw a truck that I thought would approach too close and threw myself against a guardrail. I expect he would've cleared me, and the odds of me getting killed throwing myself off the road are far greater, so that was the first and last time.

The north end of the reservation has suffered terrible fires at some point in the not too distant past, and its hills are charred black, barren and devoid of life. I might have been cycling through Mercury, or hell.

The road eased up past the climb, though I soon approached a sign reading "Rough Road." Translation: "Crumbling road last paved in the 50s with no shoulder - your tax dollars hard at work!" The sign also bore an orange safety pennant, which I seriously contemplated stealing to mount on my bike (all the while fearing that Carol Peterman would not approve). Instead I found that a second pennant lay on the ground nearby - presumably clipped by a sloppy driver, which did nothing to assuage my fears - and made good use of it. I have also slung my Teva's over the left saddle bag, following the convention of smaller animals who bristle to appear more formidable in the eyes of dangerous adversaries, I have slung my Tevas over my left saddle bag.

I have developed an intimate relationship with the BRMRMRM sound that cars make as they glide over the graded medium into the oncoming lane; it means they have moved aside to give me room. As with the V2 bombings over England in WW II, hearing the sound of it means that I have already survived the assault. Worst are the drivers who not only do not move aside, but actually honk at me as they pass.


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