Friday, March 5, 2010

Southbound Hwy 49 to Westbound I 80

TWISTING THE THROTTLE, I lean heartily right, nearly dragging the valve covers of the big boxer engine, and race into the curve. I feel the Olins compress with whatever g-force accumulates over a nicely banked turn. This length of road is about performance. Not necessarily speed, but line, curve and camber matched with carefully metered acceleration and deceleration. In the blink of an eye, I’m easing off, feeling the shocks relax and rise. But in an instant, I’m again banking and diving – this time to the left. Another blip of the throttle. Whatever scenery is on the by is a rushed blur like a Monet painting of a windstorm. The tarmac corkscrews with a rise and a dip and another twist to the right. Ahead, standing like an affront to anything capable of velocity, the abutment for a U P trestle, planted in and towering above the right shoulder. And immediately, there are lanes to my left.

I glance once, twice, three times over my left shoulder. There’s a spot, just big enough to slip the GS through to a faster lane without irritating the young man piloting a battered, twenty-year-old GMC behind which I momentarily pull – “NObama” sticker on one side, “Cheney 2012” (Yikes!) on the other, NRA on the back window next to a scrubbed over Harley logo and American flag sticker; a crumpled beer can riding the furious tornado swirling in its bed – or the Camry driver who’s shock of white hair and heavy-rimmed dark-glasses-just-before-dusk prompt me to operate the BMW as though he is not aware of my presence. Or anybody else’s.

So much to see, so much to calculate, so much to appreciate in just twenty-eight hundredths of a mile. Seventeen, maybe twenty, seconds to do it all.

In less than the span of a couple of breaths, I am in the number three lane heading toward home, thankful that I didn’t enter that connecting ramp behind a Winnebago or a Buick Century or a tractor trailer loaded with alfalfa; thankful, too, for the engineer who designed this graceful little interlude; and worried about both the redneck and the old gent in the dark glasses, and when (not whether) the beer can will be flung from the cyclone and hit the old man's car.

© 2010
Church of the Open Road Press

No comments:

Post a Comment