Wednesday, 18 January 2012
Ludd's Latest Stand
Our predicament is in direct response to an all too familiar conundrum. To see where we've been, to find where we are and where we want to be, a map is a neat tool, its use a useful skill, yet both are fast becoming redundant. The best, the only, that we found is a state-wide sheet, crammed with a spiderweb of numbered roads that bear little resemblance to the reality on the ground. We've been here before, and there's two ways of tackling the problem. Either follow convention and end up riding down the edge of busy two lane highways that have a habit of depositing their cargos directly on to a 'cyclists are banned' freeway. Or head for the tracery of backroads that may or may not have a desired destination. The former offers assurances and gas-station coffee; the latter a frisson of unpredictability, a distinct taint of adventure and no road signs. To help even out the odds, we try to use local knowledge, which can be of variable quality. Sometimes it's an opportunity for a casual chat and chance to sign the visitors' book, but offers little of consequential information. Other times, it's a fistful of glossy visitor guff, or single sheet of printed, explicit instructions. This last was how we ended up negotiating a series of dirt tracks on to the top of a mountain, in the dark, in the desired place. Ludd drops his first shot, love-15. A lucky point, as there´s always that soupcon of crap-navity, on this occasion the gremlin suggested that we turn left down Duck's Nest Motorway. Visions of eight-lane macadam that in reality turns out to be eight feet of muddy logging track.
Yet, without that initial draft of instructions we would not have ventured away from the blacktop with it's tame assurances, which would have meant that we would have missed out on another bit of adventure, another smooth red earth road, another tract of majestic woodland.
The fish is not landed, the game is not lost, the ball is still bouncing along, stotting down to the Gulf of Mexico.