Saturday, September 12, 2009

The little black dog with the white fluffy butt

The kids are finally asleep and my wife is home. Soon I am not. I am off into the night, fighting headwinds and dumb traffic signals as I move towards the Superstition mtns. Traffic is light. There are occasional cars. My hope is that none of them have been drinking tonight.

At the edge of town it gets dark. Not absolutely dark but comparitively dark. There is no moon but I can see the cliffs of the Flat Iron reflecting the glow of the city. Soon I am over the first few rises and the glow on the horizon is all that can be seen of the city. It gives the wispy clouds in the sky a pinkish hue.

Climbing in the darkness my Generator light is bright. Giant green Saguaros thrust their arms at me out of the darkness as I ride by. Cholla cacti grow by the roadside like giant white Pom Poms. Frequently mice run across the road in front of my bike in the light. One misses death by 700X23c by mere millimeters.

It is 11:15 when I turn around just past Canyon Lake. I had wanted to go to Tortilla Flat but that will have to wait. The drinking fountain at the marina is broken so It's a good thing I turned around when I did.

There are lights along the shoreline and the fishing platforms. Fisherman are out trying to catch fish with insomnia. Supposedly they taste better. There are lovers at the Canyon Lake overlook. At least that is what I assume they are. Not too many people like to drive to canyon lake and enjoy the view of a few marina lights far away in the night unless they have a passion for life and love and whatever the night brings. Maybe it's the stars? If it wasn't for the wispy clouds the milky way might just be visible out here.

Climbing back out I labor up the hill sucking down my last bit of water. I am climbing the part of the road where there is a cliff on my left, and a drop off on my right. Up ahead in my headlight is a little dog with a fluffy butt. Is it some sort of bizarre coyote? A strange Jackrabbit? A jackalope? Nope. Fair readers, I stumbled upon a desert skunk. He was doing his best to get out of my way but he made sure he always kept old betsy pointed in my direction. If I had been using a light that wasn't as bright I might have been on top of him and been wafted away by lifes sweet scents before I was able to figure out what it was. Fortunately, I figured out what he was in time to give him a chance to find a little hole on the side of the road to duck into. I gave him wide birth.

Slowly I drop down the other side of the mountains and the city glow grows. I bid the mighty saquaros standing in majestic shadow goodnight as I pass into the "Ghostown" of Goldfield (more like a tourist trap). I am fighting obnoxious headwinds but I am content in knowing they will be at my back in a few miles and soon I will be home bidding myself goodnight.

I did not get as much mileage as I intended today. Nor was it perhaps the best quality. It was very filling on a mental level though. Breathing in the night air and seeing the desert through the eye of my headlight, like an evermoving looking glass gliding along through the night featuring slices of desert nightlife as I pass. The evening has rejuvinated me in many ways above what my training was about. It was a good ride.

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