Big Sur, revisited


Day 38: San Simeon to Big Sur, 68 miles

We’re standing around after a gig.  Zach is saying how excited he is about the new number he is working up.  I’m a bit startled to see him, but then guess that he actually survived the second heart attack after all.

But still, how can he be so nonchalant, talking about the future like he has all the time in the world. I’m a bit miffed, so I ask him, “But you’re not going to die again are you?” David glares at me, as though I’ve asked Zach the unspeakable question.

Without a hitch Zach replies, “Yes, of course.” Without a shred of self concern, a bit of a smile, almost twinkle in his eye.  Fearless, as usual.

I am stunned. I get the message this time.  Of course, he will die again, as we all will.  I reach over and grab his hand, wanting to hold on to him, not let him go.

I wake from this dream, and it takes more than a while for the reality to seep back into my awareness, that Zach did die again, and is gone.  I weep, in the moonlit tent at San Simeon.  The waves send a gentle lullaby.

Of course, we will die.  And we don’t know when.  That is beyond our power.  What is within the realm of the possible, is how we choose to live our lives, each precious moment.

I arise early, packing up the tent with fingers numb from the cold. Breakfast and my own coffee this time, the on the road.  The miles go easy for the first hour, crossing a long plan as I approach the headlands.

And then, I am climbing.  The first of so many hills.  In this ride, I’ve combined two of the days from “the book” and realize why the authors separated the two major hills at Ragged Point from the rest of the Big Sur traverse.  Yet, I enjoy myself completely.  Graced with a mostly windless day, there is no penalty for my northernmost direction.

I pass now familiar vistas, landmarks, bridges, springs, parks.  Second coffee at the Big Creek Bridge vista point.  Every time I stop, and there are several, new people come up and tell me they are impressed, that I’m crazy but amazing.  Non-touring cyclists shake their heads at the lack of shoulders.  I tell them I don’t notice. But I do, today.


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