23 August 2008

Evening Ride

I took an evening ride last Sunday after the strongest portion of the summer’s heat had faded. An hour or so of sunlight remained as I headed east from my house, aiming my bike for the nearest dirt road. The first portion of the ride would be brief as I made my way to the top of one of the smaller bluffs that overlooked the Palouse.

Preferring the view from the top of the hill, I decided to stop and wait awhile to see what display the sun might provide that evening. There was a haze on the horizon, a blend of smoke from distant fires to the west and wheat dust stirred up by an army of farmers harvesting their crop.

From an intense yellow into a deep crimson, the sun spilled its colors into the sky and over the rolling countryside. Rows of grain swirling in a slant of light, a serpentine maze around the rolling buttes; the scent of ripening wheat carried on the warm summer breeze.

To the east, a full moon rose out of the silhouetted mountains of the Idaho panhandle, contrasting in the fading twilight with the rolling hills of Washington State in the foreground.

Resting there on the tender slope of a recently harvested hillside, staring at the side of the world, I fixed my eyes west; over countless knolls and valleys and imagined the places that I have been; out there just beyond the horizon. The Cascades, the Olympic peninsula Mts. Hood, Baker, St. Helens and Rainier; veritable giants, all of them out of sight, but clearly visible in my minds eye. From my view on this diminutive butte, my imagination needed little help to visualize those distant places, places that I wish to visit again and definitely with my bike.

There is little moisture in the air out here and with no cloud cover to trap the hot air; the triple digit temperatures from earlier in the day began to drop. Time to ride. I stayed on the dirt road that I was on to where it ended at an unknown highway. This happens a lot out here in regards to losing ones sense of place. There are only a few landmarks to navigate by and when they are out of sight it can be anybodies guess as to where I might wind up. I have become familiar with some of the roads out here, but I am still a stranger to many. When that happens, I ride until I find something recognizable, a grain elevator, a farm, or perhaps an occasional road sign that will point me towards something that I might know. I love discovery, getting lost is something that gives me very little discomfort; I remained lost that evening for about another thirty minutes or so until my mystery highway intersected with one that I knew well.
I followed that road home.

The heat was stifling last weekend, too hot to enjoy riding in the middle of the day; that evening ride provided the balance that I needed to begin my work week on Monday. The drastic temperature change and rain showers that followed through the middle of the week provided the rest of that balance. Entering this weekend, things look perfect.

What to do.

Ride Well.



-Tim said...

Beautiful pictures....post more please.

Anonymous said...

Incredible...absolutely incredible. Sarch stops his motorcycle, dismounts and strolls over to shake Earl's hand. Thank you sir for this post...amazing.

Charlie said...

I was on a drive home from Seattle the night after you took those pictures and saw the same thing only from the top of the Vantage hill until the moon fully rose somewhere around Moses Lake. Mother Nature never seizes to amaze me. Nor do your posts.

Doug C said...

Great prose. Superb photos. NatGeo quality.

Thanks Earl.

RazorsEdge2112 said...

I recently read a blog from a fellow who was trying to be convinced to get a GPS for his bike. I think his response is priceless.

"If I get a GPS, how will I ever get lost again?"

Great writing and those pictures are superb. Thanks!

Kano said...

Your photos are just amaaaaazing! Great work! I used to take fairly good pictures (not as good as yours)when I had a 35mm SLR but now I have a digital camera that I haven't quite figured out yet and even if I did know how to use it I'm not sure it would be versatile enough. I don't like the autofocus hocus pocus!

Earl Thomas said...

Tim: I’m working on it.

Sarch: Thanks, I’m just having fun sharing with others, the things that I enjoy.

Charlie: One of the many things that makes living out here in the Pacific Northwest so special; the privilege of experiencing the diverse landscapes that Mother Nature has to offer us.

Doug C.: Thanks Doug, I constantly question my abilities, whether it’s riding motorcycles, writing, or taking pictures; it’s nice to hear from others that I’m not making a complete mockery of it all.

RazorsEdge: A lot of the time I don’t use G.P.S. however, there are places out here that I find that it can be a comfortable insurance policy. I use it as part of my survival kit whenever I am deep in the wilderness, most times; I prefer not to know exactly where I am, it has a tendency to spoil the moment.

Kano: I too grew up with an SLR and only recently have switched over to digital. My first digital camera was a point and shoot and after growing up with the luxury of setting up the camera a certain way, I grew frustrated with my little point and shoot digital pretty quick. It did expose me (No pun intended) to the realm of possibilities that digital has to offer. It is a luxury.

Sojourner rides said...

Text and photographs--I love them both. The colors on your blog are soothing and accentuate the magnificent landscape you share. Thanks.

irondad said...

Ok. I just had to join in the applause for the awesome photos!

Earl Thomas said...

Sojourner: Thanks, when I began building my blogsite, I played with a few different layouts. I'm kind of an earthy dude, I guess that's why I prefer the green colors.

Irondad: Thanks, It's nice to see that everyone is enjoying them.


Lance said...

Earl, great write up and pictures - you make me want to ride so bad right now, but alas, we've been having rain on the west side instead of your beautiful sunsets!

Earl Thomas said...

Lance: As you become more comfortable with your skills on the scooter, I recommend taking a few rides in the rain; I would bet that you would find something interesting to blog about.

As with everything, taken in moderation, rides in the rain can be extremely rewarding!

Ride Well