- James Corson
Bread is Life, Life is a Journey, Travel it
On the trip of a lifetime, Canterbury beekeeper “Jessie” James Corson checks in from his journey across the states of America aboard an 800cc Triumph Tiger motorcycle. How he ended up with this Tiger by the tail was told last month. Now he reflects on the road travelled thus far, the characters that inhabit it and finding “zen” in an amazing continent.
By James Corson
Tonight I come to you from my camp on the banks of the Arkansas river … and she is no mean river. Draining out of Kansas and the mountains of Colorado, feeding into the Mississippi. As I paddled in her warm waters in the late evening of a hot and humid day on ‘The Tiger’, I absorbed the energy of the continent and, oh my goodness, what energy.
Today is Sunday in The Bible Belt. The land is in prayer ... sort of ... and, as the Tiger ate up the miles through the rolling forests in the early morning cool, I reflected…
In the San Juan mountains I got a flatty. The back end went soggy on a corner and we came to a slow halt. Darn it. We limped in to town and pulled up at the convenient air hose. I always thought 02 was free, but not in this neck of the Land of the Free.
As I fed eight quarters into the air-meter a Harley rider pulled in. A drop-dead gorgeous riding an orange-tanked pan-head beauty. It was fate that we didn’t ride the pass together, but she gave me a hug in commiseration at my predicament. Adventure bikes eh!
I filled the tyre with air and ‘slime’ and rode on out of town. Two kms up the hill and the back end went soggy again.
The art of the journey is a philosophical state of mind … the zen of the ride. There is no timeline, no daily goal. The day is not set with a destination. The destination becomes that arbitrary point along a casual route of connection.
“Honey I’m living life”
The tyre slime didn’t work. Funny that.
I limped back into town and came to a halt beside a liquor store. Behind the liquor outlet was an open-doored ‘shop’ with a stack of old truck tyres out front. Even in the darkest moments there is always potential … one just has to look!
The liquor store owner found the tyre stack owner, and a new connection was made.
Dylan had a long wispy beard and smoked an evil smelling cheroot. He had the air of a man in control … there was no rush, nothing was a problem. He also had a tyre bead breaker and a compressor in his shop, which are also good at resolving problems!
“I reckon we can do something with that”, he drawled as he drew on his smoke. “I just gotta go and sort the ole lady out first”.
He reappeared an hour or so later and over the course of the early afternoon we pulled the ripped tube, replaced it with a spare and put the whole rig back together. His phone pinged and pinged as we worked. “Messages from the ole lady,” he sighed. “Where are yah”, she kept asking.
As I tightened up the back axle nut Dylan’s phone pinged again … “Where are yah. Whatcha doin’”. Dylan spat the cheroot out onto the dirt and sent a message back … “Honey, I’m living life!” And then he switched the phone off.
On the Road Again
I crossed over Lizard Head pass to Telluride and beyond in the late evening light. It was stunning. The spring green of the Aspen shimmered against the red and browns of the mountains. I plugged in the tunes on the blue tooth Sena Skid Lid and cruised, easing the Tiger into the lazy curves and pouring the power on with the twist grip as we came out the other side. Rock n’ roll n’ country at its best!
It was almost dark when I pulled into a small settlement. A neon sign beckoned with the blue and red thirst-quenching words anyone, after a day in the saddle, wants to see … Budweiser.
The day hadn’t panned out according to my plans … It did better than that. Rehydrating in a small town bar with Mike, who was in love with a Mexican gal, and Nicole, who owned the joint, and who ended up shouting us the bill on the beers and Taco’.
I camped that evening in a small rest area beside the Uncompahgre River that had its source in the San Juan Mountains. As the chattering waters soothed me to sleep, I reflected on a quote I had seen years ago on a truck in India…
Bread is life. Life is a journey. Travel it.