“I woke up in a soho doorway
A policeman knew my name.
He said, ‘You can go sleep at home tonight
If you can get up and walk away.’
I staggered back to the Underground
And the breeze blew back my hair.
I remember throwin’ punches around
And preachin’ from my chair”
—P. Townshend, “Who Are You”
Legend has it, Townshend wrote “Who Are You” about waking up after a Sex Pistols’ show. One can imagine him, by then at the top of his Stadium-Rocker game, absolutely ridiculous in front of a leaner, angrier, even less respectful generation, preaching away about how it should be done.
I guess, if I’m honest, this trip evolved from an out-and-back Conference Ride into a full-blown West Coast Tour because I’ve been thinking about who I am. Easier to say, “quit my administrative job to get back to writing,” than to dig into the depths of causality. But motorcycles pull it out of you. I added an extra two thousand miles to this trip because I know I needed a lot of time in the helmet asking “Who are you? Who, who, who, who?”
After a last breakfast with Gary and Su yesterday morning, I rode west, through Tillamook, down the coast on 101. It was windy and trafficky. By Eureka, CA, I was feelin’ pretty low, and the bike felt pretty awkward. Yet the road picked up, and the ineffability of the redwoods along Avenue of the Giants lifted my funk. I ended up at the Redcrest Resort, the owners annoyed that I actually showed up. They sold me a Cup O’ Noodles Soup. I used the coffee maker to heat the water.
I got out early, stopping at Miranda for a proper breakfast. I bought Darren, on the last day of his own a two-month road trip, breakfast, and then rolled back the throttle to Oakland. Funny moment: storming along at 85 a cop used his siren to get me to move over! In Oakland I had a long talk with Fernando Flores. Gloria popped in before a big trip of her own, and I was happy to see her.
The bike’s run hard close to 2,000 miles, and her oil looks like fresh honey. She’s damn proud to do what she was designed for. I’m more complicated. It’s been an intense five years of service to the university, all of it interesting, some of it frustrating, but some of it even glamorous. I know I want to see a few projects to success, and I feel passionate that I want to get some writing down in the next few months. I also know I overthink things. Even at 80mph in a sweeping corner. For now, it’s best not to make it any more defined than that.