Outdoor Philosophy

Harnessing the power of adventure to inspire environmental action

23 June 2006 #2

finally left the double-day, waved off by hotel staff, back out into albuquerque lunchtime traffic. attempting to follow directions to avoid busy roads “i live here and i wouldn’t cycle on that…” cost me at least an hour when “cut thru university” turned out to mean a road called university rather than the university itself. which certainly wasn’t conducive to cutting thru. finally ended up on the road i’d been warned off only to find it was the one i’d cycled in on. didn’t wish to provoke fate by ignoring the advice of cycling locals but i guess they typically haven’t just come off the interstate.

heading for turquoise trail, gorgeous section of road between albuquerque and santa fe. big desert vistas, big blue sky. hot but not oven-like. quiet. a canadian couple photographing flowering cactus at the top of a hill handed me a huge glass of orange and perrier. ravens flew alongside.

the town of golden barely existed but madrid certainly did. decidedly funky houses, several sporting anti-iraq war banners, feisty atmosphere. and busy!! street and cafes packed with people. the main street was hung with banners proclaiming the madrid chile festival. this was no quaintsy folksy event tho. there was the occasional chile in evidence but mostly there were rows and rows of machinery parts. and, as i left, a HUGE open space packed with trucks and an immense sound system clearly gearing up for later. i didn’t stop. friends of friends were expecting me in santa fe and given the late start i had to blast to get there. but it was more than this. there’s a sort of resistance to stopping that i can get into, almost a laziness, easier to keep moving and stay on the surface than to engage. and, in addition, there’s a dilemma at the heart of this trip and madrid – a town that’s a law unto itself i was told later – became a symbol of it. do i keep focussed on the final destination – anchorage – and keep moving, keep the miles up, or do i make time to engage with the many many inviting things i encounter on the way? and, if necessary, let anchorage go? for now, i’m focussed on anchorage and madrid will always remain an intriguing opportunity – music, feisty people, big outdoor party, a rather wild night – that i didn’t take up . . .