Bus coughed with hesitation, then embarassed us all with unneeded volume. Wide eyed neighbors shuttling kin inside. Last you’ll see of us, we shouted, grinding out the turn towards freedom. Truth be told, we’ll be back when the season cottons, but it felt good to say, or maybe just think. Dumped tanks in the usual spot, needed or not. Filled too.
Papi watch, she screeched again, another damn fool in his tiny machine careening through the stop almost daring us to touch metal. Jesus Christo again woman? Always the same, unneeded warnings, until the’re needed. Gilbert Ray, Tucson, and all the rest in the mirror, fear and hope and uncertainty and yes thrill in the big walleye window front and center.
400 miles, exact. Simple enough in your little machines with your get up and go, with your unhindered pace. But we faced mountains, and plenty of them. Slow up, and best be slow down lesson you want to slide off the side like some have. You know who I mean. The crosses mark their spots, closest anyone can tell anyway. 400 miles, never been so far, least in one day. We’ll see how it goes, long as the back and the neck holds out, we can try it.
The woman puts on the lotion, some remedy from no one knows that heals even as I complain. Come on Papi, not much further. I know. I know. Cross the big stopper, Hoover they call it, river crammed hard on one side, tickle on the other. Sun getting low but we are close, so close. Fighting light and road, turn right and right again ever down towards the big lake. It’s not Gypsam wash, that way lies madness, as any who been before can tell, but past that, to the old government dock, the landing.
Finally. Don’t relax yet, she says. Again, I know, but I was relaxin, and too soon. Got to find the spot first, level and secure, close but not too close to them others, we don’t know them. Not yet, anyway. 400 miles. Longest yet, not sure it was the hardest though. Bus done right, settled in and level for the night.
* Not really