I have seen the future.
And it is dusty.
I’m sitting at my desk, staring out of the window. The sky is murky, hazy. The west is on fire. It’s August again. I have work to do, but I’m distracted. Distracted by the different possibilities that the future holds. I’m also distracted by a bicycle. It’s not even available yet. But I’ve called my local shop and told them to order one for me the minute it goes on sale. In the meantime, I keep reading the same preview article, looking at the same photos, and wondering about the amazing and remote places that the bike and I will visit together.
I’m distracted by maps too. Every great adventure begins with a map. And so, I am scouring electronic topo maps, following dirt roads, singletrack, and forgotten highways. Loops start to materialize. Notes are made. Tracks are drawn. The future becomes less hazy. But no less dusty.
My computer beeps. An email. More work. More real world. At some point I will have to stop being distracted, and earn my living. But before I can do that, I lose focus again. This time, I start to think about how backwards our system is. We work away the best years of our lives at jobs that don’t (always) mean anything. What created this “system”? Where did it come from? And why do we continue to go along with it? “Do you think you can get that project done today?” A co-worker is in my office. “Of course.” I reply. More reality. I close the maps.
I send off an email. But it’s not work related. Instead, it’s an invitation for a one-night bikepacking trip. Throughout the day I get a few responses. Everyone is in. The trip is a go. I smile, and go back to the track I’ve drawn on the map. 150 miles. Lots of climbing. A couple of resupply points. And dusty dirt roads.
Later, I’m at home, organizing my gear. Some of my bike bags still have Colorado Trail dirt on them. It’s been too long, I realize. Too long since I strapped these bags to my bike, and set off into the night. But that’s going to change. There is more bikepacking in my future. A lot more. And the thought excites me, motivates me, and fills me full of anxious energy.
I’m staring at pictures of my future bike again. I read the preview story. Again. I even re-read the comments, looking for anything new, or something that I might have missed. I want the bike. I want it now. But mostly, I want the adventures that I am planning with that bike to happen now. I want to ride my bike across towering mountain ranges and endless, empty deserts. I want to follow rutted dirt roads through thick pine forests until they become smooth dirt roads that glide across wavy farm land. I want to dodge thunder storms and eat greasy food at barely-there diners in towns with populations that could all fit on a school bus. I want to ride my bike from dark to dark.
Yes, I have seen the future. It is dusty.
And it is glorious.