Book Title: Alone In The Wind: A Journal of Discovery in 'The Summer of 88'
Release Date: 2015-11-05
Author: Charles Schiereck
In the long hot 'Summer of 88', the author packed up his motorcycle and pulled out of the garage with no destination or return date in mind. 1988 would prove to be the worst drought since the ‘dustbowl’ of the 1930’s. Yellowstone would burn, Ronald Reagan would shake his fist at the 'Evil Empire', and the author, oblivious to it all, hit the road and never looked back. That trip would consume the entire summer, logging over twelve thousand miles from sea to sea and back. “Alone In The Wind” is the account of that trip, with pictures, maps, historical & geographical notes, and rolling narrative.
A few selected excerpts:
The early evening sun is bright red and except for wind slapping the tents, all is quiet. Other campers are talking in subdued tones. The scene has a timeless quality I can’t explain. Maybe it’s how I’d picture an Oregon Trail camp. Everybody too exhausted to do more than whisper, anticipating the day ahead, trying to forget the ones behind.
Kurt Vonnegut might have written that the Custer annihilation occurred solely to provide me with a ranger to give advice on the coming storms. That irony rattled around in my helmet for the next forty miles.
Chewing mindlessly I stare at passing trucks with red eyes. This has been an endless, grueling day. A far cry from the mystical experience that other writers claim. The bone numbing reality of motorcycle touring is exhaustion, dehydration, disorientation. Vacant eyes seem to be nothing more than rubber stoppers that keep my liquefied brains from spilling out over my face.
Carved out by the tides, the cave is probably underwater for most of the day. At the entrance is a rock with a well-formed depression at the top. Without thinking I dump both bottles of Atlantic Ocean into that shallow basin, move deeper into the cave and sit. There’s a lot on my mind, and it all seems to be demanding immediate attention. The mission will be accomplished. The oceans will unite. It will take a few hours, and I won’t be here to see it, but this is a better way. Letting the sea take it on its own terms seems more fitting.
Heat was the real problem. Both the heat of a western summer day and the heat thrown off an air-cooled engine that's being pushed to its limits.
While it was never transcendental, the passage was always very real, very immediate, and unforgettable. Thinking back to the other riders that I met, it seemed the same for them as well. They were all worn down with fatigue and loneliness - while at the same time brimming over with confidence and satisfaction. I won't forget them.