Okay, many of you prob'ly remember Libby, who rode her moped from Pennsylvania to the Oregon coast, and back. I have been pressuring her to publish her story, so we'll see.
I did however get a chance to read some of it. I am posting the portion here, that she gave me permision to share. She is NOT the type to brag herself up in the slightest, and that's why she hasn't put out a book yet. I want her to very badly, but that's up to her.
So here's what I have to show ya.... Get comfortable.
So....I feel like an ass but.... yeah...i'm doing the book thing. i'm just calling it a story thing for now though. If you didn't know it, South Dakota has alien hills. What kind of grinding earth rock creates sharp drop-offs in the same acre as rounded tops? If it was an impression, if some huge meteor had pressed its weary alien face into the earth, I could understand the way the land looks. When it's rained so much that the water appears to be coming off the ground instead of down, creating a misty cloud of atmosphere laden with the unforgettable smell of dying earthworms, it's an alien scene. I first decided to buy a moped after I had cut off all my hair. I cut off all my hair because I couldn't decide what I wanted to do. It's important to know what you want to do. More important if you have a tickling suspicion that what you want does not closely or even vaguely resemble the wants laid out for you. Do you want to get married? Do you want to go to college? Do you want a career or a family? Both? Do you want to "travel"? What do you want? "Dream! Dream!" they tell you all through high school. But when you graduate they determine your dreams by the grades on your thoughts. The grades on your papers, the grades on your success in the uproarious jungle of the public education system. I'd rejected marriage, I'd rejected college. I'd moved to Chicago hoping to immerse myself in a world so different it would change me completely and forever. I wanted to be washed in blood which would change the chemical, cancerous nature of mine. Take my mind and let me be. Peace. But there was no peace in Chicago. There was a hard won but sweet restlessness waiting to take me by the throat. Networking. Young people from here and there and over the ocean came together and bragged about adventures exploits and thoughts. Not negative bragging, to my sheltered mind it was vital information I could use to live – to discover ways to live. And I kept my mind and my heart.My twenty-first birthday I drank my first beers in the bottom of a canoe on a river in Montana. Four beers and my feet felt queer. If I didn't watch where I put them I couldn't find them to lift them. Water solved that problem. But it was over for me. What is a home place? I had no ties there but that land owned me. I watched the sun go down behind Lion's Head and wanted a treehouse on the top, beat to sleep by the wind from the canyon. Snowlocked on high from September to July.I had a tumor that winter also. No hair and a tumor means cancer. I laughed about that. But you don't get cancer when you're twenty-three. Maybe tumor isn't the right word. A lump of fibrous tissue, matter. Disturbing my sleep and youthful trust in my body's wholesome juices. I won't say this fear had anything to do with my motivation to take off, but it couldn't have hurt.And so there then this shorn young woman with a bony thing where softness ought to be was surfing the internet during a slow day of work. Miracle of miracles up pops the page of one Canadian gentleman. Back in the seventies, when the open road was more often pitted and cracked than open and free, this man rode a moped from Toronto to Alaska and back. No brags just a story and some pictures. A journal and some science. Some gear, some food and some thoughts. A moped is like a motorcycle. It's smaller, goes slower. Slower is safer. (I can DO this) the first thought, the first positive thought related to myself in some time. Within a week and a half I located a moped in Erie PA. In the middle of a miraculous week-long globally warmed snowstorm I wheedled a friend into driving with me to pick it up. The owner directed all mechanical instructions to my male friend and repeated the importance of the VIN number more than once. It was a beautiful moped. I was not a beautiful girl. He did not think we belonged together. Perhaps, who knows? Some pointless fuming upon the all too often misogynistic nature of men Over the Age of Fifty later I was home, with my only legal possession in tow. (I want to skip to Lolo Pass and the grizzly landscape. The cold cold river and the first hot spring. A warm puddle in the swampy woods, a plastic purple tampon applicator floating on the edge.)Logical progression.I left Pennsyltucky on May 19, 2007. That even sounds historic. I left hoping that to save my pride I would at least make it to New York. I left with about seventy pounds of gear none-too-strategically tottering off any available space. A bicycle rack was wire-tied to my front forks and aluminum-bolted to the frame. Pannier racks I personally had made from pvc kept my bags from interfering with my rear wheels. And I perched magically on the four inches of seat left by my too-large tent, heavy backpack strapped on to pressure my shoulders back. But I flew. Wind moved me around and around, I stopped in Titusville to breathe and keeled over the moment movement ceased. I received my first ankle-burn from the exhaust pipe. But I didn't know it was a first, so I didn't celebrate it.I made it to New York; vineyards and lovely wide berms. I camped that night at a campground, at the immense sacrifice of seventeen dollars. I had thought it would be free, but was too embarrassed to refuse when the nice young man gave me a total. It took me twenty-seven minutes to set up my tent that first night. I cooked couscous with curry and was too impatient to fully cook it. Bony couscous and beef jerky. I sat on my shiny new sleeping bag in my still plastic-smelling tent, surrounded by open camping books and maps and a marker, ready to trace my first days' progress.