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I rode 'til late again last night, Through canyons cut through pine; My headlamp sliced a tunnel of light Along the dotted line. I backed the throttle down a notch, Which slowed the evening breeze; I gave the grips a gentle tug And pulled in through the trees. I found a clearing large enough For bike and boy and bag; I took my boot to rock and root And cleared each subtle snag. I laid me down beneath the stars Too numerous to count; And thought back to the frontier days As I lay beside my mount. And I felt some ""cowboy-kinship"", While within my bedroll curled; With a half-sad grin I pitied them, Those of the unsickle-ized world. Dawn's first light reveals the sight The night had masked in black; The rolling hills and whippoorwills Call me from my sack. The saddlebags provide the fare That passes for a meal; The taste is bland and mixed with sand, But, just the same, it's real. The ground dew-damp, I break my camp And double-check my load; The lines are cinched, the bolts are wrenched, And ready for the road. With just one kick my motorsick Awakens from its sleep; Willing to go, it lets me know With a voice that's soft but deep. The stand swings up, the gearbox clunks, The clutch is now released; ""Would be such fun this road to run If it weren't so darned policed!"" I idle through a country town As the morning paper is hurled; I follow a whim that's missed by them, Those of the unsickle-ized world. The challenge of the mountain roads; The pavement at my knees! The world just leans and tilts the scenes To forty-five degrees! The countryside through which I ride Is more than winding roads; The senses all are called upon To sample God's abode. I feel inversion layers; Temperatures fall and rise! The moisture from the marshes, The sunlight from the skies! I smell the flowered meadows And the ponderosa pine; And now and then a barnyard, And I really don't much mind! I hear the whistle blowing From the distant diesel train; And the banging of the boxcars As it rises toward the plain. I see the land like no man can While in a car so snug; I taste the joys of nature, And now and then a bug! I watch the sun retire low To settle 'round the bend; And as I roll that throttle back I reel that sunset in. I'll ride 'til late again tonight, Through canyons cut through pine; My headlamp slicing a tunnel of light Along the dotted line. I'll pause to rest beneath the moon That floats so silver-pearled; And give my thanks I've left the ranks Of those of the unsickle-ized world.
Wes Stephenson


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