Today's Miles = 48.1
Average Speed = 9.7 mph
Maximum Speed = 41.4 mph
Total Miles = 3878.9
As I ate my breakfast in a small cafe in downtown Grangeville, I could watch through the window a young boy rollerblading up and down the street. He had figured out the part about getting going pretty well, but he still seemed to be struggling with the part about coming to a stop. Instead of using the brake on the rollerblades, he would come to a halt by holding out his arms and ramming into a building. It seemed to me like there was a metaphor for life in his skating, about how we just keep doing things the hard way until we finally figure out something easier.
After breakfast I was back on the road and I returned to my interrupted climb up White Bird. As I wrote yesterday, White Bird is a healthy ascent no matter how you approach it but eastbounders have it much harder. Their bad news is my good news as not only did I have an easier climb, but would get to enjoy a much faster descent. Cresting the top of the hill, I tucked myself into as streamlined a shape as I could and let gravity do the rest. It felt like someone had strapped a rocket to the back of my bike as the road started to fly past and my speed grew higher and higher. Around 40 mph the force of gravity pulling me downwards finally met its match against the wind pushing me back and I just held on for the ten-minute ride down the mountain. Lucky for me I didn't have to come to a stop by hitting any buildings, and at the bottom I felt like someone who had just stepped off a thrill ride who wanted to take another turn.
The rest of the ride into Riggins went pretty peacefully for me. I stopped alongside the road a few times to enjoy the wild blackberries that grew there. I thought a little about the concept of money and how it is created, and how amazing it is that we assign such value to something that is essentially worthless, but mostly I thought about how nice it was to be able to eat wild blackberries. Once in Riggins I checked into the motel room I had promised myself yesterday, and hooked up to the Internet to check my email and upload my postings. As fifty new email messages came streaming onto my laptop I laughed because although I love getting email, sometimes one can get loved to death.
I hear that another round of layoffs has just passed through my former division with the Hewlett-Packard Company in Fort Collins, and that a few more people whom I knew have lost their jobs; some happily and some not-so-happily. I can't help but wonder what morale is like across the company. Once upon a time HP was a magic place to work and everybody in the company knew it, but the things happening there today certainly wouldn't have met with the approval of Bill and Dave if they were still around.
During the afternoon I thought more about my posting of the 22nd. Maybe my problem is that I actually believe that our government should be based upon a set of principles, when with every opportunity they are given our elected representatives show us that the only ideals they operate upon are power and money. Instead of expressing any consistent beliefs, our politicians mostly appear to have randomly selected their platforms from a buffet table; "I'll take a slice of pro-life, a side order of death penalty, and a double dip of corporate donations please". I suppose as a people, though, we Americans are getting what we deserve. We don't demand principles in our politics, so we don't get them. The message we have given Washington seems to be as long as you don't kill an intern or face a Grand Jury, then we will keep reelecting you.