Thursday, 6 December 2007

Natty dreadlocks.....a phase in the life of Cai!

Nothing is permanent, not life, not incarceration, and not my injury! I do feel as though I’ve been shut up here, against my will, forced to relax and take life slow. Maybe I needed to, I sure as hell didn’t want to, but bide my time I did; with grace and patience. But that is about to come to an end, I now have a reconstructed rack for my bike and the new parts from the states. Phew, about bloody time! Is it Murphy’s Law that dictates when you arrange an alternative to compensate for one screw up, they will both come good together? A bit like three buses turning up after there’s been none for hours! And so, I now have a new rack and an old repaired version. Can you guess which I’ll use?

And so my departure is imminent, my bike ready for completion and myself raring to go. I took the bike out yesterday, for my first ride since my accident. The trial ride went well enough, maybe the engine felt somewhat lumpy, maybe that was just me. More than likely it was getting used to the new gearing I’ve fitted. I’ve geared it up to give more efficient fuel economy, about 500rpm less at cruising speed, hopefully it will give 10% better economy. I ended up stripping many parts to ensure there were no further problems, I suspected bent forks or handlebars so took them off to check, they seemed fine! Still, when riding, something doesn’t line up straight, tough, it’ll have to do; it doesn’t seem to affect the handling.

There’s been concern about the fitness of my knee, is it ready for travel? Getting on and off the bike is a bit uncomfortable, it doesn’t bend quite how I’d like. Using due caution and it shouldn’t be a problem; as long as I don’t need to dismount quickly I’ll be fine. Applying the rear brake gave a twinge of pain, it was only for the initial few attempts; afterwards it seemed to ease off. I’m content this will rapidly improve, stiffness can be worked out every hour or so whilst riding. When lurching over a large lump in the road there was no pain at all, that’s a relief! Hey, I’ll not tackle any off road sections until fully fit, easy!

With me and the bike sorted, its full steam ahead; Honduras next stop. An estimated 3,000 miles before Christmas; it only sounds a lot. I rode about 800 miles, in little more than ten hours, from the Grand Canyon back to Ojai. I have about 18 days to get to Utila, off the Honduran coast; so in my uniquely blasé manner, no sweat! I’ll most likely bypass the flooded area of Tabasco, to save time and a mud bath. And I’m not going to spend any time in Guatemala, a swift ride through, only stopping at the border, to view the Mayan ruins at Copan.

Re-reading emails brought me to this poem, I don’t know who wrote it, it was sent by a friend when Cai died. It struck a chord, it sums up so succinctly how my mind and emotions have been through my ordeal. I realise physically I’ve ostracised myself from you all, but in my heart you’ve all been with me, through the written word. Don’t ever let anyone kid you otherwise, facing such loss is unbearably confusing. Please don’t forget though, life goes on! It may take a long time for those closest to Cai’s heart. Support and understanding shouldn’t be a flash in the pan, and I don’t state that on my own behalf! Consider how close to their hearts some keep their grief, not wanting to seem unable to cope, keeping a brave face, a facade!

Hold me close and go away
Please visit me and please don't stay
Talk to me but please don't speak
I need you now - come back next week.

Emotions muddled, needs unknown
To be with others, or on my own?
To scream out loud? To rant and shout?
Or hideaway and push you out?

I smile at you - "he's not that bad"
I shout at you "he's going mad"
I speak to you - "What do I say"
I show my tears - "quick walk away"

It’s not catching, the grief I feel
I can't pretend that it’s not real
I carry on as best I know
But this pain inside just won't go.

So, true friends, please accept the lot
I shout, I cry, I lose the plot
I don't know what I need today
So hold me close and go away.

I’d like to share photos of the natty dread kid with you this time, it was so nice to see Cai rise to the bait and grow dreads. A delight to see him put to shame those around him, who so desperately wanted to grow them naturally. I personally thought they’d be frowned upon by the idiots at American immigration, and bless him, he combed them out before we left home. How I wish I could still be disgusted by picking his mankey hair out the bath plug hole. And ain’t I ever glad I never bothered him about it! Such is life, and such are the memories we can smile at.

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