Read this in: German
Sometimes I meet people who I instantly like. That was the case with Erik. I met him at the WTM Fair in London (World Travel Market – international travel fair). Erik is from L.A. and works for Eagle Rider (Motorcycle rentals and tours). We had such a nice chat and he had so wonderful stories to tell, that I asked him so write one of them down for nonsoloamore.
And here it is. 😉
With my motorcycle on tour
Near the end of the day’s ride, the wind still felt warm on my face, but I was starting to think of getting some rest after the long ride through Colorado. The sun was still up but was getting lower in the sky, and the flashes sunlight between the tall green trees reminded me that I was riding due west.
Gliding around corners and up small hills, I eventually saw a small path to the left of the road, and without even thinking about it, I slowed and turned down the path until it opened up into a small meadow of short grass surrounded by tall fir trees.
Perfect, I thought. The place was extremely calm and beautiful. I switched the motor off, and stillness surrounded me and my bike. Almost as if I were trying not to disturb the natural scene, I slowly got off and calmly unwrapped my pack from the rear fender and set up my camp.
Not totally dark yet, I began to think I was hearing things. Small noises were coming from the edges of the clearing, and I began to think I was going crazy. Am I hearing voices, I thought, and then she appeared.
Apache – Reservation
A very young woman emerged from the woods and slowly walked toward me.
“Are my cousins bothering you,” she said. I was still a little shocked, and I stared at her for a moment. She was slightly short and slightly thin, and she had long, perfectly straight black hair.
“No, not at all,” I said. “I thought I was miles away from anything, though.”
“We live just over there behind the trees,” she responded politely.
“Oh,” I said.
She had a Native American accent. “I think my cousins have been spying on you,” she said with a smile, and we could hear many kids giggling and running away through the trees.
“Where are we?” I continued.
“On an Indian Reservation.”
“Oh,” I said, “I’m sorry. I’ll pack my things.”
“No, don’t,” she interjected. “You can stay as long as you like.”
“Thank you,” I said, and the young woman stood peacefully. She began calmly twisting from side to side with her hands still clasped behind her back. Her smooth, tan face looked wonderfully serene, and she spoke again. “Is that your motorcycle?”
“Yea, I’m crossing the country on it,” I replied.
“That would be awesome,” she continued. “Where are you going?”
“I started in Virginia, and now I’m heading west”
“A lot of my family is near Four Corners by Mesa Verde,” she said, “but I’ve never been there.”
“I’ll take you,” I said, and after only a few moments, we agreed that I would take her to meet her relatives the following morning. She was extremely excited, but the calm in her face never left, and as if already anticipating the wind, she unconsciously began braiding her long hair glancing up at me with sparking brown eyes.
We continued talking about all kinds of things, and eventually she sat down across from me. Hours went by. We spoke about her native culture and the modernity of my city, and I think we both secretly were jealous of the other.
It was finally very late and pitch black outside the small ring of firelight. The entire evening was fueled by wood in the fire and curiosity in us. At one point Onawa yawed widely, our eyes met, and we laughed at how sleepy we were. We both loved sharing each other’s company on a beautiful night in the woods.
Without saying anything, Onawa stood up straight. It was obvious she was leaving. I stood up as well, and we politely hugged, and she walked away into the blackness.
It felt like I had just shut my eyes when I opened them again to find the tent lighted by the rising sun, and I peaked my head out into the bright, crisp morning. Onawa was sitting peacefully next to the unlit fire near my tent. She looked sad.
“I can’t go with you,” she said.
“Okay, that is fine,” I replied as I crawled out of the tent and sat on the grass beside her.
“I’m too scared,” she continued. “I don’t know how I’ll get back.”
“No problem. I understand,” I responded, a bit sad myself.
Onawa then got an excited look in her eye. “Hey,” she said cheerfully, “but can you take me for a ride to the edge of the reservation?”
“Sure,” I said, and we smiled as she helped me roll up my tent and tie my packs to the motorcycle.
“Are you ready,” I said as she climbed on the back seat of my bike.
“Definitely,” she responded, and I fired up the bike which sounded like a thunderous roar in contrast to the still, quiet morning.
After riding up the path to the road, we turned onto the pavement leaning low to the left. Onawa gripped me tightly and made a small nervous noise, but as we accelerated through the trees, she let out a joyful yell, and I knew that she loved it. I patted the side of her leg and glanced back seeing her long hair trailing in the cool wind. She was smiling wildly. After only a few miles, she leaned forward, and she put her head on my shoulder for just one brief moment, and then said sadly, “Here it is,” and I saw another path leading into the woods. I pulled over slowly and stopped. We both got off the bike and looked at each other. She still looked exhilarated from the ride, and I could tell her heart was beating rapidly.
“Thank you,” she said as she leaned in to hug me, and I returned the embrace until she relaxed, turned, and disappeared into the trees.
As I rode away, I suddenly felt a helpless pit in my stomach knowing that I’d never again meet the lovely Apache who lives somewhere in the woods near the border of Colorado and New Mexico.