Tandem, An American Love Story

Lost Flag

I saw that somewhere after Woodside we had lost our flag pole, the American and Washington flags that had traveled over 12,000 miles with us. Gone. The wind had just sucked the whole thing, flags and pole out of the ten inch deep pocket it sits in.

We had to go back.

We rode two more miles and found an RV park and set up the tent as quickly as possible and turned our now empty and much lighter Zippy back up the hill.

We flew, with the wind now, pushing hard, pounding up the hill, eyes focused on the shoulder and ditch. Finally after a long seven miles, there it lay on the shoulder, safe.

Claire cried and I thought I might too when we hugged.

Our tattered flag has become a symbol of so much. We fly that flag for those who died without following their bliss, and in hopes of inspiring the living to do so while they can.

It is threadbare, worn thread-row by thread-row back almost to the blue star-field now, and faded. But it’s a happy flag.

We rode back, delirious and laughing, ate a huge meal of fat stuff at the diner and fell asleep. We could now go on.

The next day we crossed the mountains to the Wasatch Front. A long climb and descent with headwinds all the way. At a small cafe, still high in the mountains, a boy of 18, asked questions about Zippy and our trip.

Then he said a heartbreaking thing, “I could never do anything like that, I smoke.” So young to give up on life for the sake of an addiction. Claire remembered that today is six years to the day since DeLee (her mother) died of lung cancer from smoking.

We had hoped to stay in Spanish Fork, but found no camping, or motel within our budget, so we headed north toward Provo on the interstate. We waved at a cyclist going south on the frontage road. Soon we saw him behind us, chasing.

Steve Olgin invited us to put up our tent in his back yard and we followed him home where we met his wife, Noelle, pregnant and due soon, and friend Brent Hulme. We got some goodies from the grocery, they boiled some pasta and we talked bicycling, art, (Steve is a film maker,) and life until two this morning. What fun and what great people. We wish them well with the coming parenting.

Today I found Mad Mac, an Apple dealer, and plugged in Duo to show them that he was dead again. Of course, he lit up as if nothing had ever been the matter. Made a fool of me again. I am beginning to suspect dirty electricity of some sort. We stayed in a more expensive motel near Salt Lake City, and he worked. Go figure.


Tandem, An American Love Story — 3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the memories, and the update on your own adventures. That last few days back to Sequim was bitter-sweet after more than a year on the road. We’ve never been the same; a good thing.

  2. What a marvelous and beautifully descriptive article about a simply amazing woman – Karen Landis. I’ve had had the serendipitous experience to create and nurture a friendship with Karen after I underwent a hip replacement and three hip fractures and realized I needed to request the local “Meals on Wheels” service. And of course, if she didn’t have enough on her plate, Karen serves the Chino Valley community two days a week by delivering meals to people in my circumstance.
    I loved Karen the first moment I met her. And when we started chatting I knew I had met a soul mate. I’ve been looking all my life for a role model, a hero, an amazing example of humankind. I don’t know if she realizes what an outstanding example she is of a strong, independent, intelligent, talented woman. Sometimes as women, we have a dentency to undervalue ourselves. But Karen, I want you to know you are the real deal. You are just so beautiful in your authenticity. And I a so appreciative of the value you have added to our environment by caring for the land and the animals under your watchful care. Your abilities and strength simply boggle my mind. And thank you for your loving service to me these past four months. You rock girl!

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