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I've Crossed Over:
And into the beyond
February 5th of the second year

"It's cold. I don't want to get up. I'll just eat breakfast in bed so I don't have to do it later." This is how each morning starts. I sit there and listen to myself slowly chew knowing full well that I'm procrastinating. The food becomes an edible guilt. "Do I really have to pick up all this gear... again?" I'll delay and delay... and delay. I'll delay until it feels just right. Maybe an hour has passed before the time comes. When it does, I pickup the sack for my sleeping bag with my left hand and clench the bed in my right. The muscles in my arms tense as I prepare to shove the pack together. Somebody clicks the ">>" next-chapter button on their DVD player. "Bing!" Now I'm standing next to Shadowfax. The tent is gone and we're ready to ride. "TADA! Now go do something cool, damnit!" I clip my left foot in and swing the right foot around. Father Time doesn't bother with pulling up camp. Out with the feather quill, ink and scroll... we're writing history today.

Why can't all roads have these sorts of names? I live on "Fir Road". Can't we spruce that up a little? I mean, just an exclamation point or something...

Welcome to Humboldt Redwood State Park and the Avenue of Giants. You've all seen the pictures. You've heard stories and you know what a Redwood is. You know they're tall. Or do you? "How in the hell are these trees... so... big???". Yea I've seen the photos, too, but holy shit, these things are fucking enormous. Even when they're fallen, they're twice my height. When one of these monsters collapses across the road, there is no way in hell you're going to get around it. All you little kiddies best hope there's no detour because out in the northwest, I'd imagine there are as many "snow days" as there are "tree days". I had a sampling of the redwoods lining the Avenue of Giants and took quite a few pictures. None of them are worth posting. There's something on my map that reads "Big Tree Area" and it's nowhere near where I'm standing. "Big Tree Area? Does this mean that this is the small tree area???" Somehow it did.

The topic-changing, Internet-bonsai photograph. Shhh! It's somewhat relavant!

Myers Flat has about 80 people living it during the Winter and all the stores are closed, even this one. I walked into the "Trading Post Saloon" hoping to fill up my water bottles. There's nobody in here. The wooden, hand-planed bar is empty, the fabric on each stool falls inward despite nobody sitting in them and the few particles of light coming in through the front window are wasted on airborne dust. "Yea? What can I do for ya?". An old man with huge glasses and a fishing hat emerges from the corner of the bar. "Hi. Uh... just came in for a drink. Are you open?" -- "Nope! What'll you have?". I stood there with this stupid look on my face trying to process the statement. I effectively communicated, "..." -- "Well, what will you have? You want a beer?" -- "Oh. Yea! Beer is good."

"How come you're open and all the other places are closed", I asked. "I'm not open, I just came in here to make some hash!" The bar had ridges in it, like someone had given up with the planer and turned to the chisel. Bill and I talked. "We got a grocery store, post office, bar, laundromat, some houses and the best damn fishing you could ever want... right in your backyard! What the fuck else could you want?!" He was probably nearing his eighties. I love when people use [unaggressive] swear words in their daily speech -- it shows that they're real; not paying attention to our unspoken, governing rules. It's somehow even more relieving to hear old folk talk like this because they're so far passed that just-trying-to-be-cool thing, a luxury that is not easily seen amongst youth.

"Twenty-four years on a merchant ship, thirty-five years in Myers Flat. I've been all over the world. Cargo ships, passenger ships, you name it. We'd port for weeks on end and the crew had free range." -- "Have you sailed across the Pacific?", I eagerly asked. He looked at me and laughed as if to say, "You haven't even scratched the surface, kid." Bill continued, "I've lived in more places, seen more things than I can remember. It was many years ago. I came here and opened a bar back in the 70s." All those travels, all those experiences and he found this little town of eighty people in northern California to be the place he wanted to live. "They started coming here at about the same time I did, and they all came single. It was only a couple years before they paired up... the ranchers' sons and hippie daughters. I've watched their children grow... beautiful people they've all become... just like their environment." We talked a little about how individuals develop pertaining to their environment. It only makes sense. A fleeting thought came into my mind and vanished in a flash, "If I ever have kids, they'll be raised in a small, naturally beautiful environment."

Bill gave me some of the southern hash he loved so much and we continued to chat as I filled up my water bottles behind the bar. This guy was a book of memorable quotes. "You keep women for two days around here! Not this seven days-a-week shit!"

The first ridiculous tree I encountered. Yes, that's a door. You can walk inside and it's completely hollowed out but still living. To what degree it's living is not stated, but apparently it's alive.

It wasn't until I came to the turn that I decided I'd take the Lost Coast alternate route. From 101, I took a look down Mattole Road. It's unkept, a tad windy and blackened by shadow... but c'mon, it's called "The Loast Coast", how can I turn this away? So what. So it adds a day to the tour and 5,000 vertical feet. You've seen worse. Shadowfax was none too pleased when one of his screws vibrated loose, but the adventure would surely be worth it. Somewhere down this road lies the aforementioned "Big Tree Area" and I kept an open eye for it. Again, it seems like I'm becoming lost in a wilderness empty of sound. The street is narrowing into more of a path and there are more crude pavement patch jobs and potholes than smooth surface. Redwoods are absolutely staggering. The road takes quick turns to thread through and around each trunk. Cars rarely travel this road and sunlight is a scarce commodity. Occasionally, while staring off into this cathedral of trees, will a light beam weave its way through the pillars of wood to strike my eyes. The pupils are not ready and we're temporarily blind. I'm only a couple miles from the entry point and already I can sense it. There's a feeling of peace and reverence here. These trees are old. They're very old.

The bicycle navigation continued and we rolled into an area where Ziggy could capture some of his favorite art work. Of course, with my help :-)

This is Founder's Tree. It's a big fucking tree.

Ha, just kidding. THIS is a big fucking tree. Actually, it's the world's tallest tree, the "Giant Tree". I parked the bike and crossed a river over a fallen redwood on my hands and knees. It was worth it. I'd liken the tree to the "last boss" of Fangorn if there ever was one. Check out these stats!

Height: 363 feet
Circumference: 53.2 feet
Average Crown Spread: 62 feet
Mana: Infinite
Hit Points: Uncertain
Resistances: Fire
Magical Immunities: Earth, Water, Wind
Proficiency: Lightbeam, Wood Shield
Notes: Tactical supremacy. Lvl 99+ recommended.

That thing is a beast. 363 feet? Damn, that's a big tree. Man, that's big for a building, too. Anyway, me and zee horsey made our way through these mystical surroundings and fell complete victim to the overpowering wonder. Oh, it's wondrous I tell you... it's wondrous. I might even go as far as to say it's wonderfully wondrous. We were sucked into this world on Mattole Road with no intentions of turning back. "Forget the old world! This one is much more fascinating!" If the above facial expression didn't give it away, things got weird.

"Dude. Dude... check it out, dude. The trees are glowing. They're glowing, man! Man, stop the bike, I want out. STOP THE BIKE I WANT OUT!" Ziggy whipped out his canvas and brush. "WOOOO YEAAAA!! You didn't think I could talk, too, did you!?!?"

I'd like to say I was crafty enough to find this little hut to sleep in, but the truth is that I've been carrying the lumber and tools with me the entire time.

"The peanut butter is not mixing with the jelly properly. They need to be separated. We need a slice in between. Okay, listen up everybody! We're going to trying something new here. Peanut butter! Jelly! Your rights to assemble have been revoked. Please welcome this third wall of bread as our latest edition to the group."

"Must... keep... pushing!" Each syllable comes out as a swift pulse of sound to make room for rapid intake of oxygen. "Can't... allow... mountain... TO BEAT US!!" My layered shirts have been gaining weight for the last hour. They sway as one, back and forth with every stroke of the cylinders just to force our balancing mechanisms to work even harder. It's drenched with effort but far too cold outside to consider stripping down. I'm losing the battle. The moment I succomb to this fact, my feet hit the ground and I collapse onto the handlebars. I'm spent. There's a heavy pulsing of blood throughout my veins and the internal volume is earsplitting. It's drowning. I can see it beneath my skin. I can feel it in my eyes. They're pumping, swelling, pulsating. The heart begins to slow and the temporary dizzy spell subsides. He flips the breakers and my senses gradually come back online. Consciousness resumes. I see pavement beneath a tire. I hear heavy breathing. "That's me. That's me breathing." Like it was entirely unnecessary, I close my mouth and put an end to the ruckus. Pick your head up. Look around. Like a camera hanging above on a boom from stage left, I see myself completely alone, standing on an inclined, barren black between green. Small hills of soaked grass are to his left and right. Behind is forest. Ahead is mist. There is no horizon; the fog has put him in small room. Empty. There's a dull light through clouds. As he looks around, the expression of bewilderment on his face says only one thing: "Where am I? What am I doing here?"

It's getting heavier. The mist is taking on the qualities of a blanket. I can barely see the forest lining the road. We continue upwards into white. There is no sound, there are no signs of life. The next revolution may be my last. "We're lost, Shadowfax." The bicycle is fading from my own sight. His chain is cracking the silence like the wheels of a rusted machine. It's brought my presence to the attention of the those lurking in the mist and perching in the shadow. My head snaps in the direction of footsteps shuffling through leaves. "I can hear you", I call into the morning air. "Don't even bother coming onto the road". The sound of my own voice is a faint effort of reassurance but my body is rigid with fear. Keep moving. Keep moving... up into the mist. It's getting thicker.

There is something strange in the air. Something strange and unnatural. This road... this road used to be heavily traveled. This place is alive. What is this? This is where they go. The Bermuda Triangle... the lost city of Atlantis, this is where they've all gone. Through the mist I can hear the sound of heavy rain but I remain dry. What is happening? I look down at my map to count the number of turns before I reach the summit, but already I've made far more spirals than are shown. It feels as though I've climbed much higher than 2,500 feet. Oh no. It's that painting. I'm stuck in that painting... the one of the infinite, spiraling staircase that only ever goes up. I cease pedaling to stop and think. None of these bends are shown on my map... how is this possible? I clipped back into the pedals and the sound of metal sliding over metal echoed indefinitely. I've crossed over.

And into the Beyond.

"This road has got to end at some point." In time, the sun found a means to pierce the fog and shone a hope upon our eyes; there is a light at the end of this tunnel after all. My jaw dropped. For the last time, I came to a stop and dismounted the bike. Sunbeams laid scattered about. It was as though the heavens threw their doors wide open in an unimaginable and phenomenal spectacle of prismatic light... light you could hold in the palm of your hands. I stood in wonder for a moment. It came through the trees and began to move across the sky. Immediately the clouds were erased upon its presence. Blue skies sang in the world above but were soon consumed by the aurora of vivid radiance. I could now see only light. "This is it. I've found it... and it's calling to me." I wasn't anywhere near where I had planned on going... simply right where I was meant to be.

We walked slowly towards the light. It began to pull on the very fabric of my being and the closer I became, the greater it pulled. There was a pleasant and amiable curiosity to its brilliance and I more than willingly gave way entirely. We no longer walked but instead sailed from the ground; weightless and without hesitation. "Wait! My bike!" I turned my head around to see my horse lingering on the road in distress. "I'm not going anywhere without my horse!" His ears perked up and light now struck his eyes. Shadowfax came to life. With the most grand smile I've ever seen, he took one stride and leaped from that world to cross into my own. Fading into a blooming splendor with hands outstretched, we were reunited and sailed as one into the world to come.

I awoke in full stride and a hurried gallop. The mist was gone. The light was gone and we ran up towards the crest of the mountain with unprecedented ease. Making way, I came to cross its apex and towards a vista point, my eyes laid upon a most strange world. We came to an abrupt stop as his front hooves harnessed all our momentum into a mighty rearing and thunderous outcry. "What in the... you've never done that before. What is this place? Who are those people down there?" There was nothing of familiarity. Nothing was able to be explained. Curious creatures walked about this country of dense jungle, beach and blue waterfall. He came up from behind me. "One by one they all come back. One by one they find their way home," said a voice. I immediately turned around.

"You're missing your lance", the white horse says to me. A blazing, orange and fiery bird flies overhead. "What?" -- "Your lance. Where is your lance?" I look down at my hands and for some reason feel an incredible guilt for forgetting my lance. He spoke, "No matter. Come, Chiron! There is much to do!" The white horse then leaps from the ridge and with great, feathered wings, takes flight down towards the water's edge. "Come!" he called back to me. There was little thought in accepting the bizarre encounter and so I made haste down a path and into the rich valley. "What was that word he called me?", I think to myself. The sound of hooves galloping beneath me continues. "And where is my lance, anyway?" I come to the entryway of the Lost Coast and a large, one-eyed man stands before me. "Born of sun and raincloud!" he calls, "the great healer and centaur returns!" -- "The great what?" I look down towards the handlebars only to find that they're missing. "It's good to see you!", says the man. Where is your lance?" -- "My what?" -- "Your lance! Ah, no matter! Come! Welcome!"

I meander through the gate and into commotion and bustling on the other side. Many talk in groups amongst themselves. Great men, divine beauties and remarkable beasts bearing human qualities and weaponry are about exchanging word and laughter. A pair of monks in dark, hooded robes convene on stumps discussing a black art. Two, horned minotaurs sit in silence over a chess match. "Hephaestus!", I call out to greet him before he could greet me as though I know precisely who he is. He gives voice, "My old friend! It's been too long!". From behind his towering figure, he pulls a craft of impossible quality that shines like polished steel. "I've got your lance!". With a flick of his wrist, he tosses it toward me and I pick it from of the air like a feather in the breeze. "It's good to be home!", I profess.

Boo this "reality" of yours! BooOOOoooOOO!

To quote John Lennon during this recorded interview, "I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now? Reality leaves a lot to the imagination." Did all that really happen? Did the bike and I really fuse as one and transform into half man, half horse? I think yes. So long as I let Chuck figure out the logistics and let Charlie write his imagination upon our scroll of time, I think yes.

For those requiring a more concrete interpretation, I guess a part of me cycled down Mattole road and found the coast. Though it wasn't quite as magical as the mind's eye, it was a sightly image nevertheless. The ocean was outlined with black shores for a stretch of seven miles and rocky waters split the sea. Huge, black and sharpened boulders lay inland scarred with lacerations from wind and sand. To the west, the sun escapes clouds and beats down upon blue to create a luminous strip lining on the horizon. I would have loved to camp there that night, but you can't legally gain access to the beach as it's someone's personal property. "Maybe I can sleep on the other side of the road towards the mountains?" No, somebody owns the mountains, too. "Somebody owns the mountains? Somebody owns the shoreline? Does someone own that river, too?" According to a piece of paper called a deed, they do. "What a load of shit, humanity does not own the world." I've had this conversation with myself far too many times. Just food for thought...

I'm tired... think I'll go lay down on some straw.



The luminous strip! Tally hoe!

Diagnosis: Severe lacerations.

Bicycle? Horse? Man? Who cares, I'm still not going to shave.

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A New Earth

Written by Eckhart Tulle

Transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world.

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  7. Dreams within Dreams
  8. The Imagination runs Wild
  9. I've Crossed Over
  10. Heaven, Hell and everything in between

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My name is Charles Tronolone and I'm attempting something a bit unconventional; I'm trying to make a living by writing while on a perpetual bicycle tour. How I got to this point is a story in itself, but suffice to say that I refuse to be just another cog in the machine. There's too much important work to be done and too many eyes to open for us to be content with personal goals or riches. In late 2006, I managed to escape the machine, and now I'm setting off to help bring it down.

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