Across the States, NY

The Disillusion of Tombstone

One extra day before I cross the country from Arizona to New York, yes!

The first day of a bigger tour I like to ride just up to 400 km. You will not be exhausted the next day so you can do more and you can see if all is good with the bike and yourself.

Aways this packing. The first day of the tour is specialy bad if you cant pack it the night before, jump on the bike next morning and just go. Probably something changed with the luggage. It got more or there is another idea how to pack it, since it is already too much stuff from the beginning and that basic problem is still unsolved. The established order of things is disturbed by every new item, even its just a little souvenir like the mug of Monument Valley. It only found its place, because I decided that there is no more food transported, like a bag of potatoes, cans with beans, Ravioli, onions and garlic, ..., sometimes even firewood and a six pack. The cans, real food and liquid food had its place as long I transported the spare front tire with me through Canada and Alaska in the hollow space of it.

And now, coming from Tempe and the Ellertsons where I lived for a while and picked up more belongings, the whole system needs to be rearranged.

As a result of that I leave a whole hour later as I planned.

The extra day is spent in Tombstone, the historical western town with authentic bars music and drinks. Years ago I was there for a day and was astonished about the mix of realities:

Tourists in casual clothes like shorts and skirts with a buggy, some bikers in black leather, musicians with old hats but new guitars, big bargirls in their funny dresses showing whatever they have but only serve drinks and food, tourists and actors in costumes of gunslingers and real authentic cowboys in their working clothes, which and who didnt change since 200 years. In between all of them me, the trained performer and conceptual artist enjoying the disorientation like everyone does. What time we are in and who we really are doesnt play a role. Being lost while being in a certain place is the only important issue. So I am fitting very well in, since my basic state is being lost while riding.

This time now the impression is slightly different. Fun, but I see more the business side of it. The hotel is actually too expensive, the food is good but pricy, nevertheless I see all bars and restaurants until all is closed and the beautiful Arizona sky with as many stars you wish to see drops on you.


New Mexico, Texas, ..., ..., ...,

Appallache Mountains

After crossing the states I am back in a Nature Reserve whichbtakes me days to ride through, the Appallache Mountains in the east. Like in the west in the many parks and wilderness I have the impression again that like this it must have been everywhere before the Europeans came and changed the continent upside down.

Again I see bear, turkey, deer, eagle, hawk, snake, migrating goose, many other birds and insects. No more first nation people, they were all killed or deported, which meant usually to die as well. Nevertheless in these National parks you get a feeling of what nature might have been. 

Most people do it in their cars like driving through a zoo. At least I dont have a cage around me while riding the motorcyce, but I wish to walk through the bushes or ride on a horse.


For as long as possible I avoided the Freeways and big cities. At the north end of the Appalache Mountains, where also the Blue Sky Drive ends, I had to make a decision. To make it in time to NY, there were not many options open, but taking the freeway straight into Manhattan. One more stop in a hotel, so that just 3 hours ride in the morning would bring me on the 78 through New Jersey, The Holland Tunnel, Manhattan and over the Brooklyn Bridge to my host in Brooklyn, Clinton Avenue near the Greene Park.

The euphory was still high on this sunny bright morning, riding finally through the big city, loaded with myth, expectations of millions of people coming through the centuries confronted with the harsh reality of the dollar.

The difference of my state of being encountering the NY pace and nervous fear about everybody and everything was as harsh as well. On my side the fixed posture of sitting while getting forward fast with high concentrartion to what happens in front of me. At the same time an all around awareness of constant visual changes, a high sense of independency as long there is fuel in the tank.

The other side is harder to describe, certainly I know that I am not fitting and dont want to fit in that nervous motion in enclosed spaces I observe on the streets. For the coming days my mood is going up and down as it was never on this tour.

I am just not accepting to go along with the unnecessary parameters of the unsocial contract. Instead of being supportive when meeting others its the opposite. Back in the North-West I made a statement: The reason to meet others is to make it better for each other. When people meet they should give and not take. What a wonderful utopian realism this is. Call it naive, but can you seriously say it is wrong?

Here in NY people dont even understand anymore when someone is keeping the door open, or cant take the time to give a thank you.


At the same time NY is cute, specially Manhattan. It is quite small compared with large cities like London and Berlin, Moskow, Beijing, ... .

The "Villages" are a remain of the last centuries, when immigrants from Itay, Germany, etc. were living in their own communities, as some populations still do, like the hardcore Jewish population in Brooklyn do, where everybody is dressed the same way and if someone speaks english at all, it is with a strong strong accent which shows that there is not much of mixing up happening.

Overall it makes to me the impression that NY did its service, either it should vanish in the ocean or become a museum.

Its good to see some friends. With Ishmael and Jeanine I work a couple of days just to try for a bigger production of the piece, which is planned for the next year.

Since Ishmael is member of a church he is involved in a show part for the "homecoming" (!) celebration as they call it. He asks me to come as well to support him. They reopen with that a part of the building which got renovated

Ishmael is doing fine in the choreography and the whole service is one big party: several choirs, a muppet show, dance, acting and of cause the main speech of  Chief Minister Jacqui Lewis make me feel being home indeed, no matter my motorcycle suit and helmet, no wonder, amongst the folks you can see drags, all human races anyway, gays, straight, kids, old, I could be an alien from another universe and Jacqui would greet me when I am entering the church and hug me when exiting, like she does with each of the several hundreds, no matter if I would be slimy, smelly, of any strange shape or size. I thought I was an intensed performer sometimes, but her show has content, conviction, rethorics, timing, honesty, intellect, doesnt exclude anyone, has heart, ... means something.

John and Laura would say: she is noisy, but she is a good person; Tom would say: Religion, well, but she is not bullshitting; I just say: the greatest performer of social art I have seen in a long time, I just woud add some space to discuss during the ceremony so its not all coming from the altar.

Think about god what you want or not, church anyway, and all these confessions which sometimes do as if they were different but mean the same at the end, - those people who practice a religion, no matter what confession, Hindu, Islam, Christian, Jewish, Mormon and the many others, I never had a problem with anyone anywhere. More the opposite, I was always welcome and got presents before I could give anything. More difficult it is with people who have neither one of these nor an aquivalent value system outside of the economic pressure. Best things are not to buy.

And indeed, when I exit the church amongst the other hundreds, Jacqui gives me the hug around my motorcycle jacket with all the armour and protection pads inside and I tell her quickly that NY is the end of one chapter of my tour about presents in the whole world before I go for a while to Germany, and that the ceremony was one of the nicest things I have experienced on the whole trip.

Jacqui: "Tell me about it!"

(please listen through at least until the part about once own freedom ...)

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Contact:                                                                              © Thomas Lehmen 2013