One Way Out

“Ain’t but one way out baby, Lord I just can’t go out the door” – Elmore James

You know who you are.  You’re sitting at work on a Friday before a long holiday weekend, say for instance… Labor Day weekend.  You’re trying to get work done but your mind is preoccupied.  Sitting just outside the door is your car and strapped to it is your bike with a bunch of gear.  Why? Because you’re going bikepacking on your favorite route in the Sierra Nevada, that’s why.  You’re giddy with excitement. After all, this is what you live for. If you could only get out that door…

Sure you’re gonna have to fight traffic to get to where you’re going to start the ride, but you know it’ll be worth it.  Since you’re an unlucky idiot who can’t seem to figure out how to escape California, you’ll have to drive through the LA basin to get to the Sierra.  Gnashing your teeth and suppressing the urge to scream obscenities at the long line of bumpers ahead of you, you’ll slowly make your way north.  But even though you’ll share the roads with hundreds of thousands of others on the way to the trailhead, tonight you’re going to sleep in an aspen grove by a mountain creek.  At 8000ft, maybe there will even be a hint of Fall in the air.  First thing tomorrow you’ll climb over an 11,000 ft pass.  Your lungs will scream but your soul will smile, because for today you’re a lucky idiot that can’t seem to escape the love/hate relationship that is California.


Eventually the singletrack will lead you across a high ridge that hardly anyone else rides.  Solitude in a sea of humanity.


The day will compress, the hours will seem like minutes.  As the sun sets you’ll disappear for one magic instant as the world lapses into an all too brief suspended animation of alpenglow oblivion.  Keeping your eyes on the trail as best you can, the descent into Big Pine Canyon will end in darkness…


…. until you find a place to sleep, then get up to do it all again the next day.

But first you have to escape the office and the watchful eye of the boss, he knows too well what you’re thinking.  Lord I just can’t get out that door…

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2 Responses to One Way Out

  1. Erika Nelson says:

    I really admire people who don’t just sit and stare at digital images on the monitor – you actually merge with these beautiful places! More power to you be safe out there!

    • Tom says:

      actually, my bike is equipped with the same drone technology as the US Military. I drive it out there remotely and take pictures of it with another rover. Saves a lot of headaches 🙂

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