The RV looked a lot smaller in Bend, where it was parked out in the back of the yard near the stables. In San Francisco it was gargantuan. People took one look at it, and thought we were part of a movie production team. Who else besides a Teamster would drive a 27’ RV up and down those insane hills?
The moment we pulled into the Greyhound Bus Station we leapt out of the RV and ran to the back. No blue bike. We stood in the parking lot with our hands on our hips for a good five minutes, staring at the bike rack, in the event that perhaps the bike was hiding beneath some heretofore unsuspected cloak of invisibility.
Then, we squabbled. The situation was similar to when my daughter was an infant and when she yawned she was so surprised to find her mouth wide open, she just naturally assumed she was in the middle of a howling crying fit and would start screaming. Jerrod and I had been so amazed at our ability to roll along without having to stop (we’d already mastered switching drivers while in the slow lane) that now we had pulled over and were standing outside the vehicle with our hands on our hips, it must mean we’re having an argument.
We were exhausted. We were trapped beneath those awful orange-yellow sodium-vapor lights that would make Angelina Jolie look like she’s just been zombified, in the Greyhound bus station parking lot of the second most hilly city in the world (at that moment we were convinced we were in the most hilly city on earth, but Google set us straight: it’s La Paz, Bolivia), minus a pretty good mountain bike. Now that the bike was gone, it was an excellent bike. It was an excellent, expensive bike that I loved, and that Jerrod had not strapped on to the bike rack with the love and care it deserved.
“You were rushing,” I said. “You did a half-ass job.”
“I don’t think the bike just fell off. I think it was ripped off when we went through the toll booth. That’s when all those people started pulling up next to us and honking.”
“It was held to the rack by little woven straps. Just because we’re just hopping in the RV and going, that doesn’t just mean we can hop into the RV and go. We should have used the bike lock.”
“Think of it this way, some child in need probably has a new bike now.”
“Child in need? Because kids hang out around the toll booths on the Bay Bridge waiting for bikes to be ripped off bike racks?”
“That actually doesn’t sound like a bad racket.”
“I thought you said they were children in need?”
“Who needs a racket more than children in need?”
“Now you’re being ridiculous.”
You get the idea. I totally loved that bike. I totally saw myself tooling around Santa Fe wearing a bandana over my hair and a black Zorro hat over that, just like O’Keeffe. Actually, when I imagined that, my head felt really hot. But the point is, I felt bereft.
We climbed back in the RV and made our way up to the top of Market St. As part of our just-picking-up-and-going-in-the-O’Keeffian-manner, we thought we’d drop in an old friend, my roommate from grad school. Since we obviously couldn’t park the RV on Market, or risk having the entire side bashed in by a Prius, she’d found us a place to park on a steep side street parallel to Market, hidden from view by a long, narrow dog park, shrouded in trees.
Here, we learned yet another RV lesson: don’t expect to get any sleep if you park your RV on a hill.