The Stand

I woke in a field, not far from the highway and commercial buildings. The longer I go without anyone hassling me about sleeping outside, the less I try to be stealthy.

I rode toward a tourist town on the coast. Months away from tourist season, it was strangely empty and quiet, like a ghost town. It's too cold for beaches and bikinis, so the movement virtually stops. I can ride down the street drifting from lane to lane on wide roads with no cars or people in sight. It's like a post-apocalyptic world.

I've always loved novels like Stephen King's The Stand, where disaster strikes and the protagonist is left alone to roam nearly empty cities after the complete collapse of human society. In a way, my love of those novels is related to my love of backpacking. It simplifies life. Just pick a direction, go, survive.

With very little effort in these dead towns, I can pretend I'm in one of those post-apocalyptic worlds. Sometimes it seems a zombie might come around the next corner. Actually, sometimes I see a person or persons in the distance and my imagination kicks in. I wonder what I would do if it was a zombie or a lawless roving gang. I see towers like this one and think things like, "We should have sentries stationed up there 24x7."

I could imagine the children playing here before the Government created that damn virus in their secret underground laboratory. Why have we been so foolish?! Why did we think we could play God?!

I could have setup my camp in the middle of this road and bothered nobody. Is it weird that I'm a little disappointed that the tourists will come back in a few months and this isn't post-apocalypse?