I headed east into Kansas and then south into Oklahoma the next morning. I kept changing my mind about where I was going to go that night. There was a state park that looked good, but it was hot and I would want a shower before bed and I couldn't be sure the park would have one. After a long day of cornfields and small towns I did some extra miles in exchange for the luxury of a KOA.
Every time I go camping I'm reminded again why I do it. It's easy to forget; hotels are so nice, with the locked private rooms and the clean sheets under fluffy comforters and the ambient temperature controls. But when I finish my day zipped into a tent, listening to the cicadas and smelling the woods and watching the stars twinkle, it's always with the thought, That's why I do this. It's amazing.
When dark fell, it revealed that I'd set up my tent in the insistent glow of a street light, so I pulled up stakes and moved to a slightly darker place. With the fly left open to catch the breeze, I could see Hina peeking in at me, and it was strangely comforting to see her there. Poking through the natural joy of camping, there's always the worry that someone will try to rob me or an animal will think I'm tasty. Hina couldn't help with either of those things, of course, but when you spend so much time alone with your motorcycle, you start to imagine a personality into it. After all, it's just the two of you out there looking after each other.