Thursday, July 3, 2008

Lessons from the Road (Or "The Learning Curve)

I've been trying to post this for a couple of weeks. I actually started writing from the road, but that didn't work out too well. Forgive me the absence, I'll try posting this and subsequent Motorcycling events in smaller issues, more often. I hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July... I'll Catch you on the Road! Camron ____________________________________________________________________

I took this picture Friday (June 27) after the bike was done for the night to show you the starting point for the ride. I finished packing afterward and spent the evening with my family, or tried to at least. My sons are apparently too old to want to spend time with me just because I'm leaving town.
I got up early
Saturday and went through & made sure I had packed everything I needed. I usually forget at least one thing, but so far this trip I haven't figured out what it could be. After I got everything packed & loaded, we woke the boys up & I took the whole family to Breakfast. As Much as I had been looking forward to the trip, I was finding plenty of reasons to take a couple of more minutes. Just trying to figure out
what I forgot before I got too far away.

After breakfast we went out to the parking lot for a couple of pics and said our farewells, then I started off... well, after a quick circle down by the beach to see the pacific one more time before I left.
I finally hit the highway about 8:00 A.M. & enjoyed cool fair weather until after 11:00. Then it started getting warm. I had a slight fuel issue in the area of Calico Ca. When My light came on I pulled off & asked about fuel at a convenience store. Met an old time/Bike enthusiast who assured me he had a Classic Norton Commando at home. We chatted for a few with him giving me advice on motorcycling, such as never have anything but leather between you & the pavement if you go down (Seems he went down in a down parka once... It was snowing feathers for four blocks down the road!) before he told me the closest gas was 6 miles back, and the closest gas ahead of me was well farther than I can
make it with the fuel light on. (It comes on when there is aprox 1 gallon in the tank.) My best MPG ever was 53, and the next gast waS 58 miles ahead. Too close for me to chance, so I went back. The closest station that he was telling me about had all the card readers taped off, so I went inside to pay and was informed that the station was completely out of gas. Back on the bike for 5 more miles of backtracking through the California desert. This time in order to reach the next exit, I had to go through the inspection station where they make sure you don't have any illegal vegetation on your vehicle...
Fun Fun Fun. After I got gassed up I figured out that I better not use the light as my stop guage and I started paying a LOT more attention to my fuel level.
This put me a little behind where I wanted to be, but I still rode into Red Rock Harley-Davidson at about 1:00. I was getting a bit dehydrated, because I was just stupid enough to decide to send the hydration pack home with my wife from Denny's instead of wearing it out. So, I stayed put & had lunch & got plenty to drink before heading back out.
While my next planned stop was supposed to be Zion Harley-Davidson, I decided to stop a bit more often for water breaks, and generally used any excuse t
o do so. Like taking a couple of pictures of the Nevada desert (Mojave?) scenery...
After a couple of these stops, I rolled into Zion Harley-Davidson in Washington, Utah with about 10 minutes to spare till closing time. However the staff were wonderfully accommodating and helped me find what I was looking for (T-shirt, Water, Directions) With no hurry whatsoever . Great People. They gave me directions and a map showing how to get through Zion National park,

And told me most of the riders usually do Bryce Canyon as part of the same ride, But as it was sunset already as I went through Zion, I decided not to do Bryce Canyon.

Zion, However is a truly magnificent place.

For the first time in my trip, I had a deeply spiritual connection between myself and the land around me that was channeled through Kate.

At this precise moment I realized that Heaven does exist and it's not a far off fantasy place. It's right under your nose if you just open yourself up & look for it.

Mother Nature's pallet has endless colors to be sure.
Shortly after coming out of Zion, with the sun dropping more into the horizon, I began to wonder how much longer I should ride. I had decided to stay on the 89 all the way to I-70. Several miles down the road I saw a Doe grazing beside the road and caught the tingling sensation that maybe I should start looking for a hotel.
After passing several and deciding to push just a little farther, I rounded a curve to find a Buck in the middle of a road crossing, being followed by four more Bucks and three Does. I started down-shifting in a hurry and found myself watching one of the bucks approach me straight on from the side. He was so close I could reach out and touch his nose before he turned to run parallel with me for several yards before I left him behind. With this as my wake-up call I slowed my speed tremendously and started to look in earnest for the next available hotel.
I came upon the "Mountain Harvest Resort", a quaint little lodge of Log-cabin style buildings & pulled into the gravel parking lot.
Pulling off my helmet I walked into the convenience store/ office and proceeded to the counter.
The lady behind the counter asked, "how's it going?"
To which, I replied, "That depends... Do you have any rooms?"
"Yes, They're all double rooms..."
I cut her off. "I don't care. I'll take it"
I'm not usually a rude individual, but in this particular instance the road had won this round and I was not myself.
I paid the woman for the room and asked about food. The only open restaurant in town was another mile down the road, SO I unpacked in a hurry & left for it in the dying light.
I would find out later that the resort is owned by a former biker & his family. He used to live in Arizona and ride up to this part of Utah a lot. So when the time came
I returned to my room well after dark and retired for the night, many lessons learned.


Lady Ridesalot said...

Getting up close and personal with a buck and his family may have proved to be the best lesson of all. I know a lot of riders like riding at night, but I have more problems with my night vision and I prefer not to. I'm afraid I wouldn't see something until it's too late. Thanks for sharing your story. It's good to hear from you again.

FLHX_Dave said...

Damn dude. I just did the same route two weeks back. We hit the same places. Check out my West Drifting 1 & 2. What's funny was I wanted to hit Bryce but couldn't do it either. Zion was awesome, I loved that tunnel the goes through the rock. Man, reading your post made me want to go out again.

Hydration pack is as important as fuel brother. Nothing kills a good ride like dehydration, and once it happens, there is no short recovery. Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

Well, you know about my patient in the unit that hit a deer on his Harley! I'll just say that the bike came out better than he did.


Ann said...

Wow, I can't imagine coming that close to the deer on the bike! You were lucky!

I love the pics of Zion. I really want to go there next year!

"Joker" said...

I hit and killed a doe with my Dodge Ram pickup about 8 years ago. My truck got good and banged up in the process. I would NOT want to have that experience on a motorcycle. I love that line about Heaven being right there in front of you. That's how I feel every time I see the Atlantic Ocean.

Good post. Ride Safe.

mrs road captain said...

Dave beat me to it, but as I was reading I just kept thinking "he should've gotten some tips on Zion from Dave before he left!"

Sounds like a fabulous trip. We will get out west one day...

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Motorcycle Mama said...

Thanks for sharing this leg of your trip... felt like I was riding right along with ya!

Here's to many more happy trails! =)

Camron said...

Just a quick note from the underbelly.
I Had to deal with a computer crash on a massive level from my perspective. I've since bought a new comp, but moving the old files over to it so I can use it is a slow, tedious process.
I'll try to post again asap.
Till then, thanks for stopping by, I'll catch you on the road.

fasthair said...

HI AiC: just found your blog. Enjoying it a great deal. After reading of this trip it brought back many memories of my time in Bryce.


Radical Twin said...

nice pics !!!
EE, from RFT
Bikes, Babes, Tattoos and Rock'n'Roll ... Enjoy !