With the eventful night before, I was ready to hit the road and make up anytime that had been lost from the crash. Fortunately I slept little the night before and I was on the road before sunrise after washing the bike. The wind farms of west Texas were beautifully silhouetted by the sunrise. Any photo I took wouldn’t do any justice in showing the distant
machines spinning to challenge any Don Quixote wannabe. It should have been an uneventful morning, but that changed leaving my first gas station stop. As I walked out I saw the final moments of a car T-bone a semi-truck at the intersection, in which it did a graceful 360 spin. Of course I reacted and ran to assist.
The driver of the car was in his late 60’s and his wife was riding shotgun. He got out immediately and had some gashes on his legs. She just sat there from the rough impact of the airbag. I turned off their car, used my first aid kit to bandage them up, and then waited for the cops. Funny moment: As I had entered the driver side to turn off the car the lady asked who I was. I think she was trying to figure out why I was getting into the car. I just smiled and answered “Brett”, because that’s who I am, and then tended her husband. As soon as the cops showed up I just hopped on the bike and headed out.
Much of northern Arizona and New Mexico were the same. Windy, trees, and some canyons to witness. This gave me a lot of time to debate why I had crashed the night prior. I concluded that it primary due to reduced control of the front end. The best way to fix that is by installing a fork brace, which would significantly reduce my wobble. I had stopped at
a dealer in Albuquerque but Kawasaki doesn’t provide one, which is quite surprising. My only option was to call Happy Trails, which I have a lot of gear from them, and request a next day delivery to Cedar City. The goal was to get there and have it all before meeting the LA crew a few miles away for camping. It was quite a trek since I needed to be there prior to 6PM.
My last night alone was spent camping on a full campground in the middle of Navajo territory. Very interesting to see horses roaming across the roads and the towns to have no alcohol (from what I could see). Unfortunately at the campsite I did a bike check and found
that my rear tire was low on tread. I could make it to Moab, but any further and I would risk a blowout. – – A beautiful night out here as I type this. I’m in the deep in the Rockies at about 10,500ft. It’ll be a could night, but I collected a large amount of wood. It is allowing me to lay back on a rock with the warm glow and stars above. I’m enjoying this. – – Now I need to get to Cedar City as early as possible to get a new rear tire as well. Crap, I still had 370 miles to go. Easy in a car, exhausting on a bike.
RAIN, SNOW, ICE, & VEHICLE REPAIR
– – I am certainly getting comfortable with camping in the wild alone. My first few nights I would get alerted by any noise. Is it a distraction by a pack of wolves so they can sneak up behind me? If I was a wolf that’s how I would do it. Or perhaps a bear ready to charge. Where’s my machete. Silly really, but most of my camping has always been with someone or near others. Everything is different when no one else is within miles. Yet here I am a week in and I have my routine and no noises concern me. It’s so much more enjoyable to relax and let nature do its thing. They would much rather avoid me as I them. – –
I made it into Cedar City in an impressive amount to time, around 3 PM. Since I had plenty of time before picking up my package, which was a bit frustrating as my brother had moved away from Cedar City not but two days ago (we passed on the road I am sure), I
decided to get the tire solved first. All of the shops in the city only had street tires or off-road, not the dual sport that I needed. I don’t have time to do this tomorrow, I had to have it done then. 40 minutes south, in St George, the shop had the tire I needed. So I quickly grabbed my package from the FedEx location and rode fast to the shop before they closed.
I made it with only minutes to spare. The shop wouldn’t touch my bike so I had to remove the rear tire myself within 10 minutes so that they could swap out the tire (sure I could swap it myself, but for 6$ charge I will let anyone do it). I impressed myself with my speed in getting the tire off. The bike balanced well on the center stand, so I should be good doing this on the road. While they worked on the tire I fixed my flood lights, windscreen, and installed the fork brace. I took over two parking spots with all of my gear strewn about. Didn’t matter as they were closed though. Exhausted, but I now had a fresh rear tire and better handling on my bike. I decided to head back into Cedar City to get a nice burger for dinner before going to the campsite. A great choice as the burgers in Cedar are amazing.
With all of the groups delays from LA, a large majority of them arrived after I had passed the site headed to get a new tire. This was a relief as the only person I knew, Marie from D.C., was there and could help me break the ice into the new group. It was nice to see her again, this being the second time since I left DC which is pretty random. The final total for the LA group was about 20 motorcycles and a truck. That’s about as large as any group that I like to ride and camp with. Any bigger and stupidity happens for the most part. I don’t care much for crowds I guess. I’m bad enough at remembering names in small groups, with a large crowd I just don’t even try.
The night was spent sharing motorcycle stories and pictures. I recounted my – – an ember just landed on my keyboard. I may, or may not, have panicked. – – I recounted my crash and the methods used to get out, as well as the snowstorm that I had run into. Most of the bikes there were Triumphs, which I have quite a large amount of knowledge on. Showing off the work I did to Marie’s bike left others to speculate what they could do with their bike. I started discussing tires in which one of the riders had me check out their rear tire. It was bad and needed to be replaced before Moab. I told him my opinion, but in the end its his bike. Fortunately the next day we would all be heading back into Cedar City and he would get it all taken care of.
That night was the coldest night I had experienced so far, – – tonight will be the coldest for sure – – and we all awoke to huddle by the fire and quickly head down the mountain into the warm town. Marie and I split from the group as I wanted a shower, as did she. Marie killed me as she got excited to see her own private full bathroom, she might never come out. Now the big issue with group rides is that the more people you add the longer a stop takes. After our showers, Marie and I were ready to ride out. No one else was near or ready. We managed to be patient for the next hour until most of the people were ready to go, so we then split the group into two.
Riding to Moab was difficult for me to keep pace. Everyone else had a lighter and faster bike. I could push my bike to keep up but it wasn’t fun for me. So eventually I just let them disappear into the distance and rode my comfortable pace. After all, I don’t have to stop for gas as often as them and Marie will text me where they stop. It wasn’t until the last stop before Moab that we all regrouped and ate some lunch. We had all thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful landscapes Utah had to offer but we were ready to be done and in the desert.
The final stretch to Moab was hard. The group leaders pushed fast and made it nearly impossible for anyone to keep up. Worst yet they started to overpass vehicles. Personally that is a poor ride leader to do that as it puts everyone else in danger as they struggle to keep up. At one point I got caught with an oncoming car, which was too close of a call for me. I hate large group rides. After that moment I just did my own thing and would see them in Moab if we get split up too much. That ended up being the case as we all came together in Moab for the final few miles to the campsite. It was hot, we were tired, and we were finally at our destination.
– – I am pretty sure I rushed the last bit of this writing. It’s extremely cold here and I don’t want to burn the wood for tomorrow morning. Time to hurry up and get in bed. So glad I bought some thermal socks today at REI. – –