Sunday, June 3, 2012

Riding... How Much is Enough?

I've had the thought... That I've not been riding as much as I thought I would when we left the old life behind and started our full time yondering... nearly two years ago now.

Sometimes... that's been true. When we're camped 30 miles above Gunnison and ten miles up a dirt road... there's something that just interferes with my desire to put the Raider on the ground.... and that just ain't right.

But what can I say, dirt roads just don't shine for that big road burner. The result is that sometimes that bike has sat on the truck for several days at a time... too many days.

Since we've been roosted back in Fort Collins I've been back to pretty much daily runs for one purpose or another. It reminds me that I'm a much happier old coot if I'm pushin' that sled through the wind at least once a day.

Now... sayin' I've not been splittin' the wind enough since we left so many months ago might have some folks scratchin' their heads...

... considerin' that I started out this wandering journey of ours two years ago riding to Alaska and back in mid 2010. The Million Dollar Highway through Silverton came next in the fall.

The Raider rolled through Arches National Park and Canyon Lands. It ran the Pacific Coast Highway a few miles; We covered the roads around Redding and Mt. Shasta in California. We've ridden Yosemite, and Going to the Sun Road up in Glacier National Park... Twice!

Yellowstone has been ridden twice itself! We rolled around San Juan Island in Puget Sound and across the Sierras in Washington. Lolo and Lost Trail passes in Montana have seen me come through... as well as the Bear Tooth Highway! I've raced across southern Montana and Northern Wyoming to the Black Hills of the Dakotas.

The Arizona Desert and its Highlands have known the feel of my Raiders tires in the last two years, as well as Zion and Bryce up in Utah...

So... When I say I've not been riding enough... some might ask... "Huh? Are you kidding?" :) What can I say? It's an unsatisfied lust. Maybe unsatisfiable?

Yesterday after visiting the kids in Denver and needful of another asphalt fix, I chose to make a swing out to the base of the Front Range Mountains to circle back to Fort Collins, rather than the boring slab run up I-25.

I still had to fight my way past the lil' gals with their cell phone either stuck in their ears... or held in front of their faces... texting... while their volvo drifts 'cross the lane line... to get out of Denver and through Boulder to catch 36 to Estes Park. (this is where I'm just shaking my head)

So... I break out into some nice open mountain road... roll clear of the few hundred cagers with the same idea for a Saturday morning... (at least most of 'em weren't texting!)

To find the weather trying to keep things interesting... Which is why I turned up 36 and not gone farther west on 119 to catch 72 up through Nederland and Ward. It was REALLY dark off that way! :)

*Weather Brewing on a Ribbon of Asphalt*

I'm pretty sure some would look up ahead... see those clouds and then turn 'round and roll for home... I understand that... but think it's a mistake. All GOOD riding is not sun shine and balmy weather.

The truth is... there's something in the rain. There's something you get... riding through a storm... that you don't get otherwise. It's another shade of the healing power of the Open Road. I was wonderin' about it as I rolled... and wonderin' was I gonna get wet. I don't generally climb into my rain gear... 'less I'm pretty certain sure the thing is gonna last a while... I know... I know... the formal term is "Learning Disabled"...

Anyhoo... The only thing that came to me was that the Rain is LIFE. It's Life fallin' out of the sky. I don't know... Maybe that's why I'm always grinnin' when I'm rain riding. I love the fresh scent of the air... even the sound of the drops rattling on my Helmet. It's all good.

Yeah... I know... the old man is Weird! :)

*Two Wheels rolling into the Storm*

The truth is... I learned a lesson from a forgotten teacher... a Long time ago. "Don't fight the weather or fear it. Just go with it. Embrace It!"

But... even a weather embracing, puss gut, cowboy biker can choose to wimp out once in a while...

*Motorcycle Hideout*

 ... and that's what I did yesterday. I took shelter for a while to wait out the storm with a cup of hot coffee at McDonalds in Estes Park. ;)

So... I sat there till it passed... almost...

When I climbed back on the bike and headed down the Big Thompson Canyon... it jumped out from where it was hiding behind the mountain and said gotcha! with big rattling rain drops... that had me grinning one more time.

Now... maybe in the next few days I've got a 1200 mile... maybe three day run penciled out. If Murphy don't find out and gum up the works...

When I get back from that... there Should Be... some Sweet Hard Chrome exhaust pipes waiting to customize the bike... which will also provide the room needed to mount some Tsukayu Hard bags that should be arriving shortly after...

All to improve the bike... for splittin' the wind a lot farther and longer...

It is my intention to push Several good long rides into my yondering over the next couple of years.

I refuse to let age and poverty stand in the way of Living! :)

Don't Sweat the Rain... It's only a lil' water

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