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Flashback Friday - 2004-2014

Continuing with the 10 year anniversary of my summer of 2004 when I put on about 7000 miles on my bike and my butt.  In these pics, I made it to Arches.  My goal was to get to Moab, Utah and Arches National Park.  They have a few of these overlook observation rest area along the road and in this one, I pulled the bike over and decided to get a couple of selflies and a shot of the panoramic vista.     

I'm riding my trusty 1996 Kawasaki 1500, of the dead shark paint style (white over gray).  I need to say a few words abut that bike.  Firstly, we never had a single problem.  I thought we had a problem in Wyoming, but turns out I didn't.  More on that later.  Aside from that this bike handled me with extreme care - absolutely trouble free all summer long.  I think I said at the time, it took care of me better than I deserved.  I just cranked her up and off we'd go.  All I ever checked was the oil.  I should have checked the tires, as I later learned in South Dakota (a second trip that summer).  Great great bike.  

But for now, here I am in hot Arches laden with all kinds of weight (sleeping bag, tent, clothes, and other stuff like journals, an extra helmet and hygiene items).  

Did I mention hot?  But the scenery is the stuff of dreams.  Beautiful, and endlessly arresting.   I guess smart people don't go to Arches at high noon in July,  I was the only one there at the time.  


With pictures like these words seem so inferior.  I need to finish my story about the mechanical problem in Wyoming that ended up not being a problem.  I was traveling on the interstate from Price, Utah on up through Wyoming (day after these pictures were taken).  The bike wasn't cutting out but simply unable to keep up with the cars.  It was like there was no acceleration.  I recall the wind was a bit stiff, but still, I was being passed by everyone.  I decided to find a Kawasaki dealership in Cheyenne to get whatever was wrong fixed.  Turns out I found a place but there was no problem, it was explained that the high altitude was messing with the carburetor.  All I had to do was get closer to sea-level and my problems would be solved. 

After spending the night in Cheyenne I'd begin to head for home because the weather, according to TV, was going to turn bad for a week.  Up early as usual, and within 20 minutes of heading out on Interstate 80, the rains came and wouldn't stop until I made it back to G-Burg.  

I stopped after a bit when I came to an overpass and decided to wait it out a while.  I sat there, faunching, wet and cold.  This was all pre-smart phone so I couldn't even play "Words With Friends."  After what was probably 45 minutes I heard in the distance a low whizzing sound.  I'd know that anywhere.  Crotch rockets.  I arose and walked along the road out in the rain as the sound grew nearer.  I looked up at the Interstate and shortly a couple went by going probably 80 mph and then another.  I didn't say it out loud, or maybe I did, but my mind went something like, "By God if they can do it going that damn fast, I can do it going slower."  I took off, my fingers practically making grooves in the grips.  In 12 hours I made it back to G-Burg and stopped at Crappy's for an unbreaded tenderloin and a beer.  I was wet, muddy, and exhausted.  It rained most of the way, sometimes light, sometimes heavy.  I'd sweep my finger across my helmet shield sometimes so I could see, and those damn semi's just about did me in once or twice: blinding me with their wash and knocking me around.  But I made it.  Still won't ride in the rain unless I absolutely have to, but if I must, it can be the most adrenaline charged thing I do.  


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