Sunday, July 10, 2016

The end of the journey....

We woke to a bright and sunny day in Logan.  We had a continental breakfast at the motel, and moseyed our way over to Renegade Sports.  A playground for kids big and small.

Nathan pulled my tires off to be balanced so competently, they literally offered him a job on the spot.  Maybe someday... They also had the right size jet for my carburetor, so he fixed that too.  I took off with glee!  When the xt works and you aren't riding WOT for hours on end, she is the BEST BIKE EVER!  

I checked out the whole place. Behind Nathan, you can see the dirt track; for $15, you could ride all day.  They sometimes have demo days, and you can actually test your bike on dirt. They also had a go kart track...

a playground for the kidlets...

a ride that had both a bungee type experience as well as a swing type experience...

They were selling this, which honestly, looks like a whole lotta fun...

And there was a rock wall inside.  I want to live in Logan, Ut.  People clearly wouldn't need therapy here, so I'd have to work at the motorcycle shop. :P 

Tires and jets done, we were off! Today's destination included Craters of the Moon National Monument, and the Sawtooth Mountains.

Today had some interesting riding experiences.  Again, if you worry about my safety (mom) skip these sections. :)

I believe this all happened after crossing the Idaho border.

The first one was actually super cool and interesting.  I was riding on a three lane highway, (passing lane in my direction in the center) and I was riding in the right lane, next to a semi hauling hay. (who was, of course, passing the xt at wide open throttle.)  We were headed up hill, and as we went up, I got caught in the air pocket next to the semi.  Outside of my control, my bike accelerated. (It had to be outside of my control, as I was already wide open throttle going uphill, where I usually start to slow down.)  I actually let go of the throttle in surprise for a second; I was going 70 uphill!  It was warm and smelled like hay, and I had this flash feeling of "this is what it feels like to be beamed onto an alien spacecraft."  Super cool experience.  Later, Nathan told me they played with this on mythbusters, and came to the conclusion (Something like) that the semi actually changes the gravity in its vicinity.

We kept going, and were on a two lane highway.  Nathan went around a double trailer semi.  I looked off in the distance, and saw a speck; at this point the semi was going 55; surely I could get around the semi before that spec was in the lane of oncoming traffic.  I pull into the lane of oncoming traffic to pass.  I roll on, wide open throttle.  I'm guessing the semi didn't see me at that point; it started to accelerate.  At this point, I'm about halfway past, and am not worried, just having reached top speed.  The semi continues to accelerate.  I am inching my way forward, and the speck is pretty visibly becoming a van.  I see the semi driver look in his side mirror, but he does not slow down a bit.  I'm going as fast as I can, and only gaining inches on this truck.  I don't know if I can drop back behind him, and the last thing I wanted was to be somewhere next to the open bottom of the trailer (aren't there supposed to be windguards of some sort to protect against the vacuum effect?  So, I keep on the throttle, as I am now even with the sleeper cab.  The speck that is a now a van is close.  I move to the yellow center line.  Calmly, I ride the center line next to the cab of the semi, as the van flies past in the other direction at 70 mph.  The semi driver must have finally taken pity on me and slowed down, or the xt must have appreciated the very slight downhill elevation change, because I was finally able to get far enough ahead of the semi to pull back into my own lane without fearing being rear ended.  

It's amazing how calm and centered you can be when you need to be, yet when the overwhelming fear has passed, how much terror passes through your body.  I talked briefly to Nathan on the intercom; I think between my fear experiencing this event and his fear watching it, the conversation did not go as smoothly as it could have, so we just rode to our next destination.

I think we were having very similar lines of thought at this point.  I can only share mine.  "I need a bigger bike.  I need to be able to pass a semi.  I love the xt off road, but I can't do these long trips on it anymore.  Nathan was right, way back when I wanted to take it instead of the gs, when both were an option.  It's too slow."  along side of "oh my god I can't believe I'm alive."  

We made it to Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Cool picture, no?  I think Nathan looks like an astronaut in this photo.  

We finally pull over to talk.  Nathan likes to call it our "come to Jesus talk."  It was along the lines of "motorcycling is our passion, and having an appropriate bike for the trips we both like to take needs to be a priority."  As you can see from my above thoughts, he got no argument from me.  And the appropriate bike, in my mind, was not an Rx3.  It simply did not have enough power.  I think Nathan's on the spot made up rule was "no more bikes under 30 hp" but I could be wrong.  Those numbers don't stick well in my head.  

Anyway, back to Craters of the Moon.  We rode up the road a bit, to the driving loop.  I was glad multiple times that we had our parks pass.  We would have likely skipped this little one; some parks were $25 per motorcycle, some were $5-10.  I think this one was in that range.  I was glad that it wasn't even a consideration, we just headed in.

It was kind of a cool place, especially if you have an interest in geology.  We just enjoyed the scenery from the road, but I imagined back to homeschool days... I would have taken Casi here for a weekend and studied all the signs and done all the hikes.  There are caves there too, which would have been pretty cool.

Nervous system restored after our chat and hugs and time to calm down, we continued on toward the Sawtooth Mountains. We got lunch and gas, and both pulled out our phones, connected to the wifi and started researching bigger motorcycles.  By some miracle, Nathan found the DR650.  I don't know how we'd missed it before.  I think because there is a sense that the BMW is factory lowered, so that the way it is lowered is "better" throws people off.  The DR650 has a lowering option built in from the factory.  It also has a low seat option made by Seat Concepts, a total win.  And for really short people, lowering links complete the package.  I literally couldn't stop reading about the DR 650. It looked perfect, with a narrow seat, and sounded like the best of all possible worlds for my personal style. I had been thinking BMW F700GS, which made me cringe a lot, so having the DR come to light excited me.  

After our internet filled lunch, we continued toward the Sawtooth Mountains.  It delights me that they look like their name.  The xt, even with it's awesome new jet, is still slow as we climb in elevation.  

 I snapped a couple photos from the road side.  

We had a decision to make.  Take the super curvy way back home, camping one more night after tonight, or have a power day and get home tomorrow.  We missed our puppy, and the thought of camping a couple hours from home, though usually fun, just didn't sound appealing.  So, we decided to go for the power day.  With that, we ended up in a campground early in the sawtooth mountains.  We got our tent set up and had a nice dinner.  We resolved to sleep well, so we'd be ready for a big riding day.

I really love camping next to rivers.  The sound is so wonderful,

The next morning, I woke up before Nathan.  I started doing what I could to get ready to go.  While rummaging around, I spotted a deer in the clearing next to our tent.

I was also really proud of myself, as thus far in the trip, I had been responsible for camp set up, and Nathan had done all the cooking.  Since I was up early, I found the directions for the camp stove, and made coffee, tea, and breakfast!  When Nathan got up, he was able to eat while I packed, and we were on our way.

There were no pictures on this 610 mile day.  Just wide open throttle A.L.L. day.  84 is beautiful as you come back into Oregon.  It gets a bad rap, I think maybe in southern Idaho, but I was pleasantly surprised at how amazing it was in Eastern Oregon.  Our friend Tahnee had been watching Moto for our entire trip, and agreed to meet us at our house with her that night, no matter what time we got home!  If I could have made the xt go faster, I would have.  We stopped at McDonalds, and I couldn't figure out why Nathan was so worried about the time.  Later we realized his hadn't adjusted for Pacific time.

We got home and Moto just couldn't stop wagging and kissing.  It was so good to see her again.  We even let her sniff Spanky, who was not sure about that idea at all.  It was fun to see how much she had bonded with Tahnee.  She would carry her bone to each of our feet, and chew for a few minutes, before moving on to the next person.  Since the trip, every time Moto sees Tahnee she greets her like her other mother.  It warms my heart that they bonded so well.  

I was reflecting the other day on why I call these honeymoon rides instead of anniversary rides.  I guess I feel like it gives Nathan and I time to fall in love again.  At the beginning of the trip, we carry our day to day roles and habits, but those are hard to hold onto when your entire context changes.  As the trip progresses, we get closer and closer.  There is a lovely balance of helmet time and talking time.  We negotiate  with less effort.  It's beyond an anniversary, which is just a marker of time... it's beyond a trip, which could be anything.  It's a period of getting to know each other again on a whole new level, because just because you get married doesn't mean you stop changing.  This time together, away from the day to day lets us explore each others newness and familiarity.  I hope we get to keep having honeymoons every year.  

for your viewing pleasure...

1 comment:

  1. very cool. well expressed sentiments as well. i've often thought that i (you?) should write a 'zen and the art of motorcycle riding' book. maybe a series of shorts. maybe you're already doing it. ;-)