I am so much seeing lately "the road" as its own entity. That strip of black top or dirt, sand or gravel, washboards or ruts, it is common real estate to all of us, it is designed to go from point A to point B, but it is so much more than that! It has a Life of its own reverberating feelings enjoyed or disregarded as in many ways as there are human personalities. It’s "shoulders" has become one of the most interesting area. I like to stop, would even pull a chair if I had the chance and just watch… I watch as sometimes others also stop and it becomes a meeting point, while, still watching those colorful motorcycles, cars, trucks, bicycles, you name it, passes by. There are personalities behind those wheels, those handlebars.
Some are proud to display the expensive and well adorned vehicle, maybe designed for some serious off-roading but kept immaculate as only to display its showroom condition. Some as myself, put-putting along, using such vehicle only as a tool hoping for its mechanical credibility to take us and stop us on those shoulders which themselves are the windows to the many sights we pass by. Some are noisy emanating a sense of superiority with so much the wish of turning heads… some are quiet on the outside, only to accelerate one’s heart rate by its musical divinity putting to the test their shatterproof windows! There are laws in this country called "roads", there are laws even for its provinces called "shoulders" and there are the law enforcers which so easily, for the most part, with their red and blue lights and sirens, trigger such a physical and mental consternation for the riders and drivers, "walkers" sometimes too. There is so much more, the injured are transported, our mail is driven, our food is shuttled and I know I am forgetting some. But to me, it is the freedom to go and go and go some more till the body and the mind needing a break just pulls over, and invariably meet other travelers as that is where it is mostly happening. It is not happening in the tucked away piece of land one might live on or camp on, generally speaking that is.
The experiences are always of many, and time, that clock most everyone goes by, keeps on ticking but only to be disregarded taken over by our own human curiosity of conversations and exchanges of thoughts, as also everyone seems to have a destination and an experience to share vocally while the pictures are still in the camera. We had a couple of such meetings yesterday while on our way to Penguitch Lake and Cedar Breaks. The first one left me a bit perplexed. I try to understand others, it is a decent human path to be on, I don’t expect others to understand me, we all wear our own custom made shoes and their soles unseen are sometimes of intricate inner designs. There was a couple by a parking lot near by Red Canyon working on the rear tire of their motorcycle, same model as mine but newer. I made a quick U turn and sure enough a flat tire. Marty was using a "mushroom" plug kit, which to my experience never works that well, and I decided to help him by using some of my own. I say some because of two not only punctures but slashes. I found out where they have been coming from, Cedar City, as there was construction on the road and looking at those slashes I was sure they had poured some what they call "chipped seal" they use sometimes, as I had myself experienced once in Idaho, resulting to at least a dozen slashes. I did tell myself that I would take that route out of my plans. Well, one plug worked, the other one did not. 80 miles from Cedar City and to make a long story short, they could only over the phone find a tire that would be the right size but narrower. I had two new tires back to camp and I offered to go get one, 60 miles away and to also change it for them as I have all the tools needed. This is the part I did not quite understand… they instead opted to call a tow truck which will be coming from another direction. They themselves did not have road assistance or belonged to the BMW MOA organization that provides such assistance… a total cost hovering around $600!!!… for one tire when the alternative was present right in front of them. I offered twice, I mentioned that all I had was the "time" to do it… Did not want to bother me maybe?… What bother? Aren’t we all here to help out each other? End of that story…
Later on the day, a BMW K12S was parked going the other way, the rider with their helmet on seemingly in some evening dream space as I honked with no attention result. Maybe also broken down? Another U Turn and we came by parked right next to it, Spirit being just a few inches from the bike. I realized it was a "she", it took her a few seconds to turn her head and as she did all I could hear through the muffled voice of her full face helmet "Oh! my God…". As she takes her helmet off and undo all the umbilical cords that modern riders now utilize for cell phone, radar, talking GPS, music devices while riding, she is now petting Spirit, as you know always the lucky guy… and finally comes around to give me, imagine that… a big hug! Turns out to be Muddy 1, a handle she uses on a Motorcycle Forum we belong to and an avid reader of our Journey. Chat, chat and more chatting about so many other riders we both know, including Louis which was visiting just a few days ago… pictures and more petting… it was time for her to take off, headed home to Austin, Texas, before as she said her husband starts looking at a "wife’s catalogue". She had been on the road for close to three weeks including Canada… The K1200S that she rides looked similar to the K1200RS I also owned in 2000… with however 50 more horsepower! And as much as I have slowed down, when I heard the profound sound of 170 horsepower through a custom exhaust taking off with a first gear lasting an eternity, I could not help thinking… my own memories reviving at that instant… how much fun this could be! End of that story also… hoping that Spirit does not read these words!
We stopped in Penguitch to refuel. Never knowing where the next gas station will be I keep the tank topped off most of the time. I had Brian change my screen on the GPS, an old model I only use to know accurately what speed we are going, and also in case we get lost on some dirt road utilize the bread crumb trail feature to get us back. Now I can also see the elevation! and realize that the clock is wrong… of course it is! Hwy 143 climbed very quickly and as we reached 148 we actually were at 11,300 feet! This road is another one not to miss. It is a different face of Utah bouncing back and forth from the red rock colors to the many green hues of the high altitude pastures and dark lava from "Hurricane Fault" not too far as I mistakenly thought they were from a near by volcano.
The lake itself seemed as it was being developed into a resort with many cabins for sale, a new RV park and an older "Burger Shack" most likely happy to have a bit of increased business, for these warm months anyhow. There were kids fishing by the creek, the air was clean and cool. Spirit and I stopped quit a few times trying to get him in a bit of water to no avail. It was side of Utah I had never seen before and how even more strange that this would be the road leading us to Cedar Breaks which has the same geology as Bryce, and as colorful.
The flowers are everywhere! I just felt like laying down in the fields and blending in with the smells coming from all directions.Blue Columbine, Indian Paintbrush, Cinquefoil, Shootingstar, Fleabane, Wild Roses are some in bloom for miles and miles including into the Cedar Breaks Park.
The ride "up there" was an incredible one. I don’t know if it was because I was feeling so good, maybe the high altitude, the clean air or was it all this green that we had not really seen and experienced lately. These past couple days the skies have been blue, no clouds and no monsoons. The temperatures have gone up finally, the afternoons are a bit brutal but the nights are still cool specially in the early hours of the morning. I will continue on next time with the Cedar Breaks pictures, another grandiose amphitheater not to be missed as we did the last time we rode by because of snow.
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Till next time….
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