The Rough Draft

If you can't go through it. Go around it.

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I’m just under six weeks away from my Colorado trip and I’m finally getting around to the things I needed to do on the bike.  I swapped out the standard dog bones for longer ones and raised the rear by an inch. I was a little concerned about changing the geometry of the front end but the bike seems is planted as ever. Haven’t tackled any gravel yet to see if it makes any changes in that regard but I’m not that worried about it. I will be doing a fair amount of off-road on this trip but for the most part it’s going to be gravel track and not too gnarly.

The new Zumo 1190 GPS seems to be working out fine. Like all things Garmin you need to program a lot of waypoints or the unit will try to impose its will on you. I do have the curvy roads feature and that does seem to make a difference as far as reassignment if you miss a waypoint but I just haven’t had a chance yet to play around with it enough to make a truly informed call.

The hardest part so far of this whole experience of planning this trip is that it seems my age is finally catching up with me. Nobody is more shocked about this than me. I’ve done some long days in the saddle. I once wrote from Mississauga to Des Moines, Iowa in a single sitting, about 16 hours. Well with breaks but thankfully no tears, my Sergeant seat is pretty comfortable. Though I had sort of lost contact with my hands and arms and everything below my belly button was pretty much numb.

My average day that I tend to plan for is 10 hours in the saddle with breaks about every 2 to 3 hours. The breaks depending on what’s around you will be anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour. Just enough time to get something wet or food like down your neck and give your ass enough time to recover for another three hours. At least that was all well and good and it could just be that I’m out of shape for the mental and physical aspects of long-distance riding. Right now, I find that after four hours, fatigue really sets in. You can be a lot of things in a motorcycle, tired isn’t one of them.

My current solution is going to be shorter riding days. Eight hours instead of 10. I’m also going to slow my pace down little and try to enjoy the ride. Because the problem is, and were all guilty of this, when you’re on a long trip you tend to focus on getting to that destination that’s set for every day. And target fixation can really take away from the joy of the ride. Add to that the fact that you’re going to be meeting people at the other end and that drumbeat can be pretty strong between your ears.

I talked to Kelly the other night (my good friend Kelly is who I’ll be meeting up with in Salt Lake City before going on to Moab, Colorado Springs and Pike’s Peak) and got his firm dates as to where and when he will be. So the target is the 18 June in SLC. I’ll be leaving from here on the 13th. I plan arrive late in SLC on the 17th. Which gives me the day of the 18th to meet up with my buddy David and catch up with him. At least that’s the plan. In between those two points I’ll be riding to the Ontario border, around Detroit, hitting the bottom of Chicago, doing a little bit of Highway 66 and then working my way across the Midwest. The trouble with the Midwest is it’s really big and if you’re trying to stay off the interstates, it doesn’t get any smaller. Still, I sort of look forward to rolling through all those small towns. Of course once you’re into the mountains it’s all about majesty and grandeur and being really glad your bike has fuel injection.

The new job hasn’t quite kicked off yet and so I find myself with a week without anything to do. Well that’s not really true, nothing to do in regards to the day job but all the other stuff? Well it makes me wish I had more than a week off. So yesterday I had my car serviced and today I’m doing the same for my eyes, so that if I do need a new prescription I can have it ready before it’s time to go.

It does look like where were going to be staying in Moab is right at the entrance to Arches National Park. Which I am super stoked to check out. I’m such a geology geek. Riding aside, hiking through amazing terrain is almost as good and I’ll be able to get some fantastic photographs which will please the other side of my soul.

Every trip changes you in some way, some more than others. I can’t explain it, I can’t even explain the changes in me but you feel them. I think what I worry about is that we’re so engrossed in the next thing that we don’t always look out for the wild places, the ones that put you in perspective size wise. I always laugh at myself when I’m planning a trip. How the purple lines of my route to my daily destination snake across the map. They look so manageable and then when you find yourself on the bike fighting your way through torrential downpour or crazy, crazy headwinds or side winds, blazing heat, finger numbing cold and even just saddle weariness, those lines don’t seem so insignificant then. Then you see them for what they truly were, you just fooling yourself.

Every trip changes you.

And I welcome it.

I hope to gather enough material from this trip to write a book geared towards short-term adventure riding in and around the area I’ll be visiting. The United States is an amazing country geologically and so much of it really can just take your breath away, whether you’re on an interstate or a highway just a narrow strip of cracked two-lane blacktop leading you into the middle of nowhere. The number of times I’ve said to myself as I ride along,” This just can’t get any better.” Only to crest the next hill and it gets better. Leads me to believe that many times, for those of us who don’t have deep pockets or the will and determination to give up so much to go travelling that you really can have an adventure in your own backyard.

In the meantime if you want to check out either one of my two thrillers Devil’s Gambit and Reliance that would be really great.

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