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Author Topic: Storytime around Stovey's Campfire....  (Read 34690 times)
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Stovebolt
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« on: April 25, 2010, 05:27:51 PM »

I'll start one, and others please pull up a stump, flip the lid off a cold one, and tell us one of yours - or two or three.


Dennis Hopper buys Stovey a Marguerita - PART 1 of 3



I crashed my KTM 640 Adventure in a sandwash on a Baja adventure, on the morning of Day 4 of a 10-day off-road ride, just West of San Francisquito, Baja California Norte. Dislocated left shoulder, busted up some ribs - same shoulder I had previously dislocated twice, same ribs 2x. El Bummer-o.

I barely managed to get out of the dirt, and back onto some pavement by the end of the afternoon, and by late day, I began to see some light at the end of a fairly fuzzy, pain-filled tunnel, in the form of a place to stay for the night, and get off the damned bike. Traffic was at a standstill at Checkpoint Charlie, and my peeps - 4 other rejects from Clown College, had preceeded me through the line, after a long day of nursing me through unGodly washes and terrain as inhospitable as any I had seen before, save for Moab. I had hallucinated several times through the pain and dehydration of the day, after the crash, that although still strikingly beautiful, the area called to mind what it must be like to ride a motorcycle down the crack of Satan's ass after an all-night Buffalo Wing eating binge in Hell. I digress....

So, for those folks who haven't really ever gotten the dirt bike or dual-sporting bug, realize that a KTM 640 Adventure is a tall bike - seat height of over 37 inches. Okay, Stovebolt has a 29-inch inseam. Time for the cubicle nerd to erase the whiteout "X's" off his glasses and do some real math there..... fully loaded with camping and survival gear, some fuel, water and a couple of pesos, the bike weighs approximately 1 each !#@$-load. Multiply that x a wounded shoulder that is worse than useless, and divide by 4 (the number of times I would have stopped to pee if I could have....) and it adds up to - pretty much a blivy. By the time I "tried" to stop for the good authority figure at Checkpoint Charlie, I was pretty much 6 pounds of sheeyat in a 5-lb bag, and warm.

So, thankful to think I was a mere few miles by pavement to a place I could permanently dismount and assess the damage and reconnoiter my situation, a small sense of the kind of relief you might get right after yarding on a big booger began to come over me. It was just enough to let my guard down, and I was about to mow the guard down. Guard down? Guard...... down? WTF? GUARD!!! @#%!@#%!%#!!!!!

WAKE UP STOVEY! - YOU'RE HALLUCINATING! CHECK/CHECK/CHECK

I come sliding in to the military checkpoint with my head implanted into a rectal area with red loctite..... condition WHITE - oblivious to my surroundings, peripheral vision collapsed from too much effort spent and re-spent all day long, again and again trying to pilot that boat through a sea of deep sand with scorpions in it - cactus from the Devil's nether regions thrown in for good measure. I wasn't going fast, only second gear, when I came out of this Fog of War, and began processing real time visual data coming at me lighting fast through the dusty faceshield of my Arai XD. In a real sense, things got real easy all of a sudden, because my choices were so limited - there wasn't much I could physically do any more, I was just about completely locked up. Anybody who has been injured can relate to the phenomenon of compensating for the injured part of the body with other parts of your body. It took for me, my whole being to compensate for being injured like I was, and it just tapped me to near nothing. As I rolled in toward a line of parked cars, me going a little too fast to be graceful and way too fast to just roll to a stop in line - I would have hit the back of a parked delivery truck about five cars back from the STOP area for inspection - thus possibly causing undue attention to be drawn to me..... I pretty much just wheeled around the obstacle to the left, and while not having the speed to cause any serious concern, at least to what was left to my mind in that level of consciousness, I just leaned it over lowside and dropped the bike.

Stepping off wasn't as bad as you might think, I never actually fell onto the ground.... I ran, tripped, wobbled and grunted a little, but STOVEY was a gymnast in High School and a diver in College.... so I was tapping that remnant pretty hard right there, pretty much bangin' away on those old muscle memory cells..... and sort of just skipped to a stop on my own two feet, about 3 feet from my sliding Pogo Punkin. (KTM's are all orange - I had completely blown my rear shock the day before after crashing my way up Callamajue Wash out of Coco's Corner.)

So I'm now standing about a car length away from the young soldier at the checkpoint, a fine young man in his teens, dressed in dusty BDU's and sporting his Hechler and Koch G3 at port arms, and who is now engaging me and closing our distance to approximately bad-breath plus 7 feet or so. I remain standing, turn and look down at my Punkin'.... My posse was gone ahead, nowhere in sight, and I recalled my Spanish language skills to comfort me. Ahh, yes - I can't speak Spanish worth a chit - so I got that going for me...

So, anyway, to draw this short story out even further before I get to the point, we had made a deal out on the trail after my tumble, and it was agreed (after a time or two when I fell down again and tried picking up my bike - I just couldn't do it by myself any more....) that I was not to even TRY to pick up my bike if I dropped it. Sort of like the snowmobiling deal if you get stuck (when not on the hill) in the deep - don't get a hernia or a heart attack or wreck your back - wait for help. So I pretty much just stood my ground, hovering over my behemoth, waiting for the cavalry to come over my hill, and pick up my bike for me. After all, I had done MY job, and nobody was hurt at the checkpoint - countless lives were saved, paperwork averted, catastrophe completely avoided on account of me being on top of my game and saving the public from certain harm, and laying my bike down in such a righteous act of self-sacrifice. Now where were my bike tenders at? Sabu - Sabu? Come hither bike boy.... I looked around, and everyone in stopped traffic was staring at me.

WTF....?

Well, sensing that the young lad sporting the G3 (the G3 is a military firearm chambered in a NATO caliber of 7.62mm, approx .308. It is made of stamped aluminum, steel and plastic, fires in semi-automatic and select-auto, comes with iron sights and has a sling and a loud, smoky end attached to it...) was not about to assist me, the driver of a delivery truck opened his door and exited his vehicle and came over to me. Without taking more than a second to make eye contact with me, as is the custom to acknowledge one another down in Baja, the man in his mid-thirties leaned down and pried that 400-plus pound bitch right off the searing Mexican pavement, and with one or two mighty heaves of that spindly stick figure of a physique, he got that bike upright and leaned into for all he was worth to prop it vertical - standing there smiling, holding it for me like a gentleman. Yes, like a true knight, he had helped one less fortunate than himself, and I was, and still am, grateful.

Soldier boy wasn't so amused.

At this point, like I had mentioned, my body was pretty locked up - stiff, sore, I could barely move. This information was actually still being processed as I reached across the cockpit of my KTM 640 Adventure Rally bike with my one good hand/arm/side and grasped a bar end, holding the bike upright by myself after my new young friend who drove a delivery truck in Baja for a living just handed it off with a sincere grin and gestures of compassion, and a final "thumbs up" to a sad, sad gringo. I flipped my tan crusted faceshield up and looked over at the checkpoint - I was being waved in ahead of other cars now being passed over in line to get me to the head of the line. Somehow, despite my best efforts, I had managed to call undue attention to myself for one thing, and I was apparently, despite what I would have liked at the time, being given "EXPRESS" treatment. I had tried so hard to blend in too. Being as wounded as I was - my self-assessment had caught up in real time, and I had processed the data - I was almost F#@!$ed.... I could either turn and run, fight or cooperate. I eyeballed the only thing of interest to me at all at the moment, and that was the 4-inch concrete curb along the inside lane of the checkpoint, closest to my soon to be, new to me, friend within the Mexican Military establishment, and began heaving the bike for all I was worth over that scorching blacktop, toward the kid with the deadpan look on his face, now presenting the G3 at the Low Ready.


END of PART 1

Stovey




Callemajue Wash Yard Sale









Shoulder Explod-ey, south of San Francisquito

« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 03:44:50 AM by Stovebolt » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2010, 01:26:44 AM »

" Never Give Up" I love it, can't wait for part 2
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2010, 12:57:11 PM »

Excellent read StoveBolt, your a true master with words! I could feel the pain as I read it!
"what it must be like to ride a motorcycle down the crack of Satan's ass after an all-night Buffalo Wing eating binge in Hell." Great! 
I will have to ponder my less colorful adventures and see what I can come up with!
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Christian
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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2010, 12:27:36 AM »

Great story, please continue.
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Stovebolt
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« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2010, 01:04:47 AM »

Since this whole thing transpired over the course of only less than a minute or so, let me accelerate. As I was on foot now, and walking along side (stumbling?) my bike, approaching the "ALTO!" stop line - hanging on for dear life actually - it was all I could do to hold the bike up, because it was ALMOST all I could do just to hold me up by myself..... I stayed the course and kept eyeballing that curb. That curb would set me free, if I could only get to it. It stood alongside my stern looking young passport examiner, and I had to get through him first, before I could reach that 4-inch concrete salvation. Things began rushing forward from the back of my mind, things like; 'where is my passport?' and 'can I remember where my insurance info is?' and did I bring my bazooka with me on this trip, and so forth. I gathered up what little intel I could before he stopped me before reaching the line with a gesture of "STOP" - hand held forward from his center of mass toward me, his feet squared off to me, and shoulder width apart. A real Dennis Rodman athletic stance, about half as high off the ground, and topped with a Kevlar pot instead of blond and blue knappy hair. Still, I understood and respected his command. This was it, another moment of truth in Baja, I had already had many and this trip was only on Day 4.... hadn't even reach San Ignacio and been tried by the fire of the "bathroom dog" yet.... here it comes..... all I need is the curb. Got to get back on this bike.... can't do it without a step up, and even that's not going to be easy. I want THAT CURB, and I want it next to the guard shack. I can lean the bike into the wall of the guard shack and use the curb to try to remount.... if only.... must get to the curb - and that wall would be so sweeet. Dear God, please let...... "Adonde Vas!"

"What?"

"Adonde Vas?"

"aaaaahhhh - Idaho. I mean, uh - Rice and Beans?"

Soldier boy is waving and I am beginning to unfold the mapcase on the bars of my roadbook holder in the cockpit, and begin "my cooperation" for all I'm worth. I noticed I had a hard time speaking - not just Spanish, but my mouth didn't seem to want to work - there was dust in it. My lips were a little dry and cracked and my tongue was a little swollen. Never mind I couldn't understand what this soldier was saying because my ears were slammed shut inside a form fitting Arai XD, that I didn't understand my own language at that point, let alone his - and that I didn't know if he was asking me where i was from, or where i was going. Either question way beyond the reach of my fried brain at that point, in any language - but good questions nonetheless.

Well, soldier boy gestured again, and stepped the other side of my bike, in front of me. I had spoken enough "humanitarian" in my lifetime to begin recognizing a small flicker of compassion from a candle of kindness, and he seemed to be waiving me off from the "project" I had started to get out my papers and surrender to whatever form of questioning they might have wanted to do with me - it had not escaped my peripheral vision the two other vehicles - both with Mexican plates - were parked, stopped and being THOROUGHLY attended to by a small army of the well, Mexican Army - two lanes over and off to the side of the road. Some of the people involved in administering to the needs of the occupants of those vehicles now sequestered by many soldier boys didn't seem happy, from the facial expressions, movements, "luggage" and car parts that I saw.....

"Passado...." "Passado...."

He was waiving me through..... is that what he's doing? What? I was not sure, but I couldn't believe my body was doing stuff without my mind's permission.... Even as I was questioning what the soldier wanted, in my mind I just wasn't certain, "JESUS IS THIS HOT!" and all I could think of was trying to hold this bike up and get the nipple from my Camelbak into my mouth and not fall off the curb while leaning off from the wall with the bad shoulder.......

Far off ahead were miles of hot pavement - not a car in sight, and the faint sound of several motocycles..... One engine sound getting louder as the seconds ticked by, the heartbeat thumping ever louder inside this damned black helmet. I got the bike steadied, but with only one foot touching "ground" and that was my savior curb, and the other on a footpeg so high off the ground it'd never save me if I got the bike off center and lost my balance - she'd thud to the pavement and I'd be back to square one, hunting up that delivery driver to help me again; I needed to roll off right. No second chances. The starter began to light it, and I heard another bike nearby as mine roared back to life at the "STOP" line, and I looked up to see something wobbling toward me through a heat mirage, waving at me over the blacktop. One of my peeps had come back for me, and the military guys were just waiving me through. One of them in the guard shack gave me a smile and a "thumbs up" while the frown seemed to have neutralized on the face of young soldier boy who had engaged me during my check. He was waiving me through while another soldier held traffic from both lanes to maintain their standstill "until further notice" I think was the message. I got the bike rolling despite painful effort with the clutch side - anything including an eyelash being asked to move by my brain - just hurt like hell, especially if it was on the left side of my body. I rolled forward toward an image embedded in the mirage, and kept shifting gears. It was about 4pm, BCS time, and what seemed like an eternity at the gates of hell was in reality only about a minute and a half. I had cleared Checkpoint Charlie, and was on vacation in Mexico. It was everything that I had dreamed....

We're not that far from our stop at RICE AND BEANS in San Ignacio, where food, water, shelter and parts are waiting for us. None of us knew what else was waiting there, but since i was about to get dumped by my posse, and left to tend to my wounds and reconnoiter my next step, I would have extra time there to figure it out. The four remaining long riders would have a quick bite and rehydrate, check to make sure I have what I need, a room, my bike and belongings secured - a plan.... everything. Everything is fluid on a trip in Baja, and were were fluid at that point. We came into the oasis en masse, the guys having formed up on the side and waited for me catch them. It seemed that after Berg had wheelied out of the checkpoint, much to the delight of the attending military personnel - AND at their behest as it turns out - our posse was elevated in status to some form of instant local hero status, if for only a few fleeting moments. Probably why I was waived through without so much as a passport viewing - they know I was with "them!" So now, we were all back together, formation flying to a landing in the middle of a huge crowd of people and vehicles and traffic at the "resort" oasis that is Rice & Beans in San Ignacio, just outside of town to the North. What can all of this be? I can barely navigate......

There were RV's and dune buggys and trophy trucks and all manner of high speed-low drag desert conveyances all over this patch of sand they called a parking area, and people just scattered EVERYWHERE! There was a nice long veranda just loaded with people sitting at tables in chairs, talking, laughing, eating, drinking. Guys in nomex suits walking around, back and forth from their trophy trucks who were down prerunning for the BAJA 250, all manner of hubbub and commotion.

I found the nearest wall and maneuvered toward it, noticing now nice the flower bed looked that was planted on the top, and crashed into it, plain and simple. Just like the wall at the Checkpoint guard shack, I angled in to the side and just brushed in hard and chopped everything off, coming to simple slide-stop-thud against the wall. Leaning there against my bad shoulder and my feet still on the pegs, I just pushed my faceshield up, and waited for help - I wasn't going anywhere. A sense of relief came over me, and I realized that for a short time anyways, I might be safe here and I didn't have to try to ride anymore. Not until further notice. We were "here" wherever this was, and we had just rolled in from deep in the heart of nowhere, just outside the back of beyond....

End of PART 2

« Last Edit: April 27, 2010, 01:23:43 AM by Stovebolt » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2010, 01:23:28 AM »

....Part 3 - Final....

The Russian Whore is not my girlfriend

(....but she is beautiful.....)


.....when last we left our intrepid hero, he was leaning against a wall, engine off on the Pogo Punkin - feet on the pegs and slumping for all he was worth..... the inside of his riding clothes was hotter than the hubs of hell and he was pretty much just leaning and blowing bubbles...

So I've got a good lean on the wall, enough to keep me up, and waiting for a hand to help stabilize the bike real solid so I can climb off this bike like a nancy boy, and slide to the ground under my own power, without all the extra help that gravity is just waiting to send at any second, and somebody comes over and grabs on and asks how I'm doing. Another guy comes and two or three people are anchoring my steed so it doesn't highside down the driveway when it gets righted, and give a couple hundred people a good show to go along with their dinner hour. I get off the bike, and get the helmet off and we're at Rice & Beans. Cool. The team owner on a Baja race crew comes over with a couple of guys and treats me like a celebrity - which of course I'm not, just a wayward gringo happy to stand up - and simply "hosts" me into position. He is taking my gear off me and instructing his crew where to put my bike and in general just making me feel like I'm going to be alright. My guys are making contact with the establishment, making sure that our tires are around somewhere for the return trip, and Ricardo the owner is handy and reassuring and says our stuff had arrived weeks ago in good order, and that he'll get me taken care of. So I've got a room, and my bike is parked right outside the door on the tile patio - I've gotten my gear off and had help getting an outer layer or two off - which was excruciating, but better now than later. I'm pretty much good to go. (I had reduced the dislocation immediately upon standing up right after the crash, small consolation but a big plus at that point nonetheless.) We're all sitting on the veranda for a few minutes, being "fluid", and the plan is for them to keep on riding, head South for a couple days, swing back through and be back at Rice and Beans for the tire changes and maintenance day planned for the return ride. If Stovebolt is still here, we'll figure it out from there. Time's a wasting, hasta luego and vaya con dios - off they go. I settle in and start licking my wounds, the lone rider down, but no longer puffing smoke and feeling like a dirt nap is just around the next bend in the river.

We had no working cell phones and no SAT phone. That was fine, don't really need them. So they wouldn't know if I was going to be around when they got back until they got back. The plan had been to service the bikes at Rice & Beans anyway, and we'd sent rear tires down there and planned on servicing the bikes there, calling it a midway mark for the trip. If I had to evacuate, with or without the bike, they'd know it when they came back from a few more days of riding on their return leg. I wasn't going anywhere further South at that point. C'est la vivre.

The next day I wake up - if you could call it that, didn't get much sleep, and the place is deserted. Literally. Last night the place looked like Mardis Gras, and the next morning there wasn't even a car in the parking lot. I walked down the veranda into the bar, and in about five minutes, somebody came around and reminded me how much I needed to learn Spanish. Oatmeal and cafe was inbound, and I started getting sorted out. There was a phone and internet - things were looking up. For now, I just needed to figure out how bad I was, and what, if anything, I might be capable of "doing" in a day or so on my own. My thoughts centered on self recovery, perhaps a lone-star hero ride on the slab on Mex 1 into Algodones, and crash and lean on somebody's wall so I could get off the bike and push it through Customs and throttle off into Yuma, and drop the bike on the sidewalk at the hotel. And take it from there. Just making things up as it played out. Where's the coffee? Hola Ricardo, pleasure seeing you, thanks for helping me.... (glad you speak English.)

I entertain myself by eating ibuprofen and listening to an MP3, sitting at a table on the veranda and making contact with the outside world, and establishing a lifeline with my wife, Dorothy. She kept me alive and re-sync'd during this contemplative phase of my personal reconnoiter. Thank God I had her, wind beneath my wounded wings. Although she was ready to go right then and there to get in the Dodge with the dogs, and head South from Idaho and come and get me, I assured her that staying put for right now was the best thing, and that I appreciated the option. I was going to wait and see what a day or two would bring, and I knew if I could just handle the bike - if I could manage a way to mount and dismount on my own, or even with a little help - I could ride that thing out. That was my singular purpose, to be able to manage the Punkin without dropping it. Tough enough on steady level ground, but the return trip as planned would put my wheels over anything but that kind of terrain, and I feared and respected what I would have to be able to do in order to try to take that on. As it was, I had to take a shower that first day in the room with my tee-shirt still on, because I couldn't get it off by myself. I finally got some help at the end of the day, and grabbed another shower, and continued that journey down the halls of pain in a Mexican shower stall. Nice tiles though.

So the place is a ghost town, and I'm sitting at a table, watching a Baja cat prowling for mice in the courtyard, all fresh in some relatively clean clothes while my laundry is hanging to dry on the motorcycle parked outside my room. There is absolutely nobody around save for the housekeepers and the bar guy, and once in awhile Ricardo comes by to say "Hi." What a great guy, Ricardo. Anyway, I'm sitting there, and reading maps like there is no tomorrow and playing with my GPS, running through different solo navigation options. Fuel was my main concern, and how far I could get before having to stop and refuel, and where I might land before dark to get hidden so the night creatures of the dark side wouldn't find me and rob me and kill me before I made the border. I would be on my own, so dropping the bike in the middle of nowhere - including stretches of slab where a friendly wasn't available to help me pick that bike back up - would be an issue. With a wounded wing, the 640 was heavier than a dead priest, and I needed to have a plan if I decided to solo out.

I hear voices all of a sudden, and along comes this guy and a stunningly beautiful dark-haired woman walking down the veranda, and they take seats across from me. They are really going after it in this conversation between the two of them, and I make out that she is quite unhappy, and the fellow is being very polite and trying to console her for some reason. they are speaking English, but she has an accent, and as the barkeeper comes to greet them, he orders some things, and she orders several times, not getting what she wants from the available menu - and finally "settles" for something outrageous - I don't remember what, but they were "going to try to make it" whatever it was. We were in Baja, but she apparently wanted no part of that reality, and wanted to be somewhere else. I recognized her accent and the man said "Hello!" to me, brightly and offered his hand for a shake - which I was happy to have. An Anglo and a friendly in this ghost town was already another asset on my short list of things I had to work with at that moment. A very hearty howdy back atcha amigo! "I'm Mike," he said. (I'll call him, "Mike") And this is Tasha. "Hi - I'm Dave, nice to see ya," I gave - and traded faces. She looked up and just glared.

I tried this for size, "Prevyet, coch d'yla?" (Gave it the best Russian I had, for the hell of it....) "Prevyet, horoshor - nu pa Russky?" She continued to glare, from underneath her jet black hair toward me.

"Nyet," I told her; but I like to be able to say hello in a few different languages. "Hi, pleased to meet you." She just looked away and lit up a smoke.


Turns out, this fellow "Mike" owned a Baja motorcycle guiding business, and was serving as guide for a couple VIP's on a trip to Cabo - this lady was part of the entourage. There was another fellow along who came by and joined their party, a native New Yorker, and he was also part of the guiding service to the group. These guys started telling me stories every time they could break away from the guests they had in tow, and they were just cracking up. The party was a lead element doing a reconnaissance in Baja for an upcoming Hollywood film. They told me names that were involved and what they were doing and pointed across the veranda to where a couple of gentlemen were sitting and talking, identifying them and so on and so forth. Longer story short, all the names were 'brand names' Hollywood heavy hitters, and one fellow from Germany who was a director, and a VIP from the Guggenheim. Anyway, the young lady was from Russia, and 'on the job.' She turned out to be a real pip, and from what I was led to believe in much animated conversation among the 2 guides over the next day and a half, something of a high-maintenance piece of work! The guides were hauling a trailer with BMW GS's for the party to ride when and as they wanted, and doing their thing down there for a couple weeks. They were pretty candid with me, and it was clear they had the personalities and background to be doing what they were doing, very gregarious and experienced Baja people in the short of it. It was all very entertaining, and the sidetrack into the drama unfolding among these people was a rejuvenating distraction from my own problems, and the humor was pretty outrageous. It served me well, and those two guides really blew some wind into my sails. That, and when the original Easy Rider, Dennis Hopper came by and introduced himself to me, ("Hi - I'm Dennis.") as I sat by myself at a table. He knew I had hurt my shoulder out riding, his guides had told him, and he came over to say hi, and hoped that I would be alright. Asked me if I needed anything. Sent me a drink. Later I sat and played with the two guides, and occasionally "Tasha" (not her real name) and the entertainment value skyrocketed.

My post ends here, the how and why of when Dennis Hopper bought me a Marguerita in San Ignacio, Baja California Sur. I made it back home a week later, without outside recovery efforts, under my own power. The ride back for me started a couple days later and took everything I had to give, and then just a little more every now and again. We rode beaches, two-track, sandwashes, through the Cirio forests and over mountains from the Pacific side back again - over another 900 miles of off-road before I dismounted for the last time on that trip in Yuma. My posse came back and helped me do it, I couldn't have done the dirt sections without them, and it was hard. It helped to Never Give Up.

Stovey
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Kosmic
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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2010, 02:12:09 AM »

Stovey what an awesome read! That is some hard-core riding and living life to the MAX!
Cheers, Patrice
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« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2010, 03:05:39 AM »

Thank you Patrice,

I am truly a lucky, blessed man for the opportunities I have had, and continue to aspire toward.

The people on this forum are great, by the way, another blessing.

Sitting on my stump by the fire, awaiting a story from the next guy......

Post 'em up...

Rally on,
Stovey
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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2010, 01:31:44 AM »

Good job Stovey!!!  clap
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Pavement Huh?  We dont need no steenking pavement !


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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2010, 12:44:24 AM »

Thank you uneasy rider, thank you..... I'll be here all week.

Next week appearances at the airport lounge, warming up for Melvin Lipshitz and his Schlitz-Slingin-Six.

Who's next?

Stovey
ps: Is "uneasy rider" an alias for the real life original Easy Rider? Are you in fact "Dennis" and do I owe you a Marguerita?
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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2010, 03:14:54 AM »

No sir, the handle comes from the old Charlie Daniels song, I alway's gotta kick outta the lyrics and just couldnt pass it up consider'n the subject of this fine site.  thumb

Tequela ( ?, I think) was one of my faves but I dont drink anymore, but I'll take ya up on a good slug of cold water any day, whatta ya say?
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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2010, 03:46:58 AM »

Uneasy,

I'll chug a mug a cold water with ya... it would be good after a long day in the saddle "out there" in adventureland. They haven't thrown dirt over either of us yet, so there remains a better than average chance we can make that happen someday, and it would be my pleasure.

I'm also a confirmed coffee whore, so that's always good in the morning. Or in the afternoon. Or, in my case - a hot French Roast right before I go to bed. Honest injun. Doesn't bother me a bit. Tasty.

My wife on the other hand, smells the bubbles coming off of a glass of Coke, and she's pingin' off the rev limiter for a week.

Stovey
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« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2010, 01:51:28 PM »

Excellent story Stovey, but sounds like you went through some excruciating moments!  The last part as you recovered a bit at the bar sounded like a very surreal moment, are you sure you were not hallucinating in the heat when Dennis Hopper bought you a drink?  lol Its awesome to know that Dennis keeps it real and had compassion for a fellow rider down at the time.  

Your story makes me think of the most difficult part of riding the TAT, actually the first day and our last day!  

On the first day, getting out to Moab from Arkansas we had a few colorful moments at the start.  We hit the TAT by riding to the Oark store, the air was hot, heavy and humid.  We hit our official "first durt" shortly, I parked my bike half on the road, half on the dirt and snapped a pick. Here we go!  The three of us treaded our way up the dirt road, trees hanging over us, and the air very heavy.  We started to wonder, put on the rain gear?....Nahh, not yet, hey it might clear up!  As we wound up the mountain road higher, drops started falling, getting bigger and more frequent.  Hmmm, our first day on the TAT and its getting darker and wetter as we go along.  Soon, its official, FROG TOGS needed!  The rain starts pelting, like a drum beat it gets louder, and harder....and darker out.  As we climb up steep dirt road, winding up the hill to some CCC cabins we know about, the rain lets loose....pelting more and more, then...the lightning comes.   But of course we put on only half of our FROG TOGS, and my lower body is getting wet, I can feel that cold water trickle down my legs, filling my boots.  

We press on, as we climb higher into the hills, it darkens, more lightning.  We pass a couple of stone gates, lightning clapping around us. I get this scared feeling. Were on top of a mountain, just one dirt road, and bolts of lighting coming down, not good!  I get this vision as we pass through that gates that we are heading into Frankestein's castle!  I get that scared feeling like a child, remember when you thought a bogey man was under the bed, or a monster was going to jump out of the bushes and devour you?  Its that feeling......it overcomes me, I start freaking out a bit, we need to turn around get off this mountain!  Now the rain, lightning, and mud are relentless!  So, we reach the top of the old cabins, and I snap a few pics, but I can only think about how fast we can get off this mountain.

So, we end up back tracking, some what dejected that on our first day we get rained out.  Finally we find a motel, and dry out for the night.  Bummer.......But, the next day the skies clear, and as we are lost trying to find the TAT again, we hit a sign Warloop Road!  Whoo hoo!  Our spirits lift again, because we ran into the best part of the TAT.  KosmicKLR cleared that section, I wobbled and fell over once, but cleared the rest.!

So between Arkansas and Moab we have the adventure of a lifetime, but now its time to head home.  We have to slab it, but on small roads, not the interstate yet.  Its going to be a grind, three days and I think 1300 miles back.  At first its fine, the first day is kind of cool out.  While tired, Im doing OK.  Second day, we start to drop lower, down in to New Mexico. The back roads we are on are dreary, gray.....we roll through bleak little towns all boarded up.  We look for a place to stay, we are beat...pummled by 10 hours on the bike, numb, hungry and tired.  The motels we see are boarded up, and a couple look like crack dens, with beater cars parked in the stalls.  Finally at the edge of town we find a decent place. But more than that, we are rewarded by a little New Mexico mexican restaurant. Its small and dingy.  But the people inside friendly and welcoming. KosmicKLR stayed in the motel, cause he was on a "diet" so he had half an old sandwich and a power bar.  We, tho, were rewarded with great big platters of home style cooking, with the red and green chilie sauce only they know how to do right!  Nothing feels better than a great meal at the end of a hard day.

On next to last day, we hit Texas.  Its warming up. 75....80...85....mid day we are on the slab, trying to keep pace with traffic. Our little 650's are loaded up and maxed out at 65, sometimes 70 mph. Our buddy Portero is getting as serious ass whooping, the stock seat on his XR650 is feeling like a piece of 4X4 lumber coated in habanero chile paste, and beaten into his crack with a sledge hammer.  Poor guy still cant walk right!  I on the other hand, have a Corbin and sheep skin on my DR650, so my butt feels like a nice rack of freshly baked biscuts slathered in honey.  But, the head is building now as we hit West Texas.  85.....90...95....100....103.....waves of heat rolling off the tarmac, we are trying to hold our own against the 16 wheelers doing 80 mph.  Every breath is hot and heavy, your head starts getting cloudy.  We exhaust our Camelbacks, and at our gas stops we bask in some AC, load up on ice, and wet ourselves down.  But, KosmicKLR has a cooling vest so he is doing better!  That bastard!  An electric vest and a cooling vest!  

Our stopping point is Lubbock, now every mile in the brutal heat is a test. Can I stay concious?  Am I getting heat stroked?  Can I make it the next 10 or 20 miles?  The heat intensifies, I am holding on for life to stay alert.  Drinking I cold water from the Camelback has little affect.  Pounded down by the heat, we reach Lubbock.....all we can do is find a motel and collapse. Cold shower, AC, dead on the bed. Hardly able to think straight.  Beer needed, cold beer and more Mexican food.  Ahhhhhhhh.....We watch some extreme fighting on TV, our buddy Portero nursing his flaming, tortured ass crack.  But, he still can discuss the finer points of a choke hold before we all fade away for the night.  So, we roll into Austin the final day.....it was a record breaking heat wave in Texas and Austin while we were on the TAT.  No matter how your plan, and how early or late you go in spring or fall, you gots to pay the piper, somewhere, some time!
« Last Edit: May 02, 2010, 02:01:07 PM by DoctorDR » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2010, 04:01:16 PM »

Christian,

You have a way with words yourself! You put me right there on that tarmac.... I am dying....

Yankees (like me) don't do so good in the heat. And the wind buffeting from those loaded semi's bearing down on you while you're fighting to pilot the loaded "SS Dualsports" through the turbulence of miraged 18-wheeler vortex; like some fools trying to swim through the shockwave of a Milwaukee heat gun set on "Paint strip."  Oh yeah, you give the picture.  And why is it, when you need a motel room the most, you stay there the least? I'll bet you could have slept for a whole day at any given stop, but when you travel sometimes, you just gotta keep moving.

Is this why it must be true that time spent dual sporting will not be deducted from the end of our lives?

Great post - thanks for penning it! Looking forward to more Brutha!

You make me wanna do the TAT....

Stovey

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« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2010, 01:38:57 AM »

Christian,

The cabins were on White Rock Mountain correct?  If so, that is where the SLAP rally is being held.  Great riding in these parts.  

I am off with two friends on Wednesday next week to moto camp down at Long Pool Recreation area in the heart of the Ozark National Forest.  The guys I ride with don't mind riding the tougher sections of the atv trails and forest service roads so I am looking very forward to this ride.
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« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2010, 02:55:39 AM »

Yes Charlie, they were the cabins of SLAP fame! I recognized them from a ride report. I wish I could be there for this years SLAP.
DoctorDR's son is turning One year old that weekend, and family is coming from Seattle for the party. I'll make SLAP even if I have to wait till my nephew is old enough to ride, so we can celebrate his birthday on the trail!
Cheers, Patrice
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« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2010, 01:27:30 PM »

Easy Rider - Rest In Peace.

Dennis Lee Hopper (May 17, 1936 – May 29, 2010)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Hopper

Mr. Hopper; I owe you one. Thanks......

Stovey

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« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2010, 01:49:15 AM »

Stovey, your story telling is fabulous!  What a read.
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« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2010, 02:06:58 AM »

Stovey, I must agree your story telling is fabulous. You are a true Wordsmith, I look forward to and enjoy all your post. Thanks Bob
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« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2010, 04:53:40 AM »

Thanks you guys - you're making me blush!

A good story is fun, but the people to share it with are priceless treasures. I thank God for my friends, whether I've had years with them in the dirt, in school, in other battles; or yet to have face time with them per se. May the road rise to meet you fellas, until we meet on the rise....

Sincerely,

Stovey
 
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« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2010, 03:41:22 AM »

.... any campfire tales from the hinterlands of California? Washington? Ironman areas of operation?

Can't believe how fast time is flying - how much Summer has already been spent. Hopefully, we've all been out doing some great riding and packing our memory banks full of tremendous tales. (The more time that has past, the more tremendous the tales.....)

Stovey
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« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2010, 12:50:11 AM »

just came in from a 13hr day siding a house, that story was exactly what i needed. this place rocks! and yes i drank a beer while reading it(2 actually).

Stove, hope your get paid to write, if not it's our (readers) loss! you write in the "John Burns" (my personal favorite) style. keep typing!


Thank you
mike
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« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2010, 12:58:10 AM »

Well I wish I had some great story of a recent riding adventure, but on the 4Th of July I had a riding injury that still needs about 2 more months to heal. So anyway on the 4Th myself and a couple of riding buddies went for a ride on some of our local single track trails. Now these aren't single track like most riders think of, these are tight technical brutal trails that destroy bikes and humble any rider. one section the " Trials Trail " was used for the National Trials competition for about 15 years, of course we don't hop from boulder to boulder on one wheel like the Trials guys, but I'll tell you trails that are to hard to walk up require total commitment and aggression. Well that's where I failed I didn't have the required commitment, way low on aggression and and was absolutely missing the true secret for clearing the real ugly stuff MOMENTUM. So about 12 feet up the 15 foot shear granite face all the clutch feathering in the world couldn't save me, as the front wheel came over my head and started heading for the boulder field below I thought if I could just hold on and spin the bike while we were both falling I just might wind up looking pretty good. This type of thinking must be all wrong, I should have let go of the bike and let each of us land on the rocks where we would. Apparently the force generated by a KTM 300 XCW flying through the air is enough to rip tendons from the bone. So down on the boulder field I hopped around in pain for quite a while, then we managed to get me and my newly scratched bent and dented bike back to the truck and down to the emergency medical shop. The torn bicep tendon is now attached to a titanium bolt through one of the bones in my forearm. The good news is that this has given me time to rebuild the Dual Sport bike a 07 KTM 525 EXC. With some help I got it down to it basic pieces and will replace every bearing and seal plus any worn part and add a few upgrades like the new engine is a 570cc big bore from Thumper Racing, new stage 2 cam, 41mm carb bore, etc. I'll post more about the new and improved " Ironman " bike in the near future. Oh I'm starting back with the yoga, being good and flexable might help save this old body when the brain is intent on destroying it. And of course a quick plug for my business, any RDS member who can make it to my next Dual Sport Event, The Plumas Circumnavigator, Sept. 25, 26 , 27 will get a big discount on there entry and of course I'll buy the beer. Thanks Bob "Iromnan"
« Last Edit: August 11, 2010, 01:01:47 AM by Ironman » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2010, 01:37:06 PM »

Bob,

Wow - that had to hurt! Keep on with the healing down time, that should pay off in spades. When you get back on the bikes, it will be worth it. Meanwhile, I hope the bike rebuilds go well and your adventure trip bookings skyrocket. You are a real adventure man, man....    :-)

Kudos to your daughter, by the way, for joining the Navy!

Stovey
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« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2010, 05:16:11 PM »

IronMan, I admire your willingness to even attempt that 15 foot wall! That was a heck of an injury, it sounds incredibly painful.
At my age (48), it seems like I am constantly in some sort of pain daily, from working on the house, lifting, you-name-it.
I can't ingnore the signals that I have to stretch, get on the spin bike, and try and stay fit!
Cheers Patrice
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« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2014, 11:17:40 PM »

Red Mountain Debacle, and the Fiery Funerary Barge in Some Far Away Fjord… (Mis-Adventures with the Viking Man)

(I'll put this here because it's from July, 2000 and not a recent ride report. I just resurrected it from a long lost file over the winter...)







One fine, sunny day, two guys set out on their dirt bikes to go off on a leisurely romp in the Big Hole Mountains in southeast Idaho, and ride the Big Hole Crest Trail. The only “plan” was to maybe stop and pick some huckleberries en route, and one guy knew where there was a large, ripe patch to choose from. The other guy could give a hoot about a berry in his mouth and was jones’n for some throttle time on his new KTM. But, they were both psyched and ready for a break from work and a lot of fun on the trails.

In each of their hearts beat the pulses of younger men… for a time, and they rode off to a trailhead, and pointed in.

Berry patches came and went, but not one stop for picking got made. The riding was just too good! They rode over the crests from north to south on a trail that spans the 26-mile length of the Big Hole Range, with 360-degree views all the way. Peaks and valleys abound, the valleys called “holes” giving the range its name. There was no end to the picturesque scenery on the entire ride, and finally, toward the southern terminus of the ridge crest the height of land is reached on Red Mountain, the tallest peak and the point at which a navigation decision needed to get made. Ain’t nuthin’ but a thang…

Don knows the way, he’s hunted up in here for years, and that “trail” visible down below that curls way away from the ridge crest toward a deep valley below has got to be the way. It’s steep for sure, and looks pretty committed from the ridge crest above, but since no obvious peel to the left and east toward the Teton Valley presents itself, a good eyeball study from the top yields the decision to send one guy down there to check it out, and report back. So, “Stovebolt” with the new KTM enduro machine volunteers to tackle the recon with the idea being that both the machine and the rider are probably more able to get turn it around and get back up if it looks as if it is the wrong way, and try another route off the ridge and down to the east.

“Tally Ho.” Stovey lights his Austrian Magic Machine, and glides off. And down… Little thought bubbles bounce out from underneath his helmet and pop out above his head, surrounding his middle-aged noggin with a stream of provocative narrative, known only to himself and his guardian angel.



For a long time, I’m gone and Don is left to himself to spy whatever he can of my progress from the ridge above, and I’ve long ago lost sight of his position after taking a few turns and a major drop that put me in a position out of our sightline. My guess is that this is not the route down, having turned a corner on the side hill that gave a better view of what lies ahead, and the trail has dissipated to the point that there is only little evidence ahead of it being used by the local ungulates. And by the fact that I committed to a six-foot drop through an exfoliated section of “trail” that was so steep and so loose that there is no way this piece of trail gets regular bike traffic. But the “game trail” led right through it and there was no way else around on the knoll. It was either turn back then, or commit to the drop which looked promising from above, and only petered out pretty much immediately thereafter. It looks like the ride is taking on some new flavor from this point on. My bike is on its side, in the dirt, and a few pebbles are dropping lower down inside my right boot, grass strands streaming from two buckles now unclasped on one of my Alpinestars Tech 8’s.

I can’t get back up on the bike after one feeble try, so I land it back down below in a more level spot and take a few moments to walk my track ahead, and spy what might be available on the open trail toward the ridge exit. The “trail” has definitely diminished and what lies ahead around the corner after the drop is only obvious single-track game trail, and further away it simply appears to obliterate altogether. Disappears right off the face of the earth, and not a hoof print in sight even. This is the end of the trail. The end of the line. The beginning of the end…

I try a few more times to get back up the steep section. I fail.

Time goes by, and it’s hot out…  My struggle continues, to no avail. Eventually, I have left myself in a fairly worn-out lump in the side of the trail below the steepest section, helmet off and sweating profusely in a thirsty puddle with no shade in sight, save for the spec of a shadow from a passing hawk hunting from above.

This could get ugly! And time goes by some more… I hope Don stays put, and that I can find a way back up. This is a “no-go.” I hope this saddle I’m resting in is just a temporary platform of relatively flat ground on this ridge to regroup on, while I recharge for the successful attempt that will get me back up to where Don is waiting, the mighty Viking with all the local trail insight! Sheeesh…. Another suck on my Camelbak and I’ll give this thing the mighty hill climb effort deluxe, and …



_________________________________________________



....when last we left our heroes, they had just rejoined their ranks, having been separated for about 45 minutes or so while Stovey rode ahead to reconnoiter a good looking trail on a ridge, and Don subsequently decided to follow. The ride down basically sucked for both
intrepid sage thrashers, but it sucked harder for Don who managed to get in a couple of hair-raising tumbles, and arrived at the saddle with eyes bulging from sockets full of dirt and too much sun, astride (sort of) a quasi-mangled XT250. There then, under the increasingly brutal heat of a Southeast Idaho Summer blast furnace, they faced each other and...

"I bent my handlebars - look at this...” Don said.

"I see...” said Stovey, and "...are you alright?"

"Yeah, I'm fine, but I crashed up there - not once, but twice and now look at this bike, I can barely ride it. I'm going to have to bend these bars back." Don was pulling off his helmet and going for his water as he spoke, and I was eying him for any signs of permanent damage and/or shock. Nothing was visible protruding from his parts; no stick seemed to be coming out of his back or sides; no blood to speak of, nothing gushing anyway, and no bones poking through his t-shirt or his jeans. I hadn’t made it up, but my riding partner had made it down. Big time.

T-shirt and jeans and work boots and a full face helmet constituted Don's riding gear; that and a pair of killer sunglasses that wrapped around his face, and combined with his Scandinavian lineage gave him the appearance of a mad Norseman, a real life Berserker. Looking at Don one could easily imagine him at his own Viking funeral, afloat on a raft at sea, cast adrift in a flaming wooden funerary barge.... only he wasn't dead yet! (Can you imagine how pissed a guy could get floating along on the water, waves gently rolling your handmade wooden craft, a breeze wafting over the bow, as you suddenly realize that the whole mass is ablaze from underneath, stoked by flames fuming forth from seasoned hardwoods soaked in pine pitch?!) Don seemed about that baked under that helmet and behind those glasses, and as we stared at each other on the top of the saddle, I watched some dirt and gravel crumble from the skin on his elbow and fall to the ground.

"Well, we want to make for damned sure we don't be breakin' those bars if we manage to bend them - that'll put us in a pretty fix if they break, and they break pretty easy..." I said to Don, thinking maybe we should try to ride it out bent. He just exclaimed how damned near impossible it was to try to control the bike after they stuck in the ground on the 2nd crash and how he felt he would be damned if he was going to try to ride it another inch the way it was.

Well then, we got together on the little project and he sat on the bike and pushed down and away on the throttle side of the handlebar, and I got on the ground underneath the set and got a grip right on the throttle. As we began to reefin' and tuggin’ we felt the bars begin to
budge, just once, and then we had to reposition ourselves. We regrouped with our grips and with a combined effort we tried it a second and last time - reeeeef, groan, budge, crinkle and snap. We were done; our bending job was now complete. The bars were no longer bent straight back and up in the air, they were instead in essentially two separate pieces.

Our bending days were done, and it appeared as if our splinting days had just begun. "What would McGuyver do?" was the thought that entered both of our minds, and we both managed to utter something brilliant like, "I'd like to see McGuyver get out of this one!" to each other, at approximately the same moment after the "SNAP!" of the chincy offshore steel control handle. And there we sat, sizing up the situation.

Don parked the bike in the usual fashion, "kerplunck" on the ground as
he darted off into the pines to hack a fresh bough from a nearby tree. I sucked on the plastic tube once again, and thought about home. Then I thought about the ravine. And then I looked up and thought about the ridge we had just come down on the way to get to this infernal boiler plate of a ridge top, full of sagebrush and red dirt. HEll, even the birds were gone, not a peep out of them here on the aeries - they had all gone down to some cool shady grove in a meadow, where there was some breeze through a canyon to ride along on and a cool drink from a stream to be had. Nothing looked alive up here, and the two of us could hardly argue the point, judging from the way Don looked. If I looked anything like him, we both could pass for bad replicas of the Sphinx - three quarters proned-out in a sand dune under a hot sun, the chiseled wrinkles of our middle-aged skin coughing out dirt in chunks to be absorbed by an anonymous desert floor. It occurred to me then, that we might be baked unless we got out of there fast.

Well, Don came back to his bike like a teenage usher in a movie theater, all in a hurry to get his charges seated and all caught up in the importance of his work. He had himself a nice little stub of a tree branch in his ham-handed fists, all freshly killed but still ever so very pliant. All important now was the task of applying the "splint" to regain some stiffness to the new 2-piece handlebar set. Maybe he figured "green wood is better..." or some other such physical nonsense...

As he was wrapping the sticks around the bars in a dry run of sorts, attempting to set up a fitment, it occurred to me that we should be using the strongest possible method of splinting (by whatever means) which should include sticking something inside the hollow of the bars and getting a grab on them from the inside out, as well as from the outside. I ran off again to look for just the right sized stick to try that out, and Don stayed at the Yamaha, as any good surgeon would stay at his table until it was indeed time to hand off the suturing to the chief scrub.

When I got back to the Yamaha after a brief trip to the donor tree, and the itinerant passage through the shade it briefly provided, I saw that Don had begun to cannibalize some parts to use in the splinting – a brilliant idea from what I beheld! You see, Don kept a set of those red-neckedy handlebar gun rack mounts on his bars, as he often rode out with a carbine lashed across the bars to shoot at critters in a meadow who were sitting on a log eating an acorn on a Sunday afternoon in the Rockies- stuff like that. Anyhow, those mounts were just sort of sticking up off the crossbar, aimed at the riders’ facial area, specifically aimed at the orbital cavities, and of course served no practical purpose on this ride.... until now.

Don had removed one clamp from underneath the right side mount and had begun to massage the wingnut off the bottom of it as I moved in closer to satisfy my hunger for curiosity. As I got closer I just grabbed the damned U-shaped gun mount from his hands and held it up to his face, proclaiming "brilliant!" and that this is the perfect thing for "my splint"... I took the metal thing over to a nearby anvil shaped rock on the ground and began to bending the "U" shape right out of it. I managed to straighten it into a shape of lesser angle such that it approximated the natural bend that the handlebars were supposed to have, and ran back like a teenage usher again to Dan, still seated on his bike, now droopy-eyed looking at me. Like a kid who just had his GI Joe taken away from his playmate, Don sat there and watched me force the rubber-coated metal thing into the hollow of the bars and reposition the two broken pieces together in some fashion that I thought would work.

His hands joined mine, and pretty soon, and to make a long story short, a whirlwind of clamps, another gun mount from the other side of the handlebars, a set of wrenches and duct tape all commenced to wrapping and tying and clamping and wiring. Along with our freshly killed tree limbs, which were also added with tape and baling wire, we had ourselves a genuine McGuyver Special - a mass of wood, tape, pot metal and wire all clamped up and ready to go. Now ‘which way were we going?’, that was the question. It was getting later, and we needed to figure out an exit.

We debated the pros and cons of each direction, and pretty much figured we were better off by far getting back to the top of the ridge from which we had come, as the alternatives going down on any route were looking grim at best. The only tough part was the two nasty obstacles we had just run across and they were no small shakes to get around or through, either of them, and we both held serious doubts as to whether we could make it back. Still, we thought we might stand a chance if we doubled up two guys to a bike and man-handled each one, one at a time, back over and through each obstacle. Two bikes, two obstacles, two guys.

As it turned out, almost two hours later, we were right back on the same spot, even after giving it everything we had to try and go back up.

For nearly two hours we tried to cross that Martian landscape on that section of ridge above “McGuyver Saddle,” and we nearly died doing so. As before we had selected the guy with the new KTM 300 Enduro rig to head out first, as if he were going to carry and plant the flag on the far side of the last uphill obstacle. "That's One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind"... sort of a mission I guess. I got to the first obstacle and wiped out, low-siding uphill like a good little racer, but exhausted from my diminished capacity to maneuver the beast on such a steep hillside - I was tiring. I got the bike turned around through a monumental effort, and retreated (after losing some 30 feet of height on the hill in the process, and damned near going all the way down to Dante's inner circle as well, into a steep draw). I got back to a flat spot and turned around and tried it again, and got only a foot or two closer again before I controlled a hairy dismount and anchored my feet to the hillside once again. This time I was going to try to push smarter, and make it past this obstacle, no motor.

I tried and Don joined me and together we just barely managed to get my bike over and at substantial risk of losing the bike and falling down, the two of us. Way down. Don had gotten his bike up to near where I had first crashed and dismounted there, now waiting for me to try to get past the second nasty obstacle going back up, and this one would be a killer. This was the one with the 6 -7 foot vertical exfoliation, rat-hole chunk missing, and the sphincter-squeezing slope on the downhill side was enough to make you believe you were standing on the edge of a Black Hole - everything gets sucked in, nothing comes back out. I sucked on the camelback and lit the Katoom. I looked back at Don and said, "when I clear this one I'll come back for your bike." He just said okay, and asked how much further until we would be riding, not pushing and carrying. I told him that the obstacle in front of me was about 30 feet ahead and it looked like we were riding just a few feet after that - on trail back up to the ridge. He nodded "okay", and I revved the KTM to life.

I aimed that bike before I let go of the clutch lever, and then took off - heading for the obstacle of rock and loose red dirt sprinkled with rocks, gravel, and a few more rocks. I hit the rocks, then the rock and slid over the marbly dirt and rock, and crashed. Damn! I'm crashing and I'm going down!  "My God I'm heading down into that Black Hole of a draw - I'm going to careen off of rock after rock at the speed of light until I get sucked into that Singularity the physicists say will turn me into a frozen strawberry daiquiri..... ssheeeeeyiiiiit!" Down went the bike, but it didn't get far, as it perched on the nearly vertical side slope to the ridge and stopped underneath the rock it had just been commanded by an ill-minded pilot to climb. I just hit and bounced and stuck to a rock, that was it and I was saved. But there we were, me and my new KTM, planted on that damnable side hill. I turned and looked back for Don, but he was just out of sight downhill of the first obstacle.

Walking back to Don I pulled my helmet off and grabbed for my plastic water tube, like a spaceman about to blow his suit. Sucking on water like I needed it for air, I topped the rocky outcrop above Dan, who sat there in a heap on his bike, waiting for the 'all clear' for him to take his chance at getting his bike up - I looked down at Don who began to ask about the next obstacle, and getting his bike up the first try. I just told him, "hey, I didn't make it..." He looked with me and came back to my bike where it was Superglued and almost hanging on the side of the ridge crest, and then just looked at me, and then back at the obstacle. We decided that there was no way we were going to make it back up the ridge, no matter what we did or how hard we tried. We had given it our all to get one bike past one obstacle, and still had another bike to get past both trouble spots. We were dangerously close to losing the KTM to the Singularity and we were becoming dehydrated fast. We moved to get off the ridge, and decided that "handlebar or no handlebar" we were stuck reconsidering the all-downhill-only options, period. Our “UP-climbing” day was done.

We anchored and slid and braked and engine-compressioned and slid and scared and swung and slid and re-anchored, and got that KTM turned around off that red face of a dirt cliff below the exfoliation, and doubled up on that bike for all we were worth to get it manhandled back down through the first obstacle. We split up at a point near where Don's bent, broken and splinted Yamaha lay waiting for him (now facing the wrong way as we were retreating), and I manhandled my bike on my own now, through thick sage and over loose dirt and rocks. Grabbing up my helmet again, I kick-started the bike from the uphill side, then continued to struggle with clutch fanning and bush bashing until I reached a point about 50 feet downhill and safe to remount away from the last nasty obstacle - that took about 15 minutes. I was nearing collapse from the heat and effort, and knew deep down that whatever my future held, if there was going to be a future, it would have to be without this heat. It was time to hit the silk and bail out from this line, even if it meant catapulting myself off this ridge and into a creek bottom. At least there, even with a flail chest and broken bones, I could be cool in the shade of some willow tree. Maybe a badger would happen by and piss on my forehead or something, anything to take the edge off. It all sounded good to me, so when I caught up with Don back at McGuyver's Saddle, we only rested a couple of minutes before heading down. We had already decided which of the ravines to enter, and through process of elimination had ruled out the ridge we were on, we elected not to follow it down, even though game trail disappeared down that ridge. We also elected not to take the steeper ravine. Since we couldn't side hill up and contour out with Don's broken bars, we headed off into the only remaining option, and it didn't look that good. We theorized that we might make the highway in a few hours, but I thought to myself we would be lucky to make it home at all that night. Luck indeed.

It was 6:00 pm, and we had spent almost 2 hours thrashing on that uphill attempt. We aimed our bikes single file, Don first so I could see where his pieces went when he crashed from makeshift handlebar failure. Down into the ravine we went, leaving the hot anvil of McGuyver's Saddle behind us above.

For an hour we bashed and slid, crashed and banged our way down that slope and toward the creek bottom. Toward the end, we were nearing our own ends. We hardly ran the bikes at all; it did more harm to our efforts than good. The only time I ran it was once when there was only moderation to the slope where I thought I could gain some ground by riding, and maybe get a rest from the pushing, sliding tugging and front braking. The second was for about 30 seconds while motoring through a bog near the bottom, right above the creek. Other than that, it was a downright nasty thrash and a scary combination of engine compression braking, tail-sliding and front braking to maneuver those bikes down. How Don got that thing down in two pieces (his bar splints failed after he let the bike tip over, standing in a relatively benign spot, exhausted and taking a break - he just let the bike fall out of his hands and it landed square onto the repair, kaput), I'll never know.

Viking Man sure had his day with reefing on that crossbar and using engine compression only to manhandle that XT - he had no way to access the front brake and the terrain was horrendous for hikers on foot, let alone a guy with a wrecked and brake-disabled dirt bike. Sheeesh. Halfway down that ravine I bet he wished anything he was floating away on that fiery funeral barge in some far away fjord of his ancestral homeland. I know his forearm was wishing for anything other than its assigned task of continually mashing on the crossbar and reefing that bike into the hill, trying to keep the whole mass of metal and plastic and Viking meat from rushing downhill into a Singularity. (Vikings by nature hate daiquiris.)

We finally arrive at the creek bottom after an eternity of battle with brambles and willow/aspen thickets, bogs and tree roots. I find myself battered and nearly physically beaten toward the end of the down slope struggle as I fight my way through willow saplings as thick as hair on a dog and as high as twice my height. The bike almost refuses forward motion as we tangle together in a merciless struggle against the pliant willow branches, up to my knees in webs of branches. The branches catch under the brake and shift levers, getting lodged between them and the frame and halting progress until I manage to free the current mess, and again I do this, and again. The spokes and swingarm and chain are all
wound up in the same mad choreography as we struggle and struggle toward the sound of trinkling water, all the while still sucking on what's left in my camelback. At long last, I make the creek bottom, and still it is no great welcome…

The creek itself is entirely overgrown, having entered into it so far upstream as to be nearing the headwaters with thick undergrowth of steep, shaded ravine. I am now in water and rocks with slippery uneven footing, manhandling a motorcycle still laden with fuel and tools and parts. I’m wearing boots exceptionally well suited to riding, but not to walking (on just about any surface, let alone one with creek goo). I've also been wearing my kidney belt, chest protector and jersey all day, and with the camelback and spares on my back I've been without decent ventilation for about forever. It's feeling like about time to get rid of the bike..... but I love this damned thing!

I'm calling out to Don now, whom I'd abandoned to his own line down through the Aspens above. I had decided that he didn't have a chance trying any way other than the way he was going, as he had no real braking opportunity save for the masochism he had to commit to in letting the trees do that work for him. "Fuck that", I remember thinking to myself, as I let him slip past me into the shallow forest drowned in sunlight, and on toward the creek bottom from above. Like the scene in the movie “Titanic,” I watched Don glide into the saplings with no front brake, tugging at the clutch side of his bars and then the crossbar, bashing and huffing and squeezing and shuffling in his work boots and his t-shirt and his jeans; an unspoken farewell as he drifted down into the abyss, surrounded and then engulfed by saplings and sweat. I spied a different line and laid in a new heading for the KTM. "Flood tubes 3 and 4, and open outer doors" as it were - and I prosecuted my solution to the bottom, Neptune’s spiny trident taunting me with tines all the way into my destiny toward Davy Jones’ Locker in the creek bed.

After a couple of minutes calling out for Don, (I couldn't see more than a foot or two ahead of me, and only UP at that), I heard a call back in reply, but I couldn't tell exactly which direction the voice came from in return. I finally broke through enough branches to a spot in the creek where I could see downstream a few feet farther. From there I could see Don, standing on a steep rocky bank above the creek, about 60 yards or so away. A few minutes later he had found me in the thicket, standing in the stream wearing my Alpinestar Tech8 riding boots, (Italian made - good fitting), with water running over them past my ankles and my sagging eyeballs hanging out of their sockets. I was pretty near spent!

One last determined effort brought me and the KTM close to the bank where Don was standing, and he helped me push my bike with the throttle ON over a meander and I cut across one last section of stream before expending my last bit of will to continue on with the bike. For today, perhaps forever at that point - the bike was superglued to the face of
the planet, and neither one of us would move it further. Dan's bike was about 75 yards downstream, as he had entered the creek bottom further ahead of me a few minutes before I had. It was so thick with understory and deadfall that we couldn't see or hear each other at all even though we were separated by at most 150 yards. We had reached the bottom in one piece, each of us, and the bikes would still survive, but they weren't coming out with us.

I propped the bike up where it sat in the creek, water gently washing over the rims, only that deep to the side of the stream, and let it stand there against the steep rock bank. I removed my helmet and took another suck off the camelback tube, and decided to bring my helmet with me. My thought was that a bear or rodents would get the helmet liner and trash it, attracted by the salt in it. For that matter, oddly, it occurred to me that the damned critters might even go after the seat for the same reason. I chuckled at that - I wasn't about to dismantle my motorcycle and strap the seat to my back out of fear of a bear eating it. Hell, Don might see that and try to ride me out and then where would that leave me?

It was 7:00 pm. I abandoned my brand new, 2000 KTM300EX/C, $6200.00 motorcycle, and we set off on foot.

We sloshed through creek crossing after creek crossing. For miles we clamored over rocks and downed logs. We wriggled our way through standing deadfall and overgrown game trails and finally came to a road, a Jeep road. Sign said "Red Creek" and pointed upstream toward the direction we had just come from. Well, at least we now knew where we had been. Now we just need to get home. We figured we could find our ways back to the bikes when the time came. For now, it was all out for home.

The day has gotten way past long, and as it is we are overdue for home. Our wives and family members are going to start to wonder where we are and whether or not something has gone amiss. We’ve got a long way to go to get back to civilization and I’m already feeling spent, physically. The dehydration hasn’t helped. A foggy though crosses my mind about how I am going to be able to perform on the job tomorrow with another Monday back at work. Don might be thinking similar thoughts as well, and I wonder what is on his mind about it. We’ve both put forth an all out effort just to get down off that mountain and we both need to get back to work in the morning, and nightfall will be upon us before we even make a paved road. Maybe very late at night at the rate we’re going to be able to muster.

We walked and walked and walked. IT was mostly uphill, honest. We bumped into a couple of guys on horseback, with five dogs. They were sheep herders, tending a large flock grazing out in the forest. They asked us if we had seen any sheep and we said "No", we had left our motorcycles and were walking out from deep in the forest and they just turned around and rode away, walking their horses. They blazed away at a pace in comparison with ours that it left us speechless, which was just as well as we had become so dehydrated that wasting the air and moisture in our lungs and across our lips was an ordeal anyway. We had even broken down and drank untreated stream water, a practice I had given up even as a kid some 25 years ago, out of fear of contracting giardia. That was a precaution though, this day I could not afford to take. We drank like criminals and had soaked our crusty heads under water and refilled our camelbacks and marched on out of that Red Creek drainage.

After slogging some more miles, through sheep-infested forest with the air filled with dirt from trampling sheep feets, the sheep herders came upon us again, this time from the rear. Now before anybody goes and gets any ideas about 2 lonely Mexican sheep herders coming upon us from the rear at twilight, well - let me just rephrase that... They rode up to us and dismounted and just handed us the reins, and in very broken English they explained to us very manky looking NorteAmericanos that it was indeed, "no problem, please take our horse, ride it to our home, not far away, by the highway - no problem, you ride, we walk...". I didn't say a thing but looked the short Mexican straight in the eye and asked him to please hold my helmet. He took my helmet and handed me the reins of his horse, and I just looked at that horse and the horse didn't look back at me. I looked at the Mexican and asked him to please hold the horse by the halter while I tried to get on, as I didn't know if I "could do it right". He did, he said, "You do good!", and I mounted up.

Don was already in the other saddle as I leaned back against the tree in that caballeros leather rig, and thumbed the pommel with my left hand. "Good boy" I dryly whispered to my new friend, the brown horse, whom I thought I should name, "brown horse"; and "gidyap" I nudged with the heels of my Tech8's. We launched into a nice rolling plod which lasted about another 45 minutes to an hour. We reached the highway at around 9:45 pm and bid farewell to all of our new friends, the sheep herders and their 5 dogs, and the two brown horses. I named Don's brown horse, "brown horse" also, so there would be no confusion.

As my horse plodded along in the dark, it occurred to me that we are both going to be sorely tempted to call in sick at work, but that’s a little bit of a problem since we both work at the same place. It’s a small business and we both hold key positions, and either the absence of either of us, especially at such short notice is going to have an impact. I hope I can recover in the hours remaining before Monday morning check in at the shop… Don too – he’s clearly as beat as I am, and I know he’s not happy about the prospect of either of us having to face a long, hard day at the salt mines in the morning.

But, at least we are alive, and it feels like we’re going to make it!

We hitchhiked and got a ride within 5 minutes. There are a great many caring country souls here. We were delivered directly to Don's house in Victor, whereupon he commenced to make the first phone call of the evening. I made my call and we jumped into Don's truck to make the ride back to my truck some 20 miles away to the north.


I got home at 11:00m, and had a nice Chinese dinner waiting for me, reheated by my lovely wife, Dorothy, who had spent a couple of hours anxiously waiting for word from me or about me that I was okay, and coming home. I got to give her that news, and I am glad to be able to say 'Thank God I’m Home!" once again. Best Chinese dinner I ever had - General Tsao's Chicken, with a Won Ton soup starter. Dorothy is my best friend, and I'll be glad when she and I are riding bikes again together. But that’s for another day, another adventure…



There’s no mention of calling in “sick” tomorrow, and neither Don nor I are regretting just being alive and back in civilization after such a grueling day dealing with the hot, exhausting day in the bushes. Getting rehydrated and some rest are top priorities for both of us right now, that – and making our best apologies to our wives for putting them into positions of worry.

Monday morning dawns and as the early light rears its’ ugly head, it’s a bedraggled Stovey who greets the day, and takes another shower to warm and loosen a body full of tight, twisted muscles, banged bones and raw sinew. Don is at work, and he’s beat. His eyes are red and look like two piss-holes in the snow. A backslap or two later and a smile brings forth the inevitable round table of war stories that follow, off and on all day. Usually, after the predictable jaw-drops from our coworkers and the occasional customer who overhears a story in progress, the equally predictable and well-earned comments of “what a couple of dumb-asses!” erupt, with beaming grins and shaking heads. Chuckle after chuckle all day long. Especially under the circumstances with our bikes ditched in the timer-surrounded creek bed, there is some notable ironic humor to our survival, knowing that we need to get back out there and recover those two-wheeled adventure machines. The fires are closing trailheads left and right, and the US Forest Service is closing area forests altogether due to the rising fire danger and to keep the public away from firefighting efforts that are building full on.

Well, this experience has provided lessons to keep learning from for years to come, for sure. I’m just lucky the boss didn’t give us shit for being so tired and wiped out all day long afterward. He could have, but he just didn’t. I know I appreciated that, a lot. And if he did, I might have just reminded Don that he did, after all, volunteer to go this ride, and it was HIS idea to go on that downhill trail into oblivion. Our boss at the company had little to say about the whole thing other than, “Stovey, the next time you take me out in the bushes like that, well – there won’t be any NEXT TIME, you dumb-ass!”

So we just concentrated on getting the rest of the day. The rest of the work week was spent periodically organizing our recovery plan to get into the forest and get those two bikes out of there.  




------------------------


Flash forward to Friday evening, at the end of the week, and

…tomorrow is our 14th weeding anniversary and we're heading back out into the woods to go get the bike, right after work. We'll set up camp and drink champagne and spend the night dodging forest fires, then get up on Saturday morning and hike the rest of the way back up Red Creek, and bring that iron home. Don and his boys and the neighbor kids are all going, and we're packing in the chainsaw and rope, nylon strap, tools and fuel, and water - plenty of water! And yes, another set of handlebars....

The only poor development really, has been the fire danger, and the fact that indeed 38 fires were started about 2 days ago, from the passing of just one dry thunderstorm. Smoke has been filling our little valley here all week long, and a new storm is building for more of the same without rainfall in sight. We need to get in and get out, before they close the access points for fire fighting and what all else. The adventure continues...
« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 03:38:14 AM by Stovebolt » Logged

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