Intro and Day 1
In the days preceding this trip I did my best to avoid looking at the weather forecast. They are always wrong and generally depressing in the spring. I did however make sure I had Phoenix as one of my main cities in the weather on my phone so I could remind myself of where I was going and what I could look forward to. That tactic would prove to be effective at keeping me motivated and alive in the first days of the trip.
All the prep work was completed, oil changed, fluids checked and necessary supplies purchased and ready to go a week prior to my departure. I was stoked for some seat time and ready for an adventure. 8 months of winter in this part of Idaho is very depressing and I was due for some good weather and a short break from reality.
About 4 or 5 days prior to the 6th (When I had planned on leaving) I began to develop a toothache. This is a problem I’ve been having for a couple years now and have been procrastinating. I’ve dealt with the pain of it before but for some reason this time it was MUCH worse. I decided I needed to make the call and went in to the dentist. It was recommended that my two rearmost molars be extracted. Because of the close proximity to important nerves controlling my facial muscles and such I would have to undergo the procedure under general anesthesia and would need a couple of recovery days. The only available day to do the surgery was the 6th.
When I arrived for my surgery appointment I was informed of all the horrible, horrible things that could go wrong. I was told I would be in tremendous pain and would have extensive swelling of the area for at least 4-5 days. I was told to be on a liquid diet to avoid getting any food particles caught in the healing tissue where my teeth had currently resided. I was also informed that due to the close proximity of these aforementioned nerves, there would be a slight possibility of damaging them during the removal process. This could cause issues with mouth control and could potentially cause the side of my face and mouth to appear and function as if I had suffered a mild stroke! I nearly backed out. But, in the end I bit the bullet and decided it had to be done.
I woke an hour later, drunk from the anesthesia. Did I mention this is the first time I have EVER had any type of surgery, dental or otherwise? I wasn’t sure how I would react to the anesthesia. I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome and how my body handled it. I handled everything exceptionally well. There was very little swelling, practically no pain and even though it was suggested I put off my trip until Monday the 9th or longer I put together my bike and bags and hit the road on Sunday. I wasn’t about to let a dentist tell me what to do.
Let my tale be a lesson to all young children who did not listen to their mothers. Brush your teeth kids. Or you will pay later!
Morning arrived, bags were packed, bike was prepped, tire pressures were set and I was ready to go. Aside from the strong recommendation of my Dentist and my Wife I set out for a southbound adventure. When left my house in Idaho the weather wasn’t bad. I’d looked at the forecasts the night before and knew I was probably going to get wet. I wasn’t happy about it, but I kept looking at those 90+ degree temperatures in Phoenix and it got me going and kept me moving. I like to keep my routes pretty open and had at least a half dozen ways to get to Arizona at my disposal. Either straight shot south through Nevada or the winding path and lower elevations through Utah. After looking at the weather and seeing moisture forecasted for both routes I decided to take the Utah route. Elevations frequently get up into the 6-7k above sea level in Nevada and there is very little support out in the middle of the Great Basin.
All was good and relatively dry. I made it to Snowville Utah and checked the weather again. Thick clouds and heavy rain was on the radar for every possible southbound route through Utah. So, I bundled up and hit the road. I was told to turn back by several people at the truck stop in Snowville but did I listen? Hell no!
The rain and cold was the worst weather I have ever experienced on a motorcycle. It was a torrential downpour from this point on without any sort of break. My “waterproof” boots were soaked within 50 miles of Snowville and the Fieldsheer jacket and pants I was wearing had me absolutely soaked to the bone. Initially I had planned on taking a detour around Salt Lake City because I generally don’t prefer to ride in heavy interstate highway traffic. I decided to save the time and avoid going around SLC because once again, the elevations rise pretty high over there and there was a good chance I would run into snow and ice. I was so cold and soaked that I had to stop about every 50 miles and find a gas station or convenience store to warm up in. I was making horrible time and was afraid I would not reach my destination of Nephi Utah. (The cheapest motels in the area)
About halfway through the SLC area, during near rush-hour traffic at about 3pm I had my first “oh shit” moment. At 80+ mph in the center of 5 lanes of traffic I lost power. I looked down at my gauges and they were blank. Nothing! I slowed and signaled as best as I could that I was moving to the shoulder, nearly got killed a couple times by crazy Utah drivers but I made it across and stopped on the side of the road, the bike still dead. The first thought that went through my mind was I had sucked some water in the intake and she was just water-logged. But this wouldn’t explain my loss of all electrical systems. I let the bike sit for a couple minutes and tried the key again. She came to life and started right up. A fluke? I think not. The Mistress did this to me 4 or 5 more times before finally reaching my exit at Nephi and she was running just fine until I stopped at an intersection about a mile away from my Motel 6 destination. Dead in the middle of the intersection I hopped off the bike and pushed her under a Wells Fargo drive through to help dry er’ out. After fiddling with it for 20 minutes or so, she finally came back from the dead and I was able to squeeze out one last mile where I parked her under cover for the night. I unpacked my soaked gear, laid it out to dry in the motel room and walked across the street for some grub hoping my water soaked Mistress would dry out by morning.
I slept well that night.
I’ll bet you are wondering where all the pictures are? Well, when you are soaked to the bone and freezing cold and dealing with a motorcycle that doesn’t feel like cooperating. Well, I suppose the motivation to take photographs sort of goes out the window. My apologies.