I woke with delusional thoughts in my mind that the weather would have broke and I would get some sort of a break from the rain. Wrong! It was raining just as hard as it was when I arrived the night before. I was disheartened and felt as if I had done something wrong in my life to deserve such a horrible experience. But I kept looking at that weather forecast for Phoenix. 95 Degrees. Only a few hundred more miles and I’d be out of this shit and into paradise.
I made my way out to the bike, put in the key and she roared to life with no hesitation whatsoever. Good news on this horrible, wet day. I loaded her down and hit the road.
The bike was running as if there had never been a problem. I was making time and it was nice to be off the interstate and on some lower traffic two lane highways toward Richfield Utah.
I made it to Richfield…barely.
I pulled into a gas station to fuel up and warm up. Went inside and had a cup of coffee and found a place to sit out of the cold and rain. When I decided it was time to go, I reluctantly made my way to my bike, got suited up and when I tried to start the bitch, she protested and refused entirely. I was stuck. In BFE Utah of all places. As I was fiddling around with the bike she fired once or twice when on the kickstand, but as soon as I hopped on she would die.
I was approached by a concerned passerby. “You alright man?” I just sort of stared at him. “Do I look alright?” I shook off my anger, introduced myself and shook the hand of the man who would save my life and would have the greatest impact of anyone I met along the trip. This man, my new best friend turned out to be the timeliest “Good Samaritan” I have ever met. And it turned out he was a motorcyclist himself. And, big surprise, he had a close friend with a motorcycle shop not 5 miles away. He offered a dry place to work on the bike and all the tools I could ever need to get the job done. Strangely, the Mistress fired right up and I followed him to a little hole in the wall motorcycle shop in Monroe Utah. They made space for me, introduced me to the family and I got to work. If you are ever going through the area, please stop by and give this place some business. It’s called “Sprockets
” and they are the nicest bunch of people I have ever met.
This is where I curse myself for my poor judgment and lack of engineering skill.
uh: When I designed the rack system for my bike I neglected to consider the fact that I may need to get under the seat at some point. The entire system has to come off in order to remove the seat and get to the battery or lift the tank. That being said, I cussed myself (Under my breath mind you, because I had a new little friend who never left my side while I was hard at work) my work companion, 5 year old Charger (Awesome name right?) made sure to ask me every pertinent question about my life and times and why I was riding a motorcycle in this horrible rainy weather and not driving a car so I wouldn’t get wet. To this, I answered; “I don’t know, I think I am just an idiot.”
The bags and rack system were removed a short time later and I was able to access my under-tray. I expected puddles of water and soaked electronics. I was completely wrong! Bone dry, not a drop of water to be seen. How could this be? What else could cause these problems? All sorts of morbid solutions were rolling through my mind when I noticed the little rubber red piece attached to the positive battery terminal was slightly melted. I thought to myself, that wasn’t like that before, was it? Upon further inspection I noticed the bolt and nut on the terminal were not tight and would not tighten any further than they already were. That’s weird? The shop owner offered me a new terminal from a battery he had sitting in the shop. It was installed and the bike fired right up. I checked a few other things just to make certain this was the only contributing factor and decided that it was. Everything else looked like it had when I had left two days prior.
I put er’ back together, loaded up my bags and pushed her back out into the rain. She fired right up. I said my goodbyes and hit the road once again.
From here I considered two routes. A slightly easterly route toward Moab and then south, or south and southwest toward Vegas where I knew the weather would warm up. I chose the Vegas route mostly because when I looked at the sky toward Moab, it was black and toward Cedar City/St. George Utah it was cloudy, obviously raining, but didn’t look like the apocalypse in progress.
In order to get to Cedar City from Monroe you have to hop on I-70 and cross a high mountain pass. This was the only way, aside from side roads with trees and shaded road, a nice place to find some ice and a broken neck. The elevation began to climb and it kept climbing until I reached the summit at around 7k feet. There was snow on the side of the road and it was cold and raining. Near the top, the rain began to thicken and turned to slush. If you’ve never ridden in conditions like this, I strongly suggest you don’t. I slowed to 45 or 50 and kept on moving. My shield kept building up with ice and I couldn’t see, then to make matters worse I kept getting passed by large trucks sending freezing spray my way. I rode with one hand on my visor as far open as I could get it to keep it from fogging up too badly and the other one shakily on the throttle.
Finally, I started my downward descent toward the I-15 interchange and Beaver, UT where I would stop to warm up. I made it, alive! I pulled into the first gas station I found, shivering, and probably near hypothermia. Got inside, sat down with a cup of hot coffee and tried to warm up. I just couldn’t get warm. I looked out the window and saw a Super 8. After sitting in the gas station trying to get warm with minimal success I thought to myself, maybe I should just stop. I checked online the cost of a room in Beaver (No pun intended) and it was a little higher priced than I wanted to pay but I thought I’d rather spend a little more money and not die! I hopped on the bike and pulled into the lot of the motel. Just then, I saw 4 guys on Harley’s pass by and get on the Interstate. Southbound toward Cedar City and I thought to myself, well if those jackasses can do it, so can I! I got back on the bike and decided to hit a Wendy’s for some grub and a bit more warm-up time. By the time I was finished eating I had made up my mind. I went for it!
I regretted that decision about 20 miles from Beaver when the elevation began to climb again. I instantly remembered there was another mountain pass to cross before Cedar City and if I remembered correctly this one got up in the 6-7k range as well. But I was already committed by then and kept going. The story is pretty much the same as the previous mountain pass on I-70; ice on the helmet, fear for my life and wanting to give up. I said to myself, “God, just take me now!” But, I made it to the summit and back down the other side. The further I went, the quicker the elevation fell and every inch of the way I could feel the temperature rise. The higher the temps got, the more the rain subsided and the more I dried out and warmed up, the more my spirits rose. I found myself at the Cedar City exit and I pulled into a gas station to get some fuel. I was completely rejuvenated! I checked motel prices for Cedar City, St. George and beyond and found the area to be way overpriced. But then a thought occurred to me. Why not stay in Mesquite Nevada? I checked room rates and was delighted to find a room in one of the newly refurbished Casino/Hotels for a paltry $25 a night and thought to myself, hell, being the cheap bastard that I am I could make that in even the worst conditions!
I hit the road again. The miles just melted into my machine and I quickly found myself in St. George. It was warm, practically hot there! And I continued until I reached Mesquite and made my way to the Virgin River Hotel and Casino
where a lovely Indian girl noticed I was in full motorcycle gear and went out of her way to make sure I received a room on the ground floor.
It was everything I had expected it to be, mostly warm and dry. After a shower I made my way to the Casino for some dinner and a much needed drink.
I’ve never stopped in Mesquite before but I must say, it is a nice little town, clean and Classy. A “Poor man’s Vegas.” There are very few places I know of where you can get a room and a steak dinner for less than $40 these days and Mesquite happens to be one of them. I was very thankful for this turn of luck.
I hit the rack excited for the following day. I just knew it would be stellar!