When in the winter's cold and dark days, riders tend to get that far-away look
Looking for a good ride. Looking to have a new adventure. Sometimes, just looking ...
Looking for some escape from the limitations of snow, ice, and too-cold-to-ride temperatures.
Aside from suffering from SRD (Serious Ride Deficiency), other aspects of life's load add to that far-away look....and our survival instinct kicks in and we seek safety and comfort.
A good ride opportunity will often provide that distraction and satiation.
Before long, a guy tends to have this sh-t eatin' grin plastered on his face...
But before we get to decoding "WWTTD", maybe we should get some context.
Maybe it started in mid-January when my search for moto-activity kicked into gear. My 690 needed to have an ECU tuning. I knew that was true as it was one of the main topics on the 690 thread....and those competent rider-wrench-tech guys must be right
So I put out a thread-posting indicating I would offer whiskey and barbeque to the lucky Inmate who offered such a procedure. True to form, within a day or so I had three offers: one from Edmonton ("Bartron"
seemed to be adequately versed with the beast.... http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...on+code+orange
and he was sort of close as he was only 8 hours drive away in Edmonton) and indicated he was closer to me during summer months; another from Nevada and was a prolific contributor to the 690 thread ("Bobzilla"
has too many posts to paste here, but he seemed to be also knowledgeable....but I live 2.5 days of driving from Nevada); and a third from Marysville , Washington and I could get there in 4-5 hours with the bike loaded onto the truck ("Uller"
was again a "frequent problem solver" on the 690 thread).
When I responded to BobZ, he indicated that Nevada was a long way to drive for a few hours of motomagic. I agreed, but showed my hand a bit when I quipped that it was a good excuse for a ride. After a few e-mails back and forth, BobZ invited me to join him and a few of his close friends for a week-long Hard Way ride doing a loop around the Grand Canyon.
"Some nights camping", he said, "with a few motel nights in between for relaxing, laundry, and lancing saddle sores."
"There will be some sand", he said as the entire planet has heard by now how I feel about soft sand. But only half the planet has seen the effect silt and deep sand had on me when riding Baja last year (http://www.advrider.com/forums )/showthread.php?t=666961
"Some sand, some single track, some double track and we will be winding our way doing a loop around the Grand Canyon starting from Las Vegas and ending up there a week later. There will be crashes and everybody needs to be totally self-reliant ....carry everything you think you need....tools, tubes, water, camping gear and something to sip on around the fire at night....and bring a chair." were his warnings.
I took the invitation as one of those cosmic confluences and dove in.
So, from late January to mid-April I spent several hours daily Google-Earthing the area and Googling ALL the information I could possibly find.
Oh, the ECU tuning???
I decided that BobZ would be way too busy 2 days before the ride started on April 20th in Vegas to be bothered with tuning the bike....Edmonton was farther away than Marysville, so I accepted Uller's offer and drove down to his place a few weeks later.
Uller was VERY helpful not only with the ECU tuning, but also starting my install of the Cyclops 7" light upgrade. Thanks Brad !!!
. This ADV community is chock full of cool folks !!!
So, with the tuning done, I set to prepping the bike for the Grand Canyon Loop. February, March, and the beginning of April was enough time to have several anxiety attacks when I thought about the struggle between "responsibilities" with work, family, and the homestead vs "take several weeks off and enjoy yourself" kinds of thinking.
As my planning developed, I began to fear that I would be riding with guys who always "Ride the Dez" together and who were top-shelf riders. My self-doubts waged war with my hopes for a great ride in an area I had only ever driven past to and from Baja rides... I was pumped. But to avoid total disgrace the first day of the ride, I would need to start to get in better shape and get some "ride-legs" back, as last summer was one with 1/4 of the riding I usually do....
I developed a diet and work-out plan that surely would work....I didn't want to be "That Guy" on this ride. The diet thing was sort of working and the air-trainer set-up on the 10-speed was situated nicely on the deck, but never felt the warmth of my butt on it's prostate-friendly saddle....
The real way to get ready, I thought, would be to arrive in the Utah/Nevada/Arizona triangle early and ride for several days before hooking up with BobZ and his posse. That thought led to several pre-ride plans that ended up with me deciding 4 days in Moab would be a good warm-up act. As some local friends would be there at that time, the plan was consolidated: Drive to Moab and ride for 3-4 days and get a taste of that beautiful area, spend a day getting to Vegas, and have a week off-road with 7 guys I had never met....maybe even do a few days in Death Valley after the Grand Canyon Loop.
Moab is beautiful but I would prefer to ride my 450 there rather than the 690....sand and ledges made me realize that....but that will be a future ride.....
With all that being said, here is a story about 8 guys riding around the Grand Canyon in a clockwise loop starting and ending in Las Vegas.
Yes, a tale imbedded with adversity, friendship, phenomenal terrain, masterful riding, incredible fire-side stories and humour, and even dinosaur footprints......
And.....full of .....Ulterior motives.....
A smattering of what is to come....