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Old 07-30-2012, 03:30 PM   #25
jdrocks OP
Gravel Runner
Joined: Jul 2007
Oddometer: 4,546
Jordan Run was just a few miles southwest after reaching 28, and then I had the bike pointed north again, it was getting late in the day. Threatening skies off and on, no more rain yet. I would have stopped at the Best station on 28, but they had never opened for the season. I knew another Best station was up Jordan run, and boy, I needed something to drink, several somethings to drink. Fuel, can’t forget an ice cream bar, maybe two of those 99 cent pies, gotta have a balanced diet.

I was about to get a big surprise.

Fueled the bike, did my shopping, and when I went up to the counter to pay, the old gal at the register leaned way back in her chair, looked me over pretty good, and said "I know you". A little taken aback, I told her I had stopped for fuel a month ago, but she shook her head. "Nope, I didn't see you then, ya were here a couple years ago, that be when I saw ya". True, another woman was at the register a month ago, and it was getting real spooky about then.

"Ya were here with another motorcycle rider, a navy man he was, and you were getting ready to leave on a big trip to somewhere". Wow, now I'm floored, how could she have remembered me and all the rest in the midst of the thousands of people that come through the store. In fact, I was riding with Dave Hiller, a naval officer, when we stopped for fuel and a cold drink, and was in the final prep stage for an upcoming ride on the Trans Taiga and Trans Labrador,

Exactly two years earlier I had stayed in the store for a few extra minutes to drink a Pepsi and eat an ice cream bar, telling the old gal and the half dozen hangers-on locals at the front of the store about how my day was going so far. I had already fallen off the XChallenge three times and was so covered in dust you couldn't tell what color gear I had on. I didn't realize how dirty my face was until I looked in the truck mirror when I got back to camp. Everyone was laughing damn hard at the telling when I finally got out of there, and Dave and I continued on our way.

Remarkable memory on her part, and I told her so, it's a gift. So long, I’ll be seeing you…again.

It was only a short distance from the country store up to the T intersection at 75, where I turned southwest after waiting for two bikes to pass in the opposite direction on Jordan Run. Could have been Mardi Gras floats, but I’m pretty sure there were Harleys under there. They didn’t wave.

This road had me back on gravel down into Dolly Sods where I intended to camp. The road zigged and zagged on graded gravel until I was up on top of the plateau at about 4,000 feet. Windswept, with leaning stunted trees, the area in places has the look of the boreal forest found above 52N.

This road is the only one in the area that has the flavor of the big western and northern roads disappearing at the horizon. I had to sit there and soak it up for a minute, man, memories of the places I’ve been.

Trees along the roads through the black spruce boreal forests of the north take 100 years to grow to the same height as these, makes me wonder about the age of the Dolly Sods trees.

It had been a day of riding, time to find a spot and set up camp, fix a bite to eat, sip some spirits…relax, contemplate, dream a little.

The small Dolly Sods campground only had four sites occupied when I rode in around 6, but I knew from experience it could still fill up late. Found a reasonable site for my money, had everything set up right quick, I’d done it a million times. Ah, home sweet home, now where’s that bourbon.

I was using a MSR Hubba Hubba tent, my second. I’d about worn out my first one, and with a big trip coming up last year, I took the tent back to REI to see if I could get a replacement for one of the 16” pole sections which had developed a slightly flared end. The guy at REI said it was too much trouble to find me a new section, he didn’t care to get on the phone, couldn’t be bothered…but, he did take the time to check his inventory, and handed me a brand new tent instead, not what I asked for, I don’t remember complaining.

Dried out the gear, wrote some gibberish in my journal, had a simple three cheese tortellini dinner with seasoned olive oil, and by that time the sun was getting low. No bugs, the car camping couple next to me had the smokiest campfire I had ever seen, damn, I was expecting one of those tanker planes to drop a load of retardant on me at any minute. Deer were grazing on the small patches of grass at the campsite across the road, I was grazing on trailmix, drinking bourbon and water, can’t forget to hydrate. The temperature had dropped into the forties, all I felt was relief after a hot day of riding.

Stretched out in the tent, using a sleeping pad for the first time in about fifty nights, I mostly don’t bother, felt darn good. Pure peace and tranquility as I dozed off, almost like I was all alone. That sensation was to change a little later on, and I was to find that I could make fifteen different cuss words into a single sentence.

(to be continued…)

jdrocks screwed with this post 08-12-2012 at 08:43 AM
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