I haven't felt 100% on dirt since acquiring knee troubles, and consequently surgery last year, to the point that I was ready to quit dualsporting all together. The only reason i maintained the DR was because Zach would have killed me in my sleep if I had sold it, I just couldn't shake myself from the dirt doldrums; this malaise continued to plague me on this trip as well...
Something clicked( psychiatrists describe a state of flow as when your task exactly matches your ability; if your ability exceeds your task, you have boredom, your task exceeds your ability you get anxiety, but there is a state if being where time stands still and, like a world class musician that plays licks that they didn't even know that they were capable of, you find yourself performing well beyond your ability. Usually the feeling vanishes as soon as I realize I'm feeling it, but this was not one of those times. I'm sure I looked like an idiot, hair on fire and a silent scream in my throat, everything in perfect focus and happening in perfect zen-like rhythm, the most incredible feeling I have ever felt on a motorcycle since chasing Supaflid down 341 in Arkansas, watching him skim his left hand on the pavement. We blasted past numerous jeeps until we encountered an off cambered slate shelf, the road went down and to the left, I foolishly decided I was bulletproof and went high and to the right, quickly found my self piled up under the bike in a cloud of dust and glory. Zach came up just in time to hear me howling, not in pain or anger at corkscrewing into the ground, but I was so pumped I wanted to get her off of the ground and proceed before I lost my mojo. What an experience, I'll never forget it.
Meeting Tim and Marissa at the Schaeffer switchbacks was another highlight; normally an ATGATT type, it cracked me up to see him on that big KTM wearing those Italian zip up boots :
If Kyle didn't already have a lock on the title, I would probably vote for Tim as the coolest guy on the planet.
Hanging out in the Devil's Garden with the newly engaged couple with Hassidic Jews singing and dancing in the next campsite was surreal to say the least. We meant to hang out in Moab that night and experience the wierdness first hand, but didn't get back until almost midnight, so gut bomb gas station fare was on the menu again.
Zach experienced first hand the lack of body embarrassment in the Japanese culture when he encountered a group of elderly samurai bobbing naked around the shower house, no pics available.