Day number I don’t know
Rise and shine.Today is an off day or should I say a non linear travel day. I cook up some breakfast gruel. We leave the tent where it is, as we will sleep there again tonight.
I am as good a cook as I am husband.
Vermin attacking the food supply
Drifter prepares for whatever may come his way.
Vermin and his limozeen go to town.
We are going mountain biking. We rent mountain bikes from Poison Spider Bike Shop they were great guys, and go up into the slick rock trail. It is a two mile climb out of the canyon Drifter looses his enthusiasm half way up. It is a good life lesson, if you want to get to the good stuff sometimes you have to keep going long after the fun has died and it becomes painful.
The slickrock is way cool and worth the trip to Utah itself. I have heeded the warnings about dehydration and death and carried water bottles and 2 70oz camel backs. We needed every bit of that water.
The scenery was beautiful
Drifter at negro bill canyon learned a good life lesson about perseverence.
Vermin learned a good life lesson about clotting.
We did some riding and some walking. It was hot, probably 90-100, but not unbearable but I could definitely see how easy it is to die out there.
We returned the mountain bikes to Poison Spider Bike Shop they where great.
In the afternoon we cruised around on old faithful. How much gas do I have? Lots I think. We retrace our steps up the Colorado for a ways and turn right up the cathedral/castle valley (I can’t remember the name) for quite a ways. It is in the blazing hot temp. range.
Weather Rant Warning
In Michigan they trump up the heat by adding to it with a heat index in an attempt to make people more miserable than they already are. Which brings me to another rant. In Michigan they make great sport in the Winter of “wind chill factor”,
Which for those of you in the South means freeze your ass off index. They do not pull this out until no one in their right mind is even outdoors. This means that this is how cold it feels to the bare skin as the wind dissipates heat faster. This particular data is relevant only to naked people. As long as I have lived in Michigan I have never seen a naked person, or even one in a speedo outdoors in the winter (with the exception of a Finnish sauna takin' friend who shall remain Karl with a K). This leads me to conclusion that the weather guy is just trying to make us more miserable than we already are. Well I have news for you there is plenty of misery in Michigan to go around no need to add to it with the damn weather report. It is like subtracting points from a Detroit Lions game to highlight how bad they really suck.
Where was I? Oh yeah desolate highway don’t need much water because we are on the motorbike and drank most of it on the slickrock and don’t really know how much gas is in the bike.
Female relatives please avert your eyes for the next section,
I have no photographic evidence of what transpired next, thank god.
We see a beautiful scene of red rock monoliths shooting for the sky we pull a coupla hundred feet off the desolate road for a photo op and possible short hike. As I near the monoliths the bike falls out from under me, crashes to the left and traps my left foot.
I do a high speed inventory of how screwed I am, freak out, and kick the seat with my right foot and snatch my left foot out from under the bike. Dang close call.
Drifter is intact and doesn’t appear to be too shaken by our situation. Apparently there was a wash that the blazing sun obscured from view as I was staring up at the monoliths instead of where I was going. I am less screwed than I was .5 seconds earlier but I still had a significant physics story problem to solve.
What we know.
1) Verman=49 year old, 162.5 pound pencil necked geek, with the strength of a 13 year old spelling bee champ, with a bad back and a hernia.
2) Drifter=13 year old spelling bee champ
3) Cack=2.5 metric tons of smooth hard to hold on to ABS plastic and household waste. One side is brightly illuminated by 105deg desert sun and the other is quite dark.
It wasn’t looking good for our dynamic duo. I used a little psychology on the boy. I said “ok, pretend we are both large strong men and pretend if we can’t get this bike up we will die out here in the desert”. Boingo the bike came up.
After 10 minutes of zip tie surgery to the dangly left mirror we leave.
Things are looking up. This will remain a subject of good natured ribbing in years to come rather than a helicopter search and rescue.
We continue down the road and up into the mountains the view from the mountains is good.
We meet two English guys on the overlook that are doing a two week vacation of the southwest on Harleys that they rented in Denver.
I personally enjoy English guys they seem to have a reasonable level of contempt for all carbon based life forms. We latch on and ride along with them for company I am sure they don’t want.
We motor on choosing to ignore the bridge out signs as it probably means bridge closed to cars for some pothole patching that we can weasel around. We soldier on, how many miles since Moab? 70 +/- 20 how much gas do we have? Come to find out the bridge is actually out, the english guys hurl a few expletives and we turn around. I now have the situation that if I go all the way back the way I came I may run out of gas in the desert but if I go down this interesting dirt road it should cut the trip in half and I make it back no prob. Dirt road it is, good bye bitter englishmen.
Another key to excellent adventuring is to make your bike do things through raw skill and nerve that it was never intended to do.
So I spent the next hour picking my way down off a mountain on a deep sand and gravel road with my 2.5 metric ton bike, which was designed to ferry women to work in freeway traffic. The road dumped us out at the entrance to the slick rock trail and we cruised right into town pretty as you please.
Pulled up to get gas and met this pretty lady.
All she wanted was some affection, but could I give it to her? No of course not I was too wrapped up in my own selfish needs. She turned her head sighed and laid back down on the seat. The moment had passed and I lost the opportunity for dog love from a parishiltonhund.
Drifter and I took a nap. After waking up we had canned food dinner and headed up into arches national park for the sunset.
Obligatory natural beauty photo
As we where dismounting in the viewing area of delicate arch, amongst the rabble, a young guy struck up a conversation and pointed out how our trip was like Pirsigs in zen and the art of motorcycle maintainence. It made me wonder, what came first my desire to ramble and include my son or the book. I know that when I read the book originally as a teen it resonated deep in me. I reread the book this summer and it still makes me want to be a better person and focus on “quality” in everything I do.
I tell the guys girlfriend that the only difference between the books main character Phaedrus and myself is that I am neither brilliant, tortured or insane, she looks at my bike and there is an uncomfortable silence.
Before this trip my friend gatorjane also noted the similarities between Phaedrus’s journey and mine, the only difference is his insurance covered electroshock therapy.
Much wisdom was offered at this mans counter during the 70s, 80s, and 90s at his hardly Davidson scrap yard in Detroit, it largely fell on deaf ears.
He became so disgusted with primates in general that he vanished. I consider it an honor that he told me where he went.
As the sun went down all the winnebagos headed out. We just laid out in the desert without talking and watched the full moon come out.