Now I’m warmed up with the Orange Freak, let’s try some more dirty action!
I plan a second day of exploring in the canyon, thinking I’ll figure out how to connect Bear Lake to Hyrum Canyon via dirt. As I’m suiting up a friend offers to do a photo shoot of me and the new bike with his new camera (sorry, can’t remember which kind). Well, this doesn’t happen everyday! He’s headed up to Bear Lake in his car anyway and suggests we stop a couple places in the canyon for some cool shots. Okay! The only problem is that the launch time gets pushed back, back, back. Now it’s afternoon... Friggit. I’m a little worried about getting caught on a gnarly dirt path in the dark... oh well!
I think this is the best one:
I brought the Black Death along too, ‘cause eventually I want to get some nice promo photos done of me with the viola and bike, so why not give it a test? It didn’t turn out great, but it’s something. We needed a wider angle lens to get more of the bike in there...
The sunlight reflecting off the carbon fiber weave looks pretty cool, almost like fiber optics conducting light (it also looks super-cool under stage lights!). When I get a new “uniform” I’ll have some nice photos made, hopefully in some bad ass, off-road scenery if I can coax a photographer out to the boonies...
Uncle Paul and I made four stops for the photo shoot, then he headed on to Bear Lake as I cruised up to Tony Grove, since I hadn’t seen it this summer. Nice little road up there with some new pavement!
No hiking this time, I’m on a moto mission! Let’s get to some dirt already, sheesh... After some ice-cream! This part of the state is renowned for it’s fruit, raspberries in particular near Bear Lake (where a raspberry festival is held every summer). In Garden City (which is where UT Hwy 89 bumps into Bear Lake’s west shore) there are a number of establishments trying to make you fat with their famous raspberry milkshakes, burgers, fries, onion rings, ect. It’s a great little topper for a half day ride to have an ice cream break in the middle!
These things are huge! I think it’s better to split them, they’re seriously gluttonous.
Lot’s of beach goers getting lunch, I spy this nice one in line.
But, as if to punish me for my wandering eye (and camera), I also see this.
Be careful how many of these shakes you eat!
There are usually a handful of bikes coming and going, and this pristine honda six-cylinder pulls up. Wow, this guy takes great care of his bike, it’s flawless! Like it’s been in a time warp. It’s in better shape than my KTM which is only days old...
I stop in at the gas station for some advice about where to turn off to access my intended dirt path. Along the side of the store there is a BMW F-650 Dakar with all the tell-tale signs of a gritty adventure bike, so I circle the parking lot to have a look. No ADV stickers on it anywhere, but otherwise it looks like it’s on a big trip. I glance around to see if the rider is about, then continue about my business.
A really nice attendant dude in the store gives me a detailed map of the whole valley for FREE and points out the route for me. It’s amazing what a little friendly conversation can accomplish! Great guy.
As we're chatting another man approaches and in a European accent asks if I know about BMW’s, motioning to the BMW roundels on my sleeves of my Rally II suit. I answer “yes, I know a bit about them” and notice he’s wearing a BMW baseball hat. He proceeds to tell me that he’s broken down and asks if I know where the nearest BMW service station is. I’m a little confused and assume he’s talking about BMW cars (he’s wearing street clothes), but after some more dialogue I realize he is the rider of the F-650. We sit outside as he tells me about his adventure, and he’s visible upset. It’s interesting though, he seems to be dodging some of my questions.
“Where are you from?”
“Yeah, where in Europe?”
He gradually starts to open up as I explain that I can probably help him. As we visit I learn that he’s been touring North America for nine months! Damn. As the discussion progresses he also tells me that he’d never been on a motorcycle before preparing for this trip. He got some rider training in Denmark and then bought the bike in New Mexico to start the trip. Damn, a real adventurer! He’s distraught almost to the point of panic because of his broken-down bike which also confuses me a little (since it IS a motorcycle adventure, after all. Break-downs seem to be a regular occurrence, at least for me!).
Needless to say I changed my plans for the day right then and there in the spirit of good moto-karma. I’ve been assisted more times than I can count on my motorcycle adventures by selfless folks who just want to give the gift of giving, and now it’s my turn. I have the knowledge, the means, and the time to help out this global adventurer, so that’s what I’ll do.
We continue to talk as I brainstorm the options, and I start to see why he’s so guarded with his speech. He’s no doubt had the exact same conversation with Americans ten times a day for months on end, and he finally reveals that his “shut-down” answers shorten the exchange. Too bad, in my opinion, part of the fun of traveling is opening up to other people and in exchange them opening up to you, but I digress. By his own admission the Danish are not as “forward” with their emotional state as we Americans. And what do I know? This guy’s been traveling for months, so maybe when I’ve traveled in his shoes I’ll feel similar...
I’m impressed with his gear, fully ATGATT astride one of the most proven world-ride machines outfitted with many tasty farkles: Jesse Luggage (albeit missing ADV stickers), dry-bags, laptop, GPS, full camping gear... This guy did his homework! I feel that I did a lot of research as a beginner but I continue to learn and have yet to embrace some of the sensible technologies that Jesper the Dane uses.
I assure him repeatedly that breakdowns are no big deal, in fact I’m surprised it took him nine months! I add that many times the break-down turns out to be one of the most memorable if not the best part of a motorcycle trip, due mostly to the way people come together to aid a vulnerable adventurer. I’m not sure he completely believes me. He want’s his bike fixed NOW. (I’m unable to diagnose the breakdown with my limited knowledge, my guess is something to do with the charging system, battery, or injection system, but these are only guesses, it’s beyond my expertise “in the field”).
The nice guys at the store tell us we can leave the bike locked behind the store out of sight for the night, and I convince Jesper that he should ride back to logan with his bare-essentials on the back of my KTM to hang with my musicians for two nights. I promise him his own room with a clean bed and private bathroom, plus some lively company with the after-opera-performance musician crowd. If the timing works out perhaps I can even take him to a performance! On Monday we’ll return with a car and trailer that I’m sure I’ll be able to borrow once I explain the situation so that I can take him to the Salt Lake City BMW dealer which will open on Tuesday. For being an emotionally reserved northern European I thought I detected a tear of happiness in his eye... He keeps saying “I can’t believe you are doing all this for me, you are an exceptional American!” To which I reply: “See? Breakdowns bring out the best! This kind of thing happens to me all time!”
Jesper the Dane with a rare smile on his face:
His stuff fits easily in my empty soft bags, so the only awkward piece of luggage is the Black Death, which I have him wear on his back for the ride back to Logan through the canyon. He’s kinda nervous about riding as a passenger, and I learn that he’s never done that before either, except for one cross-town flight of terror he experienced in Guatemala. I guess I’d be nervous too... I assure him I know what I’m doing with thousands of miles carrying a passenger and promise to be nice, with the disclaimer that I like riding twisties appropriately.
He didn’t quite understand that last part... I was gentle with the throttle and lean angles and we arrived in Logan no problem. After the opera players returned we arranged a spare room for him, and even got him online to email his family back home. It’s all good. Paula (my special little moto convert!) agrees to let me use her car and sweet “Trailer in a bag” for the rescue mission, and she even wants to come along in the morning, as long as there’s time for a Bear Lake raspberry shake...
We have a day to kill so I take him for a hearty breakfast with a violinist friend of mine.
Naturally our conversations gravitate to the differences in cultures that Jesper has observed, and he’s not exactly flattering about everywhere and everyone that he’s met. He tells us that most of the news from the U.S. that is broadcast in Denmark is about the whacky gun laws we have (they have very limited gun ownership), they think we’re nuts! He also thinks the European social model is great, and wonders with frustration why other parts of the world don’t emulate the success that the Europeans have. He points this out with examples such as American’s fitness level (fat), health care (on your own), unemployment/homelessness (apparently there simply aren’t any homeless in Denmark, according to Jesper), religion mixing with politics, and others. A pretty interesting dialogue, to be sure! I guess he’s kind of a picky eater too, so he wasn’t thrilled with the cuisine in much of Mexico and Guatemala. But his report wasn’t ALL bad, he planned his route (and amazingly stuck to it! And I mean mile for mile...) from start to finish over the entire nine months to maximize his view of the mountains and curvy roads of North America. He liked that very much, as would I! When I asked him if he knew of ADVrider he said he’d done some research online, but wasn’t an inmate.
I gave him a little tour of Logan via the KTM and explained some of the history of the Mormon culture. He was puzzled to say the least!
Then we headed over to the Tabernacle for a chamber music and aria recital (wearing our moto-gear, naturally!) featuring many of the instrumentalists and singers from the opera company. Par for the course Jesper reveals that he’s NEVER been to any sort of classical music concert. WHAAA?!?! Never??? Hmmm, I thought the Euro-System was so great, Mr. Euro-Pants... Anyway, it’s my honor to introduce him to live classical music, which is really the way it should be appreciated.
I can’t tell if he’s bored or what (Northern Europeans...), but he told me afterwards that he got chills during a soprano aria, so I’ve done my job!
Okay, let’s go get this bike! Yet another first for Jesper: loading a bike on a trailer. He’s VERY nervous about this. I eventually just take over and tell him I know what I’m doing (which I do, from learning everything the hard way!
Now off to SLC! I know exactly where the BMW dealership is from previous breakdowns, grrrrrr... We lock the bike up at the bay doors and I drop Jesper off at a youth hostel a few miles away. He’s only a few days away from ending his adventure, selling the bike, and returning to Denmark. He had no job waiting for him, no plan at all, and seemed worn out and ready for the ride to come to a close. It was interesting to talk with someone who was at the end of an epic like that, whereas my much-shorter-ride is only beginning. Best of luck Jesper! (The problem with the bike turned out to be a bad spark plug wire, he emailed me a few days later.)
Okay, it’s time to make some tracks for myself. Logan has been a great vacation and I feel rested and recharged, but it’s time to get rolling...