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Showing posts from June, 2009

Monument Valley Ride - 732 Miles

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There is no such thing as all-weather gear. This is a muse to sell you something, more deluded, in fact, than one-size-fits-all. Nothing tests this fallacy better than a motorcycle trip in the high desert of the Southwest.



Any trip east for us begins through the portal of Zion National Park, setting a high mark for the rest of the journey. We got a later-than-usual start on Friday (June 26) putting us on the switch-backs of the Zion tunnel after high noon. Summer traffic lumbers up and down this spectacular road, usually with oversized RV's and unfamiliar drivers of American rental cars. On this day, though, the arteries were clogged by a sweeter fare, a gathering of Model T Fords.



Hundreds of them from fully restored to rolling originals making their way up the red switches to the cooler of the tunnel bored into the side of the mountain. The sound they make alone is enough to make anyone fascinated with internal combustion smile, a traffic plaque we were pleased to endure.



O…

Our Mental Condition

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Season of the Bike
by Dave Karlotski

There is cold, and there is cold on a motorcycle. Cold on a motorcycle is like being beaten with cold hammers while being kicked with cold boots, a bone bruising cold. The wind's big hands squeeze the heat out of my body and whisk it away; caught in a cold October rain, the drops don't even feel like water. They feel like shards of bone fallen from the skies of Hell to pock my face. I expect to arrive with my cheeks and forehead streaked with blood, but that's just an illusion, just the misery of nerves not designed for highway speeds.

Despite this, it's hard to give up my motorcycle in the fall and I rush to get it on the road again in the spring; lapses of sanity like this are common among motorcyclists. When you let a motorcycle into your life you're changed forever. The letters "MC" are stamped on your driver's license right next to your sex and height as if "motorcycle" was just another of your physical…

St. George to Mesa - 940 Miles

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Really, it should be The Best of Arizona, because St. George to Mesa sounds pretty mundane. And for all intents and purposes, Mesa is, the whole Phoenix area is, mundane that is; suburban sprawl and clogged arteries called freeways. The mundane disappears when the Joshuas line the Carefree Highway and the Saguaros are crowned with blooms that look much like daisies.

Early Friday we mounted and rode I-15 to the Overton exit and picked up 169 that turns into 167, the road that rolls along the shoreline of Lake Mead on Nevada's side. Just out of Overton 167 turns into 169 which is under construction, has been for three years now, a gigantic project with divided two-lanes. Just into Lake Mead Recreational area, the road dissolves to perpetually moistened slippery paste for fourteen miles. Beyond that the road firms up but is no consolation to one's posterior, bumpy enough to rattle loose dental work and random thoughts.



And then the road turns to silk encouraging even the…