Saturday, February 26, 2011

Reviving a Broken Spirit

The inaugural voyage with the new 03 Hertiage Classic took us to the Grand Canyon. Brian was riding a FJ1200 Yamerhammer. He has never been short of words in attempts to vilify the durability of a Hog, but I had the last chuckle when his tank came off in Cortez, CO to do some carb work, mixed in with continuous chekcing on his clutch which finally necessitated him using the center stand to start the bike, and roll of the stand to get going. By Cheyenne, WY, the clutch was about done for. He made it home without a clutch.

The real laugh of the whole trip was Brian suggesting we take a short cut in the bottom of Utah. We came south on SH 12 which runs the western edge of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. We took a break at a small gas-and-grab country store at Cannonville. The thermometer read 106 F (in the shade). It was a calm, hot, sunny day. I took out the trusted H.O.G. map of Utah, and Brian noticed a line from Cannonville south to US 89 just east of Big Water, UT. He sarcastically remarked that it must be a good road since it was included in the H.O.G. map. So why not take it? We asked two people for advice. The lady in the store said don't take the road. It was a dirt road and it was bad. Our second opinion came from an old man driving an old beat up Ford pick-up. I knew we should not have taken his advice when I saw what he was driving. We took the road. Apparently the scenery would be worth it. I never saw much of the scenery. It's hard to look to the side when you all you have is a road that demands your full occupation with attention. At a temp of 106, and speeds of 10 mph because of the bumps and loose sand and those horrible short choppy sand-washboards, I was just happy I had no dentures to pop out.

How my air cooled HD did not seize up under such stress is truly a testimony of Harley Davidson's quality engineering and manufacturing. Today, after 117,000 kms, that bike still runs like a well oiled top.

But I still can't explain why we took a short cut on that trip. Nobody was more thankful to see US 89 than I was. That is my most memorable ride to date. That's one road I will not travel again!

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