When I broke my fibula in Missoula last July, I didn’t get to ride my motorcycle for months (or hike, or ride bikes…or walk). To add insult to injury, I also had to watch my bike get further messed up when a huge tree smacked it up against the side of the trailer when it nearly fell on us in Libby. A small irreplaceable button and the left mirror were the only things damaged in that arboreal attack but since I had bought the bike only a couple months before, a nearly mint condition 1979 bike, I was pretty depressed about the whole thing.
About a month ago, I started to be able to walk almost normal though kick starting the bike still sounded painful. We were in Deadwood when I finally decided that I needed to get my bike into a shop for a once over before I was ready to ride it again. We unloaded the bike on a concrete step in front of (but not in) another camper’s spot and got the bike started and ready to go to the shop the next morning.
All the work at the shop was pretty cheap but unfortunately when we went to pick the bike up the mechanic wasn’t there so I couldn’t ask him any questions. Ross headed home and I took the bike for a little ride up a really steep hill in Deadwood to Mount Moriah Cemetery, hoping I could take some photos, but as is the way of tourist towns, they were actually charging to see where dead people were buried. I love the show Deadwood, and I love old western history, but the only reason Deadwood is on the map is because Wild Bill Hickock, a famous gunfighter, was shot while visiting in the late 1800’s. Because of this “claim to fame” the town has survived in some respects, but more so, it’s become a disgusting little gambling town, peddling tourist junk and novelty t-shirts to overweight slot machine junkies. I guess I’ll just watch the show next time I want to think about Deadwood because there is nothing left of what it was, except what’s sitting in the Days of ’76 Museum (so called for the YEAR Bill Died…why are people so obsessed with the lives and death’s of celebrities).
When I got to the parking lot at the Cemetery, a man in a mini van nearly ran me over backing out of his spot without looking. I stalled the bike trying to get out of his way and attempted to tell him what an asshole he was but couldn’t get my helmet shield up.. people never learn to look! I saw the price sign at the gate of the cemetery and just started the bike up again. I didn’t have money with me and found it offensive to have to pay to visit a cemetery anyway. The bike was handling well and I got a chance to try out my rear brakes on the steep hill. I didn’t really have anywhere else I wanted to go so I just headed back to the trailer, a good thing too because I realised when I got there that the bike was nearly out of gas. I told the mechanic that the old owner had mixed gas and oil and it was running rich, so he apparently removed the majority of the gas – or he just took it on a really long road trip.
Just from that short ride my leg was pretty sore having to kick start it twice and when we tried to load it into the truck again at the neighbours spot near us, they came out of their trailer this time to tell us they didn’t want us using their “yard” to load the bike. I hardly considered it their yard and the bike weighs no more than a couple adults so I didn’t understand the logic. I was on week 2 of the sickness that I am still fighting off over a month later and felt miserable, sore and annoyed. The only other place, he said, was up at the other end of the RV park, about 1/6 of a mile slightly uphill. I would have to kick start the bike again and ride there. I couldn’t kick start it because my leg was hurting so Ross had to do it. Several people were now outside their trailers watching, because that’s what old RV park fogies do. I was too sick to be riding really but just wanted it over with. Ross handed me the hike and throttle which had to be kept going since the bike was cold. I got on and positioned, helmetless of course. I gave it a little gas to put it into first and it started to rev like crazy, for some reason – mostly anxiety due to all the staring, smirking old men around me – I put it into gear anyway and the bike spun its back tire on the pavement, burning rubber, blowing smoke, and I did a small wheelie as I bolted off up the hill at about 30. I scared the shit out of myself but I didn’t wreck and although I didn’t do it on purpose, I felt like a jerk. I also felt pretty great giving a bunch of googly eyed old bastards something to stare at.
I didn’t get to ride again till we came to Arizona and had been here a couple weeks. By the second week I was walking pretty much normal except for some stiffness in the mornings and a total inability to run. The first weekend we explored Jerome, a haunted old mining town in the side of a mountain, and went to the Montezuma’s Castle ruins and Tonto Natural Bridge.
The second weekend we went to Sedona. When you first drive into Sedona you feel like everyone who lives there is about as lucky as a person can get – location wise. The area is surrounded by a vast horizon of bright red , orange and yellow rocks, mesas, hills and canyons with a vivid desert that seemed painstakingly planted by hand. There are hiking and off road trails for miles in all directions and a general culture of outdoor activity throughout the town.
We hiked around Red Rock State Park the first day and took a long drive back through the desert south to the freeway and back up to Cottonwood. On Sunday though, we were ready to go off road. There had been a little rain the week before so some of the national forest service roads north of Sedona were spotted with mud and potholes. Fun and horrible depending on which and where.
We unloaded the bike at the beginning of a dirt road and we both played around for a while, me more than Ross because some of the roads are either too crazy for the truck or too rough, but Ross won big time in the mud department. We still haven’t washed the truck and the red dirt coating the muffler, mirrors and all sides of the truck is unmistakably from Sedona.