By Paul Berglund
Date: February 27th, Location: 8401 Pearl St, Thornton, CO 80229. That was our goal for day one of our road trip. It’s a Waffle House just East of Denver. You can see a Motel 6 from the parking lot. One of the on line reviews for that particular Motel described it as “sketchy”. It was an accurate summation. We had left St. Paul just after sun up. Our dual sport bikes loaded on the trailer the night before. It was an uneventful trip. I had my iPod jacked into my car stereo to block out the soul crushing boredom that permeates those corn infested states that lay in our path. We pulled into the hotel parking lot as the sun went down.
Day two started with waffles and coffee. Our waitress was particularly sassy and the weather clear and dry. We made it to Moab in high spirits. We backed the trailer up to our rental house and began to unload the bikes. That’s when I saw the trailer wheel. It was fine last time we stopped for gas, but now I could tell the bearings had died. It was sunday, so all the shops in town would be closed. We put on our gear and went for a ride. My troubles and cares blew off me to mingle with the dust in our wake. Moab 2016 had begun.
The next day I called around and found a shop that would fix the trailer. We dropped it off and went out riding. Monday was another great day of riding. Tuesday we ate at the Moab diner and took on the Fins & Things trail just out of town. It’s made up of large rolling hills of solid rock. Our tires stuck like glue to the sandstone as we giggled in our helmets. Lunch was at Milts. It too was magnificent, burgers, fish tacos, fries and malts. Why worry about the calories with all this fresh air and exercise? We finished the rest of the trail after lunch and then called about the trailer. They hadn’t started on it.
Wednesday was going to be a long day so steak and eggs were in order. We gassed up the bikes and took on the White Rim trail. We rode over 150 miles and it was another glorious day in Moab. We got back after sundown tired and hungry. The shop was closed so we didn’t know if the trailer had been fixed. We had a late supper and talked over our options. What if the trailer couldn’t be fixed? What if it broke again? I began to worry. Thursday we were going to take on Porcupine Ridge. That’s the trail that kicked our man Hudson’s ass last year. Literally, he just started physical therapy for a pinched nerve he got from the face plant he took. Actually, he hurt his neck and shoulder. His face has always looked that way.
Thursday we ate light, because we planned on having a big lunch at Milt’s to (hopefully) celebrate the trailer being fixed. Hudson and the New Guy, would sit this one out. It would be three of us taking on Porcupine Ridge. The map the park ranger gave us rated it 4 out of 4 for difficulty. It was challenging. Each of us had to do some of our best riding just to get down the trail. Our goal was to reach the highest point. The view was supposed to be fantastic.
There were a couple of spots where we stopped and scratched our heads, but we made it over every obstacle the trail threw at us. Then we got to a long down hill stretch that was covered in snow. It took a sharp left and went out of sight behind the trees. I was fairly confident we could make it down, but I didn’t know if we could make it back up. Sev suggested that I ride down and the three of us would try and get my bike back up. Better to have one stuck bike than three. I ended up walking next to the bike and worked the clutch and gas and the bike made it under it’s own power down the hill. Going back up took some pushing from Sev and Rick as I walked next to the bike again, but I made the round trip. It was hard work, but it was do-able.
One by one we all made it past the snow and continued bouncing up the trail. We were riding just below the rim of a large rocky valley and we thought when we got to the high point, we would be looking back at that same valley. Instead we came to a sheer cliff that over looked the next valley over. The view was well worth the effort. In fact it was the high light of the trip. A prize that was fought for and won. Sweeter than waffles and better than coffee.
We still had to ride back on the trail we had just come in on, so the challenge wasn’t over. Once we had all three bikes back past the snow, we agreed that this was the hottest we had ever been when standing in snow. We put our gear back on and finished the ride. We met Hudson and the new guy at Milt’s and celebrated our victory. To top it off, the trailer was fixed. We raised our malts and toasted ourselves. Moab 2016 was a great success.
So what did I learn this time? For one thing it’s not what bike you chose to ride, just make sure it’s well serviced. Better bikes are nice, but it’s the rider that makes all the difference. Your bike can make it down most any trail, it’s up to you not to get in it’s way. Another thing I learned is things can go wrong, so don’t hang around with knuckle heads. Knowing and trusting the guys I ride with made each problem solvable. Each meal tasted better with good company. Each vista looked better with a friend to share it. And finally, loud music and a Hemi Magnum make quick work of even Nebraska. Oh and grease those trailer bearings.