165_Hipby: Bruce Mike

At the beginning of March of this year, I went to Moab Utah for a week of off-road riding. I had never spent a week of vacation this way and I was really looking forward to it. There were eight of us and seven bikes. My friends wife was planning to rent her vehicles when she got there. We set out early on a Saturday morning and immediately slipped into Smokey and The Bandit mode. We had two trucks with trailers and a pilot car leading the way. Travelling with this large of a group always makes me nervous especially having never travelled with some of them. As it turned out, my worries were unwarranted. They are all really good, like-minded people, and travelling with them was a ton of fun.
In our last issue, Paul Berglund shared his experience in Tales From The Road. I thought I would share my take on the adventure. Out of the eight of us who went, four of us had never done a trip like this before. We were not only newbies to Moab but fairly inexperienced off-road riders. I started doing little off-road trips about four years ago. Just around the different Off Highway Motorcycle areas in Minnesota. I really enjoy this type of riding so a trip to Moab sounded perfect. I recently purchased a CRF250L. I really picked the right bike for me. It’s fuel-injected, electric start, low seat height and not over-powered. The perfect old guy trail bike. My only off-road riding with it was at the OHV park in Gilbert, Minnesota. I basically had about six hours of trail riding with it. I was ready to go.
Thanks to the internet and GoPro cameras, the only thing surprising about Utah was how it felt to see it in person. The scenery was breathtaking. I’ve lived in Colorado so mountains were nothing new but the rock formations and canyons were amazing. Seeing and experiencing things that can only happen on a motorcycle is one of the reasons I love riding. There was a lot of that in Utah.

We got there mid-afternoon on Sunday and after weeks of bitter Minnesota cold 50 degrees felt great. We off-loaded all the bikes and did some prep for the next day of riding. Our first day was going to be “easy” so we could get comfortable with riding. It wasn’t all that easy but it was great fun. Day two was a 100+ mile loop that was a pretty complete off-road riding experience with all types of terrain and amazing scenery. We ended that day in the dark with some pretty heavy rain but huge smiles on our faces. Day three was slick rock trails that was like riding on a different planet. Day four was a trail with a lot of rocks and ledges where I proceeded to crash twice. The first time was painful, the second time I bent my handlebars. I returned to the garage and replaced my handlebars. My day was done. My last day of riding was more slick rock which was probably my favorite terrain. It was just nothing I had ever experienced before.

I learned a lot on this trip. I’m way out of shape and need to change that. I don’t heal as fast as I used to and being in better shape would help in not crashing. I need to keep riding with people who are better than me and patient enough to help me get better. Our lead rider, aka Big Elvis, aka Bandit, aka The Yeti, made this trip great for me. He took me places I never would have gone on my own and was extremely patient. Everyone on this trip helped me with something at some point. One of the great joys in my life is getting better at something I love to do and when that includes spending time with folks like these, that’s a bonus.


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