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Spinning…

Across the USA, for usually no more than an hour, millions of folks are transfixed, head-back and staring at the sky. In every small town; New York to California. July 4th brings fireworks. It’s an incredible sight and celebration of the birth of  the United States. I am able to feign ignorance of the greed, lies told, wars fought, and harm done in the name of, well you name it, that has brought the United States to where it is today, and in that one hour staring at the sky everything feels good, honest, and true.

With the memories of the skies ablaze and the smoke of the 1999 fireworks still lingering in the air, something special occurred in the sport of cycling.  An American won the Tour de France.  He would do it again, and again, seven years in a row.

Wikipedia defines Grit as the order in which you are able to keep your resolve when faced with an unpleasant or painful duty, and I can’t think of another word that so accurately and completely defines what is needed to compete in the sport of long distance cycling, and that which is needed in battling Cancer.

LiveStrong

Job well done Lance. You were a master in more ways than one, and it was one hell of a ride. You helped to raise, and give a lift to, millions through the Armstrong Foundation, and to all of us who needed a hero while the United States was under attack. You exemplified true grit. You were better than the film Avengers and Rocky all rolled into one.  But I can no longer feign ignorance. In addition to the seven Tour de France titles, the Armstrong machine and the entire cast of cycling’s governing bodies should have won Oscars.

Best of luck to you and yours and thanks for the memories.

This road report begins by sending all of you the good vibe, 

The Wall
Black Canyon of the Gunnison

and will ultimately end in Missoula, Montana by way of Hwy 12.

  

The Nez Perce, named by French Settlers, carried out their lives in the area now known as the States of Idaho and Montana. To no ones surprise, they were hunted and chased out of it by the United States Calvary for refusing to re-locate to a United States designated reservation.

Chief Joseph led what was left of his tribe, (1000 men, women, children, and their horses), through the canyon, along what is now US Hwy 12, in attempting to escape from the Calvary chasing them. They were caught 30 miles from freedom, and the Canadian border.  It was here where Chief Joseph declared, “I will fight no more forever” in his speech of surrender to the United Stated Calvary.                                                

I Will Fight No More Forever


“I am tired of fighting.  Our chiefs are killed.  Looking Glass is dead.  Toohulhulsoteis dead.  The old men are all dead.  It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led the young men is dead.
    It is cold and we have no blankets.  The little children are freezing to death.  My people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food.  No one knows where they are–perhaps freezing to death.  I want to have time to look for my children and see how many I can find.  Maybe I shall find them among the dead.
Hear me, my chiefs.  I am tired.  My heart is sick and sad.  From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”

I picked up Hwy 12 in Lewiston, WA and rode it east to Missoula, Montana, approximately 200 miles. There is only one road in this area.  Hwy 12 is it. Seriously, you will not find another road intersecting with Hwy 12 untill your well into Montana

I stopped and got some gas in Orofino where an old-timer, (who had been in my rear-view mirror for the last 50 miles), walked over to me as I fueled the scooter, and asked me why I was riding so fast. After explaining the Motorcycle Endurance Challenge I was participating in, he reported that it was too bad I had to rush through such beautiful country. He was absolutely right, it really was too bad.

The two-lane ribbon of black top winds through the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, the 3rd largest wilderness in the lower 48, and follows the Lochsa and Middle Fork of the Clearwater rivers for miles, and miles, and miles.

While pulling onto the shoulder to put on some warmer gear, I could see fish holding in the rocks of the river bottom, and a moose strolling along the bank on the opposite side. I imagined Chief Joseph and his people living their lives here in abundance, and peace. You can hear their spirit in the winds that cut through the canyon, and more than one person shared this same feeling.  One rider, reported feeling the presence of spirits who seemed to be lost, or searching.  She was so overcome with fear and sadness, she came to tears alongside the river, and rode as fast as she could to its end.

Hwy 12 is in excellent condition, and as I rode through, there was very little traffic to be seen or heard.  You can not get lost as there are no other roads built into this pristine wilderness. You can connect with Hwy 12 via another beautiful section of road, following the Columbia River Gorge, along the Lewis and Clark Trail.

I can think of few roads ridden, throughout all of the Americas , that equalled the sheer joy and exhilaration felt as I moved along Hwy 12.  The scenery is incredible, the land pristine, and there is a richness of spirit  unlike I have ever felt before.

For more information, check out this link, Hwy to Heaven    

Hells Road.

In the allegory Dante’s Enferno, it was written, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here,”  Dante Alighieri, (14th Century). He was talkin about Hell, and while it’s not in my nature to abandon hope, I know the hell of Death Valley. According to Wikipedia, it is the hottest place in the Americas, and one of the hottest places in the world.

I rode into the Harley Davidson dealership in Las Vegas, Nevada, picked up a pin, and less than 10 minutes later rolled west towards Pahrump, Nevada and on into Death Valley along NV 190.

Ridin Death Valley

The Valley of Death

The sun was dropping, and guessed we had another hour before it all went to black. This sunset was eerily spectacular with various shades of green, blue, yellow, and red constantly changing as the last rays of the sun punctured the clouds.  

A stock 96 inch HD motor will do one-hundred mph in 6th gear.  You can’t kill it. But the heat was killin me. I couldn’t breathe.  The winds hitting my face scorched my lungs.  The temperature gauge on the scooter was off the chart, reading more than 120 degrees. I had to get out of it.  I pulled over and slapped on my full face helmet, and recognised I was just about out of gas.

We were good for another 30 miles or so, and the helmet allowed me to breathe again but I was no longer sweating, and was getting dizzy.

There is one gas station, (it takes credit cards when closed),  along NV 190, and that’s it.  No MickeyD’s, no nothing.  Gas up before you hit the junction if you are heading into the park from the east. You will be focked if you run out of gas here.

I hit the petro bank in the dark. If I remember right, I paid $6 a gallon for premium.  I topped her off, checked the oil, ate an MRE, and decided to chase the lead rider out of the gas station. I reeled him in and we settled in at about ninety-five, riding side by side, while occasionally hitting 100 miles an hour along a road never ridden in the middle of the night.  

 

Ten Minutes.

Had I arrived in Sturgis ten minutes earlier in August of last year we would have shook hands, honored one another, and maybe had a beer or two. We might have ridden together for a while; we might have come up with a solution for world peace, or more realistically, mapped a route to ride together in the future.  I don’t know.  He was on the ride of his dream, laying down rubber all the way from Florida.   He left me a note, apologising that we missed one another.

I could have met a brother from another mother, the proprietor of Mickey’s Bar in South Florida, the father of two children, a husband, and the brother to my best friend, Ann, had I just arrived 10 minutes earlier.  As it is, I will be meeting him for the first time in a hospital room almost one year later. Dave fell off his horse in January of this year and has yet to wake up.

Ten minutes can change a life.

 

Northwest Harley Blog

Whatever it is, it's better in the wind...

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