Archive for June, 2012

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.  



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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.


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