One ride two perspectives By Lucien and Blair
By Lucien Maier
Edited By Temperance Penrod
I approached my buddy Blair about hitting a ride North. My compass patch is pretty modest already compared to some who have them, but my North was really pathetic. I have big trip planned soon for my south. My east Basalt, CO was from a trip last year, that my wife and kids ran as my chase truck.
My west is not amazing, a long solitary ride to the Dugway proving grounds in Utah.
My north was really sad, Salt lake City Utah. So it has been on my mind to go north ever since it warmed enough to ride. My buddy rides all the time. He gets more saddle time than anyone I know.
He agreed and we decided we would leave early from work on Friday and head north. I let him pick the route because he knows the northern Utah much better than I. I could not wait the whole week.
Elf had a few issues, one with the starter motor. I had sorted it mostly out when Friday morning rolled around. I went out to the lab, and my starter motor issue reared its head again. I tried and tried to get her going.
Defeated I drove my car into work, not looking forward to letting my buddy know that I would have to cancel the ride. Talking to my buddy at work was torture. He was bummed, but he was gonna go ride anyway.
I proceeded to brood at my desk for the morning. I went for a walk to clear my head, we just moved into a new building at my job so I went exploring down by a small stream.
When I was a kid a group of us used to walk rivers and explore tunnels. The stream runs under the road at my work so I went through the large tunnel. I even took a picture to show my old friends on Facebook.
The whole thing made me feel better, but also back in those times we did not give up. We accomplished some crazy goals back then, only because we never allowed defeat. We continued to fight until we had won.
As I walked back I started thinking about that, As I have grown older I have learned to accept defeat. When I arrived back at my desk I decided I would not be defeated today.
I went by my buddies desk and asked him when he was going to head out. I got out of work and headed home. I worked quickly once home to tear the starter cover apart, this time I got the gear working better.
The bike was started and running, I dropped my buddy a text that I was good to go and could meet him at the base of the canyon.
I rode in and to the lower part of Parleys Canyon. The A on the map marks where this was taken waiting for Blair and Victoria to show up.
Blair rolled up a few moments later. He commented on the oil that was leaking out of my bike. She was dripping pretty bad, when I had put the cover back on a piece of gasket had broken away. leaving a small drip that produced some bad looking puddles when I stopped.
He even asked “What’s that?”
I waved him off. “Yeah thats me, but its ok I have more.” I said with a smile and Blair rolled his eyes at me. We hit the road and briskly rode to the the top of Parleys. Just below Wanship we ran into construction.
Blair led and was trying to get open spaces that I could clear out Elf. She is not a huge fan of riding constantly slow. Even though the construction sucked I was so happy to get past Wanship.
As we rode past Echo reservoir I knew my patch was broken. Once the construction lifted we started to ride faster. Really fast actually, we flew onto I-84 off of I-80, heading toward Morgan.
Not long before we were back on the road heading for Morgan. Blair and I did not talk much when we had stopped so I thought he might be mad. (Later learned I was wrong he was fine) We exited the highway at Morgan, and rode the old highway a two lane blacktop that rolled over hills and through the canyon. It slowed us down but it was an awesome road to ride.
We stopped off so I could get gas and some oil. Then we headed into Trapper’s loop on 167. Blair knew the road well and maintained good speed, I fell behind a couple times. Sometimes because the turns were tight and unknown, but also because the view was amazing.
We dropped into Ogden Canyon and linked up to 39, we rode next to Pineview reservoir. My new most North point is Huntsville, Utah from this point in the ride. The ride down 39 was very mellow and breathtakingly beautiful.
As we rolled out into the valley Blair pointed to where I would get on I-15 and make my way home. He also warned me about traffic in Clearfield. We said goodbye and I hit the 15 and stopped, Blair had been right traffic was horrible. But once I made it through I rode out to my house.
This is a ride I will remember for a very long time. I can’t wait to do a lot more rides with Blair. But now, I am looking west.
And Now Blair,
By Blair Butler
Finally free of the constantly recirculated choke of my cell, I remove the face shield from my helmet, I need air. I need the roar in my ears and the wasps in my teeth. A wheel turns; a heart begins to beat again, slowly at first then faster bringing life to an idle brain. Accelerating onto the giant tarmac rattler that divides the Beehive east and west. Heading north I roll it on and immediately move across, finding the open lane far to my left, Mach 5, 6, 7, then 8 and 9. Aaaaah, that’s better!
Settling in I look for a gap to veer right on to the belt that cinches about the populous of the city that is Salt, but not salty. Not a chance, back to the HOVer and bam!.. I lean into a hard right onto America’s pork route, the highway that connects the hog butchers of the windy city to the bacon hungry west. Alas there are too many cagers, gotta get clear of the “commute”.
Just. One. More. Curve… and it’s all behind me, I push the bar and she dives first into a left and then an arcing right, a few more of these and I see my first spot for a breather. The air here is cleaner, and it only gets better as we ascend.
An Elf awaits, not just any elf, this is a dark creature, growling, hissing, spitting hot oil. She’s dark but willing and it’s on again. Now I can hear it, Victoria sounds the warning and we climb upward, still accelerating we climb, we climb like a curious child, upward toward the sky. Thin air, blue skies, conifers are streaks of blue-green in the corners of my eyes. Over the top, then gliding, moving rapidly toward another twisting turning lean fest…
Nooooooo! It’s an orange barrel bobsled run with only one good line, a line ruled by a phone talking, Sunday driving, overcautious, company pickup operator still enslaved to his workday… But the sun is on my back, and the elf pilot is on my six, life is good, even at 45.
We exit the day-glow slow roll, and wrists instinctively twitch, back up to speed through the Weber River valley, pastoral, it’s spring in farm country. The peace is shattered by the sound of petroleum exploding into horsepower, if you look up to see what it is, it’s already gone.
A stone window and a grand tree mark our distance from UP home. Shrugging off the shackles of a day in a cell, finally the mind is free to appreciate what God has created, and the scar on a mountainside carved by the tailbone of the devil himself.
The winding canyon gives way to an open valley and a gentle rolling two lane, it’s a welcome break from the adrenal rush of the highway. Time to cherish the past while mounting the present, floating effortlessly through the century old ranches of worked earth and old Fords.
I need fuel, Crispy M&M’s will do nicely. Victoria, still tanked up and willing, needs no additional octane. Elf tops off and it’s back to the Loop. Climbing once again, shifting mass left then right, on the edge of tract we test the limits, it’s right and wrong at the same time. There’s a chill, it is elevation, thinner cooler and not nearly long enough. Descending now, this time wide open, knowing we are on the back end of “the long way home”. Choices; maintain velocity and is over much too soon, or slow and savor for just a few minutes more. Choice made, my dropping wrist and a brisk kick of the gear selector signal that speed will be the rule today.
Now to water and wind and pine, we skirt the lake and then join the river on its winding twisting route through unseen beauty. The auto-bound with their roofs and climate control see only a tiny fraction of the majesty here, Elf pilot sees it all for the first time and marvels, I see it for the hundredth time and still, I also marvel.
Just one last opportunity to squeeze a few more turns out of a Friday afternoon, we circumnavigate The Mount and regrettably we are back on the grid. Homage to the kindred who have gone before, the bronze soldier turns to admire our freedom, the very freedom he died for, a smile crawls across his sculpted face. His name a mystery, he knows that today, we have appreciated the liberty earned by the blood of patriots. Just a mile more and the Elf is gone, out of sight, yet the memory of her playful, dark soul is etched upon the forged steel of a V-Twin heart.
From here it’s all familiar roads and final turns, the ticking and plinking of iron as it cools, sleep will come easy tonight, the weight of the workday has been blasted away, not unlike from the sandstone monoliths of the south, worn by wind and water.
The long way indeed, not nearly long enough.