Jeff is back in the saddle! I have written a bunch of stories with Jeff in them, but he has been healing from his lowside that I wrote about in I’m Down, I’m DOWN, I’M DOWN!. Then his bike was stolen and the thief killed himself by wrapping it around a wooden fence and totaling Jeff’s wee strom.
Jeff has replaced his wee strom with a new to him 2007 Yamaha FJR1300 and we finally got to go ride again! Here’s the route we planned:
This was going to be a long ride for Jeff since he is just getting his riding chops built back up so we decided to start the day off with a less than healthy, but big breakfast at the Waffle House. We started eating around 10:00 and we were on the road about 10:45. Jeff was leading so he could set the pace, but one thing that I really like about Jeff’s new bike is that Holeshot header. Oh my gosh! That thing sounds fantastic on the FJR. It’s not loud and obnoxious like you might be thinking. It sounds deep and throaty with a touch drag racing! I know that may not make much sense, but it is a sound that stirs the male soul and I know you guys know what I'm talking about. At least riding behind Jeff I got to hear the songs of our people all day.
As we worked our way out of town we noticed a lot of gravel on the roads. Over the previous couple of days the rain has been coming down hard and washing it out. That situation only got worse as we started to get into the hills. It was mostly small amounts of gravel, but occasionally there were deep patches and some areas went across the entire lane. The gravel conditions had us riding slower than we probably would have, but the other evil force plotting against us and our pace was the cagers. I don't know what was going on that had so many cars in the hills, but they were everywhere! These roads are normally clear of cars, but any time we got out from behind traffic we found more in the next set of twisties.
I know it’s nice to be out riding and I did enjoy it, but that many cars frustrate me. The part of riding that helps me clear my head and become refreshed comes from being in the “zone”. When you are trapped behind slow traffic in the twisties you cannot enter the “zone” and having to go slow behind a cager or a group of pirates leaves me unsatisfied. It may sound like I am complaining. I am not complaining about getting to ride, but there is etiquette that should be followed on mountain roads. Just like you are not supposed to ride in the left hand lane, if you have traffic piling up behind you it is proper etiquette to use one of the many gravel pullovers to let faster traffic by. If you find yourself in this situation PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, let the faster traffic by. The pirates on the road were taking their time through the twisties, but I have to hand it to them, they did let traffic by and displayed proper road etiquette. Well done pirates, well done.
As we neared the northern part of our route, traffic was finally thinning out and I remembered this switchback road that I wanted to take Jeff to. We have never been up there because it turns to gravel at the top and we have avoided that on street bikes. I don't know why that road popped in my head, but as I was telling Jeff about the road it dawned on me that we were on that road. How weird is that? I have no sense of direction, but it’s like my subconscious knew where I was and it triggered a memory of the road. If I could just learn to use that on demand I would be so much better off. It was good that I remembered the gravel because it stops kind of suddenly at the top and we were able to get slowed down before hitting the gravel.
We took a break and headed back down the mountain. By the time we got back to Lake Tahoma I think the heat had wiped us out. The pace had been slow all day and that kept the wind down and the heat up. If you were stopped or standing in the sun it was just oppressive. After Lake Tahoma we took a break and ate some ice cream before we headed back home.
What I Learned:
- The Holeshot header sounds amazing on the FJR1300.
- Sometimes your subconscious mind is trying to tell you something.
Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
After Jeff crashed and broke his ankle he could have easily decided to quit riding. He could have let fear of getting hurt again rob him of something he loves. Nobody would have given him a hard time about it either, but we are not meant to live in fear. I am glad Jeff got back in the saddle and I look forward to many years of riding with him. Look out for each other out there and when you are challenged, be strong and courageous.
Have you ever had an experience where you were hurt or faced so much adversity you nearly gave up? Have you ever given anything up because of fear or extreme adversity? Post your stories in the comments. I would love to hear them.