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Waterpocket Memories


John_Hendriksen

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John_Hendriksen

I’d met Gleno just once, at Torrey naturally. I had just purchased the “GT” iteration of the KRS (2003) and this rather gruff looking fellow walked right up to me and before I could remove my helmet said, “What the hell is that?”

 

“Damn”, I thought, so this is Torrey?

 

Yet before I could yank the earplugs out and give this tattooed ne’er-do-well a piece of my mind, a very cold beer was in my hand and this cad bellowed “Welcome to Torrey! We chatted a bit more that evening, about motorcycles certainly, but more about life and happiness and I warmed to him, reminded that first impressions are often inaccurate at best.

 

As I drove up to the Chuckwagon and saw the welcoming sign and the Friends of Gleno poster, I thought of his family and friends, knowing not what they'll miss, yet knowing, as a father and husband, more perfectly what he will miss.

 

It was a wonderful little trip and so much fun to let things happen as they might (a recurring theme in my life these days). The ride to Torrey was marvelous, scooting effortlessly across the desert of Northern Nevada to Ely. I spent the night at the Bristlecone Motel, a family run and meticulously clean motel hard by Highway 50. (Highly recommended, BTW) The next day I left early, skirted Great Basin National Park and Wheeler Peak, found Highway 14 out of Cedar City, skipped the motorhomed crowd at Bryce and onto Utah Highway 12. I had somehow forgotten just what a wonderful and weird road Number 12 is. I know…it’s famous, infamous really, but at my age time softens the memories of such places and that’s not altogether a bad thing sometimes. Winding from dry desert to alpine forest, through the wee towns of Tropic and Escalante and Boulder, it is a gift to motorcyclists; it can be ridden as fast as skill allows, but I rode it modestly as there was so much to see and feel.

 

I arrived in Torrey, reservation in hand for the Days Inn, where, btw, they proudly offer free WiFi in every room. (It may be there, but at my end of the building it doesn't work except when one is asleep and then for only moments at a time) No matter really, it was clean and the smiles of the staff felt genuine. Later, sitting on the edge of the bed, remembering that I had ridden 850 miles or so in two days, I felt a need to walk, stretch my legs if you will. I asked at the front desk where one might find a nice hike and was told,"....it's sunset, go to Chimney Rock" I did.....it was a breezy hike up to the bluff with a lovely loop trail at the top, 3.5 miles in all. I sat and watched the sun go down with two elderly ladies who had come to look at the flowers.

 

Personal geographies can be the desert or the mountains or the shore, they can be hot or cold, crowded or solitary, urban or rural. I think we all have them to some extent and they are often quirky, strange and, perhaps, limited. I also think that it is a mistake, a serious one too, to think you're not quirky, strange and limited than to admit you are. I believe in the effort to broaden the mind, but still more in the effort to deepen it. It just that sometimes these efforts seem to be at odds sometimes - or at least as I go about them. But on that bluff, watching the sun drop quickly behind a mountain......that geography, that place, felt personal to me and considerably deeper. No big revelations, no turning points, just a feeling of satisfaction.

 

Is that what Gleno felt here? I wonder.

 

So.....rather than ride 72 or Hite or Burr on Friday, I hiked. I hiked an eight mile trail at Capitol Reef, across ridges and through canyons and folds, skipped (literally, although that mental image may make one wince) across boulders. It was strenuous, a lot of climbing and so incredibly pretty.....I sat and meditated for a bit. A short bit too as before I knew it, a clap of thunder woke me out of my reverie and fat, fragrant raindrops soaked my mindfulness.

 

Perfect.

 

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Friday evening was so very nice. The quality of the air there was something to behold, errant raindrops notwithstanding. I saw Hannabone, Sir Rodney, Kris and Marty and many others. I sort of listened about the edges of conversation, understanding the reverie and the reverence present that evening a little better.

 

I rode home Saturday, needing to be back in the real world sooner than anticipated. After riding along, shall we say, rather briskly across the open desert, it's hard to slow for towns and so near Fallon I was tagged by a rather portly and kind Nevada Highway Patrolwoman. We chatted for awhile and she lowered my speed and therefore lowered the fine.

 

It's the little things.

 

And then.........on the east side of Donner Pass, the bike seemed to wobble a bit and so I pulled off the road and discovered a puncture in my rear tire. Of course, the tire kit is in the bottom of my bags, everything must be unpacked.....there and then, traffic whizzing by and me, fixing the flat, packing up and scooting home just 90 minutes later than thought.

 

A ticket, a flat…..little blips on the ride, I think and I was thankful I was there to fix it.

 

Thanks Gleno and thanks all.

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