Wednesday, February 1, 2012


It was 3am, 30 degrees and we were 230 miles from home.
On our motorcycles.
In Panguitch UT. Which for those of you not familiar with the bass ackward state of Deseret, is nowhere.
Adventures are rarely fun when you are in the middle of one. It's a well known fact among adventurers around the world. They are usually miserable.
We were on a self imposed deadline to get home.
Not completely self imposed, we both, The Shane and I, had to be at work in a few hours.
We had already been on the road for ten hours.
It was cold. We had planned this trip in the middle of winter, trusting in the groundhog and past experience to give us good weather.
That false furry faker.
We were chased out of Utah two days before in a snowstorm.

We were headed home now, we had passed the uncontrollable shivering stage and were now just numb.
Full body numbness is not recommended.
I am positive the surgeon general warns against it.
We would stop for gas and try and get warm, leather gets very stiff in the cold. It holds its shape remarkably well. Walking in to a truck stop at midnight with your arms held stiff straight out in front of you is more than slightly embarrassing.
Trust me.
Sliding into Panguitch, the ass end of no-place special, was a relief. More so was the open sign on a gas station. Its times like these that you appreciate the simple things in life. Fluorescent light, heaters, Hot chocolate, heaters, bathrooms with heat. Heaters.
We woke up the vigilant owner of the store clattering inside in a frozen blast of air. She seemed less then pleased to see us. At her advanced age I was betting she thought she had seen everything the world and the road could throw at her. Until now. She watched us with glazed eyes. It seemed like she was having a bit of trouble believing we were real.
In retrospect, a six foot tall Mexican and a long haired white(ish) guy wearing three cows worth of black leather between them, could be a little alarming.
Shane had to go and make everything stereotypical by buying a Mexican horse blanket. Seriously.
He wrapped it around himself under his jacket and zipped up.
I laughed so hard my frozen face cracked in three places.
We were headed out the door when the antique jerked awake.
Fully. Bright rheumy eyes looked at us and then swung to our bikes.
I wish I could somehow allow you to hear her, the southern Utah accent is a cultural anomaly, a mystery. My personal theory as to its origin is simple. When you have six (or more) mothers all trying to teach you how to speak, each with a different accent, you can get a bit confused.
Hence, the south Utah trawl. (you know, Twang-Drawl)
Enough of that.
The suddenly wide awake oldster was putting in her teeth. As soon as they were in and she had test clacked them together a few times she croaked at us....
"You boys are on those motorcycles?"
"You Boys headed out?"
"You boys are crazy!"
Shrugs and nods
"Headed to Salt Lake?"
I sat back down. She obviously thought she needed to talk. I shut my brain down and just watched the following exchange.
Shane (The Six Foot Mexican) "Yes, we are headed up over the pass to get back on i-15 then to Salt Lake"
Shane(TSFTM) "Excuse me?"
"Oh, you boys need to watch out for the elk at mile marker 13"
TSFTM "The Elk?"
"Oh yeeeah, the elk  all winter at mile marker 13, right at the top of the pass"
TSFTM "Really?"
I was sitting there listening to this, incredulous. What is it with these people? Locals. They think that just because they live in area they can make oracular pronouncements about a herd, a large heard of very large animals.  A foretelling of where a herd of Very large, VERY mobile animals are going to be at any given time?  Elk are not cows, they are not Sheep, they are free range wild animals. I have Hunted Elk my entire life and the one thing I have learned in 27 years of chasing the damn things is that they are NEVER where you think or expect them to be.
Never ever.
This ol local had worn out the three brain cells I had that were not frozen.
I walked out the door, pulling TSFTM after me. As the door swung shut she warbled "mile marker 13"
Can you believe this shit? I am a weird magnet, but put me and Shane together and suddenly Idiots the world over are falling over themselves to talk at us.
Gods very own comedy team.
We headed out. Frozen solid within 2 miles.
Up and up we went, on a road that would have been fun.
In the day time.
At midsummer.
At 3:30 am and -30 windchill. Just starting to snow. On motorcycles.
Not fun.
The concentration required to ride a motorcycle increases for everything you add to a normal road. Sadly, I was noticing that my concentration was decreasing the colder I got.
Headlights on bright only light up the road, leaving the sides of the world more of a hint then anything else. Shapes move in the corner of your vision. After ten hours in the saddle your brain gets used to it.
Not really.
I could see these shapes now. Nearing the top of the pass. Snow falling, swirling in visions of the future across the road. Smoke over water. Dreamlike.Cold becomes comfort, the roar of the engine fades into the distance and the road merges up ahead with infinity.
Oh shit!
I jerked my head up, shook it and slowed down. Shane (TSFTM) took the lead and I followed his brake-light.
Mile marker thirteen.
Here it is.
Exactly at the marker.

An Elk steps out into the road. Steam shooting from nostrils that seemed twenty feet high.
Shane dodged.
We rode on.
I looked back, hundreds of elk, the shapes on the edge of the world.
Exactly at mile marker 13.
I hate locals.


Indigo said...

As much as we dislike locals and their know-it-all attitudes, damned if they're not usually right. (Hugs)Indigo

Krissy said...

I am freezing just thinking of your crazy behind out there on that bike! "False furry faker".. Say that three times real fast. :-)

snowfly7 said...

Ohhh that Southern Utah "Trawl". Whatcha ou' on yer bikes fer in a damn storm anyhow? You boys 'r crazierna (that's a word) crazierna jakalope takin' a piss on a cay-YOTE!