My last long ride

Many years ago I had a sport bike.  I rode it from southern Utah up to SLC, and then east into the Uintah Basin.   Normally, this would have been a great cruise save for two small problems.  

The first problem was that this was a cramped little sport bike designed for dragging your knees around corners and squirting out into the straights.  It was a very aggressive machine.   It wasn’t designed for a 5 Hour stretch, and neither was my spine in that position.

The second problem was that this was in a Utah Winter.   It was early in the season and the roads were only wet with the rain.   But it was still cold as hell.  Then combine that with 80 MPH wind.  Cold.

I was doing fine till I went up into the mountains…. 6000 feet of elevation changed the situation and all the sudden what was rain was now snow.  The cold had entered my very bones.  I stopped in Park City and found some gloves.  My old leather Army gloves just were not warm enough.    My fingers were numb to the point of pain.    The new gloves were a huge improvement.  But I was still reluctant to get back in the saddle for the rest of the ride.  The snow falling forced me to ride.   I had to get out of the snow and back to clear roads or I would soon find that the roads were impassable.   So I jumped on, opened the throttle up, and made it to Heber City.

In Heber, the snow was back to rain.  I topped off the tank in Heber, slammed a hot chocolate and snapped into a Slim Jim, and jet-moto’ed.  More mountains, more cold.  Through Strawberry, the rain turned to sleet.  Luckily I was wearing a full face helmet.  The sleet still found a way to hit me in the throat.

By the time I hit Vernal, my pants, my gloves… everything really, was frozen solid.  I literally fell off the bike like a block of ice.    I had to let things thaw a little before I could even pull off my gloves.

That was the last time I did any distance on a bike.  I’ve had other long rides before, but that was the last one I took.   Believe it or not, I’m looking forward to riding again.   Just not in winter conditions.


4 thoughts on “My last long ride”

  1. George, the first bike I bought newish was back in 94.
    It was an ’89 Katana, I rode it home, in missouri, in sleet on valentines day… Stopping every 5-10 miles to thaw and down hot choco.
    I rode the same bike back from Georgia during Hurricane Andrew… 4+ inches of standing water, wind gusts that would take you into the breakdown lane on the other side of the road.
    My father rode down from Mo to Ga and back with me on his Kawasaki Z1.
    It is without a doubt the most memorable trip I have ever made… and I still smile with the memories.
    Get your bike, when I get out your way on 2 wheels… I will have to meet up with you and treat you to lunch.


  2. When I was a teenager I got caught in a few AZ summer hailstorms while out riding my Honda CB400F. Other than a helmet I wasn’t wearing anything more protective than jeans and a t-shirt. It didn’t last long but I ended up with bleeding welts all over.

    Today I’ve got a Kawasaki ZX600 that old enough to qualify as “vintage” (1987). Still lots of fun to ride and I’ll look forward to getting a chance to do some riding with you George.

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