April 29th, 2013
I sleep in and wait for the sun to bring life back to the frozen world around me. I’m not in much of a hurry today since I have about 80 miles to go until I reach my destination. After taking my time I get back on the road and head for Bryce Canyon National Park. I take the turn off to the National Park and about halfway to the park entrance I see an elevation sign that reads 8,000 feet. I realize two things immediately; 1: the reason why it was so cold last night and 2: why my engine is acting up.
I’m no expert in motorcycle mechanics but I read a few months ago somewhere that altitude will cause a loss in engine power. I pull over,get the manual out and read that if I drive over 5,000 feet that I need to rejet my carburators. Whatever that means, I didn’t do it and now I’m worried. A debate begins; I could continue on and see Bryce Canyon, which I will probably not have the opportunity to see for years, or turn back and get to the house I will be staying at as soon as possible. I opt for the latter, playing it safe, thinking in the long run and move on slowly and steadily. At least if I need to get towed I will be that much closer.
I finally arrive after babying the engine and am relieved to see familiar and welcoming faces. These are the parents of a friend who I’ve known for a long time. I was in a band for years with this friend and we practiced every wednesday at their house. Afterwards his mom let us stay for the traditional Wednesday night spaghetti dinner. They retired and moved to a very small town up in the beautiful mountains of central Utah.
They gave me a warm welcome, showed me the house, and within an hour the three of us were on ATVs cruising the mountain trails. Up in those mountains we saw the remains of mine shafts and log cabins the gold miners used to live in during the gold rush. Here I am complaining about the cold last night and these people would be up here during the winter with no electricity or running water. I can’t help but grow an appreciation for the powerful ATV engine underneath me as I effortlessly climb the hills that many must have toiled to years ago.
We get back to the house and I spend the next several hours doing maintenance on my bike. I luckily am staying with a man who built an incredible garage equipped with everything to service a motorcycle, or any vehicle for that matter. A quick google search about my engine trouble brings me relief to find out that what I am experiencing is normal and that it won’t cause long-term damage to the engine.
After cleaning up we have a nostalgic “Wednesday night spaghetti dinner” even though it is Monday. We retire to the porch overlooking the beautiful Tushar mountains during twilight and chat for a while as the day comes to a close. It was interesting to learn that my friend’s father did a trip similar to the one I am on now but with a truck instead of a motorcycle. It gives me encouragement to hear his stories.
I spend the rest of the night enjoying a warm bed, electricity and being clean. My physical comfort is contrasted with the frustration of having lost many of the pictures of the first few days while transferring them to my computer. The good thing about a long trip though is that there will be plenty of more opportunities for experiences and pictures. All I can do is accept it and move on, frustration is a waste of energy and this should only be taken as a lesson that double back ups is a good practice.