Monday, June 30, 2008

Why no new posts, Maynard?

Hi all!

I'm just back from a four-day motorcycle trip to Phillipsburg, Montana, for a lunch meeting of a nat'l motorcycle club for owners of smallish, single-cylinder motorcycles, most of them dual-purpose or "enduro-style" bikes.

For some reason that I've pondered but still don't fully understand, it's the best bunch of guys (and a few women) I've encountered in motorcycling. Ride a 40-horsepower, lightweight, skinny motorcycle with no windshield from Ohio to western Montana for a burger with the boys - and you're probably an okay type-a guy. You're okay in my book for sure.

Phillipsburg is west of Butte and Anaconda, MT, north and west of Yellowstone. Unless you ride the interstate, it's not so easy to reach. It's pretty to reach, but far from effortless - and there are deer and elk everywhere. Spooky.

Today's Monday. I'd never been in Montana in my life until Friday, and hadn't been in Wyoming since I was a young guy, right after the French and Indian Wars. I think I passed through WY in a car at night in the '60s, so I had no impressions. This time I traveled both states on a motorsickle in daylight, which by the way starts super early and lasts until 10PM in the summer.

As a lifetime city boy, except for a few years in smallish Chico, CA - a college town, not a country town, I always am surprised by the "country." I use the quotes because it isn't the country as we remember it.

There are funky coffee places in the tiny towns on the tourist routes, and you see signs for Yoga Healers. You see no Audis and no Ducatis. You still see lots and lots of huge pickup trucks, many of them diesel, driven by folks who look like cowboys. Some of them are cowboys.

Locals are super nice. They have time to spend with you and seem genuinely to enjoy that time. They have stories and want to tell you about the last guy who passed through there on a BMW or Harley, and what their sons or nephews ride and where they got them.

In Wyoming, as you leave towns, there's a big sign that says: If these lights are flashing, this road is closed. Go back to the town you just left. Luckily, none of the lights were flashing.

The fastest I rode on the entire trip was the last, oh, 40 miles - on Interstate 25. That 40 miles was also the most trafficky and dangerous of the trip. When you get near the city, you can feel the impatience and self-importance of the drivers. Especially after hundreds of miles on roads empty to both horizons, the drivers' behavior is strange indeed.

I saw one elk and many deer, as I mentioned. Deer, I've been told, have brains the same size as a squirrel's brain. They dart in front of moving motor vehicles and get killed, often injuring or killing the motorists. I can't hate deer. They're just not very smart.

Drivers evidently are not as smart as deer. My evidence: I-25 on Sunday afternoon. I rest my case. Perhaps you can provide corroborative evidence from your own area.


sda said...

Maynard, did you come down from Laramie on 287 to Ft. Collins, then on to Denver? 287 has what I think is the largest population of dumb deers east of the divide. I travel that route frequently on my moto (my girlfriend is living in Laramie for the time being) and it always scares me. However, your spot on with the assessment of I-25. There was a time when I would opt for the moto to get to Denver (from Ft. Collins) for business meetings, but I stopped that unless I can afford the time to take the backroads. The drivers are impatient, and the pavement condition on I-25 is deplorable. Which I'm sure you discovered.

Glad you made it back in one piece.

Maynard said...

That's exactly what I did, SDA.

I'd been on those oh-so empty roads, nothing from the horizon in front to the horizon behind, and suddenly I was in the I-25 Asylum with the crazies. Nice trip, except the last 5%...
Good to be home...