Gary Gardner (grgardner) wrote,
Gary Gardner

Global Warming my ass...

This whole theory of global warming is just so much BS.  I've never been so cold as I was today.    And today is MAY 22nd!  MAY! Remember, I love to ski, was raised in snow country, but I have to say doing over 200 miles on a motorcycle in SNOW, with wet gloves, leaky rain gear, and most of it with in-operable electrical heated gear, tops any bad day skiing on the mountain for a "cold" factor.  At least skiing you can get off and go in the lodge.  On a motorcycle you can't do much except keep going until the next town -- and here in the West, the "next town" is usually 60 or so miles away.

The day started out OK, I checked out of the over-priced Holiday Inn Express in Vernal, put on the heated gear and rain gear and even the leather underneath the rain gear just to be safe, and gassed up before heading West on US-40.  The goal was to stay in US-40 up towards Park City and then catch I-80 and I-84 up into Idaho and northwest towards home.  However I got 60 miles from Vernal and stopped for a quick pee break and found out that there was upwards of 5 inches of snow on US-40 over the pass and towards Park City, and seeing the ominous black clouds I decided to turn south on US-191 and go towards Price -- my alternate route being pick up US-6 in Price and head west into Nevada.  Well, going "south" you think, hmmm, warmer, less snow etc.. right?  Well that isolated little stretch of road, after about 15 miles, started to climb and climb and climb, and before I knew it I was in the snow again!  So -- turn back?  Or press forward?  I'd turned back once yesterday, and wasn't about to do it again so I pressed forward.  This is what I was driving in.  For 45 miles!  All the way down to Price where it started to rain very heavily.

The electrically heated gear stopped working about 10 miles outside of Vernal, and all the rain and snow had soaked through my gloves and rain coat.  Needless to say I was cold cold cold.   By the time I got to Price all I could think about was getting off the bike and getting warm.  I went to the first place I could find -- a Holiday Inn.  They had rooms just in case too, but I decided to wait it out in the coffee shop with a pot of coffee and my maps and cell phone.  I spent the next two hours on the phone with friends and family who had Internet access and could search out weather conditions.  The general consensus was that the storm system was stuck over the Wasatch mountains and there was no way around it -- I could either punch my way through or wait another day or so for the system to clear out.  Another day in a hotel room with nothing to do was not an option, so I gassed up the bike and headed out in the rain.  The electrical heated gear, true to form, gave out about 5 miles up the road, and as I climbed Soldier Summit in more sleet/snow/slush and traffic, I was constantly yelling out every swear word I knew over and over and over again.  The 60 miles to Provo seemed interminable.  Which is funny because I used to prowl this canyon many times in my younger days watching trains on the Rio Grande.  Of course I saw no trains today -- that would have been something positive!

Thank goodness for Harley-Davidson dealerships however.  I remembered one in Orem and so I decided to buzz in and see if they could figure out what was wrong with my electrical gear.  A huge thanks to Barry Grow their service manager who allowed me to pile up soaking wet rain gear on their counter while he and I fiddled with the electrical gear.  Turns out that the thermostat on my jacket liner was bad.  They didn't have any in my size in the clothing department, but he did sell me a "used" one from their rental gear closet.  It was very kind and saved the day.  I bundled back up, now wrapped in an operating cozy electric blanket under my jacket, and headed north on I-15.

Just past Point of The  Mountain another rain squall loomed so I headed west on that side of the Salt Lake Valley -- and stayed mostly dry.  I made a quick pit stop at my brother's house and then gassed up and hit the road again.  As I dropped down towards the Great Salt Lake I could see more  storms out over the desert, so I throttled up for the 105 miles to Wendover, Nevada.

I actually stayed dry again, and at 85 miles an hour the heated gear was nice and toasty.  It was 56 degrees in Wendover as I gassed up and decided to head towards Elko, Nevada for the night.  Elko is 110 miles from Wendover, and I figured it was 110 miles closer to Seattle, which is still 2 days away.  It was only 5pm now that I was back in Pacific Time, so I headed out.  The road starts to climb outside of Wendover, and sure enough, more black clouds.  DAMN DAMN DAMN I shouted to no one in particular, along with a few choice other words.  As I climbed the rain turned to sleet again.  Sleet at 70 mph on a bike feels like acupuncture all over your face, and being in Nevada, towns were 100 miles apart.  So on I pressed until I couldn't take it any more and saw the lights of Wells, Nevada up ahead.  There are two motels in Wells, and one Casino/Truck Stop/Restaurant.  The motel had rooms and I took one.  After shimmying out of all those wet clothes I took a long hot shower, and meandered across the street to the Casino/Truck Stop/Restaurant. 

The food was actually good, and the casino, full of smokers AND real slots too -- the kind you put coins in and pull a handle!  If it weren't for the smokers I'd stay and play some.  This was a truck stop right out of a Felini film too -- full of characters.  UGLY characters.  SMOKING characters.  If i weren't so tired I might strike up a conversation, but instead I took a slice of pie back across the street to the motel and will enjoy that before going to bed.

In scanning the Weather Channel and web sites, it appears the storm should be moved off by morning.  I'm hoping.  My plan now is to ride I-80 either to Winnemucca and turn north, retracing my route south last week up through Burns, Oregon, and hoping for Yakima, Washington for tomorrow  night, and then into Seattle on Saturday.  Or I could go into Oregon on a north-west track and go up past Crater Lake and into Salem and up I-5 home to Seattle.  We'll see how it looks tomorrow.

I've been out on the road for the better part of a week now, and truth be told, I'm looking forward to going home.  I'm not sure I've resolved anything, but I'm getting there.  The last two days on the bike haven't allowed for much contemplative thought -- it's been more of "grip and grab and curse and scream" -- my hand are permanently bent into the shape of motorcycle grips.  However lots of hot water will allow me to relax them a bit.  My mind is still scattered and confused on some things, and hopeful on others, so we'll see how it goes over the next two days and once I get back home.   The song that was running through my head most of the day was John Denver's "Poems Prayers and Promises", which has a line that goes:

"I've been lately thinking, about my life's time -- all the things I've done, and how it's been.
And I can't help believing, in my own mind -- I know I'm gonna hate to see it end.
I've seen a lot of sunshine, slept out in the rain, spent a night or two all on my own...
And I have to say it now, it's been a good life all in all -- it's really fine to have had a chance to hang around...
The days they pass so quickly now, the nights are seldom long
And time around me whispers winter''s close.
The changes somehow frighten me, but still I have to smile
It turns me on to think of growing old.
For though this life's been good to me, there's still so much to do
So many things my mind has never known...."

Poems, Prayer's and Promises - John Denver

I actually have "work" on my calendar for Monday so at least I'll have Sunday to rest.  Knowing me, and knowing how damn dirty and ugly the bike is I'll spend part of Sunday washing her and getting her back in shape.   Even my brother said she was looking a bit war-torn and weary -- just like her rider.  Getting home will hopefully clean both of us up.

  • Latest Magazine Column

    For over ten years I've been writing a monthly column in Quick Throttle Magazine -- a regional biker publication. The confluence of the changes…

  • May/June QuickThrottle Column

    With the pandemic shutdown, the loss of revenue, and everyone staying at home, the publisher decided not to put out a May issue and put out a…

  • April QuickThrottle Column

    This whole pandemic thing, in addition to being very trying, has delayed a few things, including the publication of my column. I just got the April…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.