It was over a week ago now that I had arrived in Price, Utah after having ridden through wonderfully scenic and varied desert landscapes. Price is situated in the shadow of a mountain range. Because it was something I have been concerned about, I always scan the mountain tops looking for snow.
This time I noticed snow on several peaks to the Northwest.
"That's not ok." Audrey said on the phone when I told her this. She asked what I would do if I came across any snow on the passes ahead.
"If it gets too deep, I'll just turn around." I assured her.
I've heard claim that it's possible to ride in snow. Some years ago, I once rode across a 25 yard expanse of 4 inch deep snow successfully but it was less than graceful.
The next morning I packed up my gear and thought about what the German TAT rider had said about the trail ahead. "Nothing too challenging." he had commented. I walked outside to load up the bike and looked at the mountain peaks in the distance and noted the white.
There was a man with a very little dog in the parking lot. The little thing saw me and immediately waddled it's way over to my feet. I bent down to pet it. It was hardly larger than my foot and would just walk around my ankles. It would take a step or two away and then turn around and seek the apparent safety of my legs. I tried to get a photo of it, but it was shy. I asked the man what kind of dog it was. "English Bulldog" he said.
It was an impossibly cute little thing and just didn't want to leave me. It's owner would call but to no avail. I tried to slowly walk away but the little guy would just follow me. Eventually, it listened to it's owner and walked away but looked back at me a few times.
"Awwwwww." I thought but then considered a Bulldog I know named Norman who grew up to be an asshole.
I checked the weather. 0% chance of precipitation not only for where I was but also for where I was going. I looked at the map and checked the elevations of the two passes ahead.
"I am smart." I thought sarcastically as I congratulated myself on my situational awareness and uncharacteristic attention to detail.
I got on my bike and rode the 30 miles or so back down to Castle Dale and picked up the trail.
Almost immediately I was confronted with foreshadowing.
"Pavement ends", "No winter maintenance", and "Watch for Flood".
What could possibly go wrong?
Shortly there after I came across a sign I had not seen before.
"Wildfire and flood?"
Things could get biblically out of hand quickly in these parts. Maybe that's why religion is so prevalent out here.
The trail route wended it's way up a mountain. Soon I saw that things were covered in a light dusting of snow.
"0% chance of preciptation."
I reminded myself that I could turn around at any moment if it got too deep and continued on.
It had clearly rained here not too long ago. The trail quickly turned muddy and slippery.
The trail descended a bit and soon I was in the midst of beautiful fall colors.
I was momentarily on pavement when the route turned and I came across this more earnest example of ominous foreshadowing.
"Fortunately for me, it's not winder yet." I thought as I paused and considered how bad it could get.
The trail started to ascend again. A dramatic turquoise blue lake could be seen illuminated by sunshine.
A little further up I stopped to take in the scene before me. Once again I could see a dusting of snow ahead.
As I proceeded things began to get a bit stressful as the trail turned quite muddy and the dropoffs became more pronounced. I slipped and slid my way along thinking, once again, "no left turn".
It started to get "right proper muddy and slippery" but I was still able to ride through this mess largely with my feet on the pegs. It was, however, stressful as the front wheel would slide and sometimes catch in the ruts causing the bike to quickly pitch this way and that. I thought it was highly likely that I would fall down today.
Conditions on the trail improved momentarily when I came across a sign I approved of. "Get your head in gear." it said.
I failed to take note of the slight dusting of snow that surrounded the sign. I pressed on. Slowly, things began to get more snow covered as the route climbed slowly up the mountain. Soon the trail itself was covered in a layer of snow and slush.
Interestingly, this was not nearly as slippery as I had feared. My best guess is that muddy surface underneath was still above freezing so no layer of ice lay in wait under the slush to ruin my day. Occassionally, I would hit a slippery spot and the front would go one way and the rear another but overall this was much more doable than I would have imagined. The trail continued to climb and much like the cliche of the frog in the frying pan I didn't take much notice as things slowly got progressively more snow covered.
Surprisingly, I was able to ride through this without too much trouble. Occassionally I would be reminded that the bike might drop, but overall I was able to continue on with my feet on the pegs making good progress. It was cold but not oppressively so. I thanked my former self for taking the time to add heated handle grips to the bike. Without them, this would have been much more uncomfortable. Contrary to what I had feared, the grips didn't tax the electrical system of the bike much but I did install an LED headlight which draws much less power than the stock halogen bulb.
I was also embolded by the fact that I saw two sets of TAT rider tracks that had come through here not long ago. Of course, I failed to remember the dangers of following tracks.
I kept thinking I was near the top since I could see clouds ahead but at every turn the path would continue to climb and the snow would get a bit deeper.
I promised Audrey that I would turn around if it got too deep.
I started composing a Facebook status update in my mind.
"I told her I would turn around if it got too deep. But I failed to realize that I don't know what too deep is since I've never done this before."
Trucks had come through and made tracks in the snow which I was able to follow for the most part. At some points I rode through virgin snow and was surprised that, as long as what was underneath was mud, it was easy to traverse. Occasionally, there would be hints of ice and the front wheel would skid out violently reminding me to be vigilent.
As an experiment, I'd ride through deeper sections to see how it felt. I wanted to know what could be done and what was unlikely to be passable. The snow had gotten pretty deep. In places, it was more than 8".
"Since this is my first time, I didn't know but now with a little experience, I can say with some certainty that I hardly notice 4 inches, 6 inches is on the verge of not-doable, and 8 inches is right out." I thought and then laughed out loud nearly crashing.
"Pay attention to the task at hand." I could just hear Bruce say. Things then started getting properly deep.
When to turn around was a question. I was still making good progress forward. It wasn't too terribly cold. There was little in the way of ice and it did not seem to be freezing. I wondered how quickly conditions could go from managable to impassable? Since I didn't know. I pressed on watching carefully for that moment when I needed to retreat.
I had not seen a vehicle in quite some time but given all the fresh tracks I figured if I got stuck a vehicle would come along before too long.
The snow got deeper and I found myself in the beginnings of a white out as a cloud passed over the mountain.
I took another version of the same photo for a more dramatic effect.
Fortunately for me, this was the top of the pass. A truck drove by. The driver did not seem nearly as surprised as I would have thought. I started making my way down the other side and conditions quickly improved.
I came across a Jeep with snow chains that was just left on the side of the road.
Conditions continued to improve steadily.
Soon I saw an interesting hole of blue in the cloud covered sky which exposed a vast valley below.
I came around a bend and at first did not comprehend what I had seen.
Sheep were just roaming around. This is something I have never seen before.
As I descended the snow slowly disappeared and I was able to make good progress. I could see Ephraim, UT in the distance.
I stopped, very out of character, at a McDonald's for a cup of coffee and to carefully examine maps. The GPS battery had run out and I had come to the end of the roll chart. I sat at a table with my maps and roll charts spread out.
"How foolish was trying that pass?" I wondered. There is probably no "correct" answer. Do you turn around at the first hint of snow? If heavy snow is predicted, my answer would clearly be "don't go". But I had checked the weather and it was all clear. If I had broken down or if it had gotten significantly colder things could have gotten bad. If a heavy snow came through just as I was traversing the pass it could have been bad.
I would later find out that this was a freak storm the kind of which typically doesn't occur in this area until mid November. It was now late September. What do you do about freak storms?
I decided I needed to write an app for the phone so that TAT riders can communicate conditions and leave travel advisories. I may yet do that.
I thought about the passes coming up. I had been emailed a weather advisory for further north in Utah or maybe it was for Idaho where 12 inches of snow were expected at higher elevations. I began to question to the wisdom of continuing. Any pass with more snow than what I just experienced would not be easily passable and would likely represent what I would consider an unacceptable risk.
It was getting a bit late in the day. Riding through the snow took quite a bit of time and had slowed my progress down to less than 10 miles per hour. I had made non-refundable reservations in Delta, UT. There was another pass between Ephraim and Delta. I had another 90 or so miles to go. I thought as long as the route isn't too challenging I should be able to make it.
I headed out and initially found myself on perfectly maintained gravel roads where I could make good time.
Because I was concerned about making progress I took less photos. The path ascended up the side of another tree covered mountain. It had clearly rained not long ago. Signs of significant erosion and water damage were everywhere. In the distance, more snow could be seen.
The condition of the trail started to deteriorate. It started becoming muddy but unlike the slick wet mud of the previous snow covered pass, this was thicker and stickier, but still very slick.
My tires were covered in mud but there was no snow. I could see a number of TAT riders tracks. The trail got progressively more challenging, narrow, and muddy. I was slip sliding along when I came upon a TAT rider riding in the opposite direction. He stopped and asked if I was riding the TAT and warned me that it was impassably muddy ahead.
"Any snow?" I asked. He said he had gone about a half mile further up when he dropped his bike and decided to turn around. Another TAT rider could be seen ahead packing his bike also turned around. "He dropped his bike GS hard." the rider said.
"Thanks for the heads up. I'm going to give it a try and if it gets too hard I'll turn around." I told him. My thinking was that as soon as I dropped the bike or it got too muddy to continue I'd turn around. I had a shovel and a block and tackle "motorcycle recovery system" with me, so I thought I was likely ok. I also have the Spot tracker and a personal locator beacon.
I rode on through the slippery muck to see if the other TAT rider needed any help.
It was strange. His buddy had just left him to fend for himself. To my way of thinking, this is "not cool". I asked him if he needed any help but he said he was ok. He had broken his front fender and some other bits as I remember it. "It's just too muddy ahead." he said suggesting that I turn around. I bid him good luck and continued on cautiously evaluating the surface as I went.
I came across two other riders who had said they had gone ahead a ways and then turned around. If I remember correctly they said they had fallen as well. They said there were two more guys ahead that had made it a bit further.
"I can turn around at any moment." I thought. So far from what I could see if wasn't that bad. This was nothing like the mud I had seen in Oklahoma which could swallow an unsuspecting KTM rider whole and leave no trace.
This was just slick and sticky but it was only a few inches deep.
I slipped and slid but was able to ride through this with my feet on the pegs. I soon came upon the last two TAT riders.
It was Allen and his friend Martin. I had first met Allen when he was riding with Amber and Dave and then again on that gawdawful Ophir Pass descent. I stopped to see if they were ok.
"We're just going to set up camp here and wait for the mud to set." he said. They had found a bit of a clearing not far from a pile of wood and were busy setting up camp.
"I"m going to see how far I can make it." I told him. I had failed to pay attention to his rear wheel. I've met a number of riders on "Adventure" bikes with low front fenders who have had their front wheels lock up due to mud. This is why dual sport bikes have such high fenders, so it can accommodate a larger volume of mud.
It honestly didn't look that bad to me. It was very very slick and quite thick but the bike wasn't sinking into this muck much and I was to continue on riding with feet on pegs.
I rode on through this mess for about another mile. There were a number of downed trees.
What I failed to notice was that for the first time in a very long time, there was no evidence of any TAT riders who had come through here. The mud was virtually undisturbed as I slipped and slid erratically up the face of a steep and impressively muddy hill. As I ascended I could barely keep the bike upright but was still able to make progress when suddenly the front wheel lost traction and slid laterally a bit. I stopped just a few hundred yards from the top of the hill and took a moments rest. I was quite warm as I had been working quite a bit but still, progress was being made.
I put the bike in gear and let out the clutch and .... nothing.
My immediate thought was that I had broken the chain. Awkwardly, I put the kick stand down and inspected the chain. It was covered in mud but still intact. The entire bike was impressively caked with mud.
I tried it again. Upon letting out the clutch, there was an ever so slight forward pull. I thought maybe the front sprocket had failed.
Using my hands, I scraped out as much mud as I could around the chain where it goes under the cover to the front sprocket. I pulled on the chain and it seemed intact. I scraped out more mud.
I began to suspect that maybe the clutch had failed. I took off my helmet and gloves and checked the phone to see if, by some miracle, I had any coverage. To my great surprise, I had 5 bars with full data. So I quickly posted a question in a Suzuki DR650 group on Facebook.
Then a text message came through that crushed me. Duncan sent me a text telling me his father had just died. It was unexpected. I had known him for over 30 years. In many ways, Duncan's family has been more family to me than my own. Of all times for me to be caught in a bad position, this was about the worst. I tried to craft some words there on the mountain in the mud as the sun started setting. I failed miserably. I hoped Duncan wouldn't see the posts I had made, but moments later I got a message about the clutch.
"Yea, I might be fucked." I messaged Duncan back but told him that I had good cell coverage and that I would make it out one way or another and that he should be with his family during this horrible time. Despite my protestations, he took time out and offered suggestions to help me diagnose the problem.
"Pull the oil filler cap and see if the oil smells burned." he suggested.
I did as instructed. Removing the oil filler cap filled the air with an incredibly intense and awful burned smell.
Given that I was getting slight forward pressure releasing the clutch lever with the bike in gear combined with the gawdawful smell I concluded the only likely answer was that the clutch had failed.
This was not something I was going to be able to repair here on the mountain.
"My luck might finally have run out." I thought as I wondered how "real adventurers" handle this situation out in the real middle of nowhere.
I paused. I have long since learned that there is a limitation in my mind. There are an infinite number of scenarios that could play out that would end up very poorly for me from this moment forward but my mind can only conceive of a very limited subset of them while expending a great deal of energy and distracting me. I could encounter a bear or a mountain lion. It could start to rain and freeze causing hypothermia to set in which might end me. The wind could pick up or maybe it would start to hail baseball sized hail. I could get too tired and start making big mistakes.
All of these thoughts are useless as they do not point to a direct course of action /right now/. Additionally, these thoughts have a way of preventing you from seeing opportunities in front of you.
This is why the more dire the situation the more a pause is in order to assess what needs to be done /now/.
I was uninjured.
The sky was clear with a bright red sunset developing. "Red sky at night sailors delight."
I had plenty of water.
I could build a fire.
The bike had nearly a full tank of gas and I had both heated grips and a vest. I could run the bike and keep warm that way if a fire didn't work out.
I was on a marked road and I thought it was likely that someone would come by eventually.
There were two TAT riders a mile back who were setting up camp.
I had a Spot Tracker and a Personal Locator Beacon and more importantly I had 5 bars of cell coverage.
I have MedJetAssist, BMW MOA, AMA, and a host of other organizations that I can draw upon.
"There are big problems in life, but with all this, this is not one of them." I thought as I concluded I had many options available to me. Duncan's family, on the other hand, was facing one of life's big problems and I felt terrible that I was not there.
I thought about the mud and briefly considered whether I'd be able to push the bike out but even just walking in this muck was causing my boots to cake up significantly with this sticky black muck.
I briefly tried to move the bike when I discovered that the rear wheel would not spin.
"Ok, so there's no moving the bike."
I had been responsible. I had gotten MedJetAssist evacuation insurance and had added the motorcycle rider to it so that if they evacuate you they pull your bike as well. I called them.
"We're sorry, but this only applies if you injured in a life threatening situation." the representative explained carefully.
"If I encounter a bear or mountain lion, I likely will be." I explained. "I have a broken finger nail, does that count?" I joked. I tried calling BMW MOA but all circuits were busy. I tried calling the AMA but they told me "road side assistance" only applies to paved roads. It was quickly looking like I would not find a way to get the bike off the mountain.
I looked at my bike and pondered attachments for a moment and realized, very clearly, that if I were too attached to this bike at this present moment it would mean my options for survival would be narrowed and that both the bike and I would be much less likely to make it off of this mountain. By being willing to let it go, we were both more likely to make it out.
For a moment, still pausing, I wondered if my inability to let go of people I love has narrowed my options in a similar way and prevented me from being as good for them as I could be. It seems counter intuitive, but looking at my bike at this particular moment realizing I was about to leave it brought this point home for me painfully.
If I was going to have to spend the night on the mountain, I thought it would probably be wise to be near other humans. Allen and Martin were a mile or so back on the trail setting up camp. They'd likely have a fire and there would be some modicum of safety in numbers. I hung my helmet on the bike and started trudging my way down the hill. I noticed cattle hoof prints in the mud and then saw one that looked odd to me.
I don't notice details often.
I looked a bit closer and, possibly owing to fatigue, thought, "Now that's funny. I've never heard of a cow with big claws before."
The tracks went up back up the hill to where I had left my bike and it slowly dawned on me, "BEAR!"
To my eye these were very fresh tracks. And like those scenes in horror movies where the next victim has made some obviously stupid error, I had left the bear spray on the bike.
"Snacks!" I thought as I realized I had bags of mixed nuts on the bike as well. I turned around and rushed back to the bike. I grabbed the bear spray and then noticed, again following the stupid mistakes common in bad horror movies, that multiple bags of nuts had opened and spilled their contents over everything.
So there I was, in the mud, on the mountain, in the woods, a bear having crossed this way very recently, and I was cleaning out the luggage. I grabbed a spare stuff sack shoved all the snacks and toiletries in it. If at all possible I didn't want a bear to destroy the bike but the remants of nuts covered much of my gear. I pulled out some WD40 and sprayed it over everything hoping that maybe it would cover the scent. I pulled out my electronics, which I had left on the bike stupidly, and locked everything up. I put the rain cover on the tank bag.
"This was a scenario I had not considered. If I do this again, I will be better prepared to abandon the bike." I thought as I pondered I really should have a huge orange "distress" or "disabled" sign to tie to the bike with a space where I could, using permanent marker, write in which direction I had wandered off so that if someone finds the bike before they find me they would have some idea of where to look.
Bear spray in hand I trudged back down the hill mud clumping up on my boots as I went. It was starting to get noticably cold. My concern now was for the other two TAT riders. I suspected they had not considered the bear problem.
It seemed to take a very short time before I made it to the other two where they were setting up camp. Allen looked up with an "Uh oh" look on his face.
"Are you guys prepared for bear?" I asked as I explained the fresh prints I had seen. This unsettled them. It was a this moment that I found out Allen's bike also had a failed clutch. If I had known that previously I would have stayed to help but I suspect at that time they didn't know either. They mentioned they had seen a hunter who said he might be back.
We started calling around. Allen called into town and I got on the phone with Spot Tracker. Unfortunately, the SOS button on the Spot is only for life threatening situations. "If you were injured we could come get you." they told me. "What if I break my leg?" I asked.
I think Allen called the local police who directed him to a towing company. He recited the number and I called the them. I explained to him our predicament but he said the only four wheel drive tow truck he had was a boom truck which wouldn't work for motorcycles.
I asked him if he knew of anyone with a 4x4 pickup that we could put two bikes into. Martin's bike was still operational so could be ridden out.
"My son is up in the mountains with my pickup. I'll call him and then call you back." he said.
It was in this pause when the hunter, Mr. Anderson, showed up on a six wheeler with some contraption on the back.
We got to talking. He mentioned his son was also on the mountain. The towing company called back.
"We can come get you in the pickup truck." he said.
There was some confusion as to our location and sending the pin on Google Maps wasn't working on their end for some reason. Mr. Anderson asked to talk to him. It turns out he knew the towing guy whose name I have forgotten. I think it was Kevin. They chatted for a moment about routes and conditions. Kevin said he would be up with his two sons in a few hours. My phone was starting to die but Allen had a charger battery which he loaned me.
This was starting to shape up much better than I would have imagined.
"I saw big bear prints up the trail. " I explained to Mr. Anderson. "Yea, we chased a bear up that way just a few hours ago." he said.
We tried to build a fire to no avail. It was starting to get cold.
There was a beautiful sunset.
Photos never do it justice.
"Why don't you come in out of the cold and warm up in my trailer?" Mr. Anderson said.
I looked around and saw nothing. I thought maybe the contraption on the back of his 6 wheeler converted to a trailer. That didn't make sense.
He walked up the hill and disappeared in the woods. So I followed.
I could not believe what I saw completely hidden behind a stand of trees not 100 yards from where we were standing.
He opened it up and invited me in. Respectfully, I took off my muddy boots. It was a surprisingly nice tailer. He fired up the stove and handed me a bottle of water.
Mr. Anderson explained that this spot on the mountain had a clear view of the cell tower which is why we had reception. "If you had made it over the top there, you'd have 0 bars." he explained. He went on to say the area on the far side was much muddier in the low lying areas.
Martin and Allen joined us a short while later followed by Mr. Anderson's son, Hunter. We sat cozy warm in the trailer for a few hours.
Mr. Anderson and his son come up the mountain to hunt bear and mountain lion. "We caught 20 bear so far this season." he stated.
"You've killed twenty bears this year?" I asked a bit surprised.
'No. We tree them." he said. He went on to explain that he has nearly two dozen hunting dogs. He takes six at a time and they come up on the mountain and chase bears until they get tired and run up a tree. "Then I take out my camera, shoot a photo, and gather up the dogs. The dogs have a good time. I have a good time. We go home. The bear goes home. In my old age, I've become more soft hearted and don't like killing things." he explained.
I asked about threats from bear or mountain lion. "Oh, the bear will leave you alone. There was a camper here last year that got pulled out of his tent and killed but that doesn't happen often." He went on to explain that there's a government program to "tree" bears. It causes them to develop more fear of humans and reduces the number of attacks.
Allen was visibly annoyed with himself and commented on how bad our collective luck was.
I sat in the corner and repeated said, "I can't believe how awesome this is."
To Allen I said, "Do you have any idea how incredibly unbelievable lucky we are right now? Of all the ways this could have turned out once we were broken down, we would be hard pressed to come up with a better scenario."
It's all a matter of perspective. Break downs happen but I could not believe how fortunate we were. Mr. Anderson was so kind. Without his help we would have been in bad shape.
After a few hours, the sound of a large 4x4 truck could be heard struggling it's way up to our location. We all went outside. I awkwardly struggled to be my muddy boots back on.
It was properly cold outside. The truck drove by and headed up the hill to where my bike was. I started walking when Mr. Anderson rolled up on his 6 wheeler.
"Get on." he said.
And up the mountain through the mud we rode. The truck was already turning around to put itself in position to load the bikes. Kevin (?) and his two sons were already at work. All of us worked together to turn the bike around. They had a ramp and with a great deal of effort, owing to a very slowly turning rear wheel, we got the bike positioned along with all of my gear in the the bed of the truck. It was properly dark now. A layer of ice covered everything.
We drove down to where the other two bikes were and we repeated the process. Allen's rear wheel wouldn't turn at all making it much more difficult to load. But all of us working together, we got it done and after a while had both bikes and all the gear loaded in the truck. It was approaching 10:30 PM. There was some question of what to do with Martin's bike. He didn't want to ride it back down the mountain through the muck in this pitch black moonless night. Allen certainly didn't want to. We didn't want to leave it so I was going to offer when Kevin said, "My son can ride it down for you."
His son got on the bike and familiarized himself with the controls and then slip sliding made his way ahead on the trail. We said our goodbyes and thankyous to Mr. Anderson and piled into the truck.
We passed Kevin's son who started following. It was an impressive feat to ride an unfamiliar bike in those conditions. Kevin was unconcerned. Kevin told stories of hunting and mountain lions. He talked about a friend of his who had been stalked by one.
It was approaching midnight when we arrived at the motel. Allen had gotten two rooms reserved for us while we were up on the mountain.
We drove into the parking lot and in relatively short order had the bikes unloaded leaving clumps of mud everywhere.
We thanked Kevin profusely. He charged us a quarter of what I thought it would cost.
This could not have turned out better. I took the upstairs room, dropped my gear, let people concerned with my untimely demise know that I was ok, and heard from Bruce.
He said he could come get me the next day and bring me and the bike down to Los Alamos where I could fix it at my leisure. It's an over 19 hour round trip. I had been thinking about how fortunate I had been today between making it across the snow covered pass and then being able to be rescued on Mud Mountain. I already knew in my gut that I wasn't going to be continuing on the trail. It has gotten too late in the season and the passes ahead and much further North represent an unacceptable risk. Going around the passes on pavement doesn't appeal to me for this trip. I've been to Oregan four times on a motorcycle now?
My 2016 Trans America Trail trip was over.
I am so fortunate to have the best of friends I do. I reluctantly agreed. It's a huge order but I figured if I was at Bruce's for a bit I could help him turn wrenches on his new (to him) bike and get that on the road. It would also be good to hang out with him.
I then promptly fell asleep. It would take me many days to recover from today's effort.
The next morning the proprietor of the motel let me use a hose to get most of the mud off the bike. This was going to make it much more convenient than I was imagining. I didn't want to muddy up Bruce's driveway. The amount of mud that came off the bike was simply astounding. They say that sculpting is the art of removing everything that is not the sculpture.
I call this sculpture, "Motorcycle".
Towards the late afternoon Bruce arrived ahead of schedule. He had made really good time. With the help of the others we had the bike loaded up and we were on our way. Allen and Martin, the last I heard, were going to continue.
We drove for several hours and because all rooms were booked in Green River drove all the way to Monticello. The next morning we had breakfast at this funky little coffee shop where I saw a man walk in wearing a TAT t-shirt.
I immediately recognized him as the Brit in the Land Rover who I had heard of. His name is Kevin Baldwin and the site on his truck is www.mudstuff.co.uk. It's such a small TAT world.
A number of hours later we arrived at Bruce's house in Los Alamos. I've been here since and in the interim we've gotten his bike put together and my bike is operational again. Tomorrow, I should be making the slow pavement only ride homeward.
I have the suspicion that my time on the mountain, about which I could easily write so much more, has altered me. That could have gone very badly and I cannot fathom how fortunate I have been. It is a dangerous thing we do and one not to be done too lightly.
But just because it is dangerous does not mean it should not be done.
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