Spring Ride: Pacific Northwest

Let’s go for a ride in the snow, they said.
It will be fun,
they said.

Well that didn’t go as planned.

It all started with the Girlfriends and I getting together as we normally do to hit the trails. It was one of those foggy, cold spring mornings. You know the ones where as soon as you open the front door to your cozy warm home a blast of frigid air hits you in the face like a freight train and you hear that little voice in your head saying, let’s go back inside and have another cup of coffee. Maybe it will warm up a bit in the next ten minutes or so.

I decided to just suck it up and went into the frigid world to help load my bike into my cousin’s truck once again. We kind of needed to get a move on it due to the fact that we still had one more to pick up. We made it in record time and picked up the last of the riding crew for that day. We all crammed into the truck, were it was nice and toasty warm, to start our next adventure but as usual we had no plan of where to start this adventure. Once again we found ourselves gazing out the windows waiting for the other one to pipe up with some brilliant idea, but there was only silence. My cousin broke the ice by stating that someone needed to get on the internet and find us a place to ride.

“We’re on it,” we shouted, you just drive!

“Which way?” He asked.

“Head south” I said, but I always say that.

I like to ride where the weather is often a little nicer most of the year.

As we began to search the web for a new place to ride I heard a voice from the back say, “Let’s go for a ride in the snow.”

I could feel the goose bumps starting to stand up on my arms as I relied, “Sure that sounds fun,” but deep down I was cursing these guys under my breath.

All I could think about was, it’s going to be cold! I hate the cold.

I will say this about these guys, they always have my back so they decided to compromise by saying, “no worries I’m sure we can still find snow down south.”

The closer we got to our destination the greater the excitement and anticipation of hitting the trails got.  We have had so much inclement weather in the northwest and we have all been very busy with our families that this was the first time we were able to schedule a ride we could get all together and just enjoy hanging out on our dirt bikes.

After a few hours of being on the road and locked up with a bunch of juvenile adults. I will say this about them they do make the time pass very quickly with their jokes, jabs at each other and let’s not forget the bodily functions. We finally reach our destination and jumped out of the truck.

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This is always one of my favorite times to hanging out with these guys because this is when the real trash talking begins of how good we think we are.

As we unloaded the bikes I was reminded of how cold it really was out here. I tried to come up with a clever way saying to these guys to hang up the trash talk and fire the bikes up so we could get a move on and warm up. I had to say it in a delicate way so that I didn’t become the victim of an all new topic of trash talk.

“Mount up and ride!”  I said, as I threw a leg over my bike not looking back at their faces so that there may be no chance that I would become their next trash talk prey.

Now it had been a while for me and this so-called snow riding is something I generally try to avoid. Being cold and wet is not my thing, but by this time, I’m up for anything. At first I was a little shaky. The bike wanted to slip and slide all over the place but with a little patience and a lot less air pressure in the rear tire I began to get my snow legs back under me and started to relax. With smiles on our faces we started to really get in to our groove and start ripping it up the trail at a pretty good pace. We all jockeyed for the lead a time or two and this was my chance. I  saw an opening and was able to pass my cousin on the left hand side of the trail. I remind you this is no easy task he is much faster and a little nimbler then I am these days.

What the F#@! 

Just as I was blasting down the snow covered trail raveling in my success that I had just make an epic pass of the century and was pulling away from my cousin to take the lead. Yes the pass of the century, it’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Just at that moment my bike throttle went wide open and the motor started bouncing off the rev limiter. This is not good. Why you ask, because my bike is now at a dead stop and not moving forward. I look down to see my chain wadded up in a ball next to my motor case at that moment all I could think was this is not good and I wonder how far we were from the truck.

When the Girlfriends showed up I was off the bike assessing the damage. Of course the first thing out of their mouths was not of simputhy or conser but rather sarcasm and humor which in their defense it does help lighten the distressed mood.

As we ponder our options and break out the tools to start on the repairs I’m thinking to myself, it could be worse I could be working on my bike in the middle of no where in eight inches of snow. Wait that’s exactly what I’m doing. Lucky it seem to be a pretty easy fix. It appears that the chain guide has just lost a couple of bolts and has come apart. That’s a easy fix but in the back of my mind I’m thinking this doesn’t make sense. All of these years riding I have never had this issue come up.

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Oh well let’s just safety wire this thing back together and get back on the trail. A few wise cracks later the chain guide was repaired and good to go so we though. I stood the bike back up and noticed that the chain was extremely loose. I don’t remember my chain being that loose before as I’m standing there eager to get going again.

I hear my cousin behind me say, “Hey, something about that wheel doesn’t look right.” 

Thanks Captain Obvious! I’ll take that in to consideration, I thought, but he was right something didn’t look right. On further inspection we noticed that all the ball bearing in one side of the wheel hub were missing.

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Now it really has turned into one of those, oh shit moments.

If you remember back on one of my earlier stories: Bubblegum  we are not afraid to think outside the box when it comes to trail repairs. We put our heads together and came up with a plan. We would pull the rear axle flip the wheel spacer around so that it would fit inside the wheel hub acting as a bearing, then tighten it back up and try to limp my bike back to the truck. To our amazement it actually freaking worked and rather well. We stopped a few times to pack some snow around it to insure that the hub would not get to hot.

We loaded the bikes back up in the back of the truck and stripped our riding gear off to change back into our street clothes. You could sense the disappointment in the air by all. I think we spent more time working on my bike then we did riding.

With our adventure over and a long drive home someone posed the question if we should to stop and grab a beer and some food on the way.  Well of course we do, what better way to drown our sorrows to a disappointing day. My cousin then piped up to said that he knew of the perfect place.

As we sat there with the waitress patiently standing by my cousins side waiting for us all to make up our minds. I noticed that all familiar stupid ass grin on my cousins face, he stated to the waitress:

“Give us the Hottest chicken wings you have on the menu and a round of beer. We’re gonna have us a wing eating contest.”

Oh lord! Here we go again.
 

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