Lessons From Monsoon Survival

One week ago today, “S” and I began our longest ride of our crazy-awesome Utah motorcycle adventure. With nothing open in the tiny town where we had stopped for the night at a small hotel, we rode 20 miles south, found a small-town restaurant, and had a great breakfast.

While we could see storms in the far distance, we began our ride again by entering the “Bears Ears National Monument.” This area was…

…an unexpected surprise. We rode for more than 100 miles completely alone. This open land with towering rock formations was fascinating.

We stopped for a butt and water break at a driveway of an old run-down “lodge” where the owner pretended to get his mail, but stopped to talk to us to check us out and I guess make sure that we were not any threat to his loner lifestyle.

We rode on to a small town and refueled our Harleys. Then proceeded on to another town for lunch, delayed by road construction. Lunch was “meh” but sustaining. Returning to our bikes, though… we found that it had rained, but was not raining right then. We decided to wait to consider the rain gear.

Along our route, we passed by the visitor’s center for the Capitol Reef National Park. We were already in the park, but stopped there to pull on our rain gear because… yep… it was raining more without stopping. The rain was not a hard-driving rain. It was just wet. This is what a monsoon rain storm is in Utah and Arizona. Just gentle but persistent rain.

The road was quite curvy and recent road construction with recently oiled asphalt made the road potentially slick. But we pressed on.

Then we entered a national forest, which was interesting. But seeing it was difficult while riding through rain.

Then the road went rather high — as much as 9,600 feet in elevation. Cleared tree line made us more buffeted by wind… and rain. Oh brother.

“S” knew that I was nervous, and he would find safe places to stop and collect our wits more frequently. We pressed on.

We made it, and I learned self-taught lessons:

* Persistence pays off.
* Training for this ride was important and helpful to build my stamina and endurance.
* Experience pays off. I’ve been caught in the rain before, so I knew to ride “gently” and keep focused while riding slowly.
* “Yes I can” became my self-mantra.
* “Yes you can” was frequent calm encouragement from “S”

Yes, I learned a lot and appreciate that I survived and can tell the tale of this experience.

Life is short: ride safely.

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