Here's my father-in-law, visiting from PA. We call him "Pop." He's almost 81, and still running his own business, mainly to provide work for his employees, certainly not for money. Overall, a great guy, and a great father-in-law. Pop has been a Harley and Goldwing man over the years, but hasn't ridden much for the last 10 years. His wife of 50 years passed away a few years ago. Pop was crushed, but has since bounced back nicely. In fact, so nicely that he has a new girlfriend, age 62. Rock-on, Pop! My wife is totally cool with all this. No disrespect to the mom, but life goes on.
My little role in all this, with encouragement from my wife, was to get Pop back on the bikes, if he wanted. And he's into it. He comes to the breakfast table in our house with his helmet, and asks if we have any plans for the day. "I don't know, Pop, what would you like to do???"
So, that is the intro to Pop. Here is Pop with the bikes at a local lunch place, just prior to our ride. Sorry, no pics on the food. Next time. Pop's new girlfriend was with us and we were trying to make a good impression.
I ask Pop, do you want to ride pavement, or dirt? He hasn't been on a bike in over a year. He boldly says dirt. These bikes are dirt bikes, aren't they? Right on. We should all be lucky enough to have a "new" girlfriend, 18 years younger, and be riding dirt bikes in our early 80s.
We leave St. George, pass through Santa Clara, and Ivins, turn left on old Highway 91 and start up the Utah hill, all pavement. We make a quick left onto the Apex Mine Road, officially named the Joshua Tree Scenic Backway. For all you inmates, this is a great road, very easy dirt unless muddy, with spectacular views, and lots of variations. Highly recommended.
I'll post up more pics on a future ride. This was a simple day with Pop.
The map photo for those following along at home. The dirt part is highlighted in yellow. Our ride went from Shivwitz on the Joshua Tree Scenic Backway (gaining elevation), to the turn-off (back east, downhill) on Hollow Wash Road. This is road has a few areas prone to wash outs, but is generally in good repair. The cliff bands of the White Hills are great as the road descends, eventually returning to pavement in Bloomington (Navajo Drive).
Pop, taking a break on the descent. Quote: "All this downhill is crushing my balls on the front of the seat." Pop doesn't stand up much.
Pine Valley Mountain is in distance on right horizon.
Last pic. Here's where the story takes a turn. Just after this pic, notice the short sleeves, Pop dumps the bike in some loose gravel. I pick the bike up, and he gets up and hops on. No resting for Pop. We go another 100 yds and he dumps a second time. This time I ride the bike forward through the loose shit, then retrieve my bike.
By the time I catch up, Pop is already on his bike and moving again. Tough old bugger. Couldn't take any pics, had to focus on Pop. Back down on pavement, Pop cleans up his arm (only a minor scrape). Bike suffered a bent shifter which we pried back into place more or less.
Good ending to the story. Pop wants to ride more tomorrow -- very solid guy.
Think I'll give him one of my riding jackets. In retrospect, should have done that today.
Pop took his girlfriend and my wife out to Tuacahn tonight while I did cub scouts with my son. Everyone seems happy at bedtime. Good vacation for Pop so far!!!