Marilyn Across America

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by fletcherguitar, Dec 6, 2019.

  1. fletcherguitar

    fletcherguitar Marilyn Across America

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2014
    Oddometer:
    99
    Location:
    Arizona

    I once visited a Starbucks in the upper N.W. in January. I ordered a medium decaf.

    It came on a stick.
    #41
  2. fletcherguitar

    fletcherguitar Marilyn Across America

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2014
    Oddometer:
    99
    Location:
    Arizona
    Day 10


    Rest. Do Nothing. And More Nothing. I slept for ten hours, ate a late breakfast, returned a few e-mails and went back to doing nothing. A fine day.


    Trinidad, Colorado is likely a substantial and lovely town. I don’t know. I never left the hotel room. Pizza was delivered. Mindless television was consumed. I think I lost a million brain cells listening to two talking heads debate why the stock market was doomed to collapse due to an ever-expanding national debt. The economy was expanding. Or it wasn’t. The fed needed to inflate currency in order to alleviate the debt. Or it didn’t. Real estate was going to boom. Or bust.


    I hadn’t listened to such puffery since law school. Thankfully there was no exam concerning the talking heads.


    I was saved, or so I thought, by my cell phone beeping.


    Incoming text.


    It was from a potential paramour. She and I had been doing the internet e-mail courting thing for over a year. Circumstances, mine and hers, had always conspired to obstruct an actual meeting. She had been following my daily track on the orange spot satelite tracking device I carried.


    The text was somewhat terse. I shall paraphrase.


    “Every time you and I are in the same state, you find a reason to take a long road trip. I feel like you are putting me off.” She wrote.


    “It’s not intentional.” I replied.


    “When will you be back from this latest escape of yours?”


    I thought for a moment. I was, after all, a new improved version of my formal self. The old me would have said, “I didn’t make this trip to hurt you in any manner.”


    The new me wanted to say. “You don’t know me, and I don’t know you, but if your text is an indication of who you are, then I don’t want to know you.”


    Instead, I settled on, “Well, I’m not sure, when I will return, but you’ll be the first to know. “


    My phone chirped once more.


    “I just want a guy who will come home after work, help me cook dinner, then work in the flower garden with me and on the weekends take me to a symphony or an art museum. You know, someone who doesn’t wear blue jeans. And who doesn’t go around making excuses to escape on some long trip. Is that too much to ask?” She wrote.


    Dear reader, I swear I’m not making this up.


    I considered my reply carefully. Hmm. This called for tact. Delicacy. Decorum. I thought about my wardrobe. There was not a twill suit to be found. I owned no silk, no linen. I didn’t even currently own a tie. I did, however, own three pair of Wrangler jeans.


    The keypad to the phone was small and cumbersome, but I managed to write.


    “You seem like far too classy of a woman to be communicating with a guy who just spent the last week riding a dirty motorcycle across several states. If I had a friend who fit your description. I’d introduce you.”


    I thought about it before sending it. It seemed polite, gentlemanly even. I hit send.


    My phone immediately exploded.


    “What?! You are dumping me before we even meet?!!!!!!! You guys are all the same!!! I’m tired of being treated like this!!!!!”


    And that was that. Marilyn was looking better and better. She accepted my jeans, didn’t give a hoot about gardening and long road trips were her reason for being.

    upload_2019-12-31_23-5-23.png

    What a girl.
    #42
    Don T, BigDogRaven, DCrider and 21 others like this.
  3. i4bikes

    i4bikes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    632
    Sounds like a woman that would try to fix you when your not broken.
    #43
    Don T, DCrider, Buildzall and 6 others like this.
  4. bomose

    bomose Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,641
    Location:
    Dixie
    Ride away, Fletch, just ride away. I dated several girls like that before I met my wife. She doesn't care if I take trips, just so long as she gets to go sometimes.
    #44
  5. Aces 6

    Aces 6 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4,647
    Location:
    CONUS
    My first thought was, "what are you supposed to wear when gardening?"
    Major drama avoided.
    #45
  6. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,091
    Brilliant considering before responding, and very well chosen words! Sir, she would not be for you. I seriously doubt I could have been quite so tactful. Which is glad I am married and not dating!
    #46
    i4bikes, fletcherguitar and simmons1 like this.
  7. fletcherguitar

    fletcherguitar Marilyn Across America

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2014
    Oddometer:
    99
    Location:
    Arizona
    Day 11

    Rocky Mountain High.


    John Denver would feel right at home, passing the pipe around, and around. Two blocks from my hotel, in Trinidad, last night, the local Mary J Shoppe caters to lovers of tie-die and dreads. Luckily, next door was a Mexican restaurant.


    I had a taco, with extra sauce. Smoke gives me a headache.


    Today, as I promised myself, was a short ride. Just seventy miles up and over Apishapa Pass, on firm rocky terrain. The aspen trees, at altitude, stood proud, emitting yellow fire in all their fall glory.


    Once over the pass and now in the valley and in scenic La Veta, Colorado, I found a quaint place for the evening. The time was 3pm. I was in no rush so I checked in. The 1899 Inn, B & B, was a grand place to spend the night.


    One might notice, I haven’t mentioned camping. The sleeping bag hasn't seen daylight. Nor the tent. I decided on about day 2, to sleep in hotels, using the bivouac tent and sleeping bag as a backup, in case I didn't make it to a hotel each night. This is my ride. Many T.A.T. riders camp. I had planned to camp.


    In the end, comfort won out.


    Day 11 on the T.A.T. The real Rocky Mountain High
    upload_2020-1-2_23-55-28.png






    Day 11 on the T.A.T. Oh give me a home, where the warm breakfast does roam.

    upload_2020-1-2_23-55-51.png
    #47
  8. juno

    juno Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2014
    Oddometer:
    2,100
    Location:
    Jupiter
    Enjoying your journey! Looking forward to the next installment. You are going at just the right pace. I averaged just under 250 a day on my trip, but I did a 450 mile day in OK during a rainy blustery day making the dirt impassable. Those were long days! Keep riding your ride!
    #48
  9. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    12,878
    Location:
    FLAT Lander
    Fantastic ride report, enjoyable updates and smart relationship decisions made. Kudos man. Wear those jeans with the pride of knowing that you avoided a disaster. How dare you not want to be at the end of a leash?! You bastard! :lol3
    #49
  10. fletcherguitar

    fletcherguitar Marilyn Across America

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2014
    Oddometer:
    99
    Location:
    Arizona
    Day 12

    Fourteen-ers. Coloradans are rightly proud of ‘em. Fifty-eight peaks higher than fourteen-thousand feet in elevation.


    Salida, Colorado sits in a valley, bordered by the Arkansas River and a dozen of those majestic crests. Natural beauty draws tourists to this town like bees to honey.


    A high-altitude alpine road brought me to this town. No honey necessary. Up from La Veta, Colorado, over Promontory Divide down into the town of Westcliffe, then up once again and over Cameron Mountain, ten-thousand nine-hundred ninety-three feet high, and down into Salida.



    upload_2020-1-3_20-40-49.png

    Pawn Shop, Westcliffe Colorado style.



    It had been one of those days that all dual sport riders dream of when they envision riding in Colorado. Fire roads through high alpine meadows, meandering and towards the skyline as if they went on forever. Vistas of grey barked Aspen trees lining the sides of the road creating a feeling of riding through a fairy tale. One could blame the altitude for feeling lightheaded and blissful.

    upload_2020-1-3_20-42-12.png


    As I pull over to take a photo of this yellow and orange wonder, the decal image of Marilyn, on the gas tank of the bike, caught my eye. I could swear she actually grinned.

    upload_2020-1-3_20-42-55.png

    Attached Files:

    #50
    Don T, Ginger Beard, chudzikb and 4 others like this.
  11. fletcherguitar

    fletcherguitar Marilyn Across America

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2014
    Oddometer:
    99
    Location:
    Arizona
    Day 13

    Cowboys and colours.


    Some days shine. One hopes to remember such days and to have more of them. Some colours shine, brilliant as diamonds; illuminated through partial cloud cover like a path of light from the torch of Zeus. In such light anything seems possible.


    I ride two-hundred-fifty cubic centimeters of man made steel, fashioned into a magic carpet on two wheels. The steel, functional as it may be, does not compare to the sinew, muscle, grit and grace of horse and cowboy. They share a dance this motorcycle shall never equal. A dance I was fortunate to witness alongside a high meadow thirty miles removed from Lake City, Colorado, near Marshall Pass.

    upload_2020-1-4_19-23-30.png


    Three cowboys. One stubborn bull, roaming where he should not roam. Ropes. Skilled riders. Skilled horses. Cowboys one. Bull zero.

    upload_2020-1-4_19-23-53.png


    Today the roads were smooth. My mind was strangely at peace. Miles came as easily as merely wishing it so. I had no schedule. No deadline. The pace of such thinking was willing me easily onward without the added burden of a clock. Such days are rare. There is always a clock. A place to be. Today, for the first time in the ride, I didn’t care if I ever made it to Oregon. The ride was reward enough. How many long-distance riders stumble upon such a scene? How many pause long enough to watch it play out? A year earlier, I would have gassed it and ridden past. A year earlier I was curled up in a basement with the lights out. Today, there was light aplenty.
    #51
    Don T, BigDogRaven, DCrider and 15 others like this.
  12. qman8

    qman8 15 GSA / 16 WR250R

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,517
    Location:
    ohio
    IMG_20190919_124146843_HDR.jpg Nice RR! May I commend you on your choice of bike and tail trunk! Good luck!
    #52
    fletcherguitar likes this.
  13. fletcherguitar

    fletcherguitar Marilyn Across America

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2014
    Oddometer:
    99
    Location:
    Arizona
    Qman8,

    What a fine ride!

    When I first put my toes into the shallow end pool of off road riding, I would have been better off if I had started on a WR. I suspect, if all off road miles are added up, from dual sport riders everywhere, the WR, would stand second only to the KLR. The KLR riders are surely more comfy on the way to the trail.

    These days, there are so many outstanding dual sport bikes to chose from it's tough to find a poor one.
    #53
    qman8 likes this.
  14. qman8

    qman8 15 GSA / 16 WR250R

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,517
    Location:
    ohio
    Surely the DR650 is in the hall of fame as well.
    I'm still pretty green on dirt as well. The WR has been a great lightweight platform for adventure.
    #54
    fletcherguitar likes this.
  15. fletcherguitar

    fletcherguitar Marilyn Across America

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2014
    Oddometer:
    99
    Location:
    Arizona
    A few more days into this ride report, will reveal just how much of a hall of fame bike the DR650 is. Stay Tuned.
    #55
    qman8 likes this.
  16. fletcherguitar

    fletcherguitar Marilyn Across America

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2014
    Oddometer:
    99
    Location:
    Arizona
    Day 14
    A Trans-America Trail Side trip

    All that is gold does not glitter.


    Dorothy followed that gilded road. As do I. The “Million Dollar Highway” reportedly earned its name due to its construction costs. Per mile, no less. I’d say that is an under-exaggeration. The road seems to be ever eroding. This feat of man was expensive to build and seemingly impossible to maintain. The section between Ouray, Colorado and Silverton, Colorado can be likened as sliced into a cake's edge; the icing on top doing its best to collapse the entire project into the valley far below.

    upload_2020-1-6_3-17-27.png


    The WR250R carried me up and over Cinnamon pass, its twenty-one-inch front wheel rolling over obstacle after obstacle. Shocks rebound and recover. The climbing tenacity of this small, 250cc motorcycle would impress the hardiest of mules. It’s just as tough. With a better seat.


    Near the summit, long deserted mining ruins offer a photo op. The mining road peaks at over twelve thousand feet and is no place to linger this late in the season. Long ago miners, toiling in this unforgiving geography, plied their trade in all sorts of weather. Some recovered to their home land with untold riches. Many paid a price from which there is no recovery.


    To avoid early fall snow and the chill on which it arrives, most sensible T.A.T. riders begin their ride in late June, July or August. Due to poor planning and stubbornness I began in September and was fortunate not to encounter any poor conditions in the higher Colorado altitudes.


    Once over the pass, I'm onto the gilded road, and a detour to soak in the world-famous Orvis Hot Springs in Ridgway, Colorado.
    upload_2020-1-6_3-17-57.png

    Life is indeed good. Some of it is golden.
    #56
  17. BornAgain

    BornAgain Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    779
    Location:
    Rosenberg, TX
    They used tailings from the silver mine for the roadbed is where the name million dollar highway came from.
    #57
  18. wadethewanderer

    wadethewanderer To infinity and beyond. Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2017
    Oddometer:
    283
    Location:
    West of Wilmington, north of Myrtle Beach
    Great RR and photos. The storytelling compels us to continue the read, ready our bikes, and eventually, hit the road to our own adventure. Thanks for the motivation.
    #58
    Buildzall and fletcherguitar like this.
  19. Thinwater

    Thinwater Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2018
    Oddometer:
    66
    Location:
    Heart of Dixie
    So these fall colors are happening in January out West?? That is mind boggling to me. I expect that in late October to November in the East.
    #59
  20. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
    6,862
    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois
    Thinwater...........Jeff started this ride in September of 2015.

    Jeff wrote a book about his ride aptly called Marilyn Across America.
    I’m reading it now.

    If you luv Jeff’s writing here........you will really enjoy the book.

    It’s starts way before he did the ride and all the thoughts that went into his motivation.

    And all the bike prep and bike selection he went thru..........even gets into personal things that got in his way to do this......including a divorce and the sale of his precious sailboat.......an awesome story all would enjoy, even if you’ve ridden the TAT.

    Im sure many of the people reading this have went thru or are going thru some of the things he did.
    #60
    Don T, BigDogRaven, tjzondrz and 5 others like this.