Mental Health Day 10Aug18 Actually yesterday was the ‘mental health day’...but I spent it doing stuff around the house, chatting with Hannah (she’s in California with her dad...we’re very close to the end ), and just not being at work. Today I woke up feeling both angry and depressed about my situation at work. So after talking with Hannah quite a bit, a long chat with my professional mentor (a former boss and good friend), I took care of the dogs and decided to go for a ride. My first thought was to take Il Mostro (Monster S4RS) out to break in the new tires he got a few days ago...but with the heat and not wanting to be around people I chose to take Annika exploring. We made our way to Rollinsville via the usual start to our westerly rides and then continued along the Tolland/East Portal Road towards the Moffat Tunnel. Near Tolland Taking the turn onto the Moffat Road/Rollins Pass Road at the split we started the gradual but steady climb. I hadn’t been up here before so I wasn’t sure how rough it was going to be...that was answered very quickly after the first rocky section and a good sized puddle (1.5 bike lengths long and about 16” deep)...I pulled over to drop the tire pressures. Much like Switzerland Trail this was originally a railroad path and there are reminders everywhere...but this one was just too good to pass up. Rocks, both embedded and loose, potholes and minor sandy bits were the order all the way up. There were a couple sections that made me nervous but I just stayed in ‘attack position’ and let Annika float underneath me. I also made myself give her a bit more gas in some of the roughest sections in order to stabilize our attitude. Funny how going slower is actually worse in some conditions. ‘When in doubt, throttle it out’ Just over 12 miles from the turn we reached the rock cut where the road has been blocked. Short of a very skilled trials rider I don’t think you’re getting a moto through here. I walked the last 1/2+ mile up to the target for the day- the East portal of the Needle’s Eye tunnel. Jenny Lake It partially caved in back in the late ‘70s and was reopened around ‘89 only to be closed again in ‘90 when someone got hurt by rockfall. Plus, the wooden trestles on the West side are not really safe for vehicles at this point. (Or so they say) A 1/2 mile hike is no big deal...except when you’re doing it in riding gear at a bit over 11,000 feet above sea level. But, the grade is quite mild so I just hoofed it up there and took some pictures- Then headed back to the bike where I had a snack and then reversed course. The ride down was easier overall, in no small part because I think I was a bit more acclimated to the conditions and knew what to expect and how to best deal with it. I saw 3 other bikes during my time up there...two Yamaha 250’s and then a Honda CRF or the likes- No other big bikes on this day. It’s a BEAUTIFUL area with just the right level of difficulty for a novice, especially on a big bike, and despite the (relatively) heavy traffic it’s a great ride. Lots of cars/trucks/mountain bikers but that has its positives in that I knew that help wouldn’t be too far off should Annika take a nap. (Or worse) Total for the day was about 60 miles door to door and the high point was ~11,300 feet at the tunnel entrance. I felt much better when I got home and cracked that Shiner Bock. Moto-therapy...it’s a thing.