Out of Words

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Fast Ferris, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    twenty-four days and ten thousand miles - coast-to-coast-to-coast and THEN some.

    welcome to "Out of Words."

    this ride report was originally posted in 2004 on www.badweatherbikers.com - aka BADWEB - a Buell motorcycle-related website i had a small hand in creating back in 1998.

    i still lived in California at the time this ride took place.

    i've touched up the narrative here and there, gently, nothing major, and it remains true to its humble origins.

    i hope riding for you is as spiritual as it is for me.

    ride to lean,
    Fast Ferris
    Blue Ridge Parkway > SW Virginia > USA

    ---------------------------------------------------​

    PROLOGUE ​

    what follows is the ride of my lifetime - so far, anyway - in words and photos.

    well, words as best as i could do at the time in my journal, and now at the keyboard from notes and from memory.

    many times during this grand adventure the sheer joy and magnitude of this sojourn overpowered my meager capacity to absorb and process and comprehend, and i'd literally run out of words.

    hence the title of this thread.

    this ride was originally planned as a trip to California by Jim Bantz - JB2 to regulars here on BADWEB - and his Dad, Big Jim Bantz. JB2 and his Dad were the best of friends, and long-time riding partners (as in something like 40 years). their ride to Cali had been in the planning stages for several years, maps marked, routes picked, anticipation at max.

    i considered it an honor to play a small part in the planning of their ride, as i would head outbound, probably east to Colorado, meet them on their way in, and act, at least in part, as a guide as we traversed the wonder and splendor of the Golden State.

    i had met Big Jim in 1999 during the BRATPAC Rally in North Carolina, and he was basically an older version of JB2, which is to say simple, honest, genuinely friendly, and absolutely passionate about the road.




    in May 2002, while riding back from Deal's Gap to their motel in Franklin, NC, with JB2 several minutes ahead running point, Big Jim was struck head-on by a reckless kid in a car. he was killed instantly.

    neither father nor son got a chance to say good-bye to each other, to their best friend.




    i'll not speak on JB2's behalf, but the last two years have been very hard for him. i'll leave it at that.




    last year JB2 made plans to do the California ride anyway, but this time instead of WITH his Dad it would be in MEMORY of his Dad. as before, i was honored to be involved, and looking forward to the adventure of the road, and, perhaps, helping JB2 with the healing process.

    at the last moment, JB2 had to beg off, for several personal reasons. i was disappointed, but also relieved, as i was going thru some personal turmoil of my own at the time and it was looking doubtful that i could pull the trip off either.

    NEXT year, we both said with conviction.

    plans were hatched anew for the first three weeks in September, 2004, and via e-mails and phone calls we formulated a loose plan, an epic ride between two brothers in arms, riding for life, love, passion, adventure, and camaraderie.

    and riding to heal.




    a couple of months ago i got an e-mail from an emotional JB2. again, i'll not speak for him, but as push came to shove he was only able to get two weeks away from work, not enough to do his ride, and was, thru tears it seemed on the computer screen at the time, begging off again.

    and true to his character, he was more concerned with the impact of his decision on ME, and deeply, profoundly apologetic that after all our planning and scheming, another year (at least) would pass.

    i called him immediately. "Dude, this ride IS happening - if you can't come to see ME, then I'm coming to see YOU!"

    and so it happened that on Friday September 3rd, 2004, JB2 departed Hartford City, Indiana to the west, and i departed Wofford Heights, California to the east, with plans to hook-up with each other in Grand Junction, Colorado two days later.

    we would spend several days riding the Colorado Plateau, then aim southeast towards Deal's Gap and the legendary Dragon, taking on the country in the way that means the most to each of us, on the back of a motorcycle.

    Neil Peart, in his most excellent book Ghost Rider, calls it "The Healing Road."

    it is indeed.

    i hope you enjoy the ride. -- Ferris Bueller, 9/28/2004
    #1
  2. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    Unibear12r, aka Glenn Dolph, rode up from Bakersfield to the ThunderDome the night before the launch to help us celebrate.

    Attached Files:

    #2
  3. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    Dino, aka Dave Hoffman, rode in from Porterville to help celebrate as well. better yet, he pulled rank at work (being the boss has its privileges) and would be riding east with me the first day.

    somehow, all the crap that you see pictured on the dining room table (with the obvious exception of my helmet) has to fit into my tankbag. slamming Negra Modelo into the wee hours did not make the job any easier.

    Attached Files:

    #3
  4. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    later, down in the garage, Dino tries on Denise's new SV650 for size.

    Attached Files:

    #4
  5. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    DAY ONE: FRIDAY 9/3/04
    dawn at the 'Dome, the VFR loaded for bear.

    Attached Files:

    #5
  6. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    another fine SoCal sunrise.

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    #6
  7. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    Dino opted for his Beemer, leaving his Katana and FZ1 at home.

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    #7
  8. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    30 minutes out, heading due east, up and over Sherman Pass. time to switch over to dark shields. the sign signals westbound travelers their arrival to the North Fork of the Kern River.

    Attached Files:

    #8
  9. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    the elevation at Sherman Pass. with some determination, one could reach this summit in about an hour's ride from the ThunderDome.

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    #9
  10. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    the view from the summit. the air is crisp enough to sting your nose, and smells of green, living things. it had been a relentless climb, on a dirty, often cobby road, but worth every mile of the effort.

    we stopped on the way up and admired a small family of deer.

    the ambient air temp gauge on the VFR indicated it was 50 degrees at the pass, but it felt much colder. the sun was trying valiantly to dig in and provide warmth, but it was going to be a long battle.

    in the distance we could see two helicopters, air-logging some of the McNalley Burn area of several years ago. the thud-thud-thud from their rotors carried with little impedence thru the thin, alpine air.

    Attached Files:

    #10
  11. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    .

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    #11
  12. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    a water truck being refilled at a small stream, used to keep the dust down on the logging roads. we had passed at least a dozen or so fully-loaded logging trucks as we gained the summit this morning.

    this man is from Salem, Oregon, and works all over the country, wherever there has been a major wildfire and there is timber to be salvaged. it had been a long season, and he was very much looking forward to going home.

    Attached Files:

    #12
  13. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    Location:
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    looking east down Nine Mile Canyon, approaching the Owens Valley and Highway 395 near Pearsonville, CA.

    this road rocks.

    Attached Files:

    #13
  14. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    Location:
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    a one-lane cut thru the White Mountains on Highway 168 east of Big Pine, CA.

    a riding friend of mine, who has ridden enough to speak with some authority, calls 168 "The best sportbike road currently available to the public."

    as i have not yet ridden every sportbike road currently available to the public i'll not go THAT far, but it IS a ripper, and shouldn't be missed if you're in the area.

    Attached Files:

    #14
  15. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    the first of many "Welcome to..." signs on this trip, this one pronouncing our arrival into Nevada. that's the good news.

    the bad news is the weather building in the distance...

    Attached Files:

    #15
  16. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    this is looking east, just east of Tonopah, Nevada. this line of nasty weather extended from horizon to horizon, north to south. our plan for this day had been to camp the night at Great Basin National Park on the Nevada-Utah border, but our plan was purposely loose, and neither of us wanted to take on the black, streaking rain that was falling just several miles ahead of us.

    even more ominously, we had been following the weather reports for several days and in the higher elevations they were calling for the first significant snowfall of the season tonight.

    we made a command decision to overnight in Tonopah, which proved to be a most excellent move.

    we found a great little room at a clean, friendly Mom 'n Pop for cheap ($28 including tax), had time to stroll thru town (for MILES it seemed to my aging body, heaving mightily in the thin desert air) and cruise the antique shops, ate a leisurely seafood dinner (surprisingly good, considering our distance from the sea), then retired to our room with "just" enough dark beer and several new moto magazines.

    to cap off the evening, while channel-hopping on the tube we stumbled into "Mad Max: Beyond ThunderDome." the synchronicity in this was not lost on either of us.

    this day had been cold for the most part, VERY windy at times, and Dino was fighting a sore shoulder from a recent m/c get-off.

    for my part, my arse was on already on fire, and for some reason my right knee was acting up, all achy and pissy, probably from the cold.

    still...both of us were thrilled to be here, and amped to have spent the day together adventure-touring.

    as always, any day on the road is a GREAT day on the road.

    mileage total for the day: 335.4

    Attached Files:

    #16
  17. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    >>>>> I was hoping you would give this a home over here.

    hi Jim, glad to have you as my first visitor. :-)

    >>>>> BTW, if you want more than 1 picture per post, you can link them in from another site. Since they are alread hosted on BWB, you can use the images from over there.

    thx, but i think i'll stick to the one-pic-per-post thing - anything more complicated than that and i'm afraid my brain will blue screen...

    hope your tire changing project is going well. :-)

    FF
    #17
  18. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    what a difference 12 hours makes. this photo was taken in the same spot east of Tonopah as the last shot above: "Severe Clear", not a rain cloud in sight.

    reality beckoned this morning for Dino, who had u-turned for home via the stunning June Lake Loop and even stunninger Yosemite National Park (it truly sucks to ride in this part of the world...) about a half hour prior - i was now riding solo for the next day and a half.

    Nevada is wide flat open, as rugged and barren as you'll encounter in the lower 48, and it's a LONG ways between civilization at times.

    as such, i decided to top off on fuel before leaving Tonopah - even tho i only had a few miles on the tank - and was able, by putting the bike on the center stand, to squeeze in exactly half a gallon. what a lucky stroke of unusual brilliance this later turned out to be...

    Attached Files:

    #18
  19. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    straight as a laser beam, clear to the horizon.

    over the next ridge? same.

    over the NEXT ridge? more of the same.

    and so it goes in Nevada.

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    #19
  20. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    :ear

    :lurk
    #20