I often wonder what I'd do without a motorcycle. Probably live some sort of horrible and lonely life and then drink myself to death. Thankfully, we have motorcycles.
So on Friday we set out on our Grand Canyon adventure. Jason, Troy and I. We have talked about this trip for three years. Two Road Kings and one Indian Chief.
It seems we always have challenges. Engine lights, tire failures. In some odd, perverse sort of way- I actually look forward to those obstacles. Once again, I was not disappointed. That's just how these big long trips seem to go.
The solution is simple. If you want to fix motorcycles, buy a Harley or an Indian. If you want to ride a motorcycle, buy a Gold Wing. I know. I've owned both.
We left Twin Falls on Friday- three hours late after an engine light slowed us down. The boys at Snake River Harley fixed a wire for free. We made Ely by 5 or 6 that night and stayed at the Hotel Nevada. The Hotel Nevada has these theme rooms with old country records lining the hallways. There are records in the rooms. Country records in display cases. I stayed in the Tennessee Ernie Ford Room also known as room 603. There were bikers everywhere. A huge group from Reno. We ate a giant prime rib dinner for ten bucks, gambled a bit, and worked out the travel plans for Sat. In the morning we had a breakfast that would have fed the African continent. Lots to like about the Hotel Nevada.
I think Troy said that Jason and he had traveled 442 miles our first day. I might have traveled a little less than that from Boise. We made the move from Ely to Mesquite on back highways. We found the little mining town of Panaca and we bullshitted with the owner of a gas station there. He gave us the best route to St. George and then Mesquite. In a little town called Enterprise- we were fueling up when some kid in a diesel truck next to us- made a mistake and filled his tank up with gas instead of diesel. He discovered the mistake before he tried to start the truck. After discovering what he had done, the young man told his father. The father very calmly and rationally said it was just a mistake and they mapped out a strategy for siphoning the gas out of the tank with several 5 gallon gas cans. I was in awe. No yelling or name calling. I thought to myself, had I done this to my father's truck as a kid, I don't think it would have gone the same way.
Thank God we didn't have diesel trucks back then.
We stayed at the Virgin River Casino in Mesquite. I did not find one virgin nor did I find a river. I did however, spot a bowling alley. I like to bowl. Secretly, I am a professional bowler. I just don't tell anyone about it. That way, I can say something harmless like- "we oughta bowl tonight, I haven't done that in years." This of course- is complete bullshit and lulls my adversaries into a false sense of security. They think, "wow I haven't bowled in years either" and so they usually agree to a few lines. Once the trap is set, I got 'em. The key for me is not strictly about beating the pants off everyone that I play- what's really important is that I get the opportunity to say things like- "You had me worried right up until I actually saw you bowl that first frame."
Now I have a secret for bowling. I don't like to tell anyone that secret but here it is. I throw the ball down the middle of the lane. That's it. As easy as that sounds, most people cannot throw the ball down the middle.
So the bowling championship was set. I was just getting ready to heckle my adversaries as soon as they finished bowling their first frame- when suddenly something completely out of the ordinary sent me into a tailspin. Jason stumbled and fell flat on his face as he pitched the first ball. It did not go down the middle. I cannot tell you the level of restraint that I had to muster to keep myself from howling with laughter. Troy and I pretended not to notice but the truth is- it's pretty hard to shrug off something like that because a fall from a guy the size of Jason + ball can measure somewhere in the 4's on the Richter scale. It's hard not to notice that type of complete collapse unless of course you were in a coma and your family just happened to wheel you into the bowling alley for some fresh air about then. I think the pressure got to Jason early.
So I didn't say anything at that point. Troy and Jason managed to hang in the competition during that first game. They started leaking oil during the second game and their doors completely fell off during the third game. I mentioned that I barely squeaked a win out by a paltry150 pins. Oddly, they did not want to bowl anymore with me after that. That evening we had dinner, gambled, and went to our rooms. The next day was Grand Canyon day.