The Great Outdoors is Back

On the road… again. Only sixteen thousand miles, 46 race days, 14 weeks, and 12 Pro National events lie between us and the end. We take a deep breath and plunge head first into it, starting with round 1 at Glen Helen.

It’s last year all over again, but totally different because now we’re living in style. With a 40’ Renegade and a 22’ stacker trailer behind us, fully wrapped, people stare and point as we pull onto the freeway. ‘Started from the bottom now we here.’ We sing and do a little jig as we head out.

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Some things remain the same though: The night before we leave, we’re still scrambling to pull it all together, packing, running to Home Depot, finalizing things at home to get us on the road. All of our plans to be ‘dialed’ have gone down the drain. By early morning we’re just hucking our stuff into the rig, telling ourselves we’ll get organized later.

Moto Buddy is still in tow, eager as ever (especially when we approach Glen Helen. His nose perks at the scent which he knows too well by now). But this time we’ve added Gatita–“little kitty”–or as she’s come to be known “Moto Kitty.” We’re like a traveling freakin’ circus alright. We never can make things easy on ourselves.

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Glen Helen is everything it’s cracked up to be: one can’t help but feel awe-inspired by its gnarly hills. What’s more is the speed at which the pro riders attack them. With all the momentum of that Talladega, they’re sucked through the turn like a whirlpool and slingshotted toward the base of the great Mt. St. Helens, then it’s up and down and up again, with no hesitation over the precipice, they just dive bomb the damn thing like a horde of lunatics–but very skilled, precise lunatics.

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When Josh Grant emerges from that horde with the speed of a torpedo, the crowd goes absolutely nuts. All speculation gets thrown out the window. Of all the people favored to shine at Glen Helen, Josh Grant was not the expected candidate.

For the first time that day my seat hits a chair and I breathe it all in: the brrraaaaaaaaap of the 450s, the warm sun on my face, the constant static of a cheering crowd, the impassioned fans throwing their bodies into the fences along the track. Because no matter who their favorite rider, the great thing about moto fans, is they love a good upset. What better way to kick off 2014 Pro Motocross than the hometown hero, the #33 bike of Josh Grant, leading the entire moto and sailing over the finish line with hardly a challenger.

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As the sun sets over Glen Helen that day, the mess of our booth and our hospitality and our rig all around us, we pull up a chair, crack a much-earned ice cold beer, and soak it all in. The Great Outdoors is back. And the journey has just begun…

When Life Gives You Lemons

Whoever said ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,’ I want to find that person, and punch him in the mouth.

In other words, I’m not one of those people who keeps smiling when things don’t go my way.

So when the transmission locked up at about mile 2,300 and the truck seized and sputtered but failed to accelerate without stalling, I wasn’t making no lemonade. I was quite bugged, in fact.

Here’s the (kind of) short version: we needed a transmission rebuild, and the part was coming from Denver (where we just came from, sigh). So we rented a U-Haul to tow the trailer to a campsite, then returned it and rented a car, drove 12 hours round trip to meet Jason’s sister who had driven part of the way to deliver the part, and returned to Omaha to the campsite, where we would have to post up until truck was finished at the transmission shop.

Within the hour of the truck’s grand mal seizure, Jason already had a dozen reasons why it was all ‘really not that bad,’ which grates me even more. Can’t I mourn the fact that things haven’t gone according to plan for a little bit longer?

It’s now Thursday and we are playing the waiting game. At about 7 am I awake to a crack of thunder so loud, I half expect the trailer to split and burst into flames.

I should remind you that I am from Southern California.  We treat thunderstorms with the same childlike glee that we would Disneyland, or Christmas.

As I lay under my covers with the rain drumming overhead, everything trembling with thunderous lightning, and light playing across the walls like a black and white movie, it occurs to me: I have nowhere to be today.

Glorious!

Later, I step outside with my chin tilted heavenward and stick out my tongue.  I can’t help but notice that the rain tastes a little like lemonade.