Adventuring: A Purifying Experience For The Soul
Article By: Chopper Charlie
Originally Published In The July 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Adventuring is a purifying experience for the soul. Adventuring also comes in all shapes and sizes. Many quests will take you deep into foreign territory, leaving you in awe at the wondrous sights and smells of a new found environment. Many will find you in lands of foreign languages, obscure foods and cultures we don’t understand but strive to…that is the point of adventuring. The beauty behind exploration though, is that it doesn’t have to be grand. It doesn’t have to be expensive, in a foreign country or thousands of miles from home. Soul searching and eye opening endeavors can take place right in your backyard or over the course of a long weekend. I know the majority of my musings reflect my love for long range travel- The pushing of limits type, the doing things on a long bike people tell me I can’t do. But I had an experience the other day that reminded me how important it is to not lose sight of the natural wonders sitting outside my back door.
I’ve noticed myself recently only focusing on the long rides: the ones that span the width of my map and beyond to other countries. My mind spins like the wheels of my bike at all the possibilities. I find myself asking questions like “how many countries are there and how many could I ride in?” “How wide is Russia? Would I need an enduro bike or could I cross it on my chopper?”. This is all fine and dandy but there is a problem there. I have realized that I’ve lost touch with the everyday little short rides around my area and how much joy they can bring. I guess I fell into a rut where I would go out on a beautiful day to unwind but would end up finding myself bored. I would think to myself, what was the point if I wasn’t really going anywhere? Of course this is flawed thinking. I finally recognized it and knew something had to give.
The fact of the matter is a two-hour ride can be every bit as enjoyable as a two week or longer ride. I was reminded of this today on one of my excursions. I set out to ride some dirt roads that I hadn’t been on in ages and what a ride it was! I left my garage as I have so many times in the past but today was a bit different. First off, with my bike in pieces due to numerous broken and worn out parts, I had the opportunity to hijack Kayla’s bike, a 1994 Dyna. This allowed me the opportunity to ride these roads on a bike a little more suited to it. Suspension, stock length and a hand clutch are things that really make your life easy on a dirt road.
I ventured north towards the town of Lyons, but I decided that I would not take the same route as usual. Today, I would stick to dirt as much as I could. The skies were predominantly grey with only a hint of the winter sun fighting for its place in the sky. The roads felt at ease as if the world knew I needed some room to breathe, some space to stretch out my legs and to not be distracted by trivial annoyances. I traveled north on 63rd Street until I approached my first left. I went off the pavement and rode into a world I had so unfortunately forgotten about. I passed cattle ranches and farms casually nestled among the hillsides as the coolness of the winter air pressed against my face. The tips of my mouth turned towards the heavens as I dipped and weaved along the front porch of the Rocky Mountains rendering me breathless in the face of this forgotten paradise. Bridges built by hardworking Americans in the 1800’s safely provided passage across countless streams carrying snow melt from the high peaks towards the farms of the eastern plains. The occasional passing of a smiling farmhand perched proudly atop his John Deere tractor was my only reminder that I was not alone. This road took me safely toward Colorado Highway 66 where I would saunter my way into the town of Lyons to make my donation to the national petroleum foundation. After procuring another 180 miles’ worth of petrol I worked my way over to Highway 36 where I would then point the front axle south. I wasn’t ready to be home yet though, so I took the sharp right turn into Left Hand Canyon towards the relatively unknown hippie village of Ward, where the collection of dead cars out number it’s residences and nearly outnumbers its altitude of 9,000 feet. No one seems too concerned about the abandoned car crisis though as they wander aimlessly up main street in a marijuana infused haze.
Left Hand Canyon is arguably one of the better canyons for riding a motorcycle in the country. It’s road dip and weave in perfect harmony with the creek on your right that has been forming the walls of this canyon for thousands of years. But, today was not my usual throttle pinned, hair raising and adrenaline fueled race to the top. About two years ago Boulder County was hit with massive flooding that destroyed major sections of this road. Since then it has been a patchwork of pavement and dirt and now apparently, it is all dirt. Construction had begun and this road was in rough shape. However, for this, I was thankful. It forced me to slow down and smell the roses, somhing this day had begun to show me the importance of. So, I casually worked my way up the canyon, weaving methodically between the fallen rocks and trying to stay on the more compacted sections of dirt until I finally found my left turn onto Lee Hill road. If you are coming from the west Lee Hill road is the fun way into Boulder. Tight turns, steep drops and sharp climbs leave your eyes glued to the road as you respectfully maintain your distance from the guard rails that confidently guide you safely back to town. As I exited Lee Hill Rd, I found myself back on the eastern plains. I looked back on this short ride as if it was the first ride I had ever taken. The absolutely incredible roads winding me along the front porch of the Rocky Mountains left me in awe at almost every bend. It was as if I had rediscovered my backyard. It was a virtual “paradise lost” sort of situation. Except it wasn’t lost, it had been there the whole time. It was in fact my vision that was lost, I had the blinders on and now it was time to take them off.