Thursday, July 9, 2015

Summer Means Motorcycling Adventures

How has your summer been going?  A few weeks back my youngest son, Seb, and I signed up for an Idaho Star motorcycle safety class. I've ridden motorcycles for years, but I know that it's good to refresh your skills and learn some new ones, so I was looking forward to the class and I wasn't disappointed. We spent hours riding on the training area, practicing turns from wide to very short and sharp. But the emergency braking exercise, when the instructors told us what they wanted us to do-go 15-20 mph and then apply both brakes as hard as possible for a quick stop-that made me pause and think, you want me to do what?? We ride in a lot of sand and gravel, and if you grab both brakes hard, well, you usually go down. So that was a bit scary, but it worked well on the pavement of the training area, my motorcycle stayed upright, and I learned a new skill. We both passed the class, and we learned a lot so it was worth the time (and the stress!). I wish that I had taken some photos of the riding part of the class to share with you, but here's a photo of Seb riding with us.

Since then, we've logged hundreds of miles on our dual sport motorcycles, riding Idaho highways and forest service roads, exploring this scenic state that we love so much. I've been fortunate enough to be able to upgrade to riding a 2007 BMW F650GS, which is a hoot to ride. This is a photo taken at Deadwood Fire Lookout, elevation 8200 feet. There's a lovely place to eat lunch where you have a fantastic view of the mountains while surrounded by wildflowers.

On a motorcycle, it's easy to enjoy the views and the sunny day while you cruise along.

Yesterday we rode up to Sunset Fire Lookout, and once you leave the highway we proceeded up the scariest road I've ever ridden a motorcycle on. Six miles of very steep, sandy road with tight, steep corners. I was so happy when we finally reached the top and I could catch my breath. On the way up we passed an intrepid soul on a bicycle, pedaling like mad to make the hills. He finally made it to the fire lookout, which was amazing-he must have legs made out of steel!

Here I'm contemplating the hard ride back down to the highway while watching a red breasted nuthatch and mountain bluebird, our state bird, fly by.

This is the view from the fire lookout where you can see the Sawtooth and Trinity mountains. Do you see those rain clouds rolling in? It was time to head down the mountain before the rain hit us.
 This morning we're tired and sore, but we're planning our next motorcycling trip to another fire lookout. 
And I'll be ready :-)

Ride on,