Back in my younger years, when I was overfilled with adventure spirit and as intrepid as the little dirt bike I rode in on, I took my very first multi day motorcycle trip. One that really showed me what adventure was really all about, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I learned some valuable lessons, be flexible, be prepared and have humor.
Spring break from school was only a week long so my significant other at the time and I planned out a route for our first multi day motorcycle trip. As our date approached the threat of rain loomed over our trip. We scoffed at the idea of changing our plans.
My little Suzuki DR200 and boyfriend on his 650 Dakar, both loaded down with camping gear. We were riding our way toward a tiny campground unreachable by paved road. We wound our way through, cities, towns, farming communities then just pine trees. Paved roads turned to dirt, then we rode some more. We arrived at Milsap Bar campground and to our dismay, the campground gate was closed up tight. We didn’t have enough time to find somewhere else so we popped up the tent, popped the tops on some beers and got started on dinner. We snuggled into our sleeping bags and got some shut eye. Or so I thought.
A few hours later I was awakened to the sound of leaves crunching, close. We listened, still, ears perked up. Crunch, Crunch, Crunch. He moved slow for the flashlight and together we looked through the screen tent at a family of deer grazing, just feet from the tent. It was magical, but I wouldn’t sleep the whole night and that meant my guy wouldn’t either.
With the rising sun we packed up, rumbled and bounced back up that beat to hell dirt road. Just as we made it to the pavement it began to rain. We rolled down the hill toward Feather Falls, the rain was relentless and beginning to soak my socks. Out of the pines, in bright shining letters we saw The Gold Flake. We pulled into the bar’s lot where a dog greeted us with a wagging tail. The sound of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades boomed from the building. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light there were a group of men with impressive beards and american flag bandanas, shooting pool. We bellied up to the bar to wait out the rain.
Finally we decided to make a break for it and high tailed it for Grass Valley. It was raining so hard my gloves, pants, and jacket were completely soaked. My fingers as stiff as ice were stumbling to pull the levers. My boots had collected so much water my toes were swimming in frigid little pools. We pushed on, growing more numb as the miles passed. Finally with my teeth chattering to the thumping of the single cylinder we reached Grass Valley.
Once checked in I peeled off the layers that I thought would keep me warm, but had just soaked up rainwater like a sponge. I thawed in the shower until I felt like a human again, then set out to get my boots as dry as possible using the pitiful hotel hair dryer. I reflected on the trip and laughed out loud, absolutely nothing went as planned, but that’s adventure!