Thursday, September 28, 2006


Let's take an intermission from anger, politics and unpleasantness and enjoy a good memory

We stepped into the night and a minor problem.

We were camped in Caprock Canyon and had ridden the motorcycle into Amarillo to see a movie. The sky had been blue so we had no rain gear with us but that wasn’t the problem. Caprock Canyon has seven low water crossings and we were camped passed the sixth crossing. There was no way we could get to our campsite until the next day.

We found a motel, bought toothbrush and tooth paste from a vending machine, hung wet clothes to dry and watched late night TV. We slept late on Sunday morning knowing it would take time for the water to subside and the park crew to clear the crossings. After a leisurely breakfast we rode back to the Canyon. At the gate we learned the crew was finishing up the last crossing. “Perfect” I thought. “We don’t have to cross the last one.”

The first crossing had an inch or two of water as did the second crossing. The third crossing hadn’t been cleaned. There appeared to be two or three inches of chocolate colored water flowing over the road. Not liking the looks of it but wanting to get to our campsite, I decided to give it a try.

As a precaution against splashing muddy water, Julie wrapped her legs around my waist and I held my feet above the water and started to cross at a prudent speed.

The crossing was probably forty feet wide As soon as the rear tire entered the water I felt the front tire settle into about seven inches of silt. We’re not talking about mud or clay. We’re talking about silt just slightly coarser than flour. I knew the silt was there. That’s what the park crew removed with a front end loader. I expected it but I didn’t expect it to be that deep.

The rear tire slipped slightly to the right as the front tire bogged down. “I can catch this” I thought. I planted my left foot with intentions of stopping, having a quick board meeting with Julie and crossing the stream with wet feet.

I’m assuming you’ve heard the saying “slicker than snot on a doorknob”. That phrase applies to the situation. My left foot continued left and the rear tire continued right. No, problem! I tightened every muscle below my waist. “I can hold this!”

I have seen ballerinas stand on the toes of one foot and point the other foot toward the ceiling. I’ve seen cheerleaders do a flip and land with legs spread and the insides of their thighs touching the ground. I’ve wanted to try many things in life but neither of these held an attraction. I can handle pain but I don’t go looking for it.

My left foot continued north and the rear wheel continued south. I tightened my leg muscles more. At this point, things were happening quickly. Given more time, I would have done the math: several hundred pounds of motorcycle plus Julie’s 120-something pounds plus my 200-plus pounds equals about a thousand pounds. Subtract that from the amount of weight that one aging scrawny left leg can hold and ……As I said, things were happening more quickly than I could do the math.

I wish someone had recorded it on video -- chocolate spray rising into the air, the wave created by my left shoulder parting the water, the look on my face as I kissed my left knee, the pain as parts of my anatomy tried to decide which leg to follow.

Did I mention that Julie had closed the shield on her helmet? She raised the shield and I gazed into her clean smiling face. I raised my head from the stream and she laughed at me as mud dripped from my beard and I looked like a chocolate Easter rabbit sans ears.

She walked the rest of the way and I rode without incident. The pain wasn’t that bad. I was bruised from the back of my left knee up to – well, up all the way. It was a beautiful mottled blue, green, purple and black mural.

We washed ourselves then we washed each other. We washed the motorcycle and laughed. Two years later I took the motorcycle in for service and when I picked it up the mechanic mentioned the mud behind some parts he had removed temporarily. I’m still finding mud and it always brings a smile to my face.

I enjoy experiences, fun times and good memories. When I feel a little blue or get frustrated by something, I take a break and remember good times. I count this spill among my good memories.


Blogger Buffalo said...

I'm at a loss for words. I wouldn't mind laughing, but it coulda been me. Kind of reminds me of riding through some slicker than goose goo, wet, red clay in Oklahoma. It all makes for good memories.

9/28/2006 03:33:00 PM  

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