I had to reduce the size and finally was able to post this to You Tube
I use a GoPro mounted on the tour pack of my bike and iMovie or Adobe Premiere Elements.
I had to reduce the size and finally was able to post this to You Tube
I use a GoPro mounted on the tour pack of my bike and iMovie or Adobe Premiere Elements.
Day 5 Started of a little cool in Flagstaff
If you would rather watch than read.
But we are on our way to Sedona, Arizona. I had always saw pictures and read about Sedona. From Flagstaff you have a couple of options as far as route goes to get to Sedona. Scenic is always my first choice so it’s 89A from Flagstaff to Sedona.
We could have taken Interstate 17 down to Sedona, but we would have missed the canyon and the winding road.
We stopped at a information center and talked to a Park Ranger. He provided us with some good ideas for our stay in Sedona.
We had only traveled about 30 miles to Sedona.
The view coming into town was wonderful!
The weather started to change for the worse.
So we decided to find a good hotel and park the bikes and just enjoy some of Sedona’s culture
The Orchard Inn was our choice we booked 2 nights
We checked in at the Orchard Inn and surprisingly was a lot cheaper than I expected. About $160. per night. Pink Jeeps down the road from the hotel on the main street offers guided tours out into the Red Rock Country. We decided to go for it and we are glad we did.
Our driver was outstanding, safe and knowledgeable. Lance, I think was his name. Retired from his job and moved out here to enjoy his retirement, Can’t blame him for that. I would like to have stayed.
I would recommend the Pink Jeeps to any body visiting Sedona
After the pink Jeeps it was off to explore some more of Sedona.
We discovered a Starbucks with a view.
After some exploring and a good dinner at the Oak Creek Brewery and Pub. If my memory serves me I was not feeling very hungry which is unusual for me. All was good, after spending some time in the pool and a good nights rest we are heading out in the morning to explore around Sedona. 38 miles total for Day 5.
Jerome, Yarnell and Prescott.
Jerome is or was a ghost town, an old mining town. In the 1970’s some people, some might say Hippies started to come back and buy property and restore Jerome to a lively tourist spot. Jerome is home to the Sliding Jail and home to copper and gold mining operations.
We also went through Yarnell, AZ. On June 28th, 2013 lightning started a wild fire that was fueled by high winds and blowing embers, that overcame 19 brave Firefighters. This was a strange place, geographically it didn’t look like there had been anything to fuel the fire. Yarnell reminds you of a scene from the Flintstone’s. Large boulders all around the place.
We also went through Prescott, AZ and stopped in Wickenburg for some jerky and water, more for the water because it was extremely hot just north of Phoenix, AZ.
The temperature today was 101.F I guess that was cool since the average for this time of year in Wickenburg is 107.F and the record high is a sweltering 114.F so even though it was extremely hot to us northern folk I am just glad it wasn’t 107. The ride back to Sedona was a long one since we shot back up the Interstate part of the way. Interstate riding is boring for me. But the hotel pool awaits.
This day would be the day we go to the Grand Canyon! I have never been. We were excited about maybe renting a helicopter and taking some scenic tours. The ride north to the Grand Canyon was a nice ride.
If you have never been to the Grand Canyon, It is a must do. And keep track of your kids, there was a small child running wild around the edge of the canyon and the fence does not stretch the entire length, so it was a little nerve racking seeing this kid running wild so close to the edge. We got there to late for a helicopter tour. They book up early. After the Grand Canyon it was off towards Mexican Hat, Utah and the Moki Dugway.
We made it to a town named Kayenta only to find out there hotels where all booked for the night. We had passed a hotel that didn’t look all that inviting back on the reservation called the Anasazi Inn. We had no choice but to stop for the night the sun was beginning to set on us and we had covered some ground today. 284 miles with a lot of stops for sight seeing. Locked and loaded Anasazi Inn here we are. we parked the bikes as close as we could get them to the room. All in all it was not so bad.
Back into Kayenta for breakfast at the McDonalds with the stray dogs wondering the parking lot and the surge of tourist with campers and RVs. But inside the McDonalds is a very cool display about the Navajo Code Talkers from WWII. After breakfast down the road to Monument Valley.
Notice the road in the photo and a small white speck on the road just right of center, thats a 12 passenger van. Just for scale.
Next up the road featured on the Discovery Channel as a Hell Road- the Moki Dugway.
After surviving the Moki, we headed towards Four Corners Monument. This place is remote and out there!
Carla standing in Utah and Colorado at the same time.
We ride on into Cortez, Colorado for the evening.
207 mile for the day
Traveled the San Juan Skyway and into Dolers, Rico, Telluride and Ridgeway. Up in elevation about 10,000 feet above sea level the air gets thin. Took the Million Dollar highway through Ouray and Silverton, Colorado. In Silverton we stopped to eat at the famous Handlebars Saloon. It was while we waited to eat that the thunder started and the rains came, cold, cold rain. After eating we suited up! For the rain and the cold, what we didn’t bring was snow shoes. At the gas station before leaving town cars came in with snow covered windshields and told us “you can’t go down the mountain there is 4 inches of snow on the road. Oh we are running out of daylight and there are no rooms to be had in Silverton. We waited at the gas station with some others on bikes all the while debating on what to do, when up the road, from the direction we need to go comes a guy on a Softtail with Colorado plates and he says he lives just down the road and we could make it down the mountain if we where careful and stayed in the tire tracks from the cars. I have no pictures or video of this because I was afraid to get out of the tire tracks to pull over for pictures and Carla was holding on to tight to take any. This would be the longest 50 miles of my biker life. We made it to Durango and checked in to the Iron Horse Inn Durango. Did some laundry and ordered pizza. While doing laundry we met a couple guys from Australia, that rented Harleys and had been traveling the USA. 201 mile for the day with the last 50 taking a few hours.
This is a must do route if your in Colorado
Durango to Gunnison.
Started the morning in Durango, Colorado. The temperature was a brisk mid 40s F.
Out to Pagosa Springs and over Wolf Creek Pass.
Needed some warm coffee after the cool start to the day.
Colorado has some of the best motorcycle roads in the U.S. Surrounded by mountains and valleys.
We would log over 250 miles this day and never once asked “are we there yet?”
thats how good the riding is you never get tired.
The ride was never ending amazing!
Gunnison to Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak.
As you can see the weather was changing as we rode to the top of Pikes Peak over 14,000 feet above sea level
Coming down is another story. Freezing rain and cold and gravity = white knuckle ride.
Yes thats how steep it is!!!!!
Happy to be down out of the clouds!!!
From here it was a long ride back to Indiana but it was well worth it and was the beginning of the
Big Harley Adventure as Kirk named it.
For years in the future we will travel and explore this vast wonderful land.
May of 2012 brought with it news of a serious illness, Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
The cancer won’t let you ever forget
The chemo won’t let you remember
The lumps I had discovered in October 2011 near my groin were tested by Ultra sound or whatever the device is they use to look at babies in the womb, you know the gel and the slick surface sliding around looking inside you. Any way I was told it was infection in my lymph nodes due to a recent appendectomy and prescribed antibiotics.
In November 2011 I had suffered an injury to my neck and underwent testing to see if there was damage to my discs. Those results noted, in addition to the disc damage a mystery lump in the front of my neck. Noted as not fully viewed, incomplete view as an additional note. A possible goiter of 2.5 cm. I was tested for thyroid levels and prescribed a drug to correct the slightly off levels that may help with the “goiter”.
May of 2012 was my follow-up from my November visit. The look on the doctors face said it all when I complained about the lump on my neck not getting any smaller and actually getting larger. Nurse! called the doctor. Get Rick over to a specialist to look at his throat.
The lump had grown to 9 cm. I was sent for an EKG and other test to see if I could survive a surgery to possibly put in a Traciatmy or and remove the growth. But first a biopsy, fine needle type. while I lay on the table after the biopsy told not to move . I can hear the clink of glass vials and a stirring sound and another doctor that I can’t remember his name came in and while this is all happening I can hear the doctor on a phone call saying medical terms and decimal point readings, that I have no idea of what the meaning is. I was not told anything other than my doctor would be in contact with me about my results.
This was a Friday at the end of May and was a long weekend due to Memorial day everything was closed on Monday. By the time I arrived at my home after the biopsy the throat specialist had called my house and left a message on my machine. I listened to the message that said: Rick our office will be closed on Monday but we need to see you on Tuesday first thing in the morning to test for cancer in other parts of your body. That was it I had not been told by anyone that I had cancer and still wasn’t sure but I was pretty sure that this means I have cancer and they want to look further to see the full extent of the cancer but I don’t know if it means that this was not cancer in my neck but they wanted to look in other areas of my body for cancer. I just didn’t know and the doctor’s office had closed for the long weekend. You see this long weekend is kind of big deal here, there is a little race called the Indianapolis 500. This would be one I won’t forget. Yet I can’t recall what I did this weekend what so ever.
Finding out you have Cancer is bad enough but not knowing for sure may be worse but you still have hope.
Tuesday I walked into the specialist office, that had left the message on Friday. Immediately the doctor started apologizing for the message because he thought I already knew it was cancer in my neck. Sorry we thought that your family doctor would have told you.
After a PET Scan and an introduction to the oncologist I was told what type of cancer I had and that the good news is, that the type I have is very treatable but there is bad news. Whats the bad news, I asked. We have to check your bone marrow to make sure it is not in your marrow. Hop up on this table. Now here? Yes it won’t hurt too much if you hold still. A doctor and two nurses to hold me down. Good job Doc, not as bad as I expected. What are your plans for the rest of the day? asked the oncologist. I don’t have any plans. By this point I was consumed with anxiety about what the future was going to be like for me and my family. Go check yourself into the hospital right now. We need to start treatment as soon as possible.
This was the beginning of the journey of my lifetime.
I can’t begin to tell you how many thoughts run through your head the emotional ones, the rational ones. Why me? how, what could I have done different and making sure all your affairs are in order, then reality of the treatments and the illness itself takes hold of you and you calmly succumb to the drugs and the poison that while it’s killing the cancer it’s slowly killing good cells as well.
I remember family and friends rallying around me. Praying for me and encouraging me to be strong. I remember the strength Carla showed and the sadness she was feeling, even though she always put on a positive front. I remember thinking after the first treatment, this is not so bad I feel ok lets go for a ride. And ride we did. Riding is the best therapy for the mind there is. You become consumed with the clutch, the gears, the curves and the grade of the pavement that for a short time you forget all about the cancer.
If you’re not living you’re dying
I don’t know where I read that but it’s the truth. Stay busy living and you won’t think about dying. It’s what we all do every day. Because in reality we are all going to die and during our life we keep busy with life and living that we never think about dying. Having said that: After your told you have a serious life threatening illness you tend to think about death more.
I would have to take 6 treatments of a Chemo called R-CHOP. The side effects included hair loss and all the other usual suspects with many Chemo therapies. Memory or Chemo Brain, nerve damage, Immune system weakness, possible heart damage. Just to name a few. My treatment would be intravenous in the Oncologist office every three weeks with blood test and scans thrown in to check progress and organ function. If the blood test didn’t make the cut for the correct levels I could not get the next treatment until my blood count was back up. I carried a note with me every place I went with instructions for medical personnel to follow incase my fever went over 101.5f I would need a blood transfusion. Infection would be more likely to kill me than the cancer at this point because basically the Chemo was destroying my immune system. I was told to stay out of the sun as much as possible and to avoid eating fruits and things that could not be peeled like blue berries or strawberries and buffet style dining.
Infection was my enemy as much as the cancer at this point. I was not as cautious about the food I ate and the places I would eat as I should have been. But I survived.
While all this was going on Carla would not let me slow down or give in, she would say it’s a nice day you know the doctor said you should stay active. And off we would go riding and sightseeing. Every doctors visit went the same the doctor would ask me how I was feeling tell me about my blood count and ask me if I still planned on going on my Sturgis trip in August. My answer was always the same, I feel fine and yes I plan on going to Sturgis in August. You should rethink your plans, you are going to be to tired to ride that far. You are going to suffer from fatigue and it’s going to be out in the middle of no where then what? the doctor asked me. I am fine I would say. This went on every visit and every treatment session until one day my door told me that if I didn’t change my plans she would make it so I couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to go period. Wow she is serious! So we compromised that if I would agree to trailer my bike out to Sturgis I would be ok to ride while I was out there and we could still make the trip as planned.
So trailer we did.
This is the shirt I wore every year on the ride out. Ooopps!
$100.00 for every 100 miles traveled in fuel when I could do this entire trip and only spend $350. for fuel on the bike. Details of the trip are foggy. It is strange the things I do remember are things I would not normally remember from a trip. I don’t remember concerts or musical acts or places we rode to. I am sure we did all the must see while in Sturgis I have a few pictures from the trip no where near the picture we would normally take. I remember Marco running into the back of a guys Harley and later falling over and sliding down an embankment. I remember meeting the tallest woman I ever met before. I remember driving home and struggling with the fatigue the doctor warned me about.
After returning from Sturgis I was at my 5th treatment and it was starting to get the best of me. This is when I thought: This is what it feels like to die. I could barely get off of the sofa. Eating became a chore. Family and friends would make food for me and bring it by the house. I swear to you that beef stew may have saved my life. I ate the stew and came back from the dead. I was ready to take my last treatment and keep fighting.
The best words I ever heard
Your scan looks beautiful!
When I heard those words it was like the weight was lifted. All in all we hardly slowed down a bit. I think staying active helped a great deal. Riding is the best therapy for me and always has been.
After surviving the cancer and the Chemo we started planing some bucket list trips and thats what we have been doing since. In 2013 we went southwest and in 2014 we went northwest. Those trips will be more interesting and nice to look at with the use of the GoPro and locations other than Sturgis.
Life is made up of peaks and valleys
this time of my life was a valley
Life after Chemo is a peak
We have been riding high every since
How time fly’s. The older we get the faster time goes by. Except for these long record-breaking winters in Indiana that last forever. Can you remember back in the day when you couldn’t wait for Christmas time? and it took forever to get here. Now you better start thinking about next Christmas early or it sneaks up on you and gone before you know it. This post wasn’t meant to be about Christmas it’s about ” TIME ” and how we all have one thing in common, that is we all have a limited amount no matter your background or status from the unemployed to the most wealthy and powerful you can’t buy it, “time that is” you can’t buy it and none of us know exactly how much we have left. The moral of the story is don’t put off doing the things you would like to do today because there’s no guarantee that you get time to do it later. The only reason that makes it happen is you and your decision to do it, “go for it”. I talk to a lot of people who have convinced themselves that they can’t ride out to Colorado or Sturgis. “Bull!!” I say I am not buying it sell it some place else. I promise if you can ride around here all day you can straighten it out and get somewhere. I will use my friend Diana as the example. She’s the hot blonde in the pictures. Diana was worried and told me she didn’t think she could ride all the way to Sturgis. I told Diana if you can ride to Brown County then over to Bloomington and back home you can ride for an hour at a time. Diana agreed she could ride for an hour no problem. Do that with us 5 or 6 times and we will be half way to Sturgis. Then do it again and your there. After several of these conversations Diana had developed some faith in my reasoning. August was here before we knew it and it was time to go west. The plan was to meet some friends from out-of-town at the Baymont on Brookville rd. I can’t remember if the plan was to be ready at 7:30 or 8:00 am. There was 3 or 4 bikes not counting Diana and my bike, plus a truck and trailer pulling 2 bikes from Ohio. After a few wake up calls from our cell phones and the front desk, the party animals got up and started looking for the shower shoe that one of them had left in the lobby the night before. Regardless of the lost flip-flop we were late and Diana was getting a little antsy as was I. So off to a late start but all was good and 740 miles and 1 rain storm later at around 9:00 pm we arrived in Sioux City Iowa. It rained so hard cars and trucks pulled off the interstate! Day 2 on the road bright and early. If you haven’t been west of Des Moines Iowa you should know that 88 or 87 octane fuel is all you can get so take some octane boost if you need to. What ever you do when the group stops for fuel do not refuse to put 88 octane in your bike, Greg! You have no choice! Or you can refuse so everybody can stop at the next exit and ride 8 miles off the interstate looking for better fuel only to discover that that’s it just like you were told 88 octane. Anyway glad we could satisfy your doubt in our experience, Greg! Off we go let’s get to Sturgis. Diana was riding like a champ and before you know it we are at the Worlds Smallest Biker Bar in New Underwood South Dakota just east of Sturgis. Soon after that we split off from Diana. She was going to stay in Custer while we stayed at the Buffalo Chip. After a couple of days we met up with Diana. Diana was overwhelmed by the Blackhills scenery and atmosphere in and around Sturgis. Diana told me she had been to many rallies around Daytona and Myrtle Beech and that she would never have to go back that she would come to Sturgis from now on. Diana never worried about riding that far again and when it was time to head back home I could not have had a better riding partner all the way back to Indy. So stop making excuses and let’s ride!
Stay tuned for my 2010 Sturgis Rally adventure and the people I met.
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