Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I'll miss the road and all it's shown me. The ways it's freed me, the way it's grown me. My heart wide open, my Soul flew free. On this great adventure, this amazing journey. To those that I rode with, through the sunshine and the rain, I look forward to the time when we will ride again. And to those of you at home, who have read the words I write, it's been and honor and a pleasure, a personal delight. To share with you the things I've seen, the things I've felt, and where I've been. These words they do flow through me, I cannot call them mine, they've come from in my Soul, from somewhere that's Divine.
To my brothers on the road, the men who still do ride, my Spirit travels with you, to places far and wide. Stay safe my friends, ride on you four, enjoy the open road once more.
And now I'll share with all of you, a message from the winds, for as I rode and listened, they taught me many things. We are far more than our bodies, greater than we know, Spirits on a journey, and oh the places we will go. Each one of us has purpose, a reason we are here, and if you listen in the stillness, the answer you may hear. Live your life each day, don't give up on your dreams. No matter how hard, at times that it may seem. This life is sure a gift, a present from above. So live with Heart wide open, share with the world your Love.
I could go on for pages, and let these rhymed words flow, but sometimes short and sweet is the better way to go. This journey may be over, this ride of mine complete, its been truly amazing, its truly been a treat. And as one journey ends, so another one begins. I eagerly await, what this new journey brings. I thank you from my Soul, from the depths of my true being, for giving of your time, to read what I've been seeing. I hope through all these words, a glimpse I did provide, into the magic of my journey, A. Mystic's Soul ride.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day 18- F.T.R.

You may be wondering what F.T.R. stands for. Well, the T stands for "the", the R for "rain" and the F, well I'm pretty sure you can figure that one out on your own. I once again awoke to find dark clouds in the sky above. At this point in the trip, I am really so fed up with all the rain. Having to ride through the rain really takes the fun out of the journey, but I guess they can't all be sunny days. It has actually been the coldest, wettest summer trip I have ever been on, and neither myself nor anyone else was expecting it.
Rain gear on and all bundled up, we left the hotel and said goodbye to South Dakota. We were in the rain from the time we started riding until about 20 miles into Wyoming, just over 2 hours later. Luckily, the skies cleared and the rest of our ride remained rain free.
The drive today was pretty dull actually. We rode just over 200 miles on a long, straight road through the grasslands of Wyoming. There really wasn't any exciting scenery, so the ride itself was pretty monotonous, but at least it wasn't raining.
The one thing we did have to contend with today was the wind. For almost the entire trip, we had some pretty strong crosswinds pushing on us, and every time a big rig would pass us from the other direction, a giant blast of air would literally push us side to side. Strong winds can actually push the bike from a few inches to a few feet across the road, so although the road was straight and boring, I still had to do a lot of concentrating to keep the bike moving straight. It certainly is tiring being battered by the wind for hours and hours, but at least it wasn't raining.
Towards the end of our journey, there were some pretty ominous and strange looking clouds in the sky above. One in particular caught my attention and I must have checked on it for over 30 minutes. I wasn't concerned that the cloud was going to rain on us, but rather that it may turn into a tornado. Luckily for us, it didn't.
We pulled into Cheyenne, Wyoming around 5 in the afternoon and checked into our hotel. Wouldn't you know it, a couple hours later the TV screens announced a tornado warning! Fortunately the tornado never materialized, and we remained safe.
We all met for our final dinner together on the trip, as tomorrow myself and the ladies fly home to San Diego. The rest of the guys will continue onward through Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and back into California over the next few days. I wish I could stay and finish the trip with them, but as I said before, I've got an exam in Sacramento to get to, where hopefully it won't be raining.

Day 17- Badlands and Bad Dudes

Today was pretty mellow in comparison to our recent adventures, but it was still a great day. We headed out towards our destination, the Badlands National Park. Along the way we once again saw dark clouds on the horizon, so we pulled over and put on our rain gear once more. Fortunately, we actually missed the rain this time.
Our first stop was in a little place called Scenic, South Dakota. We were going to visit a famous old bar on the Indian Reservation called The Longhorn. The bar used to be a place where weary cowboys taking their cattle across the land used to stop for a drink. In more recent times it was a bar where weary bikers used to stop along their travels. When we arrived, we were sad to see that the bar was actually shut down, and for sale, along with most of the little town. It was a common site we had seen along many places on the road. Lots of businesses, and even entire towns, that had closed shop for good. A sad reminder of the current economic situation.
We left scenic and rode the remaining 30 or so miles to the Badlands National Park. It was a spectacular, and alien landscape. Giant hills and little towers of rock and sand dotted the landscape. It felt more like riding through mars than South Dakota. As usual, we were surrounded by a myriad of other bikers also enjoying the sites. When I think about it, the variety of landscapes I have ridden through in just over two weeks is unbelievable. If ever you get a chance to travel the country like this, whether by bike, car, RV, or any other means, I highly recommend it. It is as if every state is its own country with unique environments, people, and cultures. Traveling through so many different places has made me realize just how diverse the U.S. really is.
After the Badlands we stopped in a town called Wall, South Dakota, for lunch. The place we went to happened to be the hangout for one of the many real biker gangs that came in for Sturgis. The way it works is that each gang essentially takes a different town near Sturgis as their headquarters for the week. Just a few of these gangs include The Mongols, The Bandidos, The Sons of Silence, and of course The Hells Angels. They are some pretty rough looking dudes, but so long as you don't mess with them, they don't mess with you. In biker terms, they are known as the one percenters. The idea being that of all the bikers in the world, 1% is the criminal element. Most of these gangs are so proud of that fact that they actually wear a 1% patch on their vests.
After lunch we headed back toward Sturgis. Betty Boop and I decided to come back to the hotel and take it easy for the afternoon, as we have both had our fill of the Sturgis rally. The rest of the crew went to visit the famous bar, The Full Throttle Saloon. If you want to know what that place is like, you can check out the reality show about them on TV. It is the largest biker bar in the world, and from what I hear, a pretty crazy place.
We met up with the crew when they returned and headed out for dinner just down the road. It was delicious, and I am stuffed.
Tomorrow we leave Sturgis and head for Cheyenne, Wyoming. I am excited, but at the same time sad, as it will be my last full day on the trip. Come Wednesday, I am flying back home to prepare for my Acupuncture licensing exam. This has been an incredible journey, and I will savor every last moment of it before I return home.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 16- A Place of Ego, A Place of Spirit, and the Greatest Light Show I've Ever Seen

Today was another fantastic day full of excitement and adventure. The weather was great,but there was a chance of afternoon thunderstorms, so we packed our rain gear and headed out. Our first destination for the day was Mount Rushmore. Our journey there was gorgeous, as we cruised through Spearfish Canyon and then along the back roads of South Dakota. As far as I could see in front of me and behind me, going in every direction, there were thousands of bikes. It was an incredible sight to see, and experience to be a part of. Every now and then when a car came by it seemed so out of place.
When we finally did arrive at Mount Rushmore, the place was packed. My first impression of the site itself was somewhat underwhelming. I don't know if it had been talked up too much, or if my recent trip in China to the world's largest stone carved Buddha had set the bar too high, but for whatever reason I wasn't as amazed as I thought I would be. Don't get me wrong, the place is incredible,and I marvel at the people who built it, but it just didn't do it for me. I also found the feel of the whole place to be really sterile, with no real spirit. There was also something about the fact that Mount Rushmore had been carved on sacred Indian land that didn't sit right with me, especially after yesterday's visit to the battle site. While I admire and appreciate the work of the four men whose faces are on the mountain, the whole thing to me screamed of ego. To me, the message of the mountain was, "Look how great we are. We are America. We rule." It bothered me, and it's too bad. I am sure most people do not feel that way, but as this is my blog, I am just being honest about my experience. I am glad I got a chance to visit, but I doubt if I will ever return there.
We left the mountain and headed into a little town called Hill City to get gas for the bikes, and lunch for our bellies. Unfortunately for the past few days Chap's bike had been giving him some trouble with the clutch, and when we rode into the gas station, it completely stopped working. It was a real bummer. Luckily, there was a motorcycle repair shop just down the road, so we arranged to get his bike picked up and looked at. While Chap was busy with his bike, the rest of us got some lunch. It was going to be a while before they could fix it, so Chap decided to stay with the bike while the rest of us went to see the Crazy Horse memorial. My parents, who had seen the memorial on a previous trip, decided to stay back and hang with Chap.
I took over as road captain and led the rest of the crew the 10 or so miles to the memorial. For those of you that don't know, the Crazy Horse memorial is essentially the Native American's Mount Rushmore. Rather than 4 presidents, it is a massive carving of the famous Lakota spiritual leader Crazy Horse. It has been in the works for 60 years, and when it is complete it will be the largest sculpture in the world. To give you an idea of just how big it is, the entire carving of Mount Rushmore could fit just behind the head of Crazy Horse. Unlike the sterile feeling of Rushmore, this was a truly spiritual place, and instead of being bothered I was in fact moved to tears on more than one occasion. Unlike Rushmore which had been paid for and created by the government, the Crazy Horse memorial is entirely funded by the people. Every person that buys a ticket, or a souvenir, or makes a donation becomes a part of the memorial and helps in its completion. To me, this speaks volumes as to the message of this mountain. The concepts that were reiterated throughout the entire place were that we are spiritual beings living a human experience, and that we should never forget our dreams. To me, both of these concepts are truly worthy of memorial in stone. It was a magical place, a place of spirit, and a place where I definitely hope to return to.
Reinvigorated and inspired by my time with Crazy Horse, we left the mountain and met back up with Chap and my folks. Our timing couldn't have been better, as his bike was just finished when we pulled up. It turned out that his clutch was fine. The reason it wasn't working was because a bolt in the transmission had snapped and was causing problems. Fortunately the mechanics were able to fix it and we got back on the road once more, smiles on all of our faces, but none larger than Chappy's.
Our next stop was a famous old western town called Deadwood. It was here that the famous cowboy Wild Bill had been killed while playing poker. His poker hand at the time, a pair of aces and a pair of eights, has since come to be known as "dead man's hand." On our way there, we once again encountered the rain, but fortunately it was only for a few brief minutes. After having a drink and walking around Deadwood for a bit, we got back on the road to return to Sturgis once more. While there, we looked at all the amazing bikes, checked out all the souvenir tents, and had some amazing St. Louis style beef ribs for dinner.
It was dark out now and time for us to make the 17 mile ride back to our hotel. When we were gearing up to leave, I saw some strange flashes in the distance. Was it a light show? Nope, it was lightening. As we got on the road it began to rain again, so we quickly pulled off and got under cover to wait it out. After about 10 minutes, the rain had let up, so we decided to get going. Along the way we saw the most amazing show of lightening I have ever seen. Every kind of lightening you can imagine was in the night sky. Giant flashes that illuminated the entire sky, massive bolts shooting from the clouds, and even bolts traveling within the clouds themselves. It was the most amazing light show I have ever seen. Unfortunately, along with the lightening came the rain once more. Driving at night, on the freeway, in the rain, on a motorcycle is a terrifying experience. My amazement at the lightening was quickly replaced with the realization that were in some serious shit. It was the first time I have ever actually feared for my life on the motorcycle. Even more troubling than that was the fact that my wife was on the back of my bike, and her life was in my hands as well. The enormity of it all was almost completely overwhelming, but I calmed my mind and set my focus on the road ahead, what I could see of it anyway. The rain got so bad that we stopped under an underpass to wait it out. We were not the only ones, as other bikers were doing the same thing. Sitting on the side of the road, I watched in amazement at the lightening show in the distance. Beautiful, powerful, and potentially deadly all at the same time. I gave thanks once more to whatever power out there was keeping me, my family, and my friends safe in all the chaos. After the rain had passed, we rode the rest of the way back to our hotel. We met for our customary, and very necessary, toast to the Road Gods. Everyone was visibly shaken, but we were all ok.
It had been an incredible day, and an unbelievable night. From incredible joy, to intense fear, my emotions had run the gamut. Today was a real test, of the body, the mind, and the spirit. I am happy to say, that each and every one of my riding companions passed with flying colors, and we are all that much stronger because of it.

Check out some of the pics from the past couple of days:

Day 15- Sunshine, Aliens, and a Biker or Two

I awoke today to find sunshine and clear blue skies without a cloud in sight, so thanks to all of you who sent those good thoughts our way. We left Billings and got on the road to make our way to South Dakota and the Sturgis motorcycle rally, the largest motorcycle gathering in the world.
The ride was fantastic, and having the sun on my face made it even better. Along the way, we stopped at the site of the battle of Little Big Horn, also known as Custer's last stand. It was here that Sitting Bull and his warriors killed General Custer and defeated his men. I wasn't even there 5 minutes before I started to feel sick. This part of American history really bothers me. The mission of the U.S. soldiers to "civilize" the natives and move them on to reservations is appalling to me. It is a part of U.S. history that is often overlooked and brushed over, a bloody stain in the record books. In this way, the U.S. was stolen at gunpoint, and entire people's were massacred, and their sacred way of life destroyed forever. I left soon after arriving, as neither my wife or myself wanted to be in a place such as this. Because of this history, one of the world's most spiritual cultures, the only true Americans, now exist as a minority , relegate to reservations and casinos. It is sad, and like the holocaust of my people, it should never be forgotten.
After leaving the battle sight, we took a short detour into Wyoming to go and see The Devil's Tower, the United States' first national monument. If you have ever seen the movie Close Encounters of the 3rd kind, this is the iconic mountain in the film. It is such and strange and surreal sight. All around the area is red earth and green forrest, but the mountain itself has almost a green color to it and towers over everything around it. It looks as though it has been brought over from some strange alien land and dropped into the middle of the forrest. It was a strange and surreal sight to see, and if you don't believe in aliens, a visit here might have you thinking otherwise.
From the tower we rode on, and made our way into Spearfish, South Dakota, just 17 miles outside of Sturgis. Along our entire ride today, the closer we got, the more and more bikes we saw on the road, until literally everywhere I looked I saw bikers and bikes. It was an amazing sight to see. After checking in at the hotel, we made our way into Sturgis itself. All I can say about that is wow. I have never seen so many bikes, and bikers, in one place. There were literally thousands and thousands of them everywhere. We parked amongst the madness and walked around for a while. If you have never been to something like this, it is truly hard to comprehend. After walking around for a while, buying a couple mementos, and watching in amazement at the craziness all around, we headed back to the hotel for some much needed rest. We will be her for the next 2 days, visiting the nearby sights, and enjoying being a part of the largest motorcycle rally in the world.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day 14- Riders on the Storm

Today began with an ominous sign; black clouds on the horizon. Oh no, I thought. Are we really going to have to ride in the rain again?
At breakfast we all decided that we should leave with our rain suits on, that way if it did rain, we would be ready. We geared up and got ready to leave. In case the threat of rain wasn't bad enough, my bike started coughing and spluttering, and giving off a bit of black smoke. Great, that's all I need, a broken bike in a rain storm. Well, fortunately about ten minutes down the road my bike was back to normal and running great. We figured it must have had some bad fuel in the line, and once it cleared, I was good to go.
About 20 minutes into our journey, the rain came pouring down. We were riding through the Lewis and Clark National Forrest, and what I could see through the rain was beautiful. I was not very happy to be in the rain again, but we had no choice, so we rode on. A little while later we pulled over in a tiny little town to get something warm to drink, but the coffee shop wasn't open yet, and wouldn't be for another hour. Fortunately for us, a local woman told us about a place down the road, The Lazy Doe, where we could get coffee. 5 minutes later we were inside and drinking hot coffee, trying to get some warmth back into our cold bodies.
After a short break, and with a slight pause in the rain, we got back on the road. We were in the rain for nearly 2 hours before it let up. And when the skies cleared and the temperature rose, we were all very happy people. We stopped for lunch about 60 miles outside of Billings, Montana. The sky had cleared, and it was even hot enough for us to take our rain suits off. After a very slow lunch, we got back on the bikes, glad to be done with the rain, or so we thought.
For the first 30 miles or so after lunch, life was good. The sun was shinning, it was warm, and we were cruising. We were once again on the open road, cruising through the ranch-land of Montana. And then, the real adventure began.
30 miles outside of Billings, the sky off to our left was gorgeous, clear blue, and sunny. Off in the distance to our right, massive, dark storm clouds. Above us, the meeting of the two. It would be a battle between light and dark, and only time would tell which would win. We had a decision to make. Should we stop, take 15 minutes, and put all of our rain gear back on, or just keep riding in the hopes of beating the storm? We decided to go for it, and take on the remaining 30 miles in our regular riding gear.
20 miles to go, and the storm was winning. The blue sky was getting further and further away while the storm was coming closer. A few minutes later the atmosphere changed and the smell of rain was in the air. In the distance to our right, bolts of lightening began erupting from the clouds and onto the ground below. It was incredible to see, and with every bolt that shot out of the distant clouds I laughed and screamed with delight. It may sound crazy to be chuckling at lightening while on a motorcycle, but I knew we were safe, as the lightening was far away, and the rain was very light.
15 miles out, and now the rain was really coming down. Without our rain gear, we were soaking wet. Was the lightening coming closer, or was that just my imagination? We kept on going, trying to race the storm.
10 miles out. The storm was winning. The rain was coming down hard, really hard. And the lightening that was once miles away, was now just a 100 or so yards in front of us! Giant bolts, thrown by Zeus himself, exploding out of the sky ahead of us, followed by a giant blast of thunder. There was nothing we could do, nowhere we could take shelter. We were out on the plains and all we could do was keep riding the last 10 miles into Billings. Visibility was almost none, so my concentration was at an all time high. Everything in my body was telling me we needed to get off the road, but my mind knew we had to continue. It was a battle, man vs. nature, and we were going head to head. The storm may have beaten the sunshine, but it would not beat us. Determined, and with adrenaline pumping, we rode on through the storm.
We pulled into our hotel not a second too soon. And, I shit you not, just a minute after we walked into the lobby it started hailing outside. And then, as if in some crazy movie, sirens started blasting outside. What sirens you might be wondering? Tornado warning sirens! Had we stopped to put on our rain gear, or taken any longer getting into town, we would have been hit by the hail, and potentially caught in a tornado. The reality of it all slowly began to sink in with everyone, and I am sure many a silent thank you was sent out to the heavens.
The previous 30 minutes had been the most exhilarating and terrifying moments I have ever spent on the road. It was a real adventure, and one that I could never in a million years have guessed we would experience.
For those of you that know me, you know I don't believe in chance, or coincidence. I truly believe today that we all had angels on our shoulders, guiding us to forgo putting on our rain suits, and keeping us safe in the storm. It is because of things like this that we drink a toast to the Road Gods for keeping us safe, and after today's ride, you can imagine how grateful we all were. So, to all of you out there reading this, send thoughts of clear skies and sunshine our way, for tomorrow we ride again . . .

Take a look at the pics to see a bit more:

Day 13- Back in the U.S., back in the U.S, back in the U.S.A.

We awoke this morning to find clear skies and crisp air. We left Waterton National Park and drove about 20 minutes to the U.S. border. We were let back in without incident. Well, Chochem was given 20 questions about if he was wearing any gang colors or had any weapons, but other than that it was pretty smooth. It felt good to be back in the U.S., and to begin the next chapter of our journey. We were now in Montana, big sky country, and it was beautiful. In the distance, the mountains we had just come from. Ahead of us, miles and miles of open road and sunshine.
We were cruising, 65mph, open road ahead, and smiles on our faces. We passed horse ranches, cattle ranches, even a buffalo ranch. In every direction the green fields went on and on as far as I could see. We stopped in a tiny little town called Choteau for lunch. It felt more like a hollywood set than a real town, a tiny little back country American town.
We got back on the bikes and road the remaining 50 miles to our destination for the day, Great Falls Montana. After checking in, we met for our toast, and then it was laundry time. Between the 9 of us, we filled up all the available washers and dryers. Because the dryers weren't working too well, El Breker made friends with one of the housekeeping staff, and she let us throw our clothes into the hotel's massive industrial dryer. 20 minutes later, our clothes were good to go.
We headed into downtown Great Falls and hung out a the little block party that was going on. We listened to some live music, and chatted with some of the locals. One of them, a city council member in fact, was a real character who chatted us up about his late uncle's old Harley dealership, and the old bikes that he had. Nice guy, but boy could he talk!
We next made our way over to a little restaurant called Bert & Ernie's. Dinner was delicious, and the service was great, and the prices were fantastic too. Man, it felt good to be back in the U.S.A.
We headed back to the hotel under a sky that looked as if it had been painted. Above us, dark rain clouds merged with the setting sun's golden-red colored sky and clouds. It was amazing, like an alien skyscape. It was a great end to our first day back in the U.S. Tomorrow, we head for Billings Montana, and what I am sure will be another great ride through this amazing landscape, and incredible skies.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 12- A Little Harley on the Prairie

Today was a beautiful day. We left Banff around 8:30 and continued our Southward journey. It was cold, but riding through the mountains was magnificent. We spent a little bit of time in the mountains, and then found our way into the open plains and grasslands. Just before we did though, we saw a few bears, a family of big horn sheep, and even the elusive moose! Some of the people in our group have been looking for moose for the last 3 years without luck, so seeing the moose today was pretty exciting!
Once we got out of the mountains and onto the prairies, the road stretched on as far as we could see, and at times we were the only people in sight for miles. We passed ranches, and cows, and horses, and cowboys. It was truly fantastic, and a totally new environment yet again. We were truly cruising. The open road, sun shining, wind in our faces, the roar of the bikes in the air. It was some tremendously enjoyable writing.
We made our way into Waterton National Park, and The Prince of Whales Hotel, an 84 year old hotel that sits atop a hill in the park. It overlooks a massive lake, and it is truly gorgeous. We arrived and relaxed for a couple hours, then we hopped back on the bikes and drove around the park for a while. We visited a nearby lake, beautiful of course, and spent some time walking around. On our way back, we encountered another Black bear foraging on the side of the road. It was amazing to see all of these animals in their natural habitat, a real treat.
We rode into the little town and had dinner at the Lakeside Chophouse. While we were eating, a couple of deer came by and hung out on the lawn for a bit. It was wild, and quite unique. After dinner we returned to the hotel, tired and happy after an incredible day. Tomorrow we say goodbye to Canada, and make our way into the big sky state, Montana. It is crazy to think how much I have already seen and done, and to think about how much still lies ahead. With that in mind I while say goodnight, and I'll be back in touch with y'all real soon, from the good old U.S.A.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day 11- Short and Sweet

Today, day 11, provided some much needed R & R. We left Lake Louise around 9 am and took a short drive to the nearby Moraine Lake. We arrive there just as the sun was coming up over the mountains. Every few minutes the color of the lake changed as more sun shone upon it. What started as a regular looking blue lake, became a color changing marvel, that by the time we left was the incredible turquoise blue of the glacial lakes we had ridden past. It was truly beautiful, and I could have spent all day there, sitting on the shore and watching the lake transform.
We left the lake and took a short 40 mile drive down to Banff. We checked into our hotel and had the rest of the day to relax and enjoy the town. It is a really beautiful little town nestled between the mountains and rivers. Betty Boop and I picked up some sandwiches and sat outside listening to some local musicians. After lunch we went for a short hike up the side of a mountain. It was steep, really steep, so 20 minutes later we turned around and headed back through town and to our hotel. I was tired. I have been on the go almost nonstop for the past 11 days. We got back to the hotel, where I promptly fell asleep and took a nice long nap. I needed it.
After my nap, we met the rest of the crew for dinner. We had some great steaks at a place called Bumpers. After dinner we headed into town to do some karaoke, but it turned out the place we went to no longer did it. Oh well. We had a night cap, and came back to the hotel.
Tomorrow we make our way down to Waterton National Park, and our last night in Canada. I am sure it will be another beautiful day, and a great ride.

And finally, I was able to upload some photos of the incredible places we have been. Check them out, and be sure to check back as I will be updating the photos as we go. Here is the web address:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 10- Poetry in Motion

After yesterdays ordeal, todays ride was truly a gift. I awoke to find blue sky and sun shining. It was a very welcome sight. We left the Northernmost stop on our journey, Jasper, and headed down to Lake Louise. It was absolutely a spectacular day. My wife suggested that the only way to really describe what we saw was with poetry, so here goes.

Day 10 began with the sun on our faces, so we set out to ride through wide open spaces. Up mountains we went, many glaciers we saw. The colors of things like nothing before. The turquoises and greens of the giant glacial lakes, struck with such beauty, I thought they were fake. Along today's journey we saw elk, goats, and bears! My face in the wind, I lost all my cares.
The journey today was truly a gift, and with each new view my spirit did lift. My heart burst wide open at the beauty, Divine. Out on the road, I lost track of time. With each corner we turned, or hill that we crested, the scenes were more beautiful, the previous ones bested. Past huge mountain glaciers, and rivers and streams, we cruised down the road, was this all a dream?
At one point my wife exclaimed, "Is this real?" And so I responded, "I know how you feel!" When I think back about these 10 days I've spent, the things that I've seen and the places I went. I am truly in awe of the beauty around, the smells and the views, the sights and the sounds. A journey like this comes once in a life, and I get to do it with friends, family, and wife.
Although today's blog may be short and sweet, I hope that it serves as a nice little treat. To convey to you the things that I've seen, the things I have felt, the places I've been. Our journey Southward has now begun, and with each new day, comes more and more fun. The people I'm with, great souls they all are. Together we ride, a family, by far. And as life is a journey, onwards we go. We ride like the wind, like water we flow.
And through this blog, to you I provide, a glimpse of the magic, on A. Mystic's Soul Ride.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day 9- Singing, I mean Riding, in the Rain

If the word of the day yesterday was wow, today it was crap. Or more specifically, oh crap, or even holy crap! It was one of the craziest, most intense, adventurous moment yet on the road.
The day began like most before, a crisp, clear, morning in the mountains. We rode out at 8:30 and headed towards Jasper National Park. About 20 minutes into our ride, in the distance I saw some large, dark clouds over to our left. It was not a good sign. Shortly thereafter the air around us changed, and I could smell the rain, and moments later the first drops began to fall.
We pulled over to the side of the road, and got into our rain suits as fast as we could. It was quite a challenge, and by the time we were all done, the rain was coming down hard, and cold too. We were in the middle of nowhere, there was nothing we could do, so we rode.
It is only the second time I have ever had to ride in the rain, and it was a challenge to say the least. It was the one and only time I have ever wished I was in a car instead of a motorcycle, and that means a lot. We pushed on through the rain for another 20 minutes or so, until we saw the lightening. A motorcycle, in the rain, in a lightening storm is not a good place to be, so we pulled over at the nearest rest stop to wait it out a bit. We weren't the only ones. Three other motorcycle riders had pulled in as well, and we were all huddled under a tiny little rest-stop bathroom awning, in the middle of Northwestern Canada. It was wild. I took the opportunity to use the hand dryer in the bathroom to dry my gloves out a bit. At this point, they and my boots were already soaked through, and we still had 100 or so miles left to go.
After about 15 minutes, the lightening had subsided and we hopped back on the bikes. Cold, and wet, we rode until we reached a town called Clearwater. We stopped at a little pastry shop that had been recommended to us by the manager at our hotel the night before. We pulled in, happy to be getting out of the rain, and even happier to be getting something warm. We mowed through samosas, beef rolls, and a variety of other delicious pastries. Hot coffee, hot chocolate, hot tea, happy people.
But it's not over yet. Of the more than 200 miles we did today, maybe 60 of them were without rain. Thanks to my rain suit, most of my body was dry. My feet, however, and my hands were cold to the bone as my boots and gloves were both soaked through. It made working the controls on the bike all the more difficult, and with the lack of visibility due to the rain, it made for some concentration heavy, heart pounding riding. Looking back now, I realize what an incredible experience it was, but a the time I can honestly say it was a very unpleasant experience. I would like to tell you about how amazing the road was, or how incredible the view was, but the truth is I just didn't see it. All I saw were the raindrops on my glasses and the road in front of me, my concentration set and fully aware and alert.
It was not all bad though, as there was a moment of sublime beauty that made the entire battle through the rain worth it. We rounded a corner, and in front of us, bathed in sunlight, was the tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies. It stood as a giant among giants. All around us large green mountains, and in the middle of them, a massive white mountain, covered in thick snow, its peaks hidden in the clouds. For those few moments that we rode up to and around the mountain, the sun was shining and life was golden.
We passed the mountain, and with it the sunlight. Back into the darkness we rode. It was the worst weather yet, but we rode on, determined to get we we were going. We stopped for gas about an hour or so outside of Jasper, and even found waterproof rubber gloves to replace the wet ones we were wearing. After some hot chocolate, and with dry hands, we rode the rest of the way into Jasper. When we finally pulled into the driveway of our hotel for the night, I had never been so glad to be off the road. It truly had been a grueling day, and one that I won't soon forget.
And so it goes on every journey. There are moment of darkness, and moments of light. Moments of weakness and moments of fright, but also of greatness and ecstatic delight. And without the dark, we can't appreciate the light. And without today, we can't appreciate tomorrow, so goodnight.