This June, Spurg and I packed up and went to Bald Eagle State Forest, located smack-dab in the center of Pennsylvania for AltRider’s annual Conserve The Ride event.
The second half of our quartet was Brett and Stevan. Brett’s the guy who attempts to keep Spurgie and me in line, and Stevan’s the fellow who fills our warehouses at RevZilla with good motorcycle stuff. Spurg and Brett were on Tigers, and Stevan was flogging a brand-new-to-him Yamaha Super Ténéré. I snagged the boss’ BMW F 800 GS on the promise I would service the bike. We agreed to meet up on Friday sometime.
Here are my log entries.
June 9, 7:31 p.m.: Realize I have to remove the brake fluid reservoir from the F 800 in order to fill it. Brake flush going to take a while. Scratch head about German engineering. Spurg takes nine hours to replace air filter on Tiger. Not kidding.
June 10, 7:46 a.m.: Wait for Spurgie in driveway with comical glasses on to make fun of the stupid Wayfarer knock-offs he loves so much. Hilarity ensues. Spurg glowers. Promise him breakfast.
June 10, 1:53 p.m.: Meet up with Stevan and Brett. Cannot exit fuel station meetup point due to heavy traffic. Have bright idea to block traffic. Pull bike broadside across Pennsylvania state trooper’s front bumper. Whoops.
June 10, 2:10 p.m.: Eat burgers at Red Rabbit Drive-In. Waitress super-friendly. Informs us fries are sprinkled with “bunny dust.” Big smile.
June 10, 3:14 p.m.: Hit traffic. Mind wanders. Realize I could have eaten the fries; “bunny dust” probably seasoning, not drugs.
June 10, 3:46 p.m.: Pull into Bald Eagle State Park on gravel road. Spurgeon suggests airing down our tires. I mention that I am taking my tires to 15 pounds or so. Spurg freaks out; warns me I’ll get a flat when my tire slips off the bead. Spurg recommends 26 pounds.
June 10, 3:46 p.m.: Take rear tire pressure from 42 psi to 15. Tell Spurg they’re at 26.
June 10, 4:15 p.m.: Stake out space in cabin. Spurgeon and I are issued the pull-out couch. Note this is not one couch per capita. I call spot between Spurg and door to protect him from bears.
June 10, 6:13 p.m.: Opt out of tire-repair seminar and drink beer. Ruminate on how shitty flat tires are. Shudder. Drink more beer. Spurg asks why I take much longer than the president of AltRider to change a tire. Give Spurg stinkeye.
June 10, 8:19 p.m.: Amazed at number of offroad people who seem to know Spurgeon. Drink celebratory beer for Spurg. Vow to teach him how to make a good video some day. Keep partying with new adventure-type friends.
June 10, 11:34 p.m.: Apply one quarter ton of ZLA host to pull-out couch. Speak with Spurgeon regarding Brett. Realize we both would like to see boss eaten by bears. Agree we’re kidding. Sort of.
June 11, 3:32 a.m.: Get up to pee. Nearly fall down in kitchen. Warm lump on linoleum floor. Kick lump. Spurgeon snores. Re-kick him for being in an inconvenient spot.
June 11, 4:31 a.m.: Hear someone nearly fall down in kitchen. Spurgeon receives fresh kick from Stevan.
June 11, 5:59 a.m.: Wake Spurg up. Point out he is sleeping on the kitchen floor. Spurgeon tells me he could not sleep through my snoring.
June 11, 6:13 a.m.: Stevan exits bedroom. Stevan reintroduces me to the fact that I snore.
June 11, 7:02 a.m.: Prep bike. Pull off panniers and footpeg rubbers, attempt to rotate bars. Realize bars are retained by external Torx fasteners. Fathom stupidity of external Torx fasteners. Scratch head about German engineering again.
June 11, 7:04 a.m.: Finish rotating controls instead of bars. Brett walks outside and yawns. Brett informs me that it is hard to sleep near me because I snore.
Jun. 11, 7:06 a.m.: Spurg finishes bike prep. (Oddly, he preps his bike way more carefully than he prepped mine for the Country Mile.) Brett informs us that being eaten by a bear is not funny. Silently disagree.
June 11, 8:02 a.m.: Suffer responsibility attack. Forego breakfast thirds, despite tastiness. (Plug for these guys, who cater AltRider’s event. Nomnomnom.) Realize fancy offroad gear might look silly if I am very slow compared to others. Shrug. Vow to go fast.
June 11, 8:44 a.m.: I announce we are doing all the options! Stevan and Spurg appear happy that I have a death wish and seem equally as ready to get hurt. Everyone else looks intelligently skeptical. Begin Optional Trail 1, which is pretty easy. Fly behind Stevan, who has apparently ridden waaaay more dirt as a kid than he let on. Look at taillight; resign self to spending most of my day in second or third place.
June 11, 8:52 a.m.: Other guys meet us at the end of trail. Do not realize Spurg is playing sweep man.
June 11, 9:03 a.m.: Stevan does Cal Hockley impression, evacuates Big White Whale. Stevan kicks windshield off bike in Bruce Lee-inspired exit strategy. Stevan waves madly. Slow down, take turn. Lay bike down in same sand as Stevan’s Yamaha.
June 11, 10:48 a.m.: Think about my recent consumption of doughnuts and beer. Force fat self to get ass out of saddle. Hate Stevan for sandbagging.
June 11, 12:41 p.m.: Cover about 100 miles. Realize Spurgeon was playing sweep as he passes me in gravel at 60 mph. Tell everyone he was drafting me.
June 11, 1:31 p.m.: Finally get to lunch spot. Exhausted. Refill water, eat sammies. Conjure up bullshit excuses for going way slower second half of day.
June 11, 2:10 p.m.: Threaten to quit and stop doing optional trails. Spurg smirks. Tell everyone I am fine, just kidding. Wanted to give everyone else an out.
June 11, 2:42 p.m.: Almost wreck, save it with a dab. Almost wreck a second time, save it with another dab and a quick repositioning of my considerable weight. Third time eat shit at 30 mph. Assess damage, remind self that I am still awesome, stand up bike.
June 11, 3:01 p.m.: Still on break from picking up bike. Huffing slows, puffing still occurring.
June 11, 3:30 p.m.: Pass Spurg again. Realize he is letting me pass because he’s betting on me crashing. Tell self not to crash for increased bragging later. Proceed to nearly crash.
June 11, 3:52 p.m.: See a bear run across road. Poop some.
June 11, 4:41 p.m.: Skip Option Eight; complete mud pit. Option Nine begins with a field of boulders. Get tired, stall. Stall on restart, too. Start bike again, click into second gear. Pin throttle, dump clutch. Butthole puckers. Position ass over rear wheel. Front wheel does front-wheel stuff. Finally exit Stonehenge.
June 11, 4:43 p.m.: Stevan announces we are skipping Option 10. I protest loudly, secretly ecstatic I can take a damn break. He knows I am bluffing. Realize it’s because I am lying on my back next to the bike.
June 11, 5:43 p.m.: Get off gravel. Follow trail markers to pavement. Oooooh.... This is easy! Arrive at gas station. Buy favorite rider an ice cream bar. Spurgeon eats half in one bite. Favorite rider angry.
June 11, 5:51 p.m.: Spurgeon's front tire flat. Twenty-six pounds. Right, Spurg?
June 11, 5:52 p.m.: Begin changing Spurg’s tire. Tease him the whole time. Do best to make him look incompetent. Spurg shows me bike pump for baby tires. Secretly pray it is broken. A couple of other riders show up and have CO2 cartridges. Inflate tire.
June 11, 6:49 p.m.: Roll into camp. God smiles upon me: Spurgeon dumps bike on last 18 inches of the ride. Stand on bike until Stevan has camera out. Spurgeon capitulates to photo.
June 11, 7:30-11:00 p.m.: Eat more delicious, delicious food. Jeremy, the president of AltRider, gives out awards. Drink some beers, hang out. Rack in.
June 11, 11:13 p.m.: Pull-out couch buckles under weight of Dainty Lem and Fat Spurg. Swipe mattress, sleep on floor. Tell (hushed) bear jokes.
We had a blast at this event. It was so cool meeting so many customers, and for me, it was a nice change of pace from some of the antique/H-D/chopper events I normally head to. It’s pretty inspiring to meet people who get joy from putting a bike worth thousands of dollars through its paces with little concern for consequences that may accompany such a decision.
I can’t thank AltRider enough for scheming up the event. (Their skid plate and crashbars held up great on the F 800, and the top rack made my packin’ job way easy!) The guys from SMCC worked tirelessly to mark the trails, scout them, and print us up maps. Mostly, though, I just want to thank my fellow riders. When the goggles went on, nothing mattered but riding. It was hammer down until someone went down, and then there were helping hands all around.
I can't wait to go back and do it again.