As painful as it was to hear updates from Darth and Esteban while they were having THE epic moto adventure of the year, it was damn good to know they were shiny side up and not encountering any major issues. So I welcomed the occasional photos of their shenanigans, even though they were painful reminders that I was missing out on something grand. Last September, we all did a ride that took us over some of Colorado’s famed high passes. We knocked off Cinnamon Pass and Engineer’s Pass, and would have done Imogene had it not been for a mountain trail running race that closed Imogene to all motorized traffic. This caused us to change our plans and hit Engineer’s Pass instead. Coming down that pass in the dusk to dark was one of the most challenging rides I have ever done on a big bike, and when we finally hit pavement above the jeweled lights of Ouray below, all I could think about was a steak, a beer, a hot shower, and a warm bed. We had a surreal ride into a town that had not a single hotel room available because of the aforementioned running race. I vowed to return to Ouray on a moto trip someday under different circumstances; at a time when it was not so booked solid, and via a route that was not as white-knuckled. Darth and Esteban chose to up the ante and tackle Imogene, as well as Black Bear Pass. The beta on Black Bear is that it you screw up, you die. The rocky trail is exposed to the point where if you go off the side, you can forget it. Below is a photo of Darth’s encounter with the Orso Negro. No report on how or why this happened, only that it looked worse than it was. I’m hoping to get a few journal entries from the boys, because other than the photos below, we don’t have a narrative from the trip, other than they are back and the horses are safe in the barn.

Damage to headers on BMW F800 GS

Darth hit something with teeth on Black Bear Pass

Esteban Frito up high in the Rocky Mountains

Esteban aboard the big KTM 950 Adventure. Photo courtesy of Nathan Rafferty.

The top of Imogene Pass

Darth Nater on top of Imogene. Photo courtesy of Nathan Rafferty.

41 year old twat waffle Duane “Dewey” Dickey get s lifetime ban for popping EPO and other performance enhancing medicines, and for failing to cooperate with an out of competition test by USADA. Read all about it in the Velo News. Let’s just say, when you have been racing as long as I have, you hear rumors. And we’ve all heard the rumors.

Why is this significant, that a little known local legend from the midwest gets a lifetime ban? It’s significant to me, because when friends and family members ask me with disbelief “do you really think local guys are doping just to be top cat in the local race series, I always have a tough time being emphatic solely based on just hearsay and rumors. This is sad really, I don’t know this guy, but generally don’t give much credit to lifetime cheats. You cheat all your life (or most of it), you should get a lifetime ban. Scratch another name from the 40+ Masters Nationals start list in Bend next summer! It might just be me and you, Timmer.

Updates keep rolling in from Darth and Esteban, which is a good thing, because it more or less means they are safe and out of trouble. It’s the modern day version of a series of postcards from the places they have been, only in digital format, delivered in realtime, then twisted and distorted by me to make it seem like they are really not missing the rest of the posse one bit on this trip. Current location, Goulding’s Lodge near Monument Valley. By the way, if you dig the photo effects in the images below, Darth is shooting through a new iPhone 4 with the Hipstamatic iPhone App (affiliate link). I highly recommend it. IAATB approved for documenting moto trips.

Motorcycle Touring in Shonto, Arizona

Darth hitting red dirt in Shonto, AZ.

Pabst Blue Ribbon on Ice

A bucket of ice and one can of PBR?

Esteban Frito

Malt Liquor always tastes better in your underwear.

Notes from the road: ...Hauled ass to get to Gouldings Lodge in Monument Valley in time for the sunset. Pulled up to the cafe to enjoy the fabulous desert expanse and enjoy a beer while I wait for Steve. Alas, all their beer is non-alcoholic. “But I want ALCOHOLIC beer!” I said. “Then you’ll have to drive 20 miles, back the way you came.” D’oh!