Year-end stories are always interesting to me.
Publications around the world rate stories, detail online traffic numbers, select the best leaders and generally give readers a special year in review.
On the national stage here are a few of my more notables:
We had what I’d call the best supporting furniture award…that went to the empty chair that actor Clint Eastwood spoke to throughout his speech at the Republican National Convention. We narrowly re-elected a president. John Edwards and Roger Clemens, both escaped conviction. There was the epic fall of Lance Armstrong. There was the Korean pop singer, Psy and that Gangnam Style video which skyrocketed a catchy tune into YouTube superstardom. We bought more than 48 million iPads, weathered a couple of hurricanes, and cheered for the Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner who, broke the sound barrier from 24 miles up.
When I look back on the motorcycle rides there was:
LAUGHLIN RIVER RUN – in April the Road Glide was shipped to the Las Vegas desert. Then it’s a short 100 mile jaunt through the desert to Laughlin, NV and it’s a great way to escape the Oregon monsoon rain to enjoy the heat of the canyons. And being close to the Colorado River and between two mountain ranges in the Mojave Desert there are a lot of scenic rides with panoramic views to enjoy. Not to mention the motorcycle rally itself.
HELLS CANYON MOTORCYCLE RALLY – in June, some riding buddies took off on 3-days of enjoying nature’s perfume – the sweet smell of rain showers on the cedar and pine forest – into the Cuprum-Sheep Rock country. At times, the cold rain made us wish for a fishing lure and then there were other times the motorcycle tires were inches from the edge of a 1,000-foot drop-off while in the next instant the left-view mirror came pretty close to scraping a craggy rock wall on the grade coming up from Hells Canyon Reservoir into the mountains… it’s always an exciting adventure in Baker City! But hey, that rain is a “summer” adventure in Oregon.
FOUR-CORNERS MOTORCYCLE LOOP – in late August the posse set out for the mystical 4-corners. It turned into a 4000-miles epic journey over a couple weeks that led us through Eastern Oregon, Southern Idaho, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota/Sturgis, Montana, Northern Idaho, Washington and then back home. Moab, the 4-corners and Bear Tooth Pass were the highlights. It was amazing scenery and viewing it all from back-roads on a motorcycle made it all the more fun. The trip was much more than just a motorcycle ride. We were exposed to searing heat, dodged wildfires and rode through mud-flows so deep on Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway that we could have caught trout with the right fishing gear! The gist of the ride was exploring Moab and 4-corners, but the searing summer heat kept us from really getting to know the area well, and it gave me lots of ideas for future trips.
STREET VIBRATIONS – One of my favorite ways to end the Northwest riding year is this late September trip to Reno. The drive is pretty quick and it always guarantee’s the heat of the valley inter-mixed with cool mountain meadows and panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The crux of the ride is of course the rally and wide assortment of builders and vendor booths along with coming back with a to-do laundry list of possible winter projects for the motorcycle. It’s not like we’re going to be loafing around on the couch this winter, right?!
That was my look back and it helps to motivate me to plan for 2013. A couple of rides already blocked out on the calendar are the Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary in Milwaukee and “Shark Week” in Utah.
In looking back on 2012, we also need to keep in our thoughts and prayers those who were met with tragedy this year, whether from storms or gunfire here at home, or on a battlefield on foreign soil. May 2013 be safer, healthier and happier for all of us.
Photos taken by author.