Saturday, September 22nd 2018. Today marks the official first day of Autumn, the Autumnal Equinox. Autumn rolled in with steel grey clouds and much cooler temperatures. I didn’t feel like camping this weekend, but wanted to be close to nature for the official first day of fall. I decided to ride out to a state forest, a local place about 2 hours away that I haven’t visited in about 20 years.
The ride out was nice. I ended up in Lost Nation National Forest. I used to camp there when I was a kid. A lot can change in twenty years. Granted I used a GPS system for directions and it brought me in from a different direction then I used to take.
I drove around looking for old landmarks and couldn’t find any. It looked like the old country store was gone. Dilapidated trailers and tar paper roofed shacks were replaced with what appeared to be summer homes and luxury cabins. I wondered when all that happened. I was looking for an old dead end trail that went to a bridge that was built in the 1800’s. I wanted to get a picture of it, but couldn’t find it.
The campsite where my friends and I would meet up was still there. There was a trail there that I always wanted to take on a dual sport, and decided to see where it went. The trail was washed out and muddy. I made it about halfway up and stopped for lunch. I heated some chunky sirloin burger soup on my alcohol stove. The trail was getting really rough so after I ate my lunch I hiked up to see if it improved at all. To my dismay, it got worse with fallen down trees blocking the way. Riding alone I decided it was probably best to turn around. If I broke down, or got stuck I’d have a hell of a time getting back down from this trail.
I rode around for awhile and discovered some more trails. Not sure if I was supposed to be on them or not, part of the trail system was designated for snowmobiles according to a sign I read. I did see another guy riding an ATV so I assume it was an acceptable place to ride. My understanding is that NY state has no love for dual sport riders in state forests or BLM land.
I was really looking to have a more spiritual day on the Autumnal equinox. As much fun as I had riding around in the mud, the damp weather and challenging trails didn’t leave much for the spiritual. I didn’t really feel like sitting on the cold damp ground reflecting on my many blessings. I did reflect on things to be grateful for as I rode. I’d stop and occasionally snap a picture or two and reflect on the beauty of nature and my surroundings. For the most part it was a really enjoyable afternoon, just not the spiritual journey I was looking for.
It was a two hour ride home and around 4 in the afternoon I decided to head back. The cooler weather has already arrived, and I really could of dressed warmer. I figured if I left now before the sun started going down, I wouldn’t freeze for the entire two hour trip home. I was really happy when the sun peeked out from behind the clouds and my black leather riding jacket absorbed some of the heat on the way home.
I took country back roads for most of the way. When I was about 30 minutes from home and in a more urban setting, I decided to hop back on the thruway. My exit is just a few miles from my house. In a bizarre twist of fate as soon as I get off at the exit, I stop at a red light. When I put the bike in gear, I immediately realize something is wrong. I can only describe it as a sort of clunky feeling as I give it gas. It almost felt like my chain was slipping. I reach down and check my chain to discover it really loose, then notice that my rear sprocket is hanging on by one bolt. The other bolts are chewed up, bent, and cutting into my swing arm 🙁 I pull over to the side of the road, pull out my tool bag, and rig it so I can at least get home. I idle the bike most of the way in third gear with the hazards on.
Arriving home I couldn’t help but think how lucky I just got. Had this happened when I was on that nasty trail, getting the bike out of that bush would of been really difficult. Not to mention the thought of breaking down two hours from home. The previous weekend I had rode out to the Adirondacks, close to 6 hours from home. It would of really sucked if it happened on that trip. In the greater scheme of things I couldn’t help but think what GREAT bad luck I have! LOL. I got home safely, repaired the bike the following day and all is right in The Moto Dudes world again.
Warm wishes on the first week of Autumn. Wishing you all abundance and prosperity on the day after the harvest moon. Safe travels and blessed be from The Moto Dude 🙂