“Buck Wild” Gets His Mojo Back Montage
By Don Kenton Henry Donald Kenton Henry
Wanderlust. It is a condition most suffer from on occasion. For others, it is a thirst never quenched. I find myself among the latter.
From time to time, I assuage that smoldering urge (on the verge of bursting flame) with the only thing close to a cure. That is to put shoe leather or tire to the road, airplane wing to the sky, or … relative to my most recent self-prescribed remedy me … two tires on 850 pounds of German metal with me atop flying 3 feet above concrete, asphalt, and gravel for 5,600 miles over the course of 19 days.
Said journey took me through 9 of these States United and several of my mental and physical ones. I was accompanied much of this trip by my friends Kelly Seachord and Mitzi Seachord. At the top of our trail, in the mountains of Montana, we enjoined my acquaintance (who quickly became my newfound friend) Jon Kingsley Jr. Together we toured Flathead Lake where my brothers and I first fished for trout with Zebco poles next to the postal truck my dad converted into an RV. I never forgot the crystal clear blue waters of that lake and I happily say they remain as clear today.
The following day, we rendezvoused, again with Jon, at his campsite in Whitefish, to tour the Grand Teton National Park northeast of Kalispell.
Like all great journeys, it had its up and downs. Along the way, I was led astray by a wayward GPS system which had me traveling on about 10 miles of dirt and gravel road, somewhere in Colorado or both (I’m not sure which anymore than my GPS) heading east when I should have been on blacktop heading west. I endured over 100-degree heat for 8 to 10 hours a day when, eventually, no amount of fluid consumption would quench my thirst. I slept on a picnic table because I could not stay awake traveling 75 mph on a motorcycle. Inhaling the dust of multiple states gave me a mild sinus infection which precipitated a mild case of bronchitis thrown only by two subsequent nights of sweats which soaked the sheets and pillows of my hotel beds in both Deadwood South Dakota and Cody Wyoming. I am confident the maids changed those linens and probably entered the bathroom expecting to find a deceased guest. Thankfully, my strong immune system prevailed and I shook that off long enough to endure a fall (not on the motorcycle) which left me with a sprained (but not torn) left Achilles tendon and calf muscle. I’m still too embarrassed to elaborate on it. Let’s just say, “Once again, The Phoenix rises from the dust.”
I saw big horn sheep, elk, wild turkeys, hares, and antelope. Flatlander that I am, I saw mountains that made me feel set free yet, at the same time . . . infinitesimally small. I saw rivers, creeks, and waterfalls where many a Native American, trapper, frontiersman, pioneer, settler, and homesteader satisfied his thirst and that of his mounts, mules, and oxen as he made his way west or … tapped in his best effort to water the parched ground of the plains he staked. This in a brave, and too often failed, attempt to grow food with which to sustain his family through the harsh and unforgiving winters.
I saw at least one modern-day traveler meet his or her end in what seemed a much less romantic and, at the same time, unnecessary manner.
Headed home, descending from the northernmost region of Montana to the plains below, I ran parallel to a river tumbling through mountain boulders adjacent to a railroad track backed by majestic mountains. These beneath the canopy of a robin’s egg blue sky and white billowy clouds. A BNSF engine pulled freight cars down the decline and, as I imagined pulling all that steel from inside that locomotive, that engineer must have been looking out at me imagining the freedom of breaking free of those tracks and his duty to his employer. I am certain he was wondering what it would be like to go wherever his own wanderlust took him. I spied him spying me, took my hand off the motorcycle throttle, and, while looking straight at his distant eyes, jacked my arm three times with my fist to the sky. I swear I could see him smile from 400 yards and I know he saw me smile back as 3 times he lay a long, not so lonesome, blast on that locomotive’s horn. It was a simple but special moment on the beginning end of an epic and successful trip to get my mojo back.
I leave you with this montage of images I captured along the way accompanied by songs that express my love of this great nation and the ever-recurring drive to see what lies over the next mountain or across the next river, prairie, or plateau. You don’t have to like me and you don’t have to like motorcycles. But if you love this country of ours, as I do, you will, hopefully, appreciate my humble efforts to provide you a glimpse of what life and nature granted me along the path I took to end another summer and wanderlust almost . . . but not quite past.
(please click on the youtube link and title below)
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