As it had been a while since the Camel and I had spent any quality time together, a few day trips were in order to prepare for the next leg. The Camel woke right up and luckily forgave me for riding that horse in Montana, so soon we were on a 60 mile loop from Idaho Falls – east over Taylor Mountain through Wolverine Canyon, along the canyon rim of the Grays Lake drainage, and back home over the foothills near Bone.
A few run-ins with stray lava rocks was a firm reminder of the need for a radiator guard, so I spent the next day with my brother Steve in his metal shop. In no time we had a stout radiator guard fabricated, the oil changed, and new brake pads installed.
The previous day trip had shed some light on more rugged country further east, which seemed to demand another day of exploring. The starting point for this trip would be Zac and Misty’s house, belly full from delicious homemade eggs benedict after an evening of golf at the Heise Hot Springs Golf Course. After 9 holes it was clear that when The Dude uttered “Obviously you’re not a golfer,” he had been speaking of me. “So I jumped ship in Hong Kong and I made my way over to Tibet, and I got on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. So, I tell them I’m a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald… striking. So, I’m on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one – big hitter, the Lama – long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? ‘Gunga galunga… gunga, gunga-lagunga.’ So we finish the eighteenth and he’s gonna stiff me. And I say, ‘Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.’ And he says, ‘Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.’ So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”
Anyway, 100 miles (60 of them on dirt, gravel, and two-track trails) later we had crossed the Caribou Range, starting from Fall Creek near Swan Valley, rising up onto Skyline Ridge and then down through Tex Creek and back to Idaho Falls…..awesome!
Arriving home I noticed a nice steady drip of coolant coming from the waterpump. It seems that BMW’s engineering genius is back to haunt me again, this time 6,000 miles earlier than I had anticipated. Looks like I’ll be tearing into the Camel’s innards tomorrow to investigate. My excitement at this is perhaps best demonstrated by my nephew Gage, scowling at the band of imaginary biker thugs in hot pursuit: