“Foomph!” Never a sound you want to hear.

Foomph!

Fire sprang up inches from my already much abused crotch.  Well then, today is looking up already!

I’d initially missed the piddling dribble of fuel leaking around a cracked cap on my gas can as I fueled in the grey haze of early morning.  Ever sharp-eyed, I took notice of it just as the stream sizzled against the hot header pipe.

A frantic string of well-crafted  curses, a moment of panic, and I threw the bike to the ground, kicking sand on the flames and quickly averting tragedy.  No one in camp even stirred.

Moments later, I kicked the 450 back to life and roared off into the endless sands, fighting the loss of depth perception and contrast in the gloom, pinned in 3rd gear to climb the big dune we call the Mountain of Madness.  Two hundred meters up, I found the top and the red pre-dawn glow of a sun ready to burn through the layer of dust hanging over the desert.   From a bike on fire to a sky on fire, in the space of a few moments.  Alone, I took in the silence and watched the red orb climb through the haze.

Dawn.

Rumors of my demise: greatly exaggerated

As our friend Mark Twain observed, I’m not dead–just radio silent on the blog side for a bit.  Life is busy, and with the efforts required to keep three kids and their bikes in racing form along with my own, trials and travails at work and off-road, I just haven’t had time.  Wordpress is a decent interface, but it’s not the simplest and it certainly isn’t as easy as simply uploading a handful of pictures at the push of a button from my smart phone.  Formatting, uploading, and all that take some time, and I have a hard time doing it half-assed and just slapping a bunch of muck up here.

So, the one-year anniversary of unibrawler.com came and a week ago, and as I prepared to renew my domain name and WordPress access, it occured to me that I should probably make some use of my money.  Well, here we have it.

The past year:  a blur of Baja Rally, a shattered collarbone and subsequent hardware upgrade, the Desert 100, multi-week training trips for work, the kids entering their first season of the NMA Offroad Series, I raced the Rocky Mountain Rally and the Virginia City GP on the 950SE, we rebuilt every kid-bike in the garage (two Honda CR85s and two KTM 105s) from the crank up, and I ended up taking an extended overseas job that will keep me away from home and the family until the end of summer 2018.  Meanwhile, the kids are still racing and I’ve been getting out as much as possible to shred the dunes, having set aside my stable of KTMs for a 2010 Honda CRF450R.  Life is imperfect, but we’re making a go of it.

The next year or so?  Many goals and ideas.

  • Spend zero weekends sitting in my apartment doing nothing.  Get out every single weekend. This is a unique opportunity, so I’ve got to make the best of it.  Already, I’ve hit dunes and camped in a couple of places and linked up with a crew of dirtbike-riding expats.  This bodes well for my sanity!
  • Race in some event here in the Middle East.  I have an invite to co-drive (navigate) a friend’s 2018 Can-Am X3 UTV. in the Abu Dhabi Challenge in March.  Not sure how realistic that is, but I intend to try!
  • Support the kids in their endeavors.  Small races are easy, but their next big event is a Youth Team entry at the Starvation Ridge 24-hour race in October 2017.  I don’t think they fully understand what they’re getting into, but I doubt it would stop them if they did. That’s the spirit! I’m excited to see how they cope with this one.  The Desert 100 is one thing.  Deep mud in the cold, wet dark is something else entirely.  Stay tuned.
  • Figure out this blogging thing.  Make it look good.  Begin to understand online content as a business.  Look hard at what to do in 2020 when I’m finally retired and can move on to “what I love.”  Whatever that is.  How do I make a decent living on motorcycles?
  • Continue to prep and research the big ride-the-world trips that I have vaguely planned for each kid between their junior and senior years of high school.  A month of riding one a different continent should do wonders for their world view!
  • Continue to inspire, cajole, motivate, harass, and love the kids who really create a great excuse for me to be a kid as well.  If you haven’t seen it, they were recently featured in Revzilla’s Common Tread.  I thought that was pretty badass and humbling at the same time.  They’re the toughest little crew I know, and they amaze me at every turn…even though I want to strangle them half the time when three strong-willed children are all fighting each other over how something should be done.
  • Laugh a lot.