Map of Boulder unto Moab
After leaving Tom in Cheyenne the previous day, Gabby and I made our way to Boulder. We met Gabby’s friend Kevin and stayed with him for a few days. Kevin was certainly an interesting character, both full of “witty puns” / “dad jokes” and a superior intelligence of pretty much everything! He also was very involved in the Burning Man organisation (which I have to say, I’m really not interested in at all). However, he was a super nice guy and staying in his house was totally great!
While in Boulder, Gabby and I did some hiking, bouldering (in boulder) and pretty much socializing with Kevin and his friends. It was soon becoming time for Gabby and I to part ways. She wanted to travel alone, and I encouraged that she did, more respect from me!
From Boulder, we made our way toward the Rocky Mountain National Park. We stopped in Allenspark before the national park for a couple of nights and did some hikes. I still wasn’t in great shape with the illness/medication and if anything I may have slowed Gabby down a little. We had fun all the same.
From Allenspark we headed to Estes Park and through the Rocky Mountain National Park to Grand Lake. We had an awful night in a recreational BLM spot where hot-headed, adrenaline and testosterone pumped folk wanted to ride their dirt vehicles all night long by our camp spot. Guns were being shot and general shouting occurred most of the night. Gabby got up before dawn as she wanted to do a 14er (a mountain in excess of 14,000 feet), I was certainly not in any shape to do it, so I stayed in Grand Lake the morning until she was finished.
Hot Sulphur Springs
We headed to Hot Sulphur Springs for our last night together. We found a cute little camp ground tucked away in the middle of nowhere just south of Hot Sulphur Springs and then headed into town to soak up some hot-spring relaxation. Neither of us slept well the night before, and Gabby had just climbed a mountain so I’m sure she was in need of it.
My great travel friend and I had some difficulty talking about what was going to happen next. As selfish as I felt about it, I either wanted to join her on her lone adventure, or have her stay with me wherever I went. I fully wanted her to do her own thing, but I was also too wrapped up in emotions and feelings I could not remember when I last felt that way. Things were a little tense and awkward between us again, not necessarily in a bad way, but conversations did not flow fluidly.
We dined out that night and I recall it feeling pretty damn awful. Neither of us wanted to part, but kept on pretending it was fine, and was the right decision, talking about everything other than the elephant in the room.
The following morning, we packed rather slowly and clumsily, not talking much. Just awkward denial and procrastination. We agreed to get breakfast together. It so happened breakfast would be in the most inappropriately named diner (and the only diner) available. Our breakfast seemed to be over too quickly so we then ordered a second dish to prolong the inevitable. It was awful! We weren’t talking about anything just holding hands and forcing smiles on our faces.
My Face is Leaking
As we went out to the parking lot, we agreed to go to the fuel station together before saying goodbye. The drawn-out goodbye was agony, I was a little choked and couldn’t bring myself to say much but smile and nod. As we finished doing as much procrastination as possible, we took off our helmets to say goodbye. Gabby told me that her face was leaking (asking me if she should have that looked at, she was always asking me about mechanical maintenance), I smiled as tears started rolling down my face too. We kissed goodbye and started off in opposite directions still with our Sena headsets on. I started balling my eyes out and had to turn the intercom off. A flood of emotions hit me that day as I rode alone again in the opposite direction of the most awesome person I had ever met.
To say that in the past 20 years of my recollection I haven’t cried like this, ever; would be an understatement. Learning to cry has been a revelation to me!
I carried on riding that day for as long as I could, trying to hide my face as much as possible inside my helmet. Occasionally, breaking down into tears, and at times having to pull over feeling like I was about to be sick! It was a wretched feeling! I was feeling the sensation of mourning a loved one, except she was still alive.
We had no fixed plan of when or if we would ever see each other again, it was a huge uncertainty! Now 9 months later, as I’m writing this (crying), I can say we wont ever see each other again.
I took as much back road as I could heading back to Moab, I didn’t really have any idea why Moab, maybe just a place I’ve always liked. I figured it sounded brazen to say “Moab” to Gabby as my next destination. To hide the fact I was someone who had no plan at all for the next month. I still wonder if I made the right/wrong decision.
The following morning after another travelling mishap (I lost my waterproof pants, that I was given by my friend Jon, who I met on the Alaska ferry). I backtracked 10 miles on the dirt and did not find them. I had 4 weeks left and would I need another pair?
I continued forward and crossed back into Utah state. I met some old harley boys who rolled off with the usual diatribe about “You cannot be going that far on that dirt bike“. I had very little energy to humour them but managed to set them straight on the fact I’d now been 15 months on the road, and was eating well into 23,000 miles on Ursula without any mechanical issues. Their faces went blank. They took a photo of me and the bike and then a group photo and off they went in disbelief.
I returned to the hostel where I originally met Gabby and felt utterly broken. I felt I should and could have done something different, maybe I should have insisted. Maybe … *sigh*… It was an experience, and that’s why one travels!