Being a dirt biker is a very self-sufficient thing. You often ride with your well-vetted crew who has your back because, inevitably, the unexpected happens. Cracked cases, flat tires, bent levers, broken pegs, slams, and anything else you can think of. If it can go wrong, at some point it will go wrong. It's why we bring quick-setting epoxy, tow straps, emergency locator beacons, first-aid kits, zip ties, and all kinds of tools. When you're 30-100 miles from the nearest civilization, it's best to be prepared. It's part of what it means to be a true dirt biker.

Our crew was strong...Buddha, Jimbo, Hadley, and Sheflin. The first day in Moab was already filled with drama as Sheflin blew his engine. It fortunately happened near a large Mexican family gathering out in the desert which was close to a 4x4 rode. I waited with John as the rest of the boys rode back to retrieve the trucks for rescue. My bike was running a bit strange as it ran out of gas at 30 miles. Odd, but seemed to be running well otherwise. A note that, if you are ever stranded in the desert, try to find a large Mexican family gathering. We ate like kings, drank free beers, and were privy to witness an ATV piñata game. Nothing like mixing ATV's, candy, children, drunk adults, and a wood bat. I was fairly certain I was going to witness my first involuntary manslaughter, but thankfully all left with their heads intact. Alas, John was out for the next day of riding. Shopping, drinking, and roaming around in Moab for John while we rode the infamous Poison Spider trail. Oh boy, I'm sure am glad I'm not John!

Sunday morning and the crew got ready. Pour in more gas, check your oil levels, top off your coolant, fill your water hydration bag, and prepare for a hootenanny of a fun ride. I had never done this ride before, but heard some great things about it. The stoke was high as we were doing the Biker Cowboy thing. Living and loving life as we rode off into the red rocked desert abyss. What could possibly go wrong?

Halfway through and we paused to stop at the top of a hill which had an American flag planted on it. A great moment and an even better view as we snapped a few photos. I commented how my bike stalled on the climb up and that I was a bit concerned, but was met with the comment of "If it's running, ride it" by Buddha. Yeah, probably something minor. Let's keep riding.


Back on our steeds on off on the trail. The fun, technical sections were coming up and I was looking forward to it. Here comes the first climb, so give her some gas. Then POOF...a knock, a stall, and black smoke coming out the pipe. Not good. I try to start the bike and nothing...really not good. Now what?   

After a lengthy on-trail analysis of potential problems and fixes it was determined that my bike was, indeed, toasted. Hopefully not too bad, but one thing was now certain...I wasn't riding that Husky back to the trailhead. No sir, this cowboy's horse was now a dead weight with wheels. No easy way out and 15 miles from the trucks with challenging hills/rocks/obstacles in 90+ degree desert heat. This is when the four-letter words started kicking in. Ugh!!!

When things like this happen in the middle of nowhere, you ultimately just have to deal with it. Like it or not, you can't call triple A to come tow you out and save you. Hell, 90% of the time you don't even have cell service. Alas, I didn't want to be a buzz kill and ruin everyone else's ride, so I started to walk back with my bike. No way I was going to make it back alone. Thankfully my brother Bryan Hadley volunteered to help me. We attached the strap to Bryan's bike in various locations with me holding the opposite side as it wrapped around my bars. If you've ever tried towing a dirt bike with another dirt bike, you'll know it's not a perfect science. Far from it. After a couple of miles it was pretty evident we'd be lucky to make it out before dark. The terrain was too unforgiving and some of the hills too steep. F#@K!!, I might have to leave my bike on the trail and hike/ride out with Bryan. Either that or spend the night sleeping in the desert.

Right when we were about to throw in the towel, three side-by-side ATV's came roaring over the hill. My immediate thought was "Boy, I sure wish I had one of those right now." But my problem is my problem, so I didn't hail them down as Bryan and I struggled to get up the hill. I didn't even think they saw buy, to my surprise, they all turned around and drove back up to us. "Hmm, maybe I'll get lucky here."

Upon approach Cody and his two friends asked if we needed any help. While I was tempted to decline this offer due to my ego, the truth was that we were in dire straits. I apologized as I informed them that my bike broke down as we were attempting (however feebly) to make it back to the trailhead. And here were three strangers in the late-20's having a great time, so I felt bad asking them to help me. At this point I received a reply that I will remember forever.. Almost collectively they said "We're Mormons. Our religion states that we must always help people in need." And with that we devised a plan to haul my bike by attaching it to the op of Cody's Can-Am side by side. Never thought I'd see my motorcycle in this position, but also never happier to be able to make it work. Now let's see if this works.


I'd be lying if I said the ride back wasn't a blast. Watching Cody and his friends navigate the trails and being a passenger on this journey was a genuine trip. This group of young men impressed me immensely. All hard working, hard charging, and living life to it's fullest. Upon arrival back to our trucks I managed to gather $60 cash (all I had at the time) and had to practically beg them to take it. Have never been more grateful to give someone $60.

In sum, the trip and my experience wasn't what I was originally hoping for. And that's ok. It wound up being what I needed. A further appreciation was gained for various religions, races, and modes of backcountry transportation. My top end was shot, which required a rebuild, but my mechanic Shain thankfully hooked it up and I was only out of commission for a few weeks. In the end, it's what I truly love about dirt biking in the backcountry. Rugged individualism tied with an unspoken rule of helping thy fellow man. Doesn't matter the color of your skin, where you come from, what God you preach to, or how you're getting there. Nature will eventually show it's power and bite you. If you're lucky, some strangers will come save the day. It's happened to me more times than I care to admit, but this particular Moab trip took the cake. Mad love to the bikers, the Mexicans, the Mormons, the Side-by-Siders, my friends, and the places we ride. Get out there!