Away Aloft, There!*

* Nautical: the order to the crew to ascend the rigging.

Joey here. 8000’ (2440 meters) above sea level.

This morning we were at 5000’ (1500 meters). Thin air if you live in NYC.

Jeffrey, ready to roll from Susan’s marvelous garage after she stuffed him with perfectly delicious scrambled eggs, served with her moving invocation of the Almighty’s help and blessing. I was stuffed in the yellow dry bag.

Sea level air is 20.9% oxygen. At 8000’, air is only 15.4% oxygen. Jeffrey feels the difference. (Not me. I don’t breathe.) But we have no time for him to adapt. He gasps and pants and pushes ahead.

“Away aloft, there!”

Now and then, all the way up the mountain, motorists were reminded to share.

Do such signs make us safer? At least they inform motorists that we belong. Only one motorist today—in a diesel pickup truck that blew us some “rolling coal” black smoke—had an issue with that.

After an initial descent, the road climbed.

Look closely. The dry West displays geology that we don’t often see in the lush green East except in road cuts..
The shoulder was good, not perfect. This stretch had a benignly aggressive rumble strip running parallel to the motor lane, and less aggressive but annoying perpendicular rumble patches every few yards. A two-wheeler could avoid the patches. Our three-wheeler had to rattle over them. Sometimes the shoulder roughened, narrowed or disappeared.
We stopped to see Bridal Veil Falls. Water cascaded down the cliff, into the remains of an avalanche. Professional photographer Amy took Jeffrey’s photo.
Amy drove to Utah with a companion to photograph a wedding. Amy also is a ski patroller, a rafting guide, a kayaker, and more. She has lived and worked in wild areas all over the USA. She posed ironically by the “Road Closed” sign; she believes in open roads. For travel. And for opportunity for all good people—including immigrants and refugees who get free help from Human RIghts First.

Amy’s career path reminds us of Stacy’s, whom we met in Montana last year, on her way to work in Alaska for the summer. What a great country of opportunity we live in! Amy and Stacy and we agree: those opportunities should not be denied to worthy people because of nonsensical barriers, including those created by our hodgepodge of immigration laws.

Mostly the road climbed.
Sometimes the road descended—which meant even more climbing later. (Sigh.)
Domesticated American bison, a.k.a., buffalo.
The road became steeper. On the Rides, as in life, one takes challenges as they come. What else can one do?
Daniels Summit Lodge. Elevation 8000’. The only shelter for many miles.
Snowmobile heaven. Is the near machine preaching to the choir?
Franziska isn’t short. The snow is tall! She and Jeffrey had a great conversation in the parking lot. Franziska, an HR executive vacationing from Germany, is mindful of her country’s history, as we should be mindful of ours. Recently she helped a young Syrian refugee family get a start; the father, trained as an auto mechanic, now repairs bicycles.
The lodge staff was expecting us. Salina, Michelle, and Becky are enthusiastic about the Ride. We received a warm welcome—as they welcome the persecuted who seek shelter in America.
We too are grateful for shelter. Soon after we arrived, a snowstorm began.
Due to the weather, our Sprint 26 got a premium parking spot—in the lobby.
Shayla saw to it that we got dinner before the dining room closed. She knows how undeservedly harsh American law can be to immigrants. Some of her family has lived it. Shayla is now a friend of the Ride, and of HRF.

The Rides give Jeffrey time to think.

Today he thought about what our friend Susan taught him about LDS (“Mormon”) doctrine. Its members are prominent in several Western states, yet those state governments don’t recognize the gray areas and complexities of real life that the LDS church takes into account. Susan’s teaching reinforces our view, often stated in these pages, that in many respects, America’s governments do not represent the will of The People.

Among other things, The People want a sensible and humane immigration and refugee system. When our governments don’t listen to us, we need Human Rights First to be our voice to that end.

3 thoughts on “Away Aloft, There!*

  1. You polished off that ascent in fine style. Snow! We are having a very long winter. Thank you for staying and including us in your epic ride.


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