As the short winter day was ending, my face was going numb from the cold air blowing through the opening in my Moto 4. The outside of my body was loosing feeling from the cold but inside I could feel the warmth of the hand of God. The rough road was trying to throw me off the back of Tarter's CR500. We were riding double back from an incident that that seemed like a bad dream but to be sure - it had happened.

The annual RUTS Christmas ride is always the perfect way to end the year and start a new one. Friday's rides were fast and fun. The recent rains meant no dust and traction just short of fly paper. There were so many RUTSters at this ride, it was hard to get a spot by the campfire. It was cold at night, so we all gathered around the campfire. Rod played his guitar morning and night and we all joined in singing songs to the Lord. Sonny had the Bible study and taught us how prayer had brought him closer to the Lord. Prayer is our connection with the Lord and through prayer we draw nearer to Him. Friday night brought rain and Saturday morning you could see socks and boots lining the campfire to evaporate as much water as possible before putting them on. A few barters for dry socks were made and after the helment liners were ringed out we gathered for a massive ride.

It started out with 14 riders, clear skies and very cold air. The first stop was at the concrete mounted Husky. A humble machine whose rider had lost his life in the desert. Had the rider also lost his soul? We wondered but no one actually said it. The bike was mounted in concrete with a small plaque off to the side announcing the starting and ending dates of the rider's life. There was only about 3 inches of space between the two dates. What can you put in 3 inches to represent a man's life? What is intended to go there is JESUS. What else could possibly fill that space? We rode on.

There was snow on the mountains in the distance. We decided to ride to the snowline. Eric Fekkes' Honda spit out the oil drain plug a mile later. Not wanting to disgrace the XR family name by getting a Kawi-tow, Jerry offered to tow back the downed thumper with his Honda. We parted company and headed for the snow.

The road was choice. It had sweeping turns and slight jumps here and there. It eventually followed the fence line of the bombing range, then got rocky and started uphill. Just over the top was an old road leading to an abandoned mine. The dirt tailings were some 30 yards long, no doubt this was a deep shaft. We threw rocks down the shaft and speculated what was the best way to reach the snow above. We mounted our rides and started our assent. For a brief moment common sense failed me and as I climbed up the tailings, a short chop of the thottle got me some air time. The KDX landed on the rear wheel and lunged toward the open shaft... I saw the green steed make a perfect swish down the hole as I clawed for something to keep me from going the same route.

Somehow I had gotten off the bike inches from the shaft. It had to have been my guardian angel pulling me from the bike, The KDX was gone. Praise the Lord is all I could think (I was still speechless). That was the last place I wanted to get a cement mounted KDX and a plaque. If and when that does happen, I know just what I want between those dates!!!!

I want to give a special thanks to everyone who offered to climb down after the Green Machine. That pleasure went to Russ Barton, who with Eric Fekkes and Tony & Kim's help repelled 80 feet down the shaft to find the bike wedged with the front tire up. (The bottom of the shaft was could not be seen.) We pulled the bike out and as usual the KDX fired on the second kick then promptly took me for a ride ($150 worth). Mine Sweeper.



This is at 70 feet down! The bike was about 80feet.

A few choice shots of the rescue - Eric Fekkes mans the ropes while Russ Barton repels.

The bike is still running the desert to this day - Danny Thompson races it regularly - see your local Kawi dealer today!