Lost in Arizona's Backyard

December 17, 2008
By Michael Brimhall, Mesa, AZ

Every day the little things in life like the person who says hello to you as you walk by or the random person who helps you pick up some dropped books, no one thinks what life would be like when these little acts of kindness are taken away. Nearly every young child has had the experience of being lost in the grocery store or in a mall not knowing where to find help, not even where to start. All these may feel like major problems at the time, but are miniscule when compared to the frightening episode of being lost in the middle of a wasteland. Having nothing more than yourself, your motorcycle, and the ever-beating sun that slowly depletes your energy and ability to think straight.
There I was weaving, swerving and mastering the streets of the deserts making it seem easy. I was a radiant blur of red and blue streaking down the highway, never looking back. Traffic? There is no traffic in the middle of the desert mile away from any civilization. All there was in my mind was me, the open road, and endless miles to go; maybe few snakes and rabbits here or there. But in true reality there was three people behind me, my dad, and two of his buddies. They being the more sightseeing kind of people who wanted to go a little slower to see the stupid mountains and the annoying cacti native to Arizona’s dusty backyard. But I said, “ Who cares, you see them all over, if you really want to spend some serious time to study one just look over my side wall to my neighbors house. The only thing I wanted to do was to pull the throttle and punch it into fifth gear to leave it all behind.
So I did. Once I hit the gas I was gone, even faster then before. Tears were trickling down my face because the wind was coming up under my goggles and piercing into my eyes. I climbed up the mountain and back down, then rode up the next one for what seemed like a half an hour. Then it hit me I haven’t heard the sound of a trailing motorcycle since I left the group. I reasoned with myself. They are probably staying behind to get out of the dusty trail I left behind. Thoughts kept creeping into my mind. Could I have taken the wrong road? Could I have missed the road? Could they have crashed? Is someone hurt? Why did I leave? Questions were flying though my head, before I could answer any of them a new one and more important one took over my mind. My head was swarming with confusion and regret for being so selfish all I was thinking of was how I could just leave everyone. I couldn’t even think, I couldn’t function, I had no idea what to do. I wanted to just sit down and sort though all my confusion, but I couldn’t I had to go back I had to find everyone else before they had gotten to far or taken a different trail.
I kicked it into gear and sped off, still in shock from all the questions blocking my mind with no answers to put them aside with. I rode as fast as I had ever rode. Flying up and down the mountains I had just recently came the other way on. I hurriedly raced back to a high mountain I had passed to look around and find the dust trails. Adding to my bewilderment of questions there was no sign of any motorists. So I turned off my motor and just sat and listened there were no motors to be heard anywhere. I knew it! They must have crashed and I couldn’t help them. Then it all came out I leaned my head against my handlebars and cried. Sobbed rather. With questions still racing though my head I couldn’t screw my head back on right, the sun had already been beating down on me giving me dehydration hours before all of this started I was already not thinking straight. I had wild thoughts of this could be it I am going to die. The next riders that come though will just find my dead body. I hope they return me to my family. I thought of all the things I didn’t get to do. I did tell my mom I appreciated all the lunches she made for me in the morning, or all the nights she stayed up to comforted me in times when the scary monsters came out from the closets. Or my dad that came to all the sporting events to support me whether I won or lost. It was the little things that my family did for me that I remembered and made the difference.
After a few minuets of just plain old misery I began to accept my death. I said, “There’s now way out I’m done for” and when I steadily raised my head to try to regain some posture I saw a figure rising over a far-away rim of a mountain. It was to far I couldn’t make out what it was. I wanted to say it was someone here to help me, but there was no way I was too far into the desert to be found. As it got closer I started to realize that it was a motorcyclist. My spirit was instantly lifted. As my savior approached even more I found it to be my dad. I yelled his name he quickly responded with his normal “Yeah” like nothing had happened. Thinking on my feet to cover up that I had left the group and could have gotten lost. I said “oh nothing” then calmly said ”where were you” He replied, “Someone had a broken down bike I had to help them.” I coolly went along and said “ok sounds good” and we started off down the mountain and up the next, reunited, to never be separated again.

While riding back to the car after regaining some of my sanity I thought to myself. “I never could have died, I was perfectly ok,” but the things that I thought to myself that afternoon have stayed with me forever and have helped me to say my “please” and “thank-yous” no matter how small the favor or how often it is done.

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