Sequel to Harleys in the Mountains


In a previous blog, I described my run-in with motorcyclists in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of New Mexico. At an elevation of about 11,000 feet, five men on Harleys were determined to cross a rickety bridge spanning a cliff that separated a mountain lake from a waterfall. I was camping at the water’s edge when I heard the roar of their motorcyles ascending the trails—which were posted, “Absolutely no motor vehicles allowed.”

Sitting in the middle of the bridge as they approached, I stopped them with threats of throwing the first man over the cliff to his death. Maybe mine, too, but I was too mad to care. Grudgingly, they backed off after some tactful persuasion by my partner.

Revenge is Mine

Descending to our campground after three days of backpacking, we planned to spend the night in our tent, then head back to Oklahoma. We heated the last of our food over a campfire and went to bed.

The campground was mostly quiet, except for the thrum of a motorcycle pulling into the camping space next to ours just before I drifted off. Not the kind of bedtime music I wanted to hear.

Around 3 am I woke up. I had to pee, and I was thirsty. I lay there for a few minutes hoping the need would go away—but, of course, it never does. Still nursing my grudge against motorbikers, whose chainsaw engines had been reverberating through the canyons for days, I groped around the tent for a tin cup and walked to the restroom. On the way, I saw at least three motorbikes parked in various dark sites. I thought,”I hate them.”

Sitting on the loo, I was suddenly inspired. I would fill the cup with sand and pour a little in each gas tank. Everyone was sleeping. I just had to be very quiet. By the time I’d finished unscrewing gas caps and pouring in sand, I’d emptied the cup twice. Creeping back into our tent, I slipped into my down bag and fell back asleep feeling vindicated. My husband was still snoring. Good. “He doesn’t need to know about this,” I thought.

Rewards of Vigilante Justice

In the morning, we broke camp and drove out of the campground before noon. Leaving, we saw two guys pulling a double motorcycle trailer behind a pickup truck—carrying only one bike. Both guys got out. Looking puzzled, one pointed upward to the canyon.

Ha. I’ll bet his motorcycle stalled in the mountains earlier in the morning, and they’re figuring out how to get it down.

I smirk. My husband looks at me suspiciously. “What…”

“I was just wondering what they were up to.”

We drove on, approaching the ranger station. The ranger was standing in the road trying to kickstart his motorcycle. I whispered, “Oh, no.”

My husband glared at me. “What did you do?”

“Me? What would I do?” I laughed and turned on the radio. My husband is a man who asks no questions when he doesn’t want to know the answers.

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