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Fasten your seatbelts it's going to be a fun ride

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Natural Bridges & Monument Valley Utah/Arizona

Once I got on the bike, after the first hour of riding, I felt very sleepy but didn't want to turn around. I knew I just needed to see something new and feel the excitement of discovery again.
I passed this Cedar Breaks canyon look out as I checked in a few days ago so stopped to take a look. 

Spooky signs.

I saw this on the way in. 
Freakin hysterical. 
Google maps is not always right.
That is why I carry paper maps, a GPS and triage that with Google.

So on ADV Rider I was told by an inmate that a place called Tandoori Tacos in Panguitch was well worth the stop. I checked online and they looked open. Called, left a message. Not open. Tried again a second time, still not open. Too bad. So sad.

Gorgeous drive through red rock arches.
Even more nonsense here like at Bryce Canyon with the sign. 
This time after the first ding dong pulled in front of me as I got ready to snap the photo, I pulled up really close so no one could cut in line again. 

The Utah landscape is so unique and changes every 10-20 miles.

This has to be one of the prettiest rides I've done in a while.
It was a lot more fun, with time to spare and during daylight.

Turned back for this cute valley photo.

The road then meandered through a valley of red cliffs along a stream.

These landscape photos really don't do the colors justice. 

Insane beauty.

So....riding a few days before, late in the day, under the pressure of the setting sun, after my bike got rammed and a new chain installed, passed by the "Broken Spur" where they have a well known steakhouse and the smell of steak nearly made me fall off the bike. I was so hungry.
I kept thinking about this place, all three days at Brian Head, eating not so good what did I do? I decided to go back and stay the night.

Yep, giant stuffed cougar on the wall behind check in.

Room #7. Lucky. 
King size bed. 
Not as squishy and soft but still comfy.

End of the building with beautiful vistas.
Trucks kept wailing around the corner so I re-positioned the bike closer to the door.

Indoor heated pool and jacuzzi. Didn't go in.

Luxury 'wagon' accommodations. 

Yes. In 20+ languages.

I went to the office after I checked in and met Francine. 
I'd emailed her that I had ridden by a few nights before and wished I could have stopped to eat. 
I had a hard time deciding between rib eye and rack of lamb. 
I saw a lot of sheep that day so opted for that. 
Thank God they put a full rack, I was hungry.
It was delicious. I was happy and excited again. 

The next morning I woke up at 7, so excited to get on the road. 
That cold front was holding and fortunately the desert temps were below 80.
Had rubber eggs and dry breakfast sausage. (yuck)

So I-95 south from Torrey UT has got to be in my top 5 rides of all time.
I was slack jawed most of the way. I swear I almost teared up a couple times because it was so beautiful. I even slowed down to 40 mph just so I could admire the scenery more.

That's the Colorado River below.

Scale. Little Grindle over there to the right.

National Bridges National Park.

To see most of the bridges required a short hike.
Fat chance. Will come back with my mountain goat next Spring.
He can go hike and take photos while I sip margaritas in the shade.

Now it was the Moki Dugway.
2 miles of steep downhill gravel, sheer drop offs, and heart pounding inducing turns. 

At the bottom, epic wide open desert with red rock towers. 

This is Goosenecks park. Spectacular too.

I couldn't take enough photos!

Zoomed in.

THAT is what I came down on the Moki. Can't even see the road hun!

Finally, Monument Valley.

Remember that short fuel range? I was at the last bar and a bit nervous.
Then I saw a road construction sign that said Hwy 163 closed at Mexican Hat starting Sept 15th.
Where is the available gas? Mexican Hat.
What day is it? Sept 15th.
My heart sunk....thankfully they weren't going to shut the road down until 6 pm that night, otherwise I would have had a four hour detour....made it to Page AZ to my lovely Airbnb. 
Nice and cool inside. 98F outside. Yikes! 

Tomorrow Zion National Park.


Monday, September 14, 2020

Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Escalante, and Cedar Breaks National Parks

Have you heard of Virginia City NV?
Well there is also a Virginia City MT and it is nearly the same.
Preserved old wild west town.
Lot's of ghost stories.
And at 7 am, not one tourist in my pictures.
This is the original train station, see the train car on the right behind the building?

Some old buildings in very good condition.
Living history museum.

These original cabins on the main street are for rent for the night.
Prefer my haunted hotel.

Some of the shops are also businesses, like this cafe.

Original panning equipment, with my shadow in the picture.
It's the damnedest thing...each morning I have to pack the bike in the full sun.
No matter how carefully I plan the night before.

Stopped to air up the tires on the car.
Woke up to some snow on the top. 
Glad I was not on the bike...

As I read this sign, two motorcycles went by. 
I was flabbergasted. 
It was below freezing.

Fake air pump.

So as I neared the top of the pass headed back to West Yellowstone to return the car and hopefully get the bike started for my journey south to Utah...

I caught up to them.
The road was total ice.
They were riding at about 15 mph with both feet sliding along the road.
I decided to follow them at a safe distance with my hazards on just in case.

It cost me an extra day car rental fee but well worth it. 
At the bottom of the pass, they pulled off and all I could think was how lucky I was to be in a heated car. I had 350 miles to cover that day, hopefully away from the cold front.

My fuse bypass trick worked and the heated gear was functioning.
Time to get out of Yellowstone and go south where it is warm and dry. 

As I powered down the I-15, I felt my familiar hunger pains and found this truck stop restaurant.

After another four hours of riding, some of it in brutal cross winds off the SLC mountain range on the West of me, I arrived at my Airbnb. This place was super weird.
It looked luxurious from the outside but the kitchen was tiny without one window so dark like a cave. The master bedroom was huge with the tiniest bathroom and low ceiling, elbow knocking stand up shower. The walk in closet was twice the size of the bathroom and the walls were made out paper mache so I heard every toilet flush, footfall and muffled conversation from the guests in the room above.

Still, King size squishy bed. 

The next day I was to meet up with another rider in Moab Utah.
Lots of things went wrong in Moab. 
Still beautiful red rock as far as the eye could see.

Arches National Park.
At 7 am, had the place to myself.

And there is the delicate arch in the distance on the left. 
No I did not hike out to it in my heavy gear. 
I paid $400 for a good zoom lens instead.

There were many pic nic spots. 
Normally the temperatures here is over a hundred.
With the cold front though it was a lovely 60 degrees.

The long distance vistas were amazing.

Later, I felt the bike shudder when I was passing an RV.
I've been riding long enough to know it was one of two things, the chain or the sprocket.
After adjusting the chain tighter, (it started with a good 5 inch movement that only started in the last day) still didn't feel right, front sprocket seemed off. 
Decided to go to Mad Bro to get them to check the chain. I've got a couple thousand miles to go.

But not before a visit to Canyonlands.

This was like the Grand Canyon in AZ.

Epic Scenery.

These pillars, quite common due to the erosion.

The formations were so alien looking.

Rumbly in my tumbly so, stopped in town for a massive steak salad.
Notice the lack of dressing?
My cat like reflexes meant the 'on the side' dressing was on the ground between my boots instead of all over my lap.

Mad Bro. 
See that pick up truck on the right?
Here is where the drama starts.
He rammed my bike while backing up and caused damage.
At this time, we know of 3 major problems, bent handle bars, hand guard popped off and nick in front fender. Oh and he hit the Michelin Man squarely. 

Troy replaced the chain because it was shot.
He gave me that look that men sometimes do and said "you really should lube that chain more". 
I was furious. I paid extra for a center stand just so I could lube the chain every 300 miles or less. 
I even ask total strangers to help me put it up so I can do that. I take meticulous care of my equipment. What threw me off is the chain only had 13K miles on it. The Tiger, I get 20-25K miles on a chain. 
Oh well, new chain installed and we had a lot of miles to travel before night fell.

Stopped for gas after an uncomfortably long ride through desert with nothing in sight.
This place is literally built in the side of the mountain.

Finally arrived in Escalante for the night to my rustic cabin.
I fell asleep in minutes. 

Next stop, Bryce Canyon National Park. 
But only after some coffee from my jetboil.
I've got a problem, it won't light. 
No matter, just use one of my 'strike anywhere' emergency matches.
After trying just about every rough surface I could find, I gave up.

Stopped here for an omelette. 
It was another meat lovers one.
Except the egg part was pure white.
So I had to ask if they made it with only egg whites without my asking.
Whole eggs. 
Figured out the next morning when I cracked open some eggs to make my own omelette, there are some very unhappy chickens in Utah. Not only is the yolk a creamy white color but they are flavorless. 

I wonder how many kids climb up on this before the parents catch them.

So I pulled up the motorcycle to take a photo of the park entrance sign and three different cars pulled up right, one at a time, in front of me, got out, posed for their #!&!%#!#%! photo without so much as a nod in my direction. Finally after ten minutes of waiting, got my photo.

So Bryce Canyon is quite epic. There is a rim road drive, much like Crater Lake with many viewing spots. I loved it. 

All these high elevations mean cool temperatures too. 

I've seen a lot of shiny new 4x4's on this trip. 
Plenty of jeeps for sure. 
But none quite like this one.

Hood emblem. 

Made it to Brian Head UT. 
Ski resort town.
Booked a condo here for three nights. 
They had a luggage cart. 

My huge, cushy, plush, soft sheets and too many pillows king size bed.

I ordered a T bone from the restaurant here. 
I just didn't have the energy to go anywhere else. 
It was OK. Cooked the right temp but a bit gristly. 
Corn on the cob? Picked that up at a local grocery store.

I spent the next three days doing absolutely nothing. 

Here are my photos for the next day. 
My big accomplishment? 
Figured out how to cook bacon on a griddle with a stupid drain hole on the side that I discovered a bit too late. 

Then it took the better part of an hour to cook shallots and red bell pepper and mushrooms for my omelette on this 'hot plate'. (oh, AFTER I figured out that only one special pan worked with it).

After nearly two hours of cooking, I had a bacon infused smell in the condo and promptly passed out on the bed for a 5 hour nap. I was exhausted. Normally when I trip plan, I map out each day and the mileage. Doing it this way, insures I set reasonable distances with usually a 'day off' once a week. I didn't finish my trip plan and realized I paid the price. I've consistently ridden 350-400 miles per day for two weeks now and finally collapsed. 

What did I do the next day? Only photo taken. 
Watched movies, when I could get the temperamental DVD player to work.

Ordered more so-so food from the restaurant. 
Just didn't have the energy to gear up. Short of breath.
10,000+ feet here. Still dog tired.

I did have access to the indoor pool, (a balmy 84 degrees) and the Jacuzzi mostly to myself.
I boiled each day in this thing for at least an hour. 

It's now Monday and the end of my three day stay. 
It's time to go....having a hard time generating energy to get going....did I actually make myself sick of riding? Stay tuned....