|14-09-2006, 02:56 PM||#11|
Wassup???!!! It's always nice seeing another solo adventure rider.
Another shot of UT-12 heading toward Kodachrome State Park.
complete with the random rock formation thrown in
You'll never see a sign like THAT in Virginia.
The rocks were white in Kodachrome
This is just outside the park, still on UT-12
Getting closer to the park. The scenery everywhere rocked.
I can see for miles,,,,,and,,,,,,miles.
This area was so beautiful I couldn't ride more than 1/4 mile before stopping again. I really put the starting system on th Uly through hell these first 5 days.
This was shot just inside the park. I had already seen so much, I almost didn't pay the entry fee. Then I found out the State charges bikes only $3.00. It was worth the fee. Basically, the park is a 2 miles stretch leading through more beautiful scenery, some of which is pretty famous.
It was Hot, witha capital H out there.[IMG]
The loop at the end of the drive at Kodachrome State Park. The cliffs were so high it was hard to get a shot behind where I was standing to tak this shot.
Leaving the park
led through a detour, past this gone but not forgotten icon
Back on UT-12 heading east, all those clouds suddenly turned dark. I rolled past 3 Harleys sitting on the side of the road. I assumed they were putting on rain gear.
Several miles later, the wind suddenly picked up, so I puoll off the side of the road. The routine was familiar. Put both cameras away in their plastic bags, then put rain gear on. As I was digging for my rain pants, the 3 Harleys rolled past. It seemed to take forever to find my rain pants. Finally I was wearing my gear, and had the luggage zipped up, ready to roll. Within a few minutes, I started seeing the cloud to ground lightening. I was running solo. Fortunately, I was in the mountains, not out in the open. I wicked up the throttle. I knew the 3 Harleys riders were up ahead somewhere. Here's what it looked like.
Before long, I caught up to the pack. I was doing 80-85 to catch them. When I finally caught up, I rolled back the throttle to the 45mph pace they were setting. We were heading into black skies. The rain started falling in sheets. I was content following behind the group. Soon, we were riding through hail. This lasted less than 10 minutes. Just as quickly as we enter the storm, we rode out of it. The group pulled over to the side of the road. I followed, and stopped about 30 feet back. I shot a photo.
They came walking over and we chatted. I realized none of them were wearing helmets. One of them said they need helmets for riding through hail. They all just laughed. They were checking out the Uly pretty good. About that time they were ready to fire up smokes. I wasn't far from Escalante, my final destination for the day. They were trying to reach Mexican Hat by the end of the day, 150 miles away. I said "happy trails" and left.
Just before entering town, I saw a sign for Escalant State Park. It's basically the home of one of the best examples of petrified forests on the planet. I've wanted to see a petrified forest ever since I was a little kid. The sight required a 2 mile hike up the mountain. I decided not to leave the bike. On the way out, I shot a few photos of the storm that was chasing me. Here's a keeper.
A few minutes later, I found my motel in Escalante.
|14-09-2006, 03:02 PM||#12|
At first I regretted booking a room in Escalante. The place was dead. Sunday afternoon, and almost everything was closed. I booked my room. Unloaded the bike, and went across the street. The only place that was open was a quaint little shop that sold just about everything, including a restaurant and bar. I bought the finest tasting chicken salad sandwich I've ever tasted. As I was waiting, one of the proprietors told me I was welcome to hang out there and use their WiFi service for free. He wanted to hear all about my trip. They were so friendly, I was happy I found this place.
I brought my sandwich back to the motel and devoured it. I almost went back for another. As I was unpacking my stuff, a truck rolled up and the guy introduced himself as "The Doctor." He said he runs the only bike repair shop around for 200 miles. Said he's open 24 hours, gave me his card, and told me he offers towing if needed. He then told me where his shop was located, and invited me to hang out there all afternoon if I wasn't doing anything. :thumb
He then left as fast as he rolled up. Wow. I'll keep his card forever.
I was anxious to grab a shower and go upload some photos. The wifi at Bryce View Lodge was sketchy, so I was way behind uploading photos.
My motel didn't have wifi. The town had no cell service. I couldn't talk to Julie. I wanted to email her ASAP so she would know everything's okay, even though I wouldn't be calling.
After a quick shower and shave, I went back across the street and ordered up a Corona. I asked the waitress what the police presence was like, explaining to her I wanted to have a couple beers the ride the bike back across the street. I felt obliged to have a few beers since I was hijacking their internet, it was the least I could do. She explained the county had one cop, and he rarely comes to Escalante. She said I'd be fine, unless I became obnoxious, at which time she'd drive me home. Then she repeated it.
For the next 3 hours, I uploaded photos, emailed folks back home, and surfed the net. I sat out on the front porch where several people were dining. It was a pleasant evening. I had 3 Coronas. Then I went back to the room and fixed up a cup of java.
Several bikers rolled in and we chatted. They were from Las Vegas, but were rolling in from a bike show in Durango. Everyone was interested when they saw the VA plate on my bike. Nice folks everywhere.
Home sweet home for Sunday night.
"The Doctor" came from the direction of that dirt road.
It was a quiet town.
The establishment with the only internet access in town. Before I left, the gentleman asked where I was coming from, and where I was heading. I told him tomorrow I'm heading east toward Moab. He said, "You haven't even seen the good stuff yet." I thought 'yeah right' but just smiled and said "great."
Tomorrow, my mind would be blown.
|14-09-2006, 03:07 PM||#13|
Day 4, Monday September 4, 2006.
Escalante, Ut to Moab, UT.
Slept like a baby again last night. I woke up and turned the weather channel on. Another perfect day forecasted, with temps ranging between 70 and 88 degrees along today's planned route.
As I was preparing the bike for departure, I happened to flip the channel over to the today show. My mood was suddenly tempered by the knowledge Steve Irwin passed away in a tragic accident. I was really bummed. That guy lived more live than most of us can imagine in 10,000 lifetimes. I thought about his family. Then I thought about my youngest daughter. I knew she would be bummed, as she and I had watched Steve numerous times together. RIP Steve :cry . One thing I took away from Steve's life and death was the fact that he lived such a full life, yet died at the early age of 44. I turn 44 in 2 days. My resolve to live life to the fullest, with my limited means, was cemented that morning.
The bike was locked and loaded. It fired right up. I let it idle for several minutes. I could see my acquaintances from Las Vegas were preparing for departure too. I knew I'd never see them again. I mounted the bike, removed the lense cap from the bar mounted Kodak, and snapped a photo of them preparing to leave.
As I rolled past them, everyone knew I was headed to Moab, then Durango, then 2100 miles back to VA. Everyone of them gave me the thumbs up with a huge smile as I rolled through their congregation. I felt their approval.
I took a right onto UT-12 heading east. The only gas station in town was open so I topped off the tank. The employee reminded me of my dad back home. When I came inside to pay, He said, "It looks like a great day for you to do what you're going to be doing. I wish I could go with you instead of being stuck in this place." I smiles and said, "Yes sir. I hope you have a nice day."
It was ironic. Part of me wanted to stay in Escalante. The place is in the middle of Paradise as far as I'm concerned. I think the folks who reside there don't know how fortunate they are to wake up in such a beautiful place each day, sheltered from the fast paced life most of us are so familiar with. Then again, they probably know.
I had no expectations about this day. My goal was Moab, Ut. What lay between me and Moab was only a guess. What I saw, simply blew my mind. I have never, and can't imagine ever, riding a better 140 mile stretch than UT-12 heading east from Escalante to UT-24 through Capital Reefe National Park. I would shoot over 500 photos this day.
Early in the morning the sun was low, and the road was desolate.
I was riding through the northern part of the Grand Staircase, which extends from Southern Utah deep into Arizona.
There are only a few dirt roads through the region. Grand Staircase is where new dinosaur fossils are being unearthed. It's cool just being close to the region.
Within 10 minutes, the straight road gave way to twisties, and extreme elevation changes.
It was difficult to capture the 3 dimensional reality on a 2 dimensional photo. I kept trying
After navigating a few twisties, I had to stop.
I was in a total state of euphoria looking ahead at the roads I was about to ride.
I could see canyons and rock faces for miles, and the road was carved right through both, with curve after blissful curve.
I didn't have the desire to rail this section. I just wanted it to last.
Check out the road in the bottom right corner
The further I went, the rocks were painted a deeper red
I was tempted to stop in for a cup of java, but my ride had just started 15 minutes ago.
I continued on
and continued having fun
The road climbed in elevation
to another overlook
It's hard to tell by the photos, but you wouldn't want to fall from this height
The roads were still twisting
before long, the rocks gave way to shrubs.
the landscape was a pallette of greens and reds,
and I had only been riding 30 minutes.
|14-09-2006, 03:13 PM||#14|
I rode another 15 miles, maybe 30. I wasn't counting. The air got cooler. Then got cold. I was climbing again. I scanned my gps. I was at 7400 feet and climbing fast.
I stopped to put on my rain jacket for an extra layer of warmth. These guys weren't bothered by my presence.
This guy was bow hunting. I waved. He didn't wave back.
Soon, I was immersed in the mountains. I was now at 8400 feet.
I love these trees.
I was on the mountain looking down on the canyons I'd just ridden
More sights to shoot
As I crested the ridge, I hit 9000 + feet. The highest I'd ever been on earth.
Coming down from the heights, I pulled off the left side of the road into a little park. There was a man walking his dog. We exchanged stories. I shot more photos.
He saw me reading this sign,
and asked if I'd seen any. I told him no, and asked him the same. Negative, but both of us were on the lookout.
It was a beautiful morning. Coming out of the elevations, I came out of my rain jacket. We talked a bit more. His car was loaded down. I didn't catch his name. Shame on me. I didn't catch his photo. Double shame. I don't remember where he was from. I do remember where he was going. He was moving, yes, relocating, to Mexico. And taking the scenic route to get there. I think I mentioned ADVRider. I hope you find this thread, whoever you are, wherever you are. He departed. I took a piss, and departed in the same direction.
Coming out of the mountains, I could see more red ahead.
I also saw cattle crossing signs.
As I was rolling along, there was cattle along the road. On the wrong side of the fence. On MY side of the fence. I was laughing at the thought of hitting one. It really wouldn't be funny, but I thought about the conversation the authorities would have with my wife. "Hello ma'am, this is the Utah State Police. Sorry to inform you your husband has been involved in a motorcycle accident."
"Oh no, what happened, did someone pull out in front of him?":eek1
"No ma'am, He hit a cow."
This guy has it made out in Utah.
I continued on. The scenery started to get very interesting. Again.
As well as the roads.
Pretty soon, I was stopping again.
As I shot this, the guy heading to Mexico pulled over to check if everything was ok. I told him yes and gave a thumbs up. That was the last time I saw him.
A view from the saddle
This was the approximate area where I turned right on UT-24 :deal
I entered Capitol Reef NP. I hadn't planned to visit this park. I didn't realize UT-24 goes right through the park:norton . Man I'm glad it did.
The bike looks right at home here, don't ya think?
How 'bout here?
Better exposure without the black blike throwing the meter off
Another half mile down the road, and repeat.
This was getting ridiculous! Another 1/2 mile, another mandatory stop.
More dirt :evil
do de dum
A little further, I'd find Goosenecks Point State Park. :evil
|14-09-2006, 03:21 PM||#15|
Day Four Continued.
I forget the exact time of day at this point in the trip, my best guess is between 10:45 and 11:45 am. I had stopped the Buell so many times already to shoot photos, I started wondering if the charging system and starting system, and cooling fan, would continue working. The bike always fired right up.
The planning stage of this trip was a refreshing lesson in southwest geography for both Julie and I. During our research, I rediscovered many sites that I remember reading about long ago, but had forgotton about. This time, the names of those sites became relevant. One such place wa Goosenecks Point State Park. After a morning of great shooting and even better roads, I saw the sign for Goosnecks Point. I had made such little progress, but the thought of not visiting the park never entered my mind.
The cool thing about this diversion was the road leading to the Goosenecks main attraction was a dirt road about a mile or two long, over some rough and tumble terrain. At the entrance to the dirt road was another overlook, but it looked pretty lame. The great thing was, everyone was at the first, easily accessible lame parking area. The road leading to the real views was empty.
There was one car in the parking area, and the occupants were nowhere in sight. I took off my jacket, gloves, and helmet, and took a nice long drink of orange juice. I grabbed my camera, and started walking up the path.
The sky was super cooperative, and the plants provided a colorful splash of life against the otherwise barren soil.
This was shot looking back toward the lot where my bike was parked.
This is an overview of the view I was anticipating upon reaching the summit.
All of the handheld photos were shot using a Nikon D50 camera body with a 17-55 f/2.8 lense. Even at the widest perspective, the composition of many sights, Goosenecks Point included, prevented me from capturing the entire scene in the viewfinder. That's okay. It just meant I would have to shoot more photos Here's my first view overlooking the park.
I was standing just a few feet from the ledge when shooting some of these photos. I was completely alone. Totally tripping on the experience.
If I ever take this trip again, I'll need a wider angle lense. A zoom in the 10-20mm range would have been perfect. Then again, I wasn't complaining when these shots were taken.
The muddy looking path at the bottom is a river. It looked to be nearly dried up from where I was standing. It was so far away, and I really didn't want to get any closer to the river than where I was standing.
I was standing on a narrow ledge overlooking the gorge, maybe 3 or 4 feet wide. Directly behind me were still more shots waiting to be captured.
This is looking left from where I was standing.
Just another view of the path I was on.
I've never seen a rattlesnake in the wild out west. I was hoping to find one here. Instead, I found more empty brush to shoot.
A shot of the parking lot.
As I was heading back down, I finally saw people. I shot this,
a girl was climbing up toward me, her soul mate following in the distance. I had seen them photographing each other during my previous stops. I gave them space, noting they were so into each other and absorbed in the scenery, I don't think they were aware of my presence. I doubt they missed the Uly in the parking lot though . As she go closer, I simply stated something to the effect 'it's hard to make any progress in southern Utah, isn't it?" They both laughed in agreement. I walked past them to my bike and left them alone in the park. What a fantastic place to be alone with your soul mate. I never saw them again.
Another bike mounted cam shot leaving the park, heading back to UT-24
where once again the sights were worth capturing
I continued riding through the canyons, and soon the desolate brown cliffs succumbed to lush green foliage along the road
and within minutes, I was off the bike again.
The building appeared to be a historic one room school house. The front door was wide open. The heat was stifling. I wandered around, shooting,
carved into a rock behind the building
and when I reappeared around the front of the building, I was half startled to see this girl walking across the road toward me
soon to be joined by the youngster.
I peered inside the school room. This time I was thoroughly startled. Inside was a dear, of the two legged variety. She was a park ranger hiding from the direct sun. She was totally aware of my presence outside, I'm sure. I was totally unaware of her presence inside, I'm sure .
For the first time during the trip, I opened the lense up to f2.8 and shot a photo of the school room.
I told the ranger about the deer I had just witnessed walking across the road. She said minutes before a herd of 20 or so came through. She asked where I was from which led into a discussion comparing the greenery of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia to the reds of southern Utah. It turns out she worked in the Shenandoah Valley for three years before discovering Utah. We agreed both regions possess a unique beauty. I left just as another couple were arriving.
Within just a mile or two, I was off the bike again. This time it was petroglyphs that caught my attention. They also caught the attention of a 15 or 20 other folks, so for the first time this day, I would have some real human interaction.
I parked the bike and walked halfway down this bridge at the bas of the cliffs.
There was a family coming toward me. I was wearing my black jeans and riding jacket. The family consisted of a married couple, a son maybe 4-5 years old, and a daughter, maybe 2.5 to 3 years old, lagging behind, lost in her own little world of discovery.
I said hello as they walked past me. They seemed 'concerned' about the daughter lagging behind, with me in the area . I spoke to her briefly as I walked by, trying to get several yards away from the little girl to alleviate her parents fears. That totally sucked. It the way things are in this world. But it sucked none the less. All the parents saw was a 'biker.' The truth is, at that moment, I'd have given my life to save that little girl if hers was in danger. Oh well. As a parent, I understood the protection mechanisms kicking in by the concerned parents. It still sucked.
I walked over to a group of people staring straight ahead at the cliff. As I walked up, I smiled , and said "What are we looking at?" Everyone was super helpful explaining the carvings in the rocks. This one man took me as his personal student. He patiently pointed out the location of the herd carved into the rocks. I couldn't see it . I tried on several attempts to find what was so clear to everyone else, but I still couldn't see the carvings . He would point to a clear object which I could see, then I'd slowely follow his pointing arm over to the subject. I could follow him right to the subject, but I couldn't see the damn carvings . Finally I said out loud, "WHY CAN'T I SEE THIS?????" He looked at me and said. "I DON'T KNOW." :rofl I was getting frustrated and thought about faking it. I kept looking, and FINALLY, I saw the little bastard carved into the wall :lol3 .
I shot several photos. They're in there somewhere . I just don't remember where :freaky .
Everyone started clapping when I finally saw the petroglyphs. Several of them were on a bike trip from Minnesota. Retired types, sincerely interested in my adventure. I regret not getting a photo of these fine people. It was an experience I'll never forget. Happy trails to each of you, especially my tutor :thumb