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Old 04-15-2004, 08:49 AM   #61
bavarian
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Simply the best report I've read sofar! Make it your profession, you definitely know how to entertain your readers!!
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Old 04-16-2004, 07:46 PM   #62
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Talking One Month on the Road!






Monday October 14th

Happy anniversary, one month on the road as of today! (6000 miles)I awake at 8am and step out onto the terrace to take in the view of Vail. Invigorating in the morning sun, the air is sharp, 37 degrees, 25 with the wind chill. The projected high is 62.


GS Tire wear at 6K


I've become aware of the science of the road. The fewer miles I end up with at the end of the day, the more interesting the day has been. A 600 mile day is spent blasting along interstates that look pretty much the same everywhere (with few exceptions) the 150-250 mile day is spent taking in new and interesting sights and experiences. More, shall we say, Stopping to smell the roses!

I call my Mom and let her know I'm safe and healthy. Mike to let him know I'm close and all is good. I call Stan Sparks, GM at Raccoon Lodge and he assures me I still have a "home" and a job when I return (thank God because I am going to need it).

Stan tells me that some folks have asked when I'm coming back and that his pat answer is "When he's ready." Stan, that line has been with me since and I can't thank you enough for it. You guys have made that one part of this trip a non-event. Thank you!





I leave Vail at 11:42am, the sun is shining, the skies are clear and the temperature is a balmy 52 degrees. The road twists along the Colorado River through canyons cut by millennia of erosion. Snow covers the peaks and at this high elevation, the time for fall foliage has passed and leaves are already gone.







I see the ruins of a cabin and behind it, set in the rock wall of a mountain, the remnants of a mine shaft. Silver obliges as I guide her off the paved surface of the road and into the soft, dusty terra that leads to my target. I dismount and as I remove my helmet I am overcome by the spicy scent of sagebrush and bleached earth.

Puffs of dust gather around my well worn boots as I walk through the sagebrush, sidestepping tumble weeds towards the dilapidated miners quarters. Mindful of the possible presence of local residents (read rattle snakes)

I experience a little bit of history. I walk right up to the shanty, a shaft next to it, ruined timbers collapsing upon themselves, dry rotting from exposure to the elements. I am unable to approach the mines entrance as a simple, low, wire fence blocks the way and I am unwilling to cross the line without knowing why it's there. I take a few photos and work my way back to the interstate.




My very first tumble weed...



I enter "White River National Forest" and a spectacular canyon that blows my mind. I70 at this point is double tiered so there is no oncoming traffic. West bound is the upper tier and I am once again on scenic overload. Cars with Colorado plates whiz by me (jaded to the beauty that surrounds them) and the out of state plates pass me at a more relaxed pace. I am doing 60 in a 65 zone, unwilling to rush through this area, literally drinking the landscape like water to a man who has been lost in the desert for days.













Sidebar: Speaking of water... I find I am always thirsty here. I have begun carrying water bottles with me. I don't know if it is the altitude or the air is just dry, but when I stop at mini marts and gas stations, the diet cokes that I used to be addicted to hold no attraction for me and I choose in their stead, plain water.

I pass through Steamboat Springs Co and exit I70 to grab some lunch in Aspen. The town is "quaint" and obviously set up for tourists, art galleries and boutiques.

I pass a huge public pool by the highway, fed by natural hot springs and am amazed to see it is packed with children and their parents. Wasn't I freezing this morning?





I choose a restaurant called "Doc Holidays" and order a bowl of the "soup du jour", Chili Mac, a macaroni and chili mix.

While I wait for my lunch, I read some letters of Doc Holiday's that are hung next to his photo on one of the walls. They were written in the hospital where he died of TB and give an account of his manhunt with Wyatt Earp, chasing one of the McLaury's. (I think I have that info correct, but don't hold me to it).

I am reminded of my previously forgotten interest to see Tombstone AZ and make a mental note to visit that town if I am able.

The Mac Chili leaves something to be desired but I am satisfied that I have fueled the fire that keeps my engine running. I exit the restaurant and head back out onto I70 west. I make the temperature at 70 degrees.

A note about I70: this is to date the most beautiful stretch of interstate I have ever seen. It completely overshadows my love of I40's pass across the Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountains and explains without a doubt why I87 North out of Albany NY through the Adirondack Mountains hasn't been voted "Most Scenic Highway" since 1967.




The canyons loom high above me, 70 in the sun, 50 in the shadows, and the transition from one temperature to the other is instantaneous. I pass through Grand Junction Co and the cliffs are "otherworldly."

I note that through this entire passage, one geological fact remains constant... on my left, the north face slopes are green, lush and highly populated with pine and brush... to my right, the south face slopes are barren, eroding and vegetation is sparse.

Is this a larger example of my old boy scout lesson "moss always grows on the north side of the trees?"

Why is that?





Okay...

Zen/Buddhist biker bullshit moment time... staring at one particular mountain, marveling at the obvious erosion that has shaped it over time, wondering "How long has this been going on and what did you look like when you were young, 2 million years ago?"

I begin to feel small and insignificant. Continuing on this train of thought, I realize these aren't mountains at all, I'm riding on the actual mountains and these are only the peaks, themselves, insignificant to the living rock they crown.

To quote an old Steve Martin routine, "Now I'm really small!"

What does a fruit fly deem tiny and insignificant? That's what I am to the mountain. (

Anyone starting to think maybe I've been spending too much time alone with my self is probably right )


Humbled


Elevation is 4700 ft as I exit the Rockie Mountain range and enter the Colorado plains that lead to Utah. I pass a billboard that reads "Moab, Fun for All" and wonder why that name sounds familiar to me. At the Colorado/Utah State Line I check the map and see that Moab is at least 50 miles south of I70 as the crow flies and without a doubt way out of my way.





Near the CO/UT border I stop for fuel at a rest stop called "Gay Johnsons"! This of course amuses me to no end! I imagine the stereotypical homophobic Brooklyn or New Jersey Teamster trucker stopping here for a bathroom break... (I kill myself, I really do...)

Check out the sign... then check out the view... and this place even has showers...


Whatever the name, this Gay guy (chuckle) has one of the most amazing office window views I've ever seen...



More and more I begin to just stop the bike any old time and walk off into the scenery. The little things are becoming just as facinating as the scenic vistas. The feel of the earth beneath my boots and in my hands... the smell of it. I begin talking photos not only of the big picture but of the small stuff as well...







Oh man I am going to miss Colorado...


Hello UTAH!

(Man that biatch in ST Louis did a helluva butcher job on my hair! )



Just over the state line I see a snow capped range to the south west, the Sierra Nevadas? (I know, can't be) The landscape here is jagged, raw, barren, flat and untamed.

I pass a new road sign and grin wildly as I read "Eagles on Road next 4 miles." That is just too cool!




I continue along I70. Mile after mile and that mountain range to my south and west keeps getting closer and looking more and more inviting. I can't help wanting to go check it out. It feels like it's calling me. I planned on making SLC tonight. Should I or shouldnt I?... Mile after mile the range calls my name...



35 miles into Utah I hit an exit (as foretold by Gypsy Rose) titled UT 128 South to Moab and Cisco.

It looks like 128 heads straight for that mountain range! I call my bud Mike in SLC and I tell him I was thinking about detouring to check out Moab. Mike says Moab rocks and that it is a must see. He tells me not to worry about getting there and he'll see me whenever. He tells me 190 is a great road and I shouldnt miss it.. I tell him I'm planning on taking 128 in and looping back north on 190. Mike says he's never heard of it and to let him know what it's like.


Gotta go! It's adventure time! The road signs are ominous, but acceptable for Silver.

"Twisty Roads Ahead", "Broken Pavement next 18 miles", "Open Range" and "Off Road Travel Limited to Existing Trails from This Point."





OK... thats it for now... thank you all for the complimernts on the thread. You inspire me to continue posting !

More to come!... Tune in next time when I find Monument Valley by sheer accident (or fate)...




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"I never drive faster than I can see... other than that it's all in the reflexes..." BTILC

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Rogue 1 screwed with this post 09-19-2006 at 10:34 AM Reason: need i say it again?
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Old 04-24-2004, 10:52 AM   #63
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Hey Rogue1, keep up the good work. I can't wait to read (see, smell) the next installment. Awesome pics!
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Old 04-24-2004, 03:30 PM   #64
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Old 04-25-2004, 03:26 AM   #65
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Say, nice bike you've got there..... (Terminator quote[nice opener])

But the main question is.... after reading your report(s) anxciously....
are you still on the road or did you return to civilisation/job again..
( I think I read somewhere a date .....Oct. s/th. at the beginning )

Just wondering. Laterz and take care!
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Old 04-25-2004, 11:14 PM   #66
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There is no one on this road!



Except for me...



Apparently I am in "Off Road Country." There are very few other vehicles around here and the occasional one that I do see is heading in the opposite direction. Every one of them carries at least one mountain bike... hmmm...



Gratuitous hero shot


The road twists and undulates over hills and through blind curves. My line of sight runs to the horizon (where by this time, the sun sits low) but in the immediate vicinity, I am left wondering if a car hides beyond the next wave in the pavement. As I near the range the road bends into the canyons. I pass a ranch for sale at an area called "Big Foot Bend" and as I round a corner things get really interesting.

I reach the range


Ranch for sale, nice location... interested?


















This run, UT128S off I70, is amazing. At one point, 30 miles to Moab/15 miles off I70, I stop for what seems like the 25th time to snap some photos. This really cool tree against the canyon backdrop.



I say to myself "That's it God! I have got to get through here before the sun sets! No more pics unless I see something totally amazing!!!"

Word to the wise; don't challenge God when you are on a quest for spiritual enlightenment.

300 feet later, just around the bend, I enter "Monument Valley."

Oh my dear sweet blessed Jesus! I thought places like this only existed in 4X4 commercials! (In fact, I'm pretty sure that this must be where they film them all) A view like a matte painting from a Spielberg film, I am brought to my proverbial knees.




Can you believe I found this road by accident? Kick my ass in Macys window 'cause I sure can't!


A mountain to my immediate left, in front the valley opens before me... a colossal canyon wall front left, topped by that big half moon. To my immediate right, the Colorado River and beyond that two towers (buttes) silhouetted by the sun setting behind them. One lone tower directly in front of me, across the valley, red in the magic hour, it sits adjacent to the canyon wall and behind it in the distance a solitary mountain peak covered with snow.


That's the best I can describe it and it doesn't come close. Ok God, you win.






My reverie is interrupted by Nick on a rented Harley, visiting from New Zealand for a big mountain bike competition in Moab. That's why Moab sounded so familiar, they made a Visa commercial about how you can rent a mountain bike and ride the best trails in the world, but ya better bring your Visa 'cause they don't take American Express.


Nick tells me the scenery gets even better and we join up for the ride into Moab. The road takes us right past the two towers and enters another canyon. The Colorado has cut quite a canyon here as the elevation drops. The road twists above and along the edge, tight, with no guard rail. Below the white water of the Colorado froths at speed through rapids and rocks, just an easy mistake away from being swum in.






We reach 191 at the entrance to Moab and part ways. Get to "Monument Valley" no matter what. Fly, ride, drive, hike, crawl if you have too, but don't die without seeing this place.

In a supermarket parking lot, a woman in a Toyota 4X4 pick up, distracted by the child in the rear seat, makes the right turn a little early and drives right over the curb marking the entrance.

This would not be terrible thing in and of itself, but between the two sides of the curb is a rock garden and she has dragged a nice size boulder out with her, her Toyota is now perched on top of it in the lot, the boulder firmly wedged between the asphalt and her bash plate. Everyone turns to look upon hearing the wrenching sound of rock scraping under metal and over pavement.

No one moves to help.

The woman has exited her vehicle and is looking pretty distraught as I approach. She's on her hands and knees, pulling at the rock... uh huh, yeah, that'll help.

I take a look and she asks me what should she do?...

"Dynamite," I reply, chuckle.

She laughs, "Really?"

"As I see it, you have 2 choices, forward and reverse."

"What would you do?" she asks and I say "Reverse, HARD!"

It works and I get to be someone elses savior.


I find one (okay, two... ok ok... actually three) of the best bowls of chili I have ever eayen at a place called the Outlaw Saloon.

Honestly? Not too many "outlaws" inside. The bartender is a sweetheart of a woman that makes the chili herself from a family recipe and the customers all look like they are only here because bingo got cancelled (chuckle). The Coronas are cold and the chili is hot... if thats the way you like it, say hello if you're in the hood!




I get a room at the Redstone Inn on Main St and pass out while journaling at 11pm. I wake at midnight to find myself drooling, lying on my stomach fully dressed, on top of the covers. Goodnight Gracie. 260 miles of the best stuff to date and I am aware that I am not quite the same person I was a month ago.

... and neither are my boots...

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``~~~=o&o> Rogue1

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Frank Herbert , "Dune"

"I never drive faster than I can see... other than that it's all in the reflexes..." BTILC

"Remember the face of your father." Roland the Gunslinger


http://rogue1.smugmug.com

"T.A.L.R. Redux 2007" HAS BEGUN!!! Visit the "I once was lost..." Website

Rogue 1 screwed with this post 08-12-2006 at 11:34 AM Reason: spelling! nah, not really... just bugs
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Old 04-26-2004, 04:26 AM   #67
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you got me hooked!
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Old 04-26-2004, 08:18 AM   #68
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utah 128

rogue1,

great report. a friend and i stumbled across 128 in utah a few years back. i had the same experience you were talking about on that road. its a great moto road, but its too hard to stop taking pictures and actually ride it. i must have taken 2 rolls of films on that section of road.
thanks for the reminder. now i gotta get back out there again.

keep it coming.
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Old 04-26-2004, 08:54 AM   #69
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great read!
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Old 04-26-2004, 01:13 PM   #70
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Again, great reading here... just can't say enough...
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Old 04-26-2004, 06:00 PM   #71
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Most excellent!
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Old 04-26-2004, 08:36 PM   #72
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Brilliant writing style, great pix and nice route. Living in the west, I take special joy in witnessing an Easterner's discovery of the mountains and canyons of the West. Thanks for sharing this inspirational material.
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Old 04-27-2004, 10:38 PM   #73
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Memories are made of These!

Wonderful trip report, Rogue. Brings back memories of the coast-to-coast I did in 2000 on my 1983 R100RS AirHead. Spent May heading east along the southern USA, came back along the northern route in October. I loved the pictures of the Longhorn Saloon. Scenic, SD, what a treat.

Not trying to hijack your thread, I'd like to extend and invitation to you and anyone else to check out some cliks of my westbound leg at:

http://homepage.mac.com/wanderscribe/PhotoAlbum19.html

Did you check out the Crazy Horse Memorial when you were in the Black Hills of South Dakota?
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Old 04-28-2004, 03:20 AM   #74
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Thanx for keeping the suspense in there...(for the others)!!

Just writing to complement on the right ammount of picts combined with the right choice words.... Keep it up.

Laterz.
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Old 04-28-2004, 09:00 AM   #75
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Looks like Rogue's exceeded the monthly storage limit. 4Gigs of images in one month! Way to go, man!!

Great pics, great narrative!!!

This could be the start of a new career. Some of these photos, like the one in Chicago somebody's already using as wallpaper, belong in a magazine.
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