F*ck it... I'm outta here. Or: CJ's Pretirement Trip

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by GhostRiderFC, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. GhostRiderFC

    GhostRiderFC Just a guy who rides

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    378
    Location:
    New Mexico, USA
    Some Background:

    I'm 42 years old, been riding for over thirty years, am married with one 19 year old son. For the past 20 or so years, I've been a security manager in both contract and proprietary settings, over half of that in the hospitality sector. I would say that sometime in the last five years, the adventure bug has bitten me. However, having a full time job and lots of responsibilities at home does not make it easy to get away on an adventure. And my budget is not large. But, there are advantages to being on a job a long time: lots of vacation, seniority, flexibility. So, I had pretty much decided to just adventure in short bursts, using vacation strategically and eating up long miles to get to someplace cool.

    To that end, last summer, I did a pretty cool nine days touring the south, visiting friends and family, and banging out an Iron Butt Saddle Sore 1000 along the way. Then, this winter, I started on the Iron Butt National Parks tour. I figured I could hit a lot of the parks in the west and then make one or two week long road trips through the south or midwest to get the state count up. That started January 4th as I took a VERY chilly ride from my home in Albuquerque to visit my brother in Las Vegas, NV.

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    Then, about a month later, I did a weekend trip that took me through southern New Mexico, West Texas, and Southern Arizona. That trip was cold AND wet. In one particularly adventurous moment, I found myself mid-way between the Ft. Bowie National Historic Site and the Chiricahua National Monument like so:

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    Needless to say... it was a real adventure!! :ricky

    I then started planning a ride for early May that would see me ride from my home in New Mexico to Florida. The "real reason" for the trip was to see my sister graduate college in Tampa. But my reason was to get to Key West. I mean, who doesn't want to go there? :dunno I also had put together a trip to Alaska for June to attend the Dusk 2 Dawson event and just see everything in Alaska. That was my plan. Things were progressing...

    Then, things changed. The main change was that after 11 years, I changed jobs. It seemed like a really great opportunity and you know they just don't come along everyday. That, unfortunately, forced me to change my ride plans. I would not be able to take time off the new job until late July at the earliest. Oh, well... I'm sure Alaska and Key West will still be there next year (unless those damn Mayans foul it all up).

    And then, after only 8 weeks of work, I couldn't take it anymore. It turned out to be the worst job EVER! It's a long, sad story that I won't bore you with, but the end result is that I now find myself among the unemployed. First time I've ever been unemployed. And then there's the damn economy making me wonder if I'll find something meaningful anytime soon. Time will tell on that one. And I've been kinda thinking lately that as things are going, I'll be lucky to be able to retire by the time I'm 70 or 75. I was too stupid to get one of those jobs with a pension after 20 years, so I think I'm just screwed in terms of retirement. And by then, I'll be too old to do anything fun, right?

    So, fuck it... I'm going to PREtire. I'll be retired now for a while and then go back to work whenever and just see how that goes. To that end, I got some new panniers for my 2009 Buell Ulysses XB12XT from Muffintop to replace the stock Hepco Becker clamshell cases that I broke in Arizona. I FINALLY got them and mounted them last week. Also got a new Garmin Zumo 660 with a Touratech lockable mount. And, at the suggestion of a friend, I got the Lifeproof case for my iphone and mounted all that in the cockpit along with my Spot tracker. Starting to look a little crowded now!

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    So... where the hell am I going to go? :dunno Well, I am going EVERYWHERE! :deal:ricky:super:happay

    I'm going to start out for Utah, then down to San Diego to visit friends, then up the coast to... ya know... see the coast. And then probably Yosemite National Park, then something in the Silicon Valley area since I have some friends there. Then further north... Golden Gate, Redwood National Park, Crater Lake, Portland, Seattle. From there, maybe Vancouver or other places in BC. Might be nice to at least run up and touch Alaska at Hyder. Then turn east, visiting family and friends in Idaho, Montana, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, etc. I'm seriously thinking about doing the Northern Peninsula of Michigan and then dropping down to Ohio and then turning east to visit again with family in PA, NJ, VA, etc. I'd like to see all of New England while I'm there. I do want to get down to Florida and see Key West.

    The only thing I have on the schedule between now and sometime is a trip to Ireland with my father in late September. I could be back home by then but after Ireland, if I still have any money and haven't killed the Buell, then I'm looking at riding south of the border and just keep on going until the credit union calls me to tell me I'm broke.

    So... who's in? Day one and day two reports to follow!
    #1
  2. Scooterchick

    Scooterchick And then what?

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    266
    Location:
    The Great NorthWET
    Wow....

    I'm in. :lurkWow... and I thought I was doing something when I had my first case of "Monkey butt"!

    Sorry you dropped your bike, but glad you are ok. Sorry about your job situation too. That really sucks dirt. Hopefully the road will help you clear your head of all of this stuff and give you a break.

    I've been to the Petrified Forest before there in Arizona, but it's been several years now..
    #2
  3. OmegaRunner

    OmegaRunner The Total Package

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    100
    Location:
    Des Moines, IA
    Sounds like a great ride is coming. Please keep us updated. I just test drove a 2007 Ulysses this afternoon. Still on the fence but I think I really want one. I is kind of funny that the first ride report I go to read tonight is yours. Ride safe.
    #3
  4. GhostRiderFC

    GhostRiderFC Just a guy who rides

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    378
    Location:
    New Mexico, USA
    So, my original plan was to get to bed early, get up sort of early, and be already packed to go, maybe hit the road by seven or so. Sounds good, right? :thumb Too bad it didn't turn out that way. I was going crazy packing all kinds of stuff. I mean, I know everyone does "minimalist" camping and touring. But I'm planning on being out for WEEKS. And I'm planning on being, you know, social. I'm planning to stop and visit people. Hang out. Do things. So, I'm going to need stuff. Clothes. Computer. Camping gear. Cameras. How do I fit all this crapola on there? :scratch

    So, after trimming the fat until like 1am the night before departure, I got up later than hoped and eventually got moving. Here is my grossly overpacked steed.

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    Eventually, I got on the road. I wanted to get into Southern Utah the first day and camp at a national park. I was shooting for Capitol Reef, but if it got too late, I could stop at any number of other campsites. So, to make a few miles, I shot out US550 towards the Four Corners.

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    I haven't quite worked out getting crystal clear images while riding. I've been using the "Radioman camera arm" with some success, but find that the vibrations of the Uly make the images blurry. So, because I have a throttle lock, I'll sometimes take my hands off and hold the arm with one hand and snap the photo with the other one. I get a little more than half of what I'm going for with that.

    On the way to Farmington, I stopped to take these photos. I have passed this mesa several times and always find it interesting. Not sure why...

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    And this is also near that area;

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    There was construction on the way, too, but no photos of that. Anyway, since I was going to be in the area, I figured I should see the Four Corners Monument. On the way there, I passed Shiprock, which is this huge thing sticking up in the middle of nowhere.

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    Apparently, you cannot simply [ride] into Mordor! :deal

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    Anyway... in order to get to the Four Corners Monument, you need to cross into Arizona:

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    Finally, I get there. In order to get this shot, I had to wait for a family of Vietnamese teenage girls to finish taking their nine million glamour shots. :huh I was starting to get annoyed.

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    Then, after roasting in the sun, I continued on. About five feet after the monument, I crossed into Colorado.

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    And finally, into Utah.

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    Funny side story: That ground around the Utah sign looks dry, doesn't it? It's not all dry. The surface is dry, but apparently just under the surface, there are spots that are just gushy mud waiting to ambush unsuspecting ADVers. After my experience in Arizona in February, I was kinda sensitive about mud. And I really didn't want to drop the bike! :eek1 Luckily, I didn't. Just had a momentary scare.

    So... continue on. I make it into Blanding, Utah around 5pm or so and figure that pushing on to Capitol Reef is going to be overkill. After all, I'm not on a deadline. So, I decide that Glen Canyon looks promising and after fueling up, I head for that. But it's been getting more and more cloudy all afternoon, and it's looking dark and ominous to the west, so I get the rain gear out and suit up. Along the way, I took this with the point & shoot:

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    It was overcast when I arrived at the Hite campsite on the shore of Lake Powell. They have a cool automated pay station and since I have an annual parks pass, I don't have to pay admission, but do have to pay to camp: $6. Score! :deal

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    I settled in and cooked my dinner. I have a new MSR Isopro pocket stove. It boils water FAST! After eating and tidying up, I tried to get to sleep right at dark. Didn't quite go that way. One of the other camp sites was having a minor party and it was a little loud. And it was HOT. When I arrived, it was threatening to rain, and it did have some slight spitting type rain on and off throughout the night, but it never did really rain. But the breeze died down after dark so it was just hot and still all night. Being near the water, it was muggy. Kind of uncomfortable. I'd already been sweating all day, too, so I was kinda stinkin myself out! :lol3

    Anyhow... on to day two!!
    #4
  5. BELSTAFF

    BELSTAFF ADV NOMAD

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,203
    Location:
    Arizona--Land of the free and heavly armed
    Retired about year & half ago Planned the ultimate trip to Alaska, built a KTM990 special for the trip, Damn thing was to big

    & to much bike for me, sold it & am now prepping a BMW F series to try again. I have figured out one thing for sure.

    "When you die, all your dreams die with you" (me)

    So git out there and make it happen, don't look back, live your dream. Life's too damn short not to.
    #5
  6. hansi

    hansi Teurer Abenteurer

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    316
    Location:
    State of Jefferson
    If you need a place to crash out in Southern Oregon off of 199 let me know. Glad to help out.
    #6
  7. Scootard

    Scootard Scraggle McSquarely

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    240
    Location:
    Trippin'
    So IN When and if you get to B.C. we have space. Just PM us to make sure we're home. Will be following your ride with interest!
    #7
  8. GhostRiderFC

    GhostRiderFC Just a guy who rides

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    378
    Location:
    New Mexico, USA
    I awoke a few times today... first at five or so. It was finally cool and I found that I had finally gotten under the sleeping bag. I was too hot to use it earlier in the night, so just laid on the pad. I was now using it as a cover. I heard some commotion at the other campsites, but decided I was not interested in getting up just yet. I awoke again at six when my phone went off alerting me that it was time to get up and meet the running group. (I guess I should disable those alarms since I'm not there to run!) Then, around seven or so, I'd milked it long enough and got up.

    After a nice camp breakfast of oatmeal and nutrigrain bar with earl grey tea, I started packing things up. Since I had camped out in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, I decided that I needed to get my National Parks Passport stamped to count it on my Iron Butt tour. Problem was the visitor center is something like fifty miles away. But what else am I doing? So, I set off...

    First thing I see after leaving the camp area is this cool looking bridge over the Colorado River as it feeds Lake Powell.

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    Then, up the hill and around the corner is a really great scenic overlook where I could see all kinds of amazing scenery:

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    Including the ramp area and campsite I was in overnight:

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    And a self portrait, just because:

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    As I rode down UT276 toward Bullfrog to get my book stamped, it looked pretty dark and ominous ahead of me. I kept thinking that I might get lucky and make it to the visitor center before the rain and then hightail it back up this road keeping just ahead of it. As it turned out, I ran into the rain about two minutes before I got to the visitor center. So, I went in, got my book stamped, looked around for a minute, and bugged out. It was only a really light rain, so I figured my "outrun the rain" plan could still work. I did not put on my rain gear because that would take a bunch of time. And I'd been really hot for the past 24 hours and figured a nice cooling rain would be a nice change. As I hit the road, the rain was keeping up with me pretty good. There were a few areas where it was kind of heavy, too. Some minutes into that ride, I was really regretting not gearing up for the rain. No pictures from this section because of the rain.

    I did eventually get ahead of the rain and then air dried myself all the way to Hanksville. I gassed up and by the time I was done, the rain clouds were all around, threatening. This was especially true to the southwest and I was heading that way to check in at Capitol Reef National Park. So, I suited up with my rain gear and set out.

    It turned out that there was only a few spots with rain between Hanksville and Capitol Reef. I stopped in one really neat looking valley along the road to take this photo:

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    See that window of blue sky? Well, it eluded me just about all day.

    At Capitol Reef, I got a couple nice shots:

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    But I guess that's the only one I uploaded? :dunno

    At Capitol Reef, I saw a sign for a picnic area and decided to cook my lunch and eat there. Problem was, the tables, etc were all REALLY far from the parking area. So, I just set up shop in the parking lot and cooked and ate there. No pictures. I guess I was distracted by hunger.

    Upon departure from Capitol Reef, I decided to head down UT12 along the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. After turning onto 12 at Torrey, I got about ten miles, tops, before I tried shifting and discovered that there was no shifter next to my toe! :eek1 WTH? I look down and the linkage is all disconnected and just hanging there. Obviously, something was amok. I slow down, pull in the clutch, and park at the next pull out. This is what I see:

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    Well, that's not cool! Problem is, I just got it back from service. I know they had that cover off and so seems to me they didn't tighten up all the bolts. And that stuff looks kinda moist, too, doesn't it? I'm going to have to check for leaks. It didn't mark any parking spots, so... :dunno

    As I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do, I notice several motorcycles passing by the other direction. Lots of vintage stuff and a few Harleys. None of them stopped or slowed or looked at me in that "do you need help" kinda way, so I knew I was on my own. I tried a zip tie, but it broke that quick. I didn't have any spare bolts that would fit the hole, so I was having to improvise. I started looking all around the bike trying to figure out what bolt would fit in there, would not be horribly missed in it's current location, etc. I settled on the left handlebar switch housing. The threads were slightly finer than the coarse thread of the linkage, but it fit, and it would hold nicely until I could get to civilization and replace them. (Note, it's late on Saturday, so it'll be Tuesday before any HD shops are open to get bolts, if they have them at all.)

    So, while I'm working on this, I notice the weather is catching up with me again.

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    The bolt worked and I got going. It got wet again, but not for too long. The road to Cannonville is LONG, and is actually pretty nice. The pavement is not great in some areas, but it's a nice curvy road, lots of scenery. And lots of DEER! I saw several along the road side on the way down. Luckily, they bugged out instead of trying to get better acquainted.

    Somewhere south of Escalante, I ran into some relatively clear skies and so stopped to take some photos:

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    Behind me, to the north, the weather was hanging out:

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    Eventually, I found the sign:

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    By this time, with the weather, the breakdown, the photo stops, etc, it was getting late. The visitor center for Grand Staircase was closed and the weather started to roll in again. I was in Cannonville and decided that rather than be uncomfortable again (still), I'd grab a hotel and get a shower. So, the Grand Staircase Inn has graciously provided their internet for me to compose all this greatness.

    Tomorrow: Grand Staircase stamp, Bryce Canyon, and the rest is TBD. Hopefully it's not raining.
    #8
  9. GhostRiderFC

    GhostRiderFC Just a guy who rides

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    378
    Location:
    New Mexico, USA
    You know, if you're interested, just do it. The Uly is a fun bike and so inexpensive compared to all the other ADV bikes out there. That year had one or two quirks, but most of those should have been addressed by the previous owner. Head over to BadWeb to find out all about them. Big Bad & Dirty is the Uly specific section and the Knowledge Vault has good stuff on quirks and other issues.

    Enjoy!
    #9
  10. GhostRiderFC

    GhostRiderFC Just a guy who rides

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    378
    Location:
    New Mexico, USA
    Yeah, I'm looking forward to clearing my head. And fending off Monkey Butt!

    #10
  11. Scooterchick

    Scooterchick And then what?

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    266
    Location:
    The Great NorthWET
    Wow,

    those pics look like another planet!:eek1 I remember riding through Arizona and some parts of California in a friend's RV and thinking....."my gosh, now THIS is a whole new way of life!"....What a landscape!

    No coyotes out there- eh?.....haha


    Geeze......:*sip*
    #11
  12. cavemanjed

    cavemanjed Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    191
    Location:
    The Sweaty Part of Texas
    I'm following ya. Just remember to hit me up if you are in DFW, PM on facebook if you're rolling throught this area, you know who I am, think Frat days if you are confused. :)


    #12
  13. Scootard

    Scootard Scraggle McSquarely

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    240
    Location:
    Trippin'
    Enjoying your RR from B.C. where today it's cloudy and 68F.
    #13
  14. tennyis

    tennyis Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Oddometer:
    253
    great RR, really looking forward to following along!
    #14
  15. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,388
    Location:
    Tampa, Flatistan
    I hear ya bro.

    Ride safe. Subscribed...
    #15
  16. mnesci

    mnesci Adventure Dad

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    142
    Location:
    Wherever I may roam
    Also following along.....lets see some more!
    #16
  17. bilborides

    bilborides Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    36
    I went through that area last year and it was HOT.Drink plenty of fluids.Good RR will be following along.
    #17
  18. Douggie

    Douggie n00b

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    4
    Location:
    Melbourne, Vic, Australia
    I went through many of the areas you're travelling through in 2008 by rental car. Now I'm into riding, but doubt I would have the opportunity to do it in the US. I'll settle for riding locally - Australia has a lot of room, roads and paths to ride.
    I'll keep following now and indulge in nostalgia.
    When you get back home, if you're interested, my US photos are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dougmullett/collections/72157603780961199/
    #18
  19. GhostRiderFC

    GhostRiderFC Just a guy who rides

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    378
    Location:
    New Mexico, USA
    Last night, I sprung for a hotel because I'm kind of a pussy when it comes to camping. I don't like to camp in the rain. And it did rain. And rain, and rain. I'm glad I had the hotel. Problem is, I'm quickly discovering that I'm a lazy traveler. Even when camping, I don't spring right up with the sun and start busily packing my stuff and getting ready for the day. I ease into it. And likewise in the hotel. I was up late preparing the ride report, so I snoozed the alarm once or twice. :snore And then sort of lazily got my day going. I'm not a big morning person, I guess. :dunno

    So, after taking my time packing and loading the bike, I remember that I need to check the tire pressure. Sure enough, it's low. And where do you think my Cycle Pump is located? At the bottom of the fancy new aluminum pannier. The one right under that huge duffle bag. :pissed OK, so that's done. Then I go to turn in my key and check out and the place is locked up tight. :hmmmmm And then it hits me... Church. I'm pretty certain I'm deep in Mormon country, so that's where I figure everyone went. I just go back to the room, leave the key on the counter, and bug out. They'll figure it out.

    First thing I want to do, now that it's the crack of 10 o'clock in the morning, is get to the Grand Staircase - Escalante Monument Visitor Center to get my book stamped. I rode the thing and photographed it yesterday, but by the time I got into town, those government employees had run off. I discovered the visitor center hiding a mere one block from my hotel. Felt kinda silly getting my helmet on and riding one block and taking it off. The only ones who noticed were the Germans on the Harleys and they don't count, right? :augie Ok, that's done... Now off to Bryce Canyon!

    I also discovered that the reason I'm making slow progress is that there's just too much stuff to stop and look at. I hit just about all the "scenic turn outs" I could find. Made for some really great photo opportunities. These were taken on the road between Cannonville and Bryce Canyon, a distance of less than 16 miles.

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    As I got close to the turn off to the park, the landscape seemed to change dramatically in only a mile. It went from the red and brown bluffs of the previous images, sprinkled with some junipers and pines, to a huge fertile plain, mostly flat, and obviously used for ranching and farming.

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    Ok, mostly ranching, I guess. I noticed these horses out fooling around in the field. Managed to get one or two shots that were in focus.

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    And there was also a neat little church hidden over the hill.

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    That must be where all the Mormon innkeepers were hiding. :deal

    And since I was standing there looking at a huge landscape, I decided to get out the big 500mm lens and see what I could get. I was too lazy or stubborn to get the tripod out, though. And what I've found with this lens is that the slightest vibration causes a blurry image. So, I did a few freehand and then also tried some resting the camera and lens on the back of the bike, on top of all that luggage. (Since the bike was off, that notorious Buell vibration was not a factor. :lol3 )

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    And wouldn't you know it... as soon as I pack up the big Canon, I notice those horses have come over to check me out!

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    At this point, I packed it up and started heading into the park. Of course, the obligatory sign photo:

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    I would have waited to get one without all those strangers in the picture, but that wasn't going to happen. To my right, out of frame, there was literally a line of people waiting to do exactly the same thing. So, those tourists are now forever enshrined in my tales of riding the world! :thumb

    After going through the hassle of getting into the park, which involves stopping the bike, fishing out my national parks annual pass AND my ID so I can prove it's me, putting all that crap away, starting the bike, moving along... After that I got my pass stamped. I looked at the brochure they gave me and noticed a spot called "Inspiration Point." Hmm.. :hmmmmm that looks interesting. So, I head over there... it's only two miles away.

    What I notice right away is that I seem to be the only American enjoying these national parks. There were an extraordinary number of Europeans, mostly French, some German, some Russian or other Slavs. No Latin Americans, but a few Australians. I'm pretty good with accents... sometimes. :nod

    So, this is Inspiration Point:

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    And one last one, because I found it interesting.

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    I thought I had taken one of the trail, but I guess I didn't. There were three different overlooks that I shot these from, and each successive one was further up a steep dirt trail. I was wearing my full riding gear, so I was pretty warm and my heart rate was definitely up by the time I reached the top. :knary Coming back down was no problem, though!

    Once out of Bryce, I continued on toward Cedar Breaks National Monument. It was only a short distance away and on my way, so...

    Along that path, I started down US 89 and then across UT 14. UT 14 reminded me a lot of riding in New Mexico and felt like riding NM 4 through the Jemez and along Valles Caldera. Then, I started seeing all this crazy lava rock. There wasn't anywhere to pull out to take a photo and there was a bit of traffic, so I didn't try. In my head, I was joking that this must be where they filmed that scene where the Transformers wrestle and battle, because it looked like the ground was all chewed up and the trees were missing there. :huh Don't worry... this is how my mind works. :evil

    So, I come to Navajo Lake, which had a nice scenic overlook:

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    I almost stepped on this guy trying to read the sign:

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    And I really thought the shot of the sign would come out better, but it didn't.

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    This image in particular makes me think of riding NM 4:

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    And then there was this:

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    I had no idea that renting RV's was such a booming business. There were, literally, hundreds of them! :deal At each park entrance, there would be a line of them, not all from the same shop so I don't think they were together. And each time I encountered the people who were using them, they were foreigners. I don't know what's wrong with the rest of our economy, but tourism certainly seems to be booming.

    About that time, I noticed this:

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    That rain was persistent. I have put my rain gear on and off so many times during this trip, already! So, I gear up and mosey on down the road. I eventually get to the Cedar Breaks monument (sans rain).

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    Or was it sans rain?!? See that cloud to the upper left?

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    Yeah! That one! :dog Well, it let loose just about the time I was getting my stamp. There was no shortage of tourists there, either. And everyone is just putting on rain gear and ponchos and getting their picnic lunches all ready to go. Freaks. :loco

    I just rode away. And it's funny because that monument has it's own three or four mile road and it was only raining there. I thought I was activating my Go Pro to record video and it only snapped a photo... here it is:

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    As soon as I got back on the main road, the rain stopped... for a minute. Then, at the construction, it caught up with me.

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    So, I'm taking it easy going down the mountain. The bike is heavy with this load and the roads in Utah are not exactly confidence inspiring. Never did slip, though, so :ricky !!

    About this time, I'm feeling pretty hungry. I had my oatmeal in the morning (sorry, no pics) and needed a lunch. I was ready to buy lunch this time since it took me so long to unpack everything to cook my own yesterday. I used my fancy new Garmin Zumo 660 to find a restaurant. It pulled up all kinds of options and the one that I liked was Bruno's Italian Pizzeria and Deli. I like Italian, and pizza, and deli. So this sounds like a winner. Off I go... Until I get there and realize that it's the food counter at the Quickie Mart! WTH? :huh Forget this noise... I'm HUNGRY! Nearby, there are literally dozens of restaurants. Most of them are fast food and the only one that seems interesting to me is Chili's. So, that's where I went.

    Now, I'm sitting in Chili's and looking at the menu, and for some reason while riding down that mountain, I was thinking about steak. And while Chili's is not even close to a steak restaurant, they do serve them. So, screw it... let's have steak! I order a small side salad to offset my carnivoratious appetite.

    And, because somehow it would not be a ride report without food pics:

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    There used to be a salad on there. I told you I was hungry!!

    And then the food arrives and I realize why we don't order steak from Chili's!

    [​IMG]

    WTF is it swimming in? :huh :csm :yikes No, no... it was just this butter crap that they apparently slather on everything. Ruins a perfectly good piece of meat, if you ask me.

    I'm just sitting in Chili's minding my own business and I overhear the servers talking about lambs and sheeps and llamas and whatever and I'm wondering what kind of weird hick farmer town I'm in, when I see this:

    [​IMG]

    That's what kind of hick town I'm in!! The dog is working harder than the guy on the ATV!

    Eventually, I can't take Chili's anymore. I've been sitting watching Moto2 for about 20 minutes on SPEED when I can see the weather rolling up on me, so I depart. :ricky

    I hit the interstate because I'm pretty sure there are very few things along an interstate that makes me want to pull off and take photos. This way, I can make a few miles before dark and hopefully be somewhere cool. This plan works for only a short time. I get into St. George, UT and by now the rain is really coming down. And it's windy. And not just windy, either. It's gusty and it's running perpendicular to the road. (That's a cross wind for you hard a learning folks in the audience.) Now, I've been riding a long time and my number one rule is: Don't push it. The last time I fudged on that rule, I wound up ass down in the mud. At this point, I'm rolling at a pretty hard left lean just to stay in a straight line. And the roads are wet. And I'm just getting that sinking feeling like something is going to a fan real soon.

    I see a bridge ahead and decide to wait it out under there. I go almost all the way to the far side (it was a big wide bridge) and see when the wind lets up.

    [​IMG]

    This image really just does not do justice to the situation. I was heartened by the fast that there was not one other motorcycle on the road. And also that about half the cars passing by were going slow with four way flashers on. I started thinking about the weight of the bike relative to the contact patch of those two tires and comparing that to the 18 wheelers that were whizzing by. How much contact do they have with each of their 18 wheels?

    Here is another photo from my phone:

    [​IMG]

    I looked on Accuweather dot com and found the radar for the area and I was right under a huge thunderstorm with high wind warning, etc. Glad I sat it out!

    So, just about the time I'm wondering if I should get going again, I'm assured that I should by the sight of a CBR250R going the other way. Two up. Yeah... time to go! :lol3 Just as I'm getting on, a Harley goes by, too... So, I'm ready.

    Next, I entered Nevada!

    http://cjrodden.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/July-15-2012/i-gB6Zp7t/0/L/010-L.jpg[/img]

    As I'm taking this pic, the rain is trying to catch up to me. Followed me all the way through Arizona and into Nevada! On the one hand, it's inconvenient to ride in the rain all that way. On the other hand, as the elevation descended, I realized that riding through the desert under a cloudy sky is no big problem! As soon as the clouds went away, I found myself in Southern Nevada at about 2000 feet or less elevation and it was getting pretty warm! At the next gas stop, I ditched the rain gear. I had toyed with the idea of riding all the way to Mojave National Preserve, but due to my stops, etc, I was running out of time.

    My brother lives in Las Vegas. But he's away on vacation. I have bad timing. :deal Nevertheless, I called him and he said I could crash at his place. So, I rode down the strip on my way there.

    [​IMG]

    I'm not sure what's going on at top left, but I'm going to have to look into that. :evil

    Tomorrow, I'm going to head out THROUGH Mojave National Preserve and into San Diego to visit my buddy Mark. After that, I'm still putting it together.

    Cheers!
    #19
  20. glynb

    glynb Relentless Underachiever

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    813
    Location:
    N/W Louisiana
    Great ride report and photos! You have an entertaining writing style too.:deal Thanks and keep us posted.
    #20