Gone Walkabout

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by HowlingMad, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    To whoever invented this, I hate you.

    [​IMG]

    You've added insult to injury. Really, could you make the packages a little easier to open? They aren't childproof, they're adult armed with anger and sharp utensils proof.

    I hate this cold.
    #61
  2. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    Fantastic report!
    #62
  3. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    Thanks!

    By the way, currently in Hurricane, UT. I decided to get off the bike for a day and stay in the same place for more than a night. I'm hoping that it will help this stubborn cold which seems to have gotten worse lately.

    Headed for Death Valley next. I think.

    Someone fix this thermostat, the Southwest is supposed to be warm, right?
    #63
  4. Nice_Rumble

    Nice_Rumble Long timer

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    Apropos name for the town you are currently in given that we will be dealing with our own Hurricane in a few days. Hope your destination is not literal. Get well soon! Nothing worse than traveling when not feeling well.
    #64
  5. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    Ironic, isn't it? Staying in Hurricane, Utah when hurricane Sandy is about to hit home? Mrs. Mad is a trooper for holding the fort while I'm away.:clap



    I decided to stay an extra day to help shoo this cold away, a cough seems to be all that's left today, so it seems worth it. I've also spent part of the day sorting pictures and videos. I should have a video available soon I hope.



    In the meantime, I stumbled upon a picture I've been saving for a while. Something about this really screams to me.

    [​IMG]
    #65
  6. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    Going back in time a day or two ago to Durango, CO. Durango is a very strange little outpost, a stepping stone to adventure in all directions. Perhaps that's why the people there are so, ah, different. There are all sorts, but overall it didn't feel like a real friendly town. It was 19 degrees that morning when I woke up and it still wasn't above freezing by the time I reached town. I needed coffee, one large and one large enough to soak my frozen fingers in. After waiting at what seemed like the longest light ever, I discovered the reason. The coffee would have to wait a few more minutes for this old gent to pass.
    <a href="http://s525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/?action=view&amp;current=P1120307-1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/P1120307-1.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    After at least 2 hours of soaking up the local culture, decided to restock some supplies before heading out into the desert. I found a grocery store and realized I had been here before, and I remember that the parking lot was filled with strange and unusual expedition vehicles then too. I stopped to chat with this guy for a while, he was just leaving the store and spotted me. It's funny how full time (professional?) travelers seem to spot each other from a distance. We almost always make a point to make time to exchange information about services, weather and routes ahead. It's like stepping back in time while the rest of the modern world whizzes around us. I really enjoy this part of travel.
    <a href="http://s525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/?action=view&amp;current=P1120308.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/P1120308.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Making my way west to southeast Utah is a familiar route, easy to see why considering how few roads there are per mile than back home.
    [​IMG]

    Utah, possibly my favorite state.
    <a href="http://s525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/?action=view&amp;current=P1120327.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/P1120327.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Saw this guy just perambulating along. He wasn't quite sure what to make of me.
    <a href="http://s525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/?action=view&amp;current=P1120331.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/P1120331.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Eventually I make it here, a familiar landmark. This one's for Willy.
    <a href="http://s525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/?action=view&amp;current=P1120334.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/P1120334.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Eventually I make it to my destination, Valley of the Gods. I arrive around 5pm, one of the earliest days for me to stop so far. It feels good not to be in a race with daylight for a change.
    <a href="http://s525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/?action=view&amp;current=P1120367.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/P1120367.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    A nice dinner of pasta, broccoli and chicken was more than I wanted, but it usually is. It's hard to cook for one.
    <a href="http://s525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/?action=view&amp;current=P1120362.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/P1120362.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    I've had a problem with my Camelback and lost 1.5L of water, so no washing dishes tonight. But I did make time to experiment with the camera.

    <a href="http://s525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/?action=view&amp;current=P1120365.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/P1120365.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href="http://s525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/?action=view&amp;current=P1120364.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/P1120364.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    #66
  7. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    The wind was so intense that a fine layer of red dust covered everything in the tent. Between the constant tent ruffling in the wind and my coughing, I didn't sleep very well again. Not sure I've had a great night of sleep since I left home for some reason.
    I deliberately rose well before the sun to try some more experiment with some time lapse stills and just enjoy being in such an amazing place. This place is special for me, a place to be closer to your maker, it's like a church.

    [​IMG]

    I needed to come here. Most points on the map were optional, this one was not.
    [​IMG]

    I set up the camera and went for a little hike. Amazing what's hiding in every nook and cranny.
    [​IMG]

    Not far from my camp was this rig, which passed by fairly early. German markings.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    I broke camp, shook out the red dust and headed west.
    [​IMG]

    Saw something I've never seen before, a wild dog eating a dead horse randomly on the side of the road, I had to turn around and get a picture. The dog was a bit camera shy though.
    [​IMG]
    And I'm guessing most of you don't want to see the horse.

    For those interested, we're up over 3000 miles so far.
    #67
  8. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    And last for the night, a video from the area. Still haven't done the Engineer's Pass vid yet. .

    #68
  9. RTLLTR

    RTLLTR RotoTiller!

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    Morning Sunshine,

    Hope you are feeling better. just caught up on your last few days. Nice work! Keep the video action coming! Looks like Sandy is headed a bit south of us, so should be less than we dealt with for Irene. I was invited out for some surf this morning, but too much prep to do for the storm still Might surf the backside if the swell holds.

    Enjoy Church this morning! :clap
    #69
  10. BillNighSciGuy

    BillNighSciGuy n00b

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    Nice twin peaks picture, and great VOG stuff! Time in the wild is tough but everything little thing you do there has purpose. Life deliberate.

    :pope
    #70
  11. RTLLTR

    RTLLTR RotoTiller!

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    :lurk

    Hello? Yoohoo?
    #71
  12. twistedthrottle

    twistedthrottle Been here awhile

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    Been following along from the start. If there is anything you need out on the road give us a call. Tell them I said to take extra special care of you. 855-255-5550.

    Kevin
    #72
  13. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    Hey man, you wanted adventure, well I found it but there's no wifi there. Simmer down you.:D
    #73
  14. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    Hey Kevin,
    Thanks for the support! After the last three days in the back of Death Valley, I think I may need to find some Loctite, do they sell it in gallons?

    Funny side note about the trip, I had been looking for a window to do a trip like this all summer but there was always something on the calendar that kept me from going. Then one day I got a postcard in the mail saying I was no longer needed for jury duty. I figured that was the sign I was looking for and immediately started packing. I had everything I needed ready to go, except tires. The trip would have to wait another week to start since I always buy them online. On a whim I decided to call Twisted Throttle since you're only about 1.5 hours away and if you happened to have what I wanted I could start the next day, and that's exactly what happened. Funny thing is it was about $5 cheaper for both tires too. Who'd a thunk it?

    So it turns out that you guys played a bigger part in my trip then you probably knew when you handed me a couple of tires.

    I've only been in there twice so far, but seems like a good bunch of guys at Twisted.:thumb
    #74
  15. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    Sorry for the radio silence but I've been in the back of beyond for the last three days exploring some of the more remote parts of Death Valley. After spending a few days being completely humbled by the geological formations of Utah, my cold seemed to be getting worse again. The cold nights and lack of decent meals probably aren't helping me at all, so I decided to check into a hotel for two nights in Hurricane. My meals have become painfully routine though. When I camp, it always oatmeal, when I stay in a hotel, it's always a Super8 and this is my usual breakfast scene:
    <a href="http://s525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/?action=view&amp;current=IMG_1181.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/IMG_1181.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    After two days rest I decided to make a run for Death Valley and missed much of the southern parts of Utah that I love like Zion and Bryce, but the constant cold here combined with a cough that prevents me from getting a a complete sentence out pushed me to warmer places. There are so many places around here that have "devil, hell" or similar that I figured it must be warmer.
    I arrived at night to a favorite campsite from my 2008 trip.
    <a href="http://s525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/?action=view&amp;current=IMG_1185.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/IMG_1185.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    I felt bad for the other campers since I'm sure my hacking kept them up too.

    Funny thing about Death Valley, it seems to have most of what you need if you look hard enough.
    <a href="http://s525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/?action=view&amp;current=IMG_1188.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/IMG_1188.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    Can't say I've ever seen a pee chart in a men's room before, but I can't think of a place it would be more at home.
    <a href="http://s525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/?action=view&amp;current=IMG_1192.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i525.photobucket.com/albums/cc331/howlingmadadventure/2012-10%20Walkabout/IMG_1192.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    #75
  16. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    That morning a guy in a ranger hat who kept reminding me he wasn't a Ranger stopped to chat. I asked him about some of the dirt roads in the north of the park and he said I'd have to ask a ranger to see if the roads were open. They've had rain recently and ironically a place that only receives 2.36" of rain per year doesn't seem to know what to do with it. The rain wreaks havoc on everything when it comes and the more remote the road, the less likely it is to be open.

    The problem is that the loop I wanted to do is about 200 miles, but if the road is closed, say 2/3 of the way through, I would have to backtrack and that could push the limits of my fuel range. That's to say nothing for extracting my bike by myself in the heat of Death Valley. The ranger who was not a Ranger left me with a comment that I couldn't get out of my head "I wouldn't do it, but how's your karma?"
    I envisioned myself wandering the desert, wearing my helmet and nothing else having lost my mind due to heatstroke repeating the same phrase "How's your karma? How's your karma?"

    I decided it was a good time to find out. I set out for The Racetrack, a geological phenomenon where stones, called sailing stones are pushed across the mud.
    [​IMG]

    No one has ever witnessed them in motion and they only move every few years. The tracks last for years at a time. Oh, and there's about 30 miles of punishing washboard to get there. Sounds like a good time to me.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    I made it to a designated campsite about 5 miles past the Racetrack and made camp.

    I had only seen two people all day. There wasn't much hope of seeing anyone else tonight. Even though I had checked into a hotel for two days, I really didn't see anyone since I only left twice for food, the rest of my time was spent littering the floor with snot rags. It felt like a week since I had exchanged any conversation with anyone. I went to one of the most remote places I could find, and now I was feeling alone, lonely really. Gee, guess I should have seen that coming. It was a good time to reflect on the trip and why I was here, what I needed to get from it and how to achieve that. I'm hoping to bring the focus of my writing more towards that point and less on what I had for breakfast.

    In the meantime, did you know that all the coolest GS guys at Starbucks are wearing whitewalls these days? It's all the rave.
    [​IMG]

    Getting kicked out of my hotel room, so I'm afraid the interesting part of the adventure will have to wait a bit longer.

    Preview of things to come:
    [​IMG]
    #76
  17. Nictrolis

    Nictrolis Been here awhile

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    Subscribed. Don't get too lost out there or we'll all have to head out and find you.
    #77
  18. prsdrat

    prsdrat Been here awhile

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    #78
  19. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

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    I entered Lake Havasu around 8pm last night with fond recollections of a road trip with my wife in 1999. I remember it the same way, warm night with lots of lights and the feeling of water nearby. I was looking forward to possibly spending another day here to catch up on blog posts and enjoy the warmth. A sign outside says “Breakfast overlooking the lake”, I proceed to into my hotel and seem to be the only one here. There are almost no other cars in the parking lot, inside is a somewhat rundown looking hotel that reminds me of the cold, impersonal one-star hotels I stayed in in India. The breakfast area is far less welcoming tucked in a corner and I chuckle thinking of the sign outside. A small Indian man, Mr. Patel tries to balance his cell phone conversation in Hindi with the burden of checking me in. I’m still in a good mood despite the less than warm feeling about security of leaving my bike outside. The three pawn shops across the street aren’t a good sign. I further trouble Mr. Patel for a room with a better view of my bike. He seems annoyed. The business card stack at the counter reminds me this is his establishment. Here’s a little tip for the kids: if you’re not hospitable, don’t go into the hospitality industry.
    [​IMG]
    I find a Panda Express, highly recommended by my college sister-in-law. After an overdose of MSG I return to let the effects put me right to sleep without accomplishing any of my usual duties like sorting and posting pictures. I sleep well waking occasionally to check on the bike instead of coughing. Progress.

    8am and I jump out of bed to hit snooze so I can return for another 30 minutes of sleep. Just as I get back under the covers the door opens without a knock and I yell and hear “I’ll come back later!”. Yeah, thanks. Had you been a few minutes earlier I would have had to charge you for the show. Albeit not much, but still. I realize that I really have no control over my domain, even in a hotel. Especially in a hotel.

    I decide to get up and get started on my chores. Cleaning gear, helmet, etc. Putting clothes and all my gear back in bags in the meantime trying to sort pictures, video and get it all posted. Once posted I can begin to recount the adventures, emotions and trivial details from the previous three days. Checkout is at 11am, the race is on. At 10:30 I realize I’m not going to make a fraction of what I’d like to post. A call to Mr. Patel to negotiate for a later checkout time was not received well, since I’m the only one here, they’re anxious to clean my room. Aggravated, I push what I can to the web and race to honor the 11am checkout. At 10:45 I make the first of many runs to load my bike and realize I can’t get back into my room. Mr Patel looks at the clock to see if he has an argument, but instead of resetting my card he walks with me down the hall to open my door. Thanks, but I have about 4 more loads, how do I get back in? He walks away. I prop the door and finish loading, annoyed.

    Outside I call my wife since I didn’t have time in the morning. She listens to me gripe and points out that I’m like a homeless person. Painfully accurate this morning, but hearing her makes up for it all.

    I haven’t even had time to look at the map and have a bike fully loaded and no direction at all. I decide to find a McDonalds to have a proper cup of coffee and find a direction.

    In front of me at the counter is an old man in a peach shirt having an exchange with someone’s who’s sex I’m unable to identify and an oversized tie. I’m too late to figure out what she said to him, but I can feel it, and it’s not good. She, he, it scolded this old man, at least 50 years older than her and I didn’t like what I felt. I could see my sister leaning over the counter, grabbing that oversized tie and instructing her (?) to go forth and multiply herself. I realized that there might be more to the story and tried to let it go. I find a quiet corner where I can see the bike and slowly milk my $1.75 worth of rent. With the help of my wife by text, 2.5 hours later I’ve picked a point on the map almost randomly. Before I go, I run to the loo to return my coffee. While I'm in there the same old man in peach steps out of the penalty box and seems to be waiting for me. When I finish I proceed to wash my hands where he starts a conversation about god. Oh boy. I pretend to listen while feeling an urgency to leave. When he figures out I’m not buying whatever it is he’s selling, he cuts to the chase and blurts out “can I have a ride?”

    Politely, with a smile I explain I’m on a bike (guess he missed the Power Ranger outfit) and can’t help him. He continues on something about Jesus and the closing door leaves him behind. I gather up my things and head out to the bike. It takes a few minutes to put things away and I see my friend outside headed for me. I keep packing. I turn around and he’s in my space. For those who know me, you know this isn’t a good place to be. I give him a look he seems to understand and takes a step back, but undeterred he starts rambling about seeing a Harley once and how much expensive they are. Next he’s on to how he used to sell timeshares, al the while I’m going about my business of packing. It’s a delicate balance of being polite and respectful, while still being undeniable firm. I’m not sure I found that balance but I did let him know our conversation had ended.

    Not three hours earlier I felt bad for this old man being, and now I’m thoroughly annoyed by him. As I got back on the road my mind started to replay the morning and how I could have such a change of heart. Just some homeless guy (who didn’t look homeless) hustling people and loitering at McDonalds. Sounds an awful lot like me. We were both loitering, milking our time and the resources of McDonalds. The only real thing that separates the two of us is that he has a direction and no transportation, I have transportation and no direction. I spend the next hour being humbled by the experience. Monks spend time begging, perhaps to build humility. Perhaps I too need more of this.

    I pull over at the first restaurant and spend almost two hours writing this down, just to make sure I don’t lose track of this bit of humility. Don’t think I’ll make Phoenix tonight after all.

    Outside of Havasu, headed for Hope, AZ.
    [​IMG]
    #79
  20. BillNighSciGuy

    BillNighSciGuy n00b

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    Awesome stories. Keep living and telling.
    #80