Moab 2012 - Bittersweet

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Lycan1, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. Ford_Prefect

    Ford_Prefect Been here awhile

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    Afghanistan... Lovely place minus the heat & dust!

    Can you please lay out, or post up, or link or whatever to your routes and maps? I live in Utah so knowing your tracks in Utah and Idaho would be gratefully received!!
    #21
  2. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    I have all that on my gps and have not yet downloaded them, but I will hopefully get that acomplished tomorrow morning. It was my intention all along to post the gpx files of each leg of the trip and still do. I am still new to the whole GPS thing, but I learn quick (most of the time).:evil
    #22
  3. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    Before the trip I had done extensive research on Moab, on everything from Campgrounds to gpx tracks (of course) to bike shops along the way to restaurants and it all paid off.
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    Morning sun on the bluffs behind the campground.


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    looking southwest from our campsite.

    The following morning we went into town for breakfast with a plan to go do Arches and have an easy day for a change. Paul the BMW pilot had to head out the following day and had a list that he wanted to see that did not really work with our list of must-dos. He and I discussed this and he planned to head out (south) after breakfast the next day. This morning however we were off to the Love Muffin, a source of endless jokes, some of which might have been work safe (but I doubt it). By happenstance (or by plan) the ladies at the Love Muffin were easy on the eyes, and we would, by weeks end become regulars. The food was great, reasonably priced and not your (Denny's) run-of-the-mill. As a HUGE bonus the coffee was excellent (I almost felt like posing out front) and I discovered (the second time we visited), free refills, in generous sized mugs. The Edge Gallery that Brett on ADV owns is right next-door but despite my efforts I just never made it in during business hours (next time I promise). While we were sitting having breakfast another ADV rider (sorry I can't remember your name, feel free to pipe up) pulled up beside the bikes parked across the street.

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    The Love Muffin and Edge Gallery

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    The Mystery man from the KLR group

    He wasn't hard to spot, nor shy, and came over to chat when he came in. He was with a KLR Forum group that Hondo from ADV was with over at Canyonlands Campground right in town. He pulled out the maps and we discussed a few good runs around the area. He and Paul eventually walked over to the bikes and compared notes on KLRs. It was going to be a hot day and we got going out fairly early despite our leisurely start armed with full hydration packs. Arches National park came first and we all had cameras and GoPros rolling.

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    Park Avenue

    We trolled along with the rest of the rubbernecking tourists and pulled in to take pictures at all but one turn off (more on the later). Eventually we reached the Parking area for Delicate Arch and it was a little way from the parking lot. After squeezing all four bikes into the only available spot in the lot we (in full gear minus our helmets) went on a little hike. How far could it be, probably said on the sign, "did you read it, no, neither did I". After a about ten minutes of hiking and one small detour, I asked a guy in his 60s that just came back from the Arch, "Oh your about half way". You gotta be shittin me I thought, my reply to the senior was far more civilized. "Well guys, I said, I'm turning around, I can't do this, in this heat, but you go ahead". They to, turned around. When I got back to the parking lot a woman, trailing a few young kids said, "you look like a power ranger". I replied, "that's a first, usually I get, Storm Trooper; these are not the droids we're looking for, move along." The young boys grinned. Once we were all back we drove further down the side road to where the viewpoint for the Arch was, duh! I must pay more attention to signs. I must pay more attention to signs. I must pay more attention to signs. Oh well, I probably lost a pound (or two) hiking pointlessly. After a picture we moved along.

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    Delicate Arch from the viewpoint

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    Name that Album Cover....

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    Fiery Furnace viewpoint

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    Courthouse Rock

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    Artsy in Arches

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    Balanced Rock

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    Paul's Godzilla impression

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    "I Must Crush You"


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    Chris and Paul (KLR) saying yes to crack in Arches National Park, courtesy of Paul (BMW)


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    The crack photo shoot from my perspective


    We carried on until we ran out of pavement at the north end of the park, but I had spotted a white gravel road that was part of my initial track into Moab from the north, not far back. Paul (BMW) told me he had a few things that he wanted to see yet today since his time in Moab was limited so he continued on back on the pavement. Chris, Paul (KLR) and myself (still packing the side bags) hit the gravel toward Klondike Bluffs.


    Washboard for miles and miles, powdery sand in white, yellow and red was the order for the next hour or so. At the Bluffs we watched a couple of lizards run around and Paul tried to get a picture of one, not sure how that worked out. Then we headed back in the roasting heat. The road would have been a lot of fun if the incessant washboard weren't trying to shake our bikes apart and loosen fillings. Slow down, what! Then back to the tourist parade back out of the park.

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    Pawel Rides on...

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    Klondike Bluffs road


    We went in to the campground and hit the pool for a while before getting cleaned up and heading to town for Dinner at the nice little Mexican joint called La Hacienda (I think) at the north end of town on the east side of the highway. Somewhere in between I think we hit a grocery store and the liquor store where Chris picked up a nice bottle of Bourbon. We also fit in a trip to Arrowhead Motorsports to get a new front tire for Paul's KLR and while we were ther met "Jettin Jim" from this site. He is quite a character. Hope the ride is going well Jim!

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    Jettin Jim and his KLR.

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    The Mighty DR

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    Common sight around Moab

    By the time we got back Paul (BMW) had returned from his explorations. Sometime while we were gone another KLR (1'st gen) rider from Nevada had joined the Campers in the spot just across the way from ours. As it got dark I could see that he was sitting at the picnic table by himself without so much as a light. Me being shy and introverted walked over and introduced myself and invited Wayne over for a drink. He told me that he had been having a drink on the sly not wanting to offend anyone. "Hell, I said, you'll have to work harder than that to offend us, comon' over". He did and seemed quickly at ease.


    We sat around our LED lantern (since a campfire was verboten, unless it's charcoal, and who wants to sit around that) and had a few drinks before calling it a day. I had not turned on my phone for two days and was blissfully unaware that my sister had died that afternoon, and that my family was trying to reach me.



    much more of the story still lies ahead....
    #23
  4. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    This would be the morning that Pawel would break camp and head south after Breakfast. It was also the morning we would try for a quick breakfast at the nearby Denny’s. That would be what decided that the Love Muffin would be or spot for the rest of the trip for breakfast. Paul slept in a bit and told us he would meet us over at Denny'’s, so we headed over. After well wishes we parted company with Pawel and each headed in opposite directions.

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    The now, group of three turned east down highway 128 with Onion Creek road as our first objective. This road had been featured in the UTBCDR video and looked great with at least a dozen creek crossings as it weaved from side to side in the narrow canyon. The road itself was easy, but amazingly picturesque in the early morning light. The stream crossings easy as well as they were all very shallow. Eventually the road climbed up out of the canyon and ended at a junction turning east onto Thompson Canyon road.

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    This was a bit more challenging and had some very loose hill climbs as well as short sections of very sandy trail. The big KTM dug her self in for a moment on one loose uphill corner. Chris had to go around and Paul stopped behind me while I powered up the hill. At the top I came around the corner to see Chris running back with camera in hand. Sorry buddy no carnage this time, other than maybe some stone chips on Paul’s bike from my trenching. The sand was a bit of a challenge at times but the scenery was awesome! I stopped to check the Moab East map that I had picked up at the visitor center the day before since I had no gps track for this one. Eventually we climbed into the La Sal mountains and the views from up top were like nothing we had experienced yet and we were all in awe of the majesty of this place.

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    This was truly living, and it was good. The map eventually led us onto a snaking piece of pavement called the La Sal Mountain loop road and we followed it, enjoying everything but the plentiful tar snakes. In time we dropped down to Spanish Valley road that took us parallel to 191 north into Moab. It was truly blisteringly hot as we came into town. I led us to Milts drive in, but we all felt the need for air conditioning by this point and headed to the Moab Diner instead. It was not to disappoint and had a funky 50’s feel, I’d go back. Once again research paid off. The rest of the day was spent around town and back at the campground in the pool. We did a brief stop over at Canyonlands Campground in search of Hondo and the KLR crew. We found the bikes, and I left a note for Jim and they other KLR guys in the tenting area in true ADV style. That wasn't a doughnut, it was @, you guys know what I'm talking about, but you made me laugh a couple of nights later in the Blu Pig's lounge.

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    Once in a while I remember to relax, and this was when I decided to fire up the phone and check my messages. My heart sank as I read the first message from my wife and I had this weird feeling that my chest was crushing in on my lungs. I didn’'t know what to do, but managed to sound (hopefully) less shocked than I felt when I called home. A sick feeling of horror (for what my parents had been, and were going through) cascaded over me. I sat on the next campsite’s table head in hands, not sure how to go forward. My wife had told me the funeral was on the following Saturday, and right there I knew I had to make it, all other considerations were secondary. It was too late to call my parents so that would have to wait, even though I knew sleep would be a scarce commodity for them. I still had no idea what to say, and in honesty I still don’t. Just keeping from breaking down on the phone would be hard. It took all that I could muster to put on a somewhat normal appearance for the guys. I know they would understand but I have always had a hard time showing what I am feeling. Letting people in is not my strong suit, so this is rarity, me baring my soul. Maybe that is Deborah’s legacy to me. We were not as close as maybe we should have been, but I miss you dearly. May your soul be soaring free.
    #24
  5. LostHighway

    LostHighway Been here awhile

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    Great pics - what wide angle lens do you use?
    #25
  6. ScottV

    ScottV bigdoggscott

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    Great ride report. I am sorry for your loss.
    #26
  7. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    It is a Tokina, 10~17, F3.5-4.5 DX lens. The Camera is a Canon, Rebel T1i, so it doesn't get the full effect of the wide angle having a smaller sensor than a high end body would. It is still my favorite lens, as you can tell. Everything that I shot was done in RAW and with as little post processing as possible to keep true what I actually saw. The shots where the backgrounds are pulled in, like the guys up on the La Sal loop were shot with a Canon 100-300 zoom. I was using a Canon 28-105 zoom with a polarizing filter but the dust must have killed it, so it will be off to the shop for a refurb.
    #27
  8. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    Thank you. Writing this helps work through it.
    #28
  9. Beema Killa

    Beema Killa Beema Killa

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    Great ride report and pics Lee. The words you wrote about your sister were touching and I have to admit choked me up a bit. Made me call my sister. Never know how much time any of us have and makes you appreciate the relationships we have and at least makes me want to work on mine more. So thanks for that. Glad you are finding having words flow from your fingers therapeutic. Hang tough man.
    #29
  10. Shibby!

    Shibby! Long timer

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    I agree with the above.

    Never easy losing some one.
    #30
  11. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    Sleep didn’'t come easy and I was feeling drained emotionally right from the start. I did my best to be stoic and present a brave face, but behind blue eyes.

    We made another very early start as we had a lot of ground to cover with a plan to do all of White Rim Trail today. It was cloudy for the first time in Moab (our trip) and it would be a Godsend in the heat of the day.


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    We were actually out front when the ladies of the Love Muffin unlatched the door and greeted us with smiles. Another amazing breakfast and great coffee started the day in the right direction and we raced north to the Canyon lands turnoff (hwy 313). We elected to stay on pavement until Horse thief /Mineral Bottom road, electing to do WRT counter clockwise.
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    This road is unremarkable and allows a fast way to the Mineral Bottom switchbacks, taking you down to the river and (for us) the start of White Rim Trail. These as we found out pale in comparison to the Shaffer Switchbacks, but it was our first taste and it was spectacular. Almost immediately we started getting into the fine powder-like “sand” of WRT and passed a jeep crawling along on its huge tires leaving a large dust cloud in its wake. The trail then clawed its way along a cliff face beside the river and we were in our glory, stopping to take pictures like any first timers on WRT. Traffic was light and we didn’t hold anyone up.

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    I had been warned that there was a “quarter mile of deep sand down by the river, other than that its good”. This was a slight understatement, I think and I am sure I put a lot more miles on the motor (if not the odometer) spinning and roosting my way through the sulfur colored powder, but I did it without crashing and it was kinda’ cool.

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    One thing about the White Rim Trail, or any other trail around Moab; it requires FULL concentration and commitment with very little room for error. This helped keep my mind off our family tragedy, to some extent at least. It was always there but I had to force it back to the shadows in order to do the task at hand. The sand sections (and I say sections) were numerous, and I suspect they added up to far more than a mile, if you include my nemesis, Hardscrabble Hill. After passing a group of young kids on bicycles and their support trucks in another sandy section, we stopped by two pick up trucks sitting on a rocky plateau. They to, were more support vehicles, for what turned out to be a large Boy Scout Troop. One of the guys warned Chris and Paul about the “deep sand” on the hill and to “stay to the left, or center” near the top. I didn’t get the memo as I was already on my way up, and found this out by experience as my front wheel sank and the rear dug itself to the swing arm trying to push through and up the steepest part just before a sharp right turn. I got off the dug in bike and managed to work the bike out of the trench before the cavalry arrived. They helped walk the bike down and after a failed attempt or two to get any forward momentum, I was spent.


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    Maybe my lack of fitness (comparatively) or emotional state, or the heat (I suspect all played their part, in concert) but I was ready to turn around. With a bit of help (from Paul and me) Chris made it up the worst of the hill and trekked back down to assist Paul and I. The KLR was next and Paul disappeared in a cloud of dust that we were choking on. We bailed back down the hill. Once clear of the cloud, we could still hear the thumper churning away but could not tell if Paul was making any progress. Chris commented about “Nuclear Testing on the White Rim” and we both laughed. The exertion had me on my knees though, at the side of the trail, thinking I was going to puke, and I felt all shaky. Paul hiked down from the flat spot at the top having successfully clawed his way up the hill. We had backed the 990 down the hill to where Chris and Paul had stopped to help me initially, in order to let me have a shot at some speed, past where the hill first beat me. My first attempt required all three of us to lift the KTM off me after getting sideways and (my leg not being long enough to hit ground) flopping over. The second attempt was even worse and at a bit more speed, but third time was the charm and with constant encouragement from Chris and Paul I made it to the top and around the corner. They are probably still coughing up sand, and my rear tire will never be the same! Thanks guys for not letting me quit, I really thought I was done on that hill.

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    That would prove to be the only real tough challenge for me on White Rim Trail and after that I was feeling better (after a long hydration break and a snack). If it had been bright sunshine I am not sure the same end result would have occurred. Half a mile later we met another rider on a fully loaded GSA, and lucky for him he was going to go down on that little sand chute. After a short chat we all carried on and the trail had a nice variety of sand, gravel, hard sandstone and loose chunky hills.

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    At one point just before Hog’s Back Hill we met a group of older guys doing the trail on mountain bikes. They were relaxing and waiting for their (wife driven) support truck which arrived right after we carried on. As I rode over the hard rock steps past a group of reclining bikers (standing on the pegs and slowly climbing over the rocks) I heard one exclaim “holy crap”, perhaps at the size of the bike, but I am not sure. Just past them I dropped into a shallow sandy section so I put on a show and did a nice long roost.

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    Hog’s Back was very steep and narrow and did a 90 degree turn about halfway up before ducking under a rock shelf on the second half of the climb. I almost had too much throttle getting to the corner but managed to chop the speed at the right moment. It was a long way down otherwise, and better not to think about it. Chris and I agreed that going up Hogs Back was easier than (we figured) going down was. We had an audience at the top watching us do our thing.

    To be continued…..
    #31
  12. Motard_Menace

    Motard_Menace Been here awhile

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    Excellent report, I read the entire thread and wanted say you have a nice easy way about your story telling. Sincere sympathy for you and your family on your sisters death. GodSpeed to her as she moves to a better place...........
    #32
  13. Droptop50

    Droptop50 Been here awhile

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    Awesome report!

    I wish you and your Family peace in this difficult time. Props to you for not turning around and hightailing it home.

    I think if I lost either of my children or one of my siblings that I might have to go for a ride.... for a long time.

    Keep it up man!:thumb

    Oh yeah...:lurk
    #33
  14. Gale B.T.

    Gale B.T. Long timer

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    Truly wonderful/awesome pics and ride report. Glad you 4 Canucks had a great time.

    Lee, we feel your pain in the loss of your loved one.YOu and your family will be given the energy/ blessings to move on.

    It was a true Canuck/Calgary rider , Mr. Canoehead , that stepped up and offered us a place to bed down while my daughter and the staff at Foothills fought to save her life. I feel Mr.Canoehead help save her life along with several other riders that also offered all their facilities to us.

    Looking forward to the remainder of your RR,
    gale
    #34
  15. Shibby!

    Shibby! Long timer

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    How long did it take you to do the WRT? I skipped this update to not ruin the surprise but from a quick skim of the text I don't think I seen it noted.

    I will be doing it in about a month with a detour of the CDT. I don't deal with heat well so I'm getting up early, packing lots of water and stopping only for quick photo's!

    I rode much of Moab on my last trip and don't want to be riding the rock ledges and what not in 40 degree heat. Some of the days I rode prior was high 20's and that was plenty hot enough doing Poison Spider, Moab Rim, Rusty Nail, Golden Crack, etc.

    Also, where is the LOVE MUFFIN. haha. I think we'll stay at Canyonlands again, but a nice breaky and coffee spot would be great. I love La Hacienda! Surprisingly good food (large portions) and delicious margaritas! Not quite Mexico margaritas but some of the best I've had in the states (keep in mind that's pretty limited). I've heard there is good Mexican in Crested Butte, CO which I'll be trying as well.
    #35
  16. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    Thank you, sincerely! I tell it like I think it and it is all off the cuff, and as I go.

    Believe me if it had been under different circumstances I would have dropped everything and headed home. This was so sudden and unexpected, and by the time I heard, there was nothing I could do but make sure I was there for the funeral and I was.

    True character is defined in how we treat another being in a time of need. Our compassion is what sets us apart.

    Thank you for your kind words.
    #36
  17. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    The white rim trail is approximately 118 miles around depending on how you hook onto it, as there are options for doing so. We started at 08:00 and due to all the stops and the "Hill" took until 18:30 to get it done. We rarely made any time as there is so much to look at and it was not a competition but a tour. Much more about the experience than just checking off a box on a to-do list.

    The Love Muffin is at N 38 34.529' W 109 33.056'

    Have fun, be safe.
    #37
  18. Ford_Prefect

    Ford_Prefect Been here awhile

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    Afghanistan... Lovely place minus the heat & dust!
    I have heard of people just flat bombing the road and getting it done in just a couple of hours. I honestly do not know how you could do that though, and you certainly would not have time to stop for photos at all if you did.

    Then again I have been on the first third of it (coming from Shaffer) that I would not stop for photos very much myself, at least not until I got to something new, but perhaps not then either. I have a lot of Moab photos, so the thought of stopping along that road, in that heat, to snap a few just does not agree with me. I hope to get to do it soon myself, and I am expecting it to take me six to eight hours.

    Of course I have also read stories of guys who have done it in jeeps in "one day" which typically means leaving at 0600 and not getting back until 2300 or even 0200 the next day.

    Best of luck on your trip! I wish I could go with you, but not in that heat... :rofl


    ...And of course this is still a great RR. It makes it easy to see what I will be up against when I go on there myself if I can read really good RRs like this; besides it is cathartic for me... it eases the daily grind when you can remember the days out on the trails.


    Regards,
    #38
  19. L.B.S.

    L.B.S. Long timer

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    :D Thanks for the cool pics and ride report!

    22 years ago, that spot looked a wee bit different...

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    #39
  20. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    L.B.S.

    Thank you for that taste of history, including the Honda CX 650 Turbo. Arches was not quite so touristy back then.
    #40