Part 2: Me, a blonde, 2 Ducati's....4,000 miles (and then some)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by GP1152, May 7, 2013.

  1. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    Happy Birthday!!!
  2. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    :) ...thanks. I'm writing this after the fact so that was a little while back, but thanks nonetheless.


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  3. 413.45

    413.45 Been here awhile

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    Location:
    southwest Utah,
    Snow Canyon State Park.
    I have many memories there, our family had a big get together there every Easter from the time I was 4 or 5 up until a few years ago. My father, uncle, aunt, cousins and I hiked, climbed and explored all the sandstone rocks up and down both sides of that canyon. About 10 years ago the park made the rule about no climbing on the rocks.(idk if it was for political or safety reasons?) Took all the fun out of the place. There are some really neat places up in there.

    I enjoy your RR's and am looking forward to the rest of the trip.
  4. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    yeah really is a cool place. I was a bit miffed about the no rock climbing thing. Especially in a place like Utah, that sells itself as an outdoor adventurers' paradise. Luckily there wasn't anyone there to notice us bounding around the rocks :smile6
  5. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    Our destination for the day is Kiva Kottage, Escalante, UT. This is a place that has been recommended to us here in this thread as well as via private message, so we definitely had high hopes for it. This was also the only place we wouldn't be canceling a reserved room at (remember we were supposed to leave the Airstream and truck in St. George and would have been hoteling it from there on out). This place looked to be pretty amazing, so canceling it really wasn't an option. Since we were towing what amounts to an apartment on wheels we thought it prudent to call ahead and make sure we'd have a place to park it when we got there. From what I saw on the map, there wasn't exactly an abundance of places around there to park it either so it was kind of important to find out. Stephanie called while I drove and luckily was told it wouldn't be a problem. There is what amounts to a second parking lot that we could park in. No problem.

    Kiva Kottage is a part of Kiva Koffeehouse, a restaurant/cafe that also has a separate, smaller building next to it. This building consists of two "hotel" rooms . We're very comfortable in the Airstream, but I won't turn away a nice hotel room (as many of you have gathered from previous reports).

    Our drive to Kiva Kottage would take us through Zion National Park, a place I was looking forward to seeing in person. This is the sort of countryside, geography, whatever you want to call it that I had always envisioned seeing before we moved out west. Speaking of the wild west, the temperature this morning was perfect at +/- 72 degrees but if yesterday was any indication, that definitely wouldn't last all day. I'm no stranger to hot weather, but we were getting temps bordering on 100 degrees. The roads we were on (and would have been RIDING on) were beautiful, but not exactly twisty backroads so being in the truck for this didn't suck…..for now.

    [​IMG]


    As we got closer to Zion we drove thru some cool little towns, like Rockville. I'm sure these towns cater and rely mostly on tourism as their trade, but the homes along the tree-lined street still seemed to give the town some authenticity. Was nice!!

    [​IMG]

    This truck added to the feel of the place:
    [​IMG]


    There is obviously no shortage of traffic going into Zion. I read that it's Utah's oldest and most visited national park and gets upwards of 2.5 million visitors every year. As I approached the line to get in It seemed like they were all here THIS day. Ehh, I'm probably exaggerating a bit…..I guess it wasn't SO bad for a National Park in summer.


    I commented to Stephanie at one point about how amazing it is that so many of these National Parks, including Zion, were designated as such so long ago during a time when there wasn't necessarily such an emphasis, awareness or even fear of what people could do to these places. For reference, Zion was designated a National Park in 1919. Can you remember what you were doing back then? Yeah, neither can I.

    Unfortunately today was going to be a long drive and we wouldn't have too much time to stop and do a lot of the things you'd want to do in Zion NP, but we sometimes view trips like this as an exploratory/preview trip of sorts. Even if we had all day, it wouldn't be enough time to see everything there so we find the places we'd like to come back to and make a note to come visit them later on. Zion is definitely one of the places we'll come back to. Probably not during the summer months though. Spring or fall would be ideal.

    Two things of note when we got to the entrance to Zion. First, we figured it was a good idea to get the yearly National Park pass. We'd go through enough parks during this trip alone to warrant having it. Second, because we were towing the Airstream and therefor wider than 7'10" (the Raptor is actually wider than the Airstream's 8 ft width if you include the mirrors), we would need a tunnel permit/pass. This basically equates to paying $15 and getting a paper taped to your windshield alerting the person manning the tunnel that they have to stop traffic on the other end to let you through. No complaints here. Driving through a narrow tunnel and potentially meeting up with one of the hundreds of rental RV's we kept seeing wasn't on my to-do list for this trip.

    Just driving though the park is stunning.

    [​IMG]

    Some of the locals
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    The drive through the park wasn't exactly speedy, but it wasn't a crawl either. Going into a place like this you pretty much know you're not going anywhere too fast so why the idiot in a Ford Explorer decided to gas it and pull in front of us at one point , I have no idea. Other than that, the trip through the park went off without a hitch. And that tunnel "crossing" was pretty cool.

    Sign going into the tunnel:
    [​IMG]


    Tunnel control on the other end…."are you guys waiting for me??":
    [​IMG]

    We realized halfway into the park that wet didn't see the visitor center and therefor missed getting our National Park Passports books stamped (a bit geeky I know). No big deal right? We'll just stamp it on the way out. Surely there's another visitor center by the East entrance, right? Wrong. When we got to the East entrance, or exit for us, I parked and walked over to ask the ranger if there was another visitor center. He said the only visitor center was by the west entrance. We now have our reason to come back. See?? It all works out in the end……..

    [​IMG]


    HWY 9 takes you thru and out of the park until it butts up against HWY 89. At that intersection is the White Mountain Trading post. This is a gift shop that sells crafts, souvenirs and what not. A perfect place for Stephanie and her 20 minute Iced-Tea stop (and perhaps a few other things?). In the meantime, I'll stay outside and fill up with gas. While I was doing so I overheard the gentleman filling up his rental RV next to us speaking German to his wife and 2 kids as they went inside the store themselves. Wanting to single-handedly crush the "ugly-American" stereotype, I said hello and asked him how his trip was going so far. He was very nice guy and expressed how "grand" this part of the world is to people like them that visit from abroad. Further proof that you don't necessarily have to leave the US to see great things :)

    Stephanie finally made it back out to the car…empty handed (I actually told her she should have gotten SOMETHING..lol). Anyway, I said goodbye to my German friend and apparently I was so enthralled by our conversation that I almost pulled away with the fuel hose still attached to the truck!! Ooops……..never thought I'd EVER do that. Must be getting old ;) So yeah, thanks to the older Harley dude that pointed that out to me.

    The rest of the route took us through some more beautiful landscape. Speaking of rest, she hates when I do it, but here's one of the ongoing saga of pictures I have of Stephanie coming out of a bathroom. This is her universal sign for "oh not that again you moron!!".

    [​IMG]

    Oh yeah, the scenery:
    [​IMG]


    But I digress……The drive. It was great, but alas we needed food. Coming up was the small town of Hatch, UT. Yelp said there's a place called the Hatch Station Cafe and Steakhouse. It has decent reviews so we decide on that. The place seems pretty new and has a log-cabin-ish feel inside so on appearances alone it seems like a good choice. Luckily the place didn't get by only on looks. The service was excellent, the husband/wife duo that runs the place couldn't have been nicer and the food was pretty damn good. As for what Stephanie thought….They had her at "Salad Buffet". Someday I'll explain to her how she's not really pulling one over on them. "sweetheart, it's leaves and some dressing. They spend more washing the tablecloth on our table".

    [​IMG]


    As is the case so many times, the waitress asks where we're traveling from. We tell her of our trip and when we mention the trailer and bikes she immediately asks if the truck outside was ours. We continue on talking for a little while and we learn that she and her husband don't own this place, but they run it for the owner during the season. The rest of the time they do some traveling themselves (they have a 5th-wheel they haul). We trade a few stories about places we've been to and seen and shortly thereafter we pay the bill and say goodbye to our hosts. Overall, a nice stop. Time to hit the road again.

    During the trip Stephanie and I have discussed where we might want to leave the truck/Airstream and are so far leaning towards leaving it in Idaho Falls. We still had Moab on our route and would be spending a few days there. From there we knew we'd be going to Jackson, WY so from Moab we'd be able to cover more ground and get to somewhere just past Salt Lake City, spend the night there then continue on to idaho falls to drop everything in Storage and continue on with the bikes to Jackson that same day.

    We get back on the road and about 10 miles later turn right onto HWY-12. Just after making that right we see a souvenir store called "Red Canyon Indian Store" and stop to see if there's anything we can buy for some friends and family. We walk out with a few items, one of which is a scorpion lollipop, a gift for our friends son . It's literally a clear-blue lollipop with a scorpion right smack in the middle of it.

    Kiva Kottage is about 70 miles from here. It's apparent we're going to get there well past when they close the restaurant, which closes at around 3:30 if I remember correctly. Not to worry though, they know you're coming and leave you a key. So no need to rush, but I still want to get there in time to see the view the room promises to have. The rest of the drive looked like this:

    [​IMG]


    It was my favorite time of the day when we pulled into Kiva's lot. I contemplated driving to the lower lot, which would put us a bit closer to the restaurant and the room, but it seemed like it might be a tight fit as far as being able to turn around with the trailer to get out, so I opted for the lot we were told we could park in. A few minutes after we get there and start gathering our things we see some guy walking towards the dumpster. I figure he must be our neighbor for the night and wave hello. There's nothing going on here at this time so It seemed pretty obvious that he heard us and walked over to see what was going on. He probably didn't see the Airstream and think we were the ones staying there as well (we spoke to him and his wife briefly on our way to our room. Pleasant enough people). I handled the usual chores of loosening the tie-downs on the bikes, etc and actually considered taking the bikes down to give them a go on the road we just came in on:


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    It was nice and cool out around here and there was a section of road that it seemed would have been good fun on the bikes, but really it was too late to go thru the trouble. By the time we would have unloaded the bikes, gathered our gear and gone and come back it would have been dark. As it turns out, I made the right call. The room and view were awesome and, as it turned out, Stephanie had called ahead and asked them to leave a birthday meal for us in the room, with cake and all :) .

    [​IMG]


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    View from the room's deck area:
    [​IMG]


    One side of the "Kottage":
    [​IMG]



    The Koffee House:
    [​IMG]


    Neighbors:
    [​IMG]


    The simple, but VERY good dinner they left for us:
    [​IMG]


    One happy camper:
    [​IMG]


    Like I said, good thing we didn't leave. Stephanie was being nice when she said she'd go out for a ride with me, but it was obvious to me when I saw everything that it would have been a mistake. We would have missed out on the view and more importantly, I would have missed out on spending this time with her. It really made for an awesome birthday.

    After we ate we went back to get some things out of the Airstream and returned to the room. It was time to shower and wind down for the night. Tomorrow we head towards Moab via Capital Reef National Park.


    (btw, the colors you see are straight out of the camera. I couldn't believe how blue the skies are around here!!)
  6. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Vacation with all the toys!
    Can't beat the southwest for the blue skies.
    Thanks
  7. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    Absolutely! The colors out there are amazing!!


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  8. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    Glad you enjoyed the Kiva Kottage and thanks for posting pics of the inside of the room.

    I have now been there 3 times in the past 6 years and have not been able to book either of the two rooms because I didn't get a reservation soon enough.

    I'm glad to know the Kottage it is as good as I imagined it would be. The views in this area are so amazing they are hard to capture with a camera but you are doing a good job. Enjoying the report.

    The history and story of this place is very interesting. The family who built Kiva was originally from California and wanted to move from the "hustle and bustle" of big city life to a more relaxed and remote area. I think they found the right place.
  9. mistasam

    mistasam ciao!

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    Maaann this looks awesome! Great shots. I'm so jealous :D
  10. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    We absolutely enjoyed it. Thanks for the heads up on that :thumb I'm surprised you haven't been able to get a room there, but at the same time I just checked and I had reserved it almost 3 months in advanced. I would encourage you to reserve something and give it a shot though.
  11. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    The next morning we woke up to this:

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    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the view doesn't really lend itself to making you want o jump out of bed and leave this place, but we were hungry and were ready to get the breakfast that is included with the room (yes, Stephanie was very happy about this). We got ready and made our way over to the restaurant where we were greeted and seated by a young girl , about 16 years young. As it turns out, she is the granddaughter of the lady that own and runs the place. That lady also happens to be the daughter of the builder/founder of the restaurant and the "Kottage".

    Quick stop to check on the truck…all good:
    [​IMG]

    The Kiva story:
    [​IMG]

    The restaurant offers a fantastic panoramic view of the canyon that surrounds it. Inside a few tables were occupied, one by our neighbors from the room next to us and another by a young guy that was trying to get online. There is no cell service here, so OUR only hope of communicating with someone out here would be WiFi or the in-room land-line. But, I had brought the iPad in hopes of being able to check email and also to look into today's route.

    Stephanie, eager to get on with breakfast:
    [​IMG]

    As is the case for us many times, we sat at the first table and found a few more flies than we would want (I realized later it was due to the ceiling fan in in that section that wasn't on). So, we moved to another table. After a few minutes we realized that wasn't a winner either because the sun was beating down on us….so……the third one was the charm (We're really not THIS difficult, I swear). We settled in and ordered. I ordered the green scramble and a juice that I can't remember now what it had, but it had a combination of things that you'd never dream of putting together. It was green and looked like something you'd regurgitate when you were sick OR perhaps something we used to see on nickelodeon when we were young. They said I could try it, I was curious, so I did. It was actually really good and one of those things that doesn't taste anything like it looks. Highly recommend it.

    Somehow I imagined this guy making it in the back:
    http://youtu.be/hmCqgGpR2YI

    Stephanie order something a little more tame. It was a breakfast bagel (egg and turkey I believe). While we waited for our food we struck up a conversation with a nice couple from Arizona. He had asked about our cameras so we got to talking about that and each others travels. Turns out they also ride so we also traded stories of different routes, packing solutions, GPS….a little bit of everything. Add them to the list of very nice people you meet when on the road. Wonder why that is. Maybe because everyone is happy to be there. O maybe it's because nobody is in a hurry when they're traveling and can actually take the time to stop and talk to people. Whatever it is, it works.

    Our Arizonian friends left us to our food and we dug in. In case you're wondering, and of course how could you not, the food was excellent:

    My Food:
    [​IMG]


    Stephanie digging in:
    [​IMG]


    Me and the green concoction:
    [​IMG]


    When we were done with our food we checked in with the owner to thank her for everything they had done the day before (food, cake, etc). I told her how great we thought the place was and also asked her a little about the place and it's history. She told us about her father and how he built the place. How he used to sit in the very same table we were at and draw for hours on end with his colored pencils (you may have read in the image above that he was an engineer and artist). It's a bit of a tear-jerker of a story when seen thru the eyes of his daughter. Her father finished the restaurant in 1998 and started on the Kiva Kottage shortly thereafter. Unfortunately he passed before being able to complete them, but his family continued and completed the construction of the units exactly the way he wanted them. In my opinion, they couldn't have turned out any better. This is a place I would urge anyone to stop at. This place is a real gem.

    As much as we love the place, it's time to go. We head back t the room, gather our things and head out to the truck. On the way over, this guy, who is the unofficial mascot, was the guard on duty:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    We made it out to the truck and headed out. Goodbye for now Kiva:
    [​IMG]
  12. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    You have done an excellent job of describing what a special place Kiva Koffee House and Kottage truly is. This whole area is fantastic as far as I'm concerned.

    I have thought Kiva would be a great place to stay for 2 or 3 nights and then do loops from there. It is centrally located between Bryce Canyon and Torrey (this is a 110 miles stretch of pavement) on highway 12 which is spectacular as well. There are tons of roads, paved and dirt, to explore in the area.

    This area is great for dual sports, adventure bikes and just about any other type of bike you like to ride there.

    Looking forward to more of your report. :clap:clap:clap
  13. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    You're right about that. I'll try to update this later today and will cover Hwy 12. Beautiful road and area!!



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  14. AirDrive

    AirDrive Been here awhile

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    Everything OK? :ear
  15. live2ridetahoe

    live2ridetahoe RN

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  16. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    Yes sir. Sorry man.....Writing this after the fact is definitely harder than at the end of the day or even the next day DURING the trip.
  17. GP1152

    GP1152 Been here awhile

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    We descended down towards the town of Torrey. Time for lunch. The drive to here was great but we could see rain-clouds off in the distance all around us. Sure enough, as soon as we approached the "Cafe Diablo" (a restaurant recommended to us by a few people here) it started raining on and off. At first it was a bit of a drizzle and not at all that bad when we parked and headed in towards the restaurant only to find…...they were closed. Guess we'd have to go to the burger place we saw a few blocks back down the road.

    It doesn't rain all that much where we live in the SF Bay Area. The rain we do get though is a light drizzle like what we were getting here right now. It stopped just as we were driving out of the lot but we could tell it wouldn't be for long.

    Torrey is a small town, less than a mile long. Having to go to another restaurant isn't a problem (other than not getting to eat in a place that was well recommended). The burger place we pulled into a minute later was called "Slackers". It has a main indoor dining room and an outdoor patio which was now thinning out as people sought shelter from the rain that seemed just a few minutes away. We placed our burger orders at the window outside. This wasn't what we had in mind, but the place had character. While we waited for our order we struck up a conversation with 2 early-twenty-ish girls that were traveling through the area. One of them was from here from the States and the other was from France. Our order was called up and we headed inside where the air-conditioning was now no longer in-tune with sun that was blazing outside just a short time before the rain and cooler air showed up. In other words…..It was freezing in there!!! Inside the walls and ceiling were adorned with license plates from different states that were nailed to the ceiling. This place wasn't going to win any culinary awards, but the people were nice and the food what you'd expect to get. Overall, a worthy stop.


    Just before the heavy rain:
    [​IMG]

    Inside "Slackers":
    [​IMG]


    From there we went on towards Capital Reef. Which had some beautiful scenery:

    [​IMG]

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    At this point we weren't sure where we're end up and contemplated staying in Capital Reef National Park. But when we drove thru the campground there we quickly nixed the idea. The campground seemed more like a city central park with all the people out and about. We usually prefer something a little more isolated if possible. That is of course, when we're not in Las Vagas ;) (insert sarcastic wink here)

    So, we drove on. At one point we decided to go down an isolated BLM road to see what we can find for the night. Since it was BLM land we would be able to stay out wherever we could find a suitable spot. Unfortunately, when we got out to a place that looked nice, the weather coming in around us made me think twice about it. Probably a good thing as we would find later. These areas are prone to flash floods and I had absolutely no idea as to what the lay of the land was here. it was soft, silt-like gravel and although I have no doubt I'd get the truck out of there, I wasn't so sure pulling the trailer through mud would be possible. Onward we go.

    [​IMG]

    Here, in full "get us out of here" mode…..slowly down this road:
    [​IMG]



    Stephanie had come across a cool campground that would be on our route towards Moab. It was/is a spec on the map but it would later turn out to be a winner. Darkness wasn't far away and as the clouds closed in it only accelerated that process. The skies opened up and it started pouring rain. This qualifies as one of the times we were glad to NOT be on the bikes. We continued east then northeast down UT HWY 24 towards Goblin Valley State Park and got quite a show along the way:

    [​IMG]


    (hard to tell here, but it's REALLY coming down)
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    (sun peeking in under the rainclouds)
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    The colors were amazing. What you see in the pictures above is what was there. These aren't photoshopped.

    It cleared up here and there, allowing me to take some of these shots. But by the time we got to the park it was coming down in buckets again, The lady at the park entrance, apparently thinking she had seen the last of the arriving park guests, had parked right in front of the window and under the car-port that was directly in front of where we'd pull up to get info, pay, etc. She yelled over that she was coming over to move her car and that we could just come over and pay in the morning. I told her to stay where she was and that I would back up and drive in through the exit. This poor lady would have to swim out to move her car otherwise. She seemed genuinely grateful as she waved us goodbye.

    The drive to the campground loop didn't take too long. Thanks to our headlights and what little light was left from nightfall we were able to see and make our way around to find a spot. Once we settled on one, we backed in and set up. It's a great place and even though it's prefect for RV's, it was mostly tent campers (who were not surprisingly out of sight right now due to the rain).

    It was now dark and raining. Not much to do but set-up, shower, have dinner and sleep. Tomorrow, Moab…..
  18. Dieselpwr

    Dieselpwr Been here awhile

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    Beautiful pics as usual. Doesn't seem like you guys rode the bikes too much on this trip.
  19. 01concours4now

    01concours4now Been here awhile

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  20. AirDrive

    AirDrive Been here awhile

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    We appreciate the effort.
    I lived in Utah for 40 years and never made it to Capitol Reef. Sorry I missed it, but I'll make there one day.

    Great photo's and report.