A bear ate my jerky!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by BGil, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    I entered the Dinosaur National Monument late afternoon. It was already too late to visit, so I headed directly to a campground. This one, located on the shore of the Green River will do the trick.

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    The river is the only source of greenness in the area.

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    In the morning, I headed directly to the Visitors Center.

    To quote Wikipedia:
    “The rock layer enclosing the fossils is a sandstone and conglomerate bed of alluvial or river bed origin known as the Morrison Formation from the Jurassic Period some 150 million years old. The dinosaurs and other ancient animals were carried by the river system which eventually entombed their remains in Utah.

    The pile of sediments were later buried and lithified into solid rock. The layers of rock were later uplifted and tilted to their present angle by the mountain building forces that formed the Uintas during the Laramide orogeny. The relentless forces of erosion exposed the layers at the surface to be found by palaeontologists.”

    Discovered in 1909, most of these fossils are now in various museum, although a section of this “fossil wall” has been kept on site and the Visitor Center built around it.

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    A few reconstituted skeletons are on display.

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    Close to the ground, some bones coated with a protective layer can be touched by the visitors.

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    No T-Rex here, these dinosaurs were closer to our times than to the period when these fossils formed.

    The apex predator in this graveyard is the allosaurus.

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    After the visit, I followed briefly a didactic trail next to the Visitors Center.

    See this strange rock?

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    It was at the bottom of a shallow sea. The bumps are fossil clamshells.

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    The place was nice and interesting but, with no hat and no water, I quickly went back to the bike, then - after a quick stop at the post office in Vernal to send to Belgium a box full of various stuff that I didn’t want to keep lugging around - on the road to Salt Lake City.

    I rode all day under a burning sun. It was already dark when I eventually found one of the last free places (Friday evening!) in a campsite on the shore of Jordanelle Reservoir. Before that, I had spent at least an hour trying to find a quiet place to camp but without success.

    When I asked about advices before my trip on advrider, an inmate (@2mstone) told me that if I happened to come near Salt Lake City, I was welcome at his place. It was agreed that I would come the evening of the 8th, the next day.

    But first, I wanted to visit a mythical place.

    For hours, I rode on the Highway 80 westward, crossing the Great Salt Lake Desert.

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    Then I reached my destination, at the border between Utah and Nevada.

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    Bonneville Salt Flats.

    It may seems a bit stupid to travel through an empty desert just to stop for an hour in another empty place before heading back, but I wanted to see it.

    It was easy to understand why this place is where people go to try to beat a speed record. After this board, the ground becomes incredibly flat; only a few small waves of salt break here and there its smoothness. You can see one to the left of my bike.

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    At a fuel station, the attendant had told me that an attempt would be made the next week. It seems that they had already started to prepare the “track” for it.

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    What an amazing place. Afar, the plain is interrupted by mountains, but it’s quite difficult to estimate the distance.

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    #81
  2. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    In the afternoon, I arrived in West Valley City to meet my hosts, Beverly and Ken.

    They showed me my bedroom with its own bathroom. That felt luxurious after a month of camping (except for 3 nights).

    I ate a bite with them and their two grandchildren then Ken asked me if I wanted to come with them to a car race.
    That race was important for him for 2 reasons:
    - That was the last one; the race track was closing down after more than 30 years.
    - His nephew was running.

    After my visit to Bonneville, that would be the theme of the day! I gladly accepted.

    There, the sun was still shining at full strength, sometimes briefly hidden by a passing cloud.

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    The circuit was one of these small ovals, an American specialty. I understood immediately the interest of that kinf of track: it was possible to follow the entire race, not only the little bits that happen in front of your stand like in F1 races (I’ve been to Spa-Francorchamps once or twice).

    Reading the program, I discovered that it was not a single race but several. The categories had strange names. Mavericks, Mini Cup, Crazy Trains, Hornets, etc. What’s that?

    Let’s start with the Hornets.

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    If I’m not mistaken, they are used cars at least 15 years old. The only condition is that they must be yellow and without modifications, stock cars. This is the best way for amateurs to test their skills in a competition.

    Then I got a little lost. Those here are Mavericks, I guess? I am not sure.

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    Then a little funny interlude, even if it is a real competition.

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    The man in the top car has the steering wheel, the one in the bottom has the brakes and the throttle.
    When I say the man, I should say the driver: the race was won by two girls! The race, but not the championship; two girls but no cup.
    Sorry, that was of very bad taste, and probably not very original.

    Anyway, I’ve been surprised to see here so many girls with a passion for motor sports.

    A few other races followed, more or less “serious”, like this one: the Mini Cup.

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    They really are mini cars; the driver has to go through the roof to reach the seat.

    And now comes the main race. I don’t remember its name: “modified” something?
    That’s the one where Ken’s nephew, Derek, is competing. He finished at the second place and won the cup! Congratulations.

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    He’s in the blue car. It’s the second time that he wins the championship without winning a single race!

    And last but not least: the Crazy Trains.

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    Three cars linked. The middle one is empty, the front one has the throttle and the steering wheel, the last one has the brakes.

    The race is exactly what you can expect, especially since they’re not simply circling the oval, they’re making an 8 figure.

    So this happens.

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    Fortunately, they’re not driving fast and there’s little damage.

    I'm not a fan of car or bike race, but I really enjoyed the evening. I understand why it's so popular.

    The next day, Sunday morning, Ken and Beverly offered me to stay with them a little longer. They have today their monthly family lunch and I’m invited to join them.

    So I decided to stay for another day. A day of rest will be welcome.

    Of course, the guests were quite curious about me, but with great courtesy. Mormons really are nice people, like I had been told.

    After their family left, I spent the rest of the day talking about travels and bikes with Ken.
    He will leave soon for a 6 month trip to Ushuaia and back. He got all the time needed, he’s retired.

    He asked me, like many others before, what I would do with the bike at the end of my trip. I still don’t know: either sell it or store to come back for another tour.

    I can just leave it here, he said! I love the idea but I’m hesitant; I don’t want to take advantage of their kindness.
    He insists: anyway, his garage will be empty for 6 month while he’s away.

    I carefully pondered his offer before, eventually, accepting it.
    There’s some much things to see, to country is so big, the people are so friendly and welcoming, I will come back.

    We agree that I will come back here a few days before the end of my trip, and the morrow I’m back on the road. I’m heading south this time, toward the canyons and deserts of southern Utah.
    #82
  3. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    The day’s trip started with a little detour to the city of Payson.

    I needed new brake pads and Ken had found on the Internet a shop with a large stock. A quick check on their website had told us that they had what I was looking for. With the pads in my bag, I hit the road. I will replace them later.

    I left the highway at Soldier Summit with a full tank and went for another bit of the Backcountry Discovery Route.

    The start of the trail reminded me of Greece: sheep and hills, minus the sea.

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    Quickly, the road started to climb to a ridge that seemed to go along the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation.

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    The vista was gorgeous, high above an empty valley.

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    Then the road went down the valley, crossing into Argyle Canyon, then Nine Miles Canyon.

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    Back on the Highway, I followed it to Moab. My first idea had been to camp in Arches National Park but all the campgrounds were full. The first one I checked in Moab still had some free spots, and a swimming pool!

    After setting up my tent and removing my luggage from the bike, I went to town to grab a bite. I had been told that the Moab Brewery was worth the visit, both for the beer and the restaurant.
    I wasn’t disappointed. Their stout was quite good, and I enjoyed it even more because I was starting to get tired of having always IPAs; I wanted a beer with a stronger body.

    Back to the camp: oil check and new brake pads, a little chat with the other bikers and campers.

    At dawn, I headed to Arches N.P., very close to Moab.

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    The Park gets its name from the stone arches, but it’s not the only impressive features that you can find there.

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    Far away, canyons.

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    I found a hiking trail leading to the most famous arches of the park, the Windows.

    The trail is not long, only a few miles, but in my motorcycle gear, boots and trousers, it’s hot. The trail I’m following is deemed “primitive”. From times to times, I have to climb over a pile of rocks.

    Eventually, I reached a ridge. The view of the park is lovely.

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    Everything is dry.

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    Then I’m at the foot of these windows. I would have named them The Mask, or The Reading Glasses.

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    Do not try to walk this trail in flip-flops.

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    The vegetation is scarce. Some grasses, some cacti, and that’s about it.

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    Back on the road winding through the park, I reached other arches.

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    This time, the hike is short. On the other hand, the climb to go just under theses arches is slippery, few dared to try to do it.

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    Almost there…

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    Done.

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    From up there, the view is gorgeous.

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    The visit is not over. I take another road advertising Delicate Arch. This time, the hike is a bit tougher, especially now that the sun is high in the sky.

    On a gigantic slab of rock, this arch is the most bizarre I’ve seen. I wonder what phenomenon sculpted it.

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    It was still early but I decided to stop, ride back to the camp and rest. The heat was scalding and I was glad to have found a campground with a swimming pool and cold beers at the reception.
    #83
  4. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Outstanding! Love the photos.
    #84
  5. OrangeDreamCycler

    OrangeDreamCycler ...explorer of options.....

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    Narrative knot so Bad, either.
    tenor.gif
    #85
  6. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    Thanks Red Dog.

    Duane, be patient, you will soon enter in the story :)
    #86
    OrangeDreamCycler likes this.
  7. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    The next day, I packed my stuff and left Moab.

    I had planned to make a short visit to Dead Horse Point State Park that has, I’ve been told, one of the most beautiful vista in the area. My intentions were, after that, to ride to Canyonlands then to Arizona.

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    There, I had to admit that it was true: the view is really wonderful.

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    Then I went to the next panoramic view a little further.

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    I heard two other visitors talking about the road winding down below. I questioned them about it.

    They had taken this road named Shafer Road a few years earlier in a rental jeep. Indeed, it’s difficult to pass with tourism car and, even in a jeep, the underbody sometimes scraped the rocks on the road. But it was worth it, the view was unbelievable!
    Ok, you convinced me, I will do it.

    I took a few more pictures then headed to the entrance of the park.

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    If you look closely to the picture below, you can see a tiny bit of this road hanging to the cliff. That should be fun!

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    A last arch, then I’m on my way.

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    The trail starts gently, then it tumbles down to the valley.

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    Eventually, I reached the bottom of the cliff.

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    Then, the trail follows from time to the time the Colorado River that is gathering its forces before attacking the Grand Canyon.

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    The river looks peaceful but I remember seeing boards warning of the danger of swimming there: powerful streams and swirls can take the life of a reckless bather.

    Anyway, the vegetation thrives on its banks.

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    As you didn’t see me much in all these pictures, here is my ugly mug. Sorry for you.

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    Higher up the cliff, I spotted an arch to become. I wonder how many millennia it will take to finish the job. Like that, it looks like the portal of a ruined cathedral.

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    Eventually, I was back on the highway. It was already late in the day and my little exploration of Shafer Road had been tiring, so I changed my plans and decided to come back to Moab.

    During a break on the side of the road, I noticed that, with the bumps of the trail, I had lost a screw holding the plastic chain guard. I fixed very temporarily the problem with a piece of string found on the ground.

    I liked the place so I returned to Sliprock Campground.

    While riding to my camp site, I saw that two other bikers had set-up their tents not far away. I immediately went to chat with them.

    One of them had an advrider sticker on his bike: Ken, screen name @Merfman.
    He’s travelling with his good friend Rex. From Colorado, they both ride on a Yamaha Super Ténéré.

    They found in their toolkit a screw for my chain guard.

    Afterwhile, we went to the restaurant next door then we spent the evening around a few beers and the bottle of peppermint schnapps that I bought in Wyoming before crossing into Utah.

    Two other bikers joined us a little later: Canadians from Edmonton.

    Merfman and Rex had planned to go in two days to WestFest, an advrider rally taking place in Ouray, in the Rockies of Colorado.

    They had booked a site for 4 and they still had a free spot, as another friend was to meet them in Ouray (@OrangeDreamCycler). Why wouldn’t I join them? Great Idea! I gladly accepted.

    Also, we all wanted to visit Monument Valley tomorrow. We will make our way separately to there and meet in the evening in a place that they depicted as the best that you could possibly imagine for a campsite.
    #87
  8. Path_Less_Traveled

    Path_Less_Traveled It's all about the ride there

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    Well done. I've really enjoyed the photo journey.
    #88
  9. Beerslayer

    Beerslayer Journeyman Bike Knocker

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    Great pics and narrative, thanks! I'm surprised that the jerky stealing bear hasn't made her appearance yet. I used to work as a mule packer and guide in the Sierras close to one of your first stops, Mammoth Lakes. I made the mistake of leaving a candy bar in my saddle bags and the next morning I came out to find the bear had torn the door off of the saddle shed, drug my saddle out onto the ground, pooped on it and ate the candy bar. I haven't liked bears since.
    #89
  10. chudzikb

    chudzikb Been here awhile

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    Pics above were of the dead horse point state park? Headed out there in April and doing my scouting.
    #90
  11. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    Pooping on it was a nice touch !:lol3
    #91
  12. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    Yes, Dead Horse Point.

    According to Wikivoyage, they have a campground with 21 sites, and water at the visitor center.
    If I come back in the area, I would rather camp there than in Arches NP. The sun rising or setting over that landscape must be a beautiful sight.
    #92
  13. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    En route to Monument Valley!

    I followed the route 191 to the south for a few hours before stopping in the little town of Blanding for fuel and for a bite in one of these countless Mexican restaurants.

    To my confusion, I realised after having left the town that I had forgot to leave a tip. Sorry ladies...
    I’m always uncomfortable with tipping. I don’t really know how much I should leave, if I should tip accordingly to the quality of the service or the food, etc.
    I very rarely tip in Belgium, or in Luxembourg, France, Germany, … The waiters are paid well enough by the manager and they don’t need it. They still appreciate it, of course, and that's why they really like american tourists who will keep leaving the same kind of tip as in the US.

    A little after Blanding, I left the 191 to the west. I wanted to ride another bit of the BDR.

    I reached it rapidly and had a last break before starting the trail.

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    Another peculiarity of the U.S. (and Canada) is the cattle guards, these metal grids laid across the road to prevent cattle from leaving their pasture.
    In Belgium, everything is fenced. The pasture are a lot smaller, too.
    Having to fence all the way on both side of the road on the picture below would be quite expensive.

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    After that nice gravel, the road reached the rocky Comb Ridge. It got tougher.

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    Then it got truly difficult.

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    Please bear in mind that I have a limited experience in off-road riding (it’s forbidden in Belgium, as I think I said before).

    The only recent track was from a bike. It doubles, which means that the rider gave up and went back the same way. That’s a bad omen.

    The place is totally empty. There’s not even a cow. For miles around, nothing. It’s not the best place to crash the bike. The biker who was here before me had already gave up; his track has disappeared. Nobody went here since the last rain, and seeing the dry vegetation around me, it’s been a long time.

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    And thus, of course, I crashed. Nothing serious, don’t worry. On a down slope a little too steep, I put my foot on the ground to hold the bike and the stones under it rolled away. The bike slowly, almost gently, fell to the ground.

    I got up immediately to lift up the bike, to take advantage of the burst of adrenalin that was giving me more strenght.

    The bike only had a broken signal. Two minutes later, it’s fixed.

    I have a tear on the palm of my right glove. The flesh under it is purple but there’s no blood. It will hurt for a day or two and that’s all. I also have a little wound on my shin, just above the boot. My aramid-reinforced jeans are not scratched; I won’t even bother to clean the wound.

    So, here I am, at the bottom of this slope. Obviously, it’s not the right road. I take out my phone and the map and check on the GPS.

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    Just after leaving the highway, I should had taken right. I’m actually on a road parallel to the BDR, but on the other side of the Comb Ridge. I need to go back.

    The problem is that I need now to climb up that slope that made me fall.

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    Brave little bike! I did it without any more trouble.

    I retraced my steps, like the bike I saw the tracks before. At least, I went further than him! Neener neener…

    That was enough adventure for today. I went back to the highway and gave up the BDR for now.

    Eventually I reached the cliffs hanging over the plain where sleeps Monument Valley.

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    To get there, a gravel road. It's Moki Dugway, a famous road and vista people had told me about, including a friend in Belgium.

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    Here too you can see a bit of it, at the bottom of the picture.

    In the plain, I followed the trail crossing the Valley of the Gods, a kind of appetizer before the Monumental Valley main course.

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    Then I went to the little village of Mexican Hat, for fuel, water, etc.

    Here is the reason of that name. It's supposed to look like a mexican hat.

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    After that, I took again Moki Dugway to the summit of the cliff. That's where I was to meet my two friends.
    #93
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  14. MeefZah

    MeefZah Curmudgeonly Supporter

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    I'm really enjoying your report Bernard. We didn't get to hang out enough for me to appreciate your sense of humor! Two girls, one cup. Haha!
    #94
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  15. 1800cycledude

    1800cycledude Adventurer

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    I bought a front tire from that same motorcycle shop near Cody back in 1992 !
    #95
  16. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    Thanks Mark. I'm glad that you're enjoying it.
    #96
  17. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    Very friendly place. Beautiful surroundings too.
    #97
  18. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    A riding buddy and I were sitting at Denny's in St. George one night going over a map and the waitress topping up our coffee said, "You ain't lived till you've seen the sunrise at Dead Horse Point". We locate it across state and make a point to get there. A week later we're in Moab for the night and get up at 3 am to ride out there in the dark. True enough, when we reached the parking lot there were others there mulling around in the dark. Kids playing. The next couple hours were indeed spectacular.
    #98
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  19. V1ROT8

    V1ROT8 Adventurer

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    Kingston, ON. Canada
    Fantastic report sir!

    I’ll make some comments here as I read along:

    1. The bike seems awesome, but you’re right, the saddle does not look comfortable

    2. I’ve spent a night in the Mojave Desert, but with an RV, back in Nov 2017. We rented one from Phoenix and Drove all the way to San Francisco, spending nights in Sedona, Grand Canyon, Mojave Desert, some random place in Airzona, Pismo Beach, Big Sur (2 nights) and last day in San Fran. It is indeed hot in that area. I was worried about rattle snakes

    3. Thanks for mentioning that game from Lumenaris (Leaving Earth). Now I know what I’m getting for my birthday.

    4. Good choice for going to the coast. I also did a mega-trip in 2018 (May / June) from Central Canada to Los Angeles, up the coast to Seattle, then Vancouver, BC. I passed by Avenue of the Giants. I loved riding through there. Check it out in my report:

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/canada-to-los-angeles-on-a-tiger-800xcx.1359692/

    5. Talk about amazing hospitality! Wow!

    6. I stayed a night in Crescent City, but as you can see in my report, it was just at a motel. I kept going up the coast thought…

    7. Like other said, I’d never store my food around my tent. Living in Canada you learn that fast. I’m also super paranoid of bears, especially Grizzlies. Black bears are okay. You can scare them pretty easy, but Grizzlies and Polar Bears are another story. Short fun story: I used to work in the Canadian arctic. I was coming out one day, in Churchill MB, from the hangar, going to my plane, clipboard in hand kind of “zoned out”. As I walk to the aircraft, I look up and about 15 meters away from me is a polar bear. I froze for a sec then started running as fast as I could toward the hangar. The bear just stood there watching me, not even moving. I ended up calling the Bear Patrol and they came chasing that quadruped away. (Look up Churchill, Manitoba and Polar Bears).


    8. Kananaskis is amazing! I used to live in Calgary so I’ve been there many many times. Oddly enough I’ve never been on it on a motorcycle. Car…. A gazzilion times.

    9. Coeur d’Alene is an awesome name. When we lived in Winnipeg (I know I Lived in many places), there are a lot French names there. My wife and I always chuckled at the way the English pronounced these names “Lac du Bonet” would be “Lack-the-Bonnie”. And “Portage” Avenue would be “Port-age”. LOL

    10. Wow, that picture with the Bison and the bike is amazing! I’d frame that. I’d be scared to stick with those guys. They’re massive! The photo with the bison at the tent is equally amazing.


    11. Canadian Gas pumps, you can pay at the pump with a pin. Actually all our purchases have pins on the CC. A lot of Americans were also surprised I can use the “wireless” tap feature on a card, where you can rapid pay without a pin or anything for any purchase under $100.


    12. Loved the Dinosaur museum as well as the Salt Flats. I wanted to go by there, but never made it

    13. Can’t wait to see more pics from Monument valley. Here’s one of me at Forrest Gump Point

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    ]


    Too bad you didn’t stay more in Alberta / BC. It’s a beautiful place.

    Cheers,
    Vio
    Kingston, ON. Canada
    #99
  20. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    Thanks Vio for your comments.

    We too can pay wireless with a tap with our card or our phone but I didn't activate it; I'm too wary of the card skimmers.
    I'd like to come back to Canada, especially to discover the Arctic. I need to have a look at all the ride reports about that region to know what to expect.

    About Leaving Earth, have a look at boardgamegeek to see if that's your kind of game. Lot of math involved; many people don't like to be forced to think :)