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Covid Reimagines Newfoundland As National Parks Out West - Old Guys On The Move Again

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Fuzzy74, Aug 21, 2020.

  1. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    On the way back from Alaska last year Nuke65 and I started talking a trip to Newfoundland this year. Spent some time over the winter making plans and working routes, but Newfoundland is closed and some states on the way would require us to quarantine. So on to plan B. MikeLM15 and Old Can Ride have asked to join us which would make me the third oldest Social Security recipient on the trip. Events are trying to interfere, but hopefully they can both make it.

    Plans are to leave southeast Tennessee on Aug 29 and take 3 weeks on a route that will resemble the map below. Plan to camp as much as possible for easier social distancing. Some of route is to allow Nuke and I to fill in our states ridden too map, and thus the trek across Nevada to clip the corner of Oregon and California.

    National parks all seem to be open but campgrounds within parks closed. Forest Service and BLM campgrounds seem to mostly be open and we have made reservations to cover Labor Day weekend near Moab, UT. Pikes Peak will not allow riding the last 3 miles to top due to rebuilding the parking lot. One can take a shuttle bus the last few miles. Highlights on our list include Million Dollar Highway, Pikes Peak, Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion, North Rim Grande Canyon.

    With this as a general guide we will daily be checking closures and state rule changes and adjust accordingly. We will make reservations a couple days ahead to ensure a place to sleep. That said a number of the campgrounds we have checked are first come first served.
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  2. Dracula

    Dracula I don't want a pickle! Supporter

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    Location:
    recalculating
    :lurk Have a good trip - share many pic's!
    #2
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  3. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Mike had to cancel. Nuke is on way from Georgia to my place. We leave in morning with first stop in Doniphan, MO.

    Hurricane missed Houston so Old as Dirt still plans to meet up with us Sunday or Monday in Missouri or Kansas. He has to pass Dallas with 100+ temps to intersect our path.

    Will be watching Covid conditions daily and adjust plans as needed. Extra masks are packed.
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  4. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Did not care to type trip report from I-Phone so here we are home safe and sound starting the report.

    Day -1
    Nuke rode from Atlanta area to my place near Chattanooga. Managed to avoid rain from remnants of Hurricane Laura passing through.

    Day 1 - Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee to Doniphan, MO.
    - First 100 miles took I-24 and I-840 to get past Nashville. Headed northwest with a nice ride towards Mississippi River and Missouri. Good bar-b-q lunch at a small establishment.
    - Original plan was to cross Ohio River then Mississippi River, but the bridge across the Ohio was closed for a month of maintenance. Found a ferry a bit south from Hickman, KY to Dorena, MO and headed there. Arriving at the Ferry loading point there was a phone to call for ferry. It was out of order but a sign gave the cell number. We called and by the time it came across there were 2 cars and 2 more motorcycles waiting. Ferry is a barge with a tugboat on the side. Bow of tugboat attached to a vertical pin mounted on side of barge. Back of tug tied to barge. When wanting to go in other direction the back of tug was untied from barge and it pivoted to other direction and tied the stern back onto the barge. Dirt slope to barge ramp was rough with a major ditch right at the start of ramp. Told a few weeks prior a motor home got stuck in ditch leaving barge and shut things down a few hours while waiting on a wrecker to free the motorhome. Nuke's former Goldwing would not have had a prayer of getting through the ditch. Ride across took about 20 minutes.
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    - It would have been a short day to stop before the ferry and it was 120 miles past the ferry to the first accommodations. Ride was through farmlands of the Mississippi Delta. Rained a bit but after 90+ temps it felt good and did not slow us down. After 400+ miles we arrived at Doniphan, MO where the river delta ends and good riding begins. Our accommodations were Rocky River Resort Campground. Campground is on the Current River and focused on people floating or fishing the river. Tent area left a lot to be desired. Spaces not well marked and when we arrived campers on either side were using much or our spot. Luckily one was packing up to leave with rain coming in so we expanded into that spot. We did get set up before rain arrived. It was a hot night after a day in the 90s and tents closed to keep rain out.
    - Overall a good start to trip and progress made towards the western parks that would be the highlight of the trip.
    #4
  5. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Day 2 Doniphan, MO to Joplin, MO

    Fair amount of rain during the night but had a break in rain to break camp. Packed wet tents and headed west on 160. Road in light rain first half of the morning. West of the Mississippi delta southern Missouri and north Arkansas have great riding. 160 did not disappoint with plenty of curves and a few twisty sections with light traffic. Road goes north of Branson to avoid slow ride through town. Stopped for a good Mexican lunch in Forsyth, MO. Left 160 when it turned north and continued towards Joplin, MO. Briefly hopped on I-44 to get through southern Joplin suburbs. ~ 300 mile ride.

    Our stop for the night was Zans Creekside Campground. It is on Shoals Creek just southwest of Joplin. Nice place to camp. Current owners have had it a year and working hard on improvements. We paid for one spot for 3 tents and were told to set up anywhere we wanted. Highly recommend this as a place to stop near Joplin. There were a few day use patrons on the river bank who left at dark. Campground also rents tubes and kayaks.

    Meanwhile Old as Dirt had been traveling 600+ miles northwest from Houston. He arrived a little after us totally worn out from the trip. It was bad timing as he went through temps as high as 107F in east Texas. The heat had done him in. He decided he was too drained to continue trip with us and started back towards Houston the next day. Our group ride was now down to just 2 diehards.

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    #5
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  6. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Day 3 Joplin, MO to Dodge City, KS

    Another day of mostly flat straight roads About 360 miles of riding. Stopped at Water Sports Campground in Dodge City, KS. With the campground name and map showing a lake next to our campsite we expected to see some water. Only water we saw was a light rain that started when we were leaving. First 1,000 miles behind us.

    Campground was OK. Other campers were in motorhomes or trailers and staying for longer periods. Most were working in the area and some had families with them. Campgound had a small store with coffee in morning. Coffee not available until 8:00 am so as usual made our own coffee and tea in morning and were gone when store opened.

    Turkeys were in the campground.

    Nuke unaware of sharing the campground.
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    Cat not sure about taking on a bird this big.
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    Dessert for dinner
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  7. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Day 4 Dodge City, KS to Woodland Park, CO

    Another 300+ mile day of flat and straight. Although flat the ground must have been tilted a bit as we had gained 5,000' in elevation to over a mile high. Knew we were in Colorado when the gas price jumped $0.40/gallon. No more gas under $2 for the next 2 weeks.

    Our last 30 miles gained another 3,000' to Thunder Ridge campground above Woodland Park, CO and a view of the lights from Colorado Springs down below. This started the portion of the trip we came for. Last 4 miles to campground was washboard dirt road. Camping spot was great and first time spending night above 9,000' elevation. The campground had water and vault toilets. No light in toilet except the flashlight someone dropped into one. Of course light went out when sitting down and batteries didn't last until second night. Only flat ground for tens was next to picnic table that did not move. High fire danger so no fire allowed in firepit next to my tent.

    I like to get up in morning, make a cup of coffee and take a walk / hike while drinking it. First morning I was up a bit before dawn and decided to hike down through the woods to the lake below campground. In the dark I heard some branches snap in the woods to my left. Thinking bear I started whistling to make noise. The tune that came to mind was "What Do You Say to a Drunken Sailor", a tune we sang while marching when I was a midshipman. Guess it worked as I didn't see a bear. I was rewarded with a great sunrise across the mist covered lake with mountains in background. My coffee did not last the 300'descent. With water boiling around 190F at the elevation the coffee was not hot enough to last long in my minimally insulated mug. I then had to climb back up and at 9,000' elevation I think it was a 3,000' climb back to camp.

    Leaving Dodge City
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    Camping Spot
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    Full Moon
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    Sunrise
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    #7
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  8. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Few more pics from campground.

    Looks easy. Just beyond what can be seen it turns left and starts down hill.
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    From top of trail where it starts down.
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  9. ibebp

    ibebp n00b Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Thanks for posting, I'm following. Is that a temperature gauge on your windscreen?
    #9
  10. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Yes but full disclosure it is out of calibration so not as cold as it says.
    #10
  11. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Day 5 Pikes Peak - The Fun Riding Starts

    Experiencing mountains and parks out west was the goal of this trip in addition to adding to the list of states visited by motorcycle. This is the day we started the desired experience.

    The gate to Pikes Peak road didn't open until 9:00 so no hurry getting going. We went down to Woodland Park for our first breakfast of the trip, then south to the entrance to Pike's Peak. The parking lot and visitors center at the top of Pikes Peak are under reconstruction so personal vehicles are not allowed. We had to park at 13,000' and take a shuttle the last couple miles up. The view is breathtaking and worth the trip.

    My college roommate lives in Colorado Springs, so after Pike's Peak I met him for lunch. It was great catching up. Nuke had is own agenda to head into Colorado Springs.

    Total miles for the day around 100 and back to Thunder Ridge Campground.

    Parked at 13,000'
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    From the top.
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    GOT OXYGEN?
    If you think it is tough breathing with a mask on where you are, try it at 14,000'+.
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    #11
  12. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    More picks from second night at Thunder Ridge Campground.

    Didn't take a pic, but spot next to us was occupied by a travel trailer that barely fit. He had to park truck somewhere else to not block road. Out of the back of the towing pickup came 8 bottles of propane, a large grill and a propane fire pit. We were apparently under equipped with our backpacking stoves and tents bought at REI.

    Moon over Colorado Springs.
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    Climbed down to lake for another sunrise.
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    Trail back up but still close to lake and before the climb started.
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    Thermometer looks impressive for camping, but full disclosure it is reading at least 10 degrees low. Need a new one.
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  13. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Day 6 Woodland Park, CO to Durango, CO.

    Rode down the hill to Woodland Park then headed west on hwy24 and south on hwy67. This turned out to be a great ride with little traffic, plenty of scenery, lots of curves and a pass over 11,000' After Cripple creek we went west on county road 11 then south on hwy9. Our route then turned west on hwy50, The Lincoln Highway following the Arkansas River upstream. At Salida, CO we turned south on hwy285 then east on hwy160. Hwy160 took us up another 10,000'+ pass then down to Pagosa Springs and on to Durango. It was satisfying approaching the top of the pass when a Harley slowly gaining on us was left far behind when the road was no longer absolutely straight. He did finally catch us again on flat straight ground approaching Pagosa where he made a show of passing us. Plenty of traffic here so he never got far ahead. It was interesting that much of the day there was a temperature inversion with warmer temperatures at the passes than down in the valleys.

    Cripple Creek
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    Original plans were to stop at a BLM campground east of Durango, but online could not determine if campground had water or toilets so we splurged and went a bit further to a hotel in Durango. Hotel also had showers and ability to wash skivvies. We did pull into the Lower Piedra Campground to check it out and it did have water and showers and would have been a fine camping spot but we already had the hotel reservation and too late to cancel.
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  14. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Day 7 Durango, CO to Ouray, CO

    The ride up from Ouray includes the Million Dollar Highway. Research for the trip advised riding it north due to southern ride would be looking down a cliff with no guardrail. Took the northern route advice but honestly after riding Bear Tooth Pass last year the drop beside the road was no issue. It was a beautiful ride with two major passes over 10,000'

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    If I hadn't turned off road would never have seen the waterfall that went under it.
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    There were no campgrounds available to reserve near Ouray even 10 days ahead on the Friday of Labor Day weekend. The Forest Service Amphitheatre Campground showed some first come first served spots so we got an early start to improve our odds. Being in hotel in Durango helped compared to a campground 40 miles further away. We arrived at the campground around 10:30 to see a sign that said "Campground Full" We found the host trailer and the lady told us there was no space available. We asked about anywhere to just pitch a couple tents and she called her husband on radio. He came and took us to an unnumbered spot he saves for bikers like us. Only issue was no fire ring which we were fine with. Over paid at $15 because I forgot to tell him I had a senior pass. Host and campground were great so if in area check with him for a motorcycle spot even if supposedly full.

    Host gave us a long warning about black bears and not leaving anything on bike that smelled of food. A locker by host trailer available if we wanted it. He said he had a biker who didn't listen and woke up to find his bike turned over and seat destroyed. Biker tried to get Forest Service to pay for his repairs to no avail. He also told us the bears would visually recognize a cooler in a car if they could see it and WOULD get inside car to check out cooler. Luggage can retain a food enough smell to attract bears for a long time. We took all luggage off bikes to be sure bears at least left bikes alone and had no issues. In the morning found a dozen vehicle spread around campground with people sleeping in them and no camping spot. Would have been more difficult to sleep on bike though.

    Campsite
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    After setting up camp we headed to town for a good lunch and look around. I asked a store owner how business had been with Covid and was told the best year ever. With the town open and activities mostly outdoors plenty of people coming, many from California with things mostly closed there.

    Ouray
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    Fish made from old baseball gloves
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    After lunch I decided to take a hike. According to my spot our campsite was at 8,434 elevation. I headed up a trail that headed uphill to an old mine. Met a fellow coming down who started the hike at 10:00 am, it was 4:30 pm. I asked about the trail and his response was "all uphill." I continued about an hour. My spot said I had gone 1.5 miles and climbed 600'. At that point I was maybe half way to mine and stopping to sit and catch my breath every 50 yards. Not wanting to hike after dark and not having carried any food I headed back down. Had to be careful of footing going downhill but quicker and no stops to catch breath. Slept well only occasionally waking up wondering if the wind rattling my tent fly was bear at campsite.

    Ouray from campground.
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  15. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Day 8 Ouray, CO to Monticello, UT

    Headed north out of Ouray, CO then west on hwy 62 and south on hwy 145 towards Telluride. It was the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. The turn off 145 towards Telluride had a long line of cars from the south. Luckily the turn was a roundabout so left turn actually had right of way for right turn from other direction. It was the start of a busy weekend in the town. Arriving at 9:45 in morning it was not a problem finding a place to park. We took a walk checking out the stores and to find a sticker to document the travels. Half the width of main street was fenced off for tables and booths Ran into a man we recognized from the campground in Ouray. His wife was on the way from Ouray as part of a charity run over the mountain. I remembered my hike the night before where elevation had me stopping every 50 yards to catch my breath at 9,000'. Her run climbed a couple thousand feet higher. :clap

    We typically skip breakfast so an early lunch was in the cards. Had a great meal at a local hotel.

    Lunch in Telluride
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    By the time we left Telluride it still was before noon and downtown was getting crowded. Cars were backed up trying to get into town and the whole ride south on 145 towards Cortez, CO was heavy traffic going the other way. Telluride must be the place to be for the holiday. More beautiful scenery is around every curve in the mountains of Colorado. Last year it seemed like a big deal getting over 10,000' on Beartooth Highway. Here we camped over 9,000' and 10,000' passes were every road. We road most of 3 days and well over 1,000 miles above 7,000'. Highest place east of Mississippi is Mount Mitchell around 6,400'. It was the first time I would have liked a little more power from my 300cc engine, but comparing notes with Nuke I don't think I was downshifting to 5th much more than he was on Vstrom 650.

    Found my wilderness area. My peak is the one on the right. :-)
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    Our next planned tourist spot was Arches National Park. Camping inside park and close national parks was booked up well ahead for Labor Day weekend. No desire to stay in a commercial RV park if there are options. We did reserve a spot at Devil's Canyon Forrest Service campground a bit south of Monticello and 70 miles south of Arches. Weather was warm hitting 100F in Moab, so the 7,500' elevation of campground was a good thing allowing us to sleep comfortably. The campground was not fully booked and many of the sites with a reserved sign were no shows. Senior Pass and the two of us reserved a shared campsite for $10 a night. We booked 2 nights with plans to see Arches and Canyonlands National Parks before moving on. there was no campground host and the site labeled for one was vacant. It was a good place to stay.

    One caution. When booking a campsite for tenting in the mountains flat ground is not guaranteed. When description says "slight slope" remember "slight" is a relative term and to someone living in the mountains may just mean you don't need climbing ropes. Even the Forest Service campgrounds are setup for RVs. Off the parking spot or picnic table spot there is no effort to make a flat spot for a tent. At some where there was a flat gravel spot for picnic table and fire ring the table could not be moved to allow setting up a tent. We were OK here, but many sites would not have worked for us. the campground is split in half from the entrance. The area to right of entrance is flatter and luckily where we had our reservation. We did have marginal cell service.

    Our spot at Devil's Canyon Campground near Monticello, UT.
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  16. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Day 9 Labor Day - Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

    Plan was to stay 2 night at Devils Canyon Campground. We were up and on the way by 7:00 am.

    We stopped to take a look at my father's Arch right on hwy 191. Sent a picture to my sister asking which half each of us inherited.
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    Another stop for an interesting formation. Reminded me of a giant Mongolian Yurt. Even appears to have a door.
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    We arrived at Arches entrance3 at 8:30 only to be turned around because the park was full. We headed a few miles up hwy 191 turning west on the road to Canyonlands. Canyonlands is primarily a park to be experienced off road with limited access on good road. I looked at a dirt road loop in park and found out it was expected to take 4 days with an off highway vehicle. that meant carrying in enough water and fuel for the trip and carrying everything out. Not even allowed to dig a hole to burry bowel movement. It was not the ride we came for this trip. There are some overlooks that are accessible by decent road.

    The 20 mile ride to the park gate was a beautiful ride. Unfortunately with 1 mile left to gate the traffic stopped and a digital signed warned of 2 hour wait to get in. Weather was warming up and we had no desire to be in hot weather in stop and go traffic on a motorcycle, so we turned around. Some pictures from the entrance road.

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    Slipping in a naval theme, this is the Monitor and Merrimac
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  17. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Labor Day Continued
    By the time we rode back out of Canyonlands and into Moab it was late enough for an early lunch. Temperature had risen above 90F. We had a good lunch while checking out maps. Our next stop was to go to the Needles Overlook of Canyonlands Park.

    33 miles south from Moab turned west of hwy 191 onto hwy 133. Another 22 miles west on 133 rewarded us with the outstanding view of Needles Overlook. This is a high point looking down on the rock formations giving the area its name. There were a total of 5 cars and our 2 motorcycles in the parking lot. If you are in this area and don't take the drive to the Needles Overlook you made a mistake. I have been to both rims of the Grand Canyon and the view had nothing on this spot. Some pictures that don't do it justice. Smoke from California fires further dims the colors of the pictures.

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    Had to slip in least one great looking selfie.
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  18. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Labor Day part 3 of 3

    Back to 191 and temps approaching triple digits Nuke decided to call it a day and head back to camp. Always a glutton for punishment, I chose to check out south entrance to Canyonlands National Park. So back to hwy 191, 8 miles south and 33 miles back west on hwy 211. The thermometer at park entrance read an even 100F. Stopped at visitor center for stickers and to fill my bone dry 2 liter camel back. I then rode past the campground and 8 miles of rough gravel on elephant hill road to get a closer view of the needles we had seen from above.

    On the road in.
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    This is where I turned around. Temperature definitely higher than at entrance. There is a jeep blocking road half way up with a spotter in front and back to navigate obstacles. help driver. Zoom in on sign and read that a permit is required to go beyond it. they did not advise me of this at entrance or visitors center. Just before the trip I took a level 1 off road course at Mountain View Motorcycle Campground. Of course I would have continued, but with no permit I had no choice but to turn around. Dang. :(
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    Just outside the park entrance was a store and private campground. I stopped for 2 sport drinks and a snickers. I stood in front of their air-conditioner while I consumed all 3. I headed back to the campground with 320 warm weather miles on the Versys and totally spent. I slept well that night.
    #18
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  19. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Day 10 - Monticello, UT to Richfield, UT

    Riding this part of Utah a few days convinced me God was showing off when he carved this landscape! If you haven't been go by whatever transportation means works for you. Allow some time to stay and look around. Bring some hiking shoes to allow getting closer to the features.

    Change of Plans - Our original plan was to see Capital Reef National Park and camp nearby in Torrey, UT. Forecast showed we would wake up with temps in the 20s and high probability of precipitation. We camp because we enjoy it and the forecast did not sound enjoyable. Time to schedule another hotel.

    We headed south from Monticello then turned northwest on hwy 95 which turned out to be a great road. Beautiful scenery, no traffic, good pavement and plenty of sweepers with some twisties. We saw signs for natural Bridges National Monument. Knowing nothing about it and plenty of time we decided to check it out. GREAT DECISION! Inside the park is a nine mile loop with overlooks to 3 giant natural bridges. I have seen other natural bridges with one 10 miles from where I live. The bridges I had seen would be a small bump on these.A couple were tall enough to clear a 20 story building. All could be viewed a short walk from parking or for the adventurous there were trails hiking down to the bridges. The third and smallest bridge also had the easiest hike so I headed about 2/3 the way down to get a view of bridge from below. Of course when a hike starts from the top the return hike is at least twice as long.

    Some natural bridge pictures.

    SipapuBridge. Opening 220' tall and 268' wide
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    Kachina Bridge. Opening 210' tall and 104' wide.
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    Owachomo Bridge This is the little one at ONLY 106' tall.
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    Hope you enjoyed the previous picture as this is the climb back up. I'm gasping for oxygen as Nuke is at the overlook laughing at the fool who took this hike in motorcycle boots.
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  20. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Day 10 continued --

    We continued the ride up 95 crossing the Colorado River just upstream of Lake Powell. There was an option for another route that used a ferry to cross the lake but knowing nothing about it we stayed on pavement. After crossing the river we climbed to an overlook. Traveling west the haze from California fires was getting heavier. The bridge we crossed is hidden by the haze.
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    Continuing north on hwy 95 we stopped for lunch in Hanksville, UT. Checking forecast while eating the predictions were getting worse. We made reservations for a hotel in Richfield, UT and wrote off our paid reservation in Torrey. After lunch we headed west on hwy 24 which took us through Capital Reef National Park. Much more of God's artistry is easily seen from the pavement of hwy 24.

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    After stopping at visitor center for our stickers we continued northwest to Richfield, UT for a hotel with warm bed.

    Perfect parking spot with mix of rain and snow in morning forecast. :clap
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    #20
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