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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by swedstal, Jun 5, 2017.
I really like the .gif s
Are you volunteering to be my personal chef? That's what it sounds like. I can't afford to pay you anything, but I can promise that we will have a good time.
Once I'm done, I'm sure there will be some other RR with a better theme, better pictures and fewer soliloquies. Hopefully it is one of you guys!
I hope it works out! We'll just have to see at what latitude my eastward return takes place. Not sure yet.
Nope. They raised me so poorly that I think a two year motorcycle trip is a good idea.
How dare you speak ill of the deceased! His nose is not nearly as big as mine! You New Yorkers are so impolite!
Yeah...I know pretty much exactly what I'm going to look like when I get older.
Ha! I hadn't thought of that one as a contender. It certainly checks the box for 'whimsical' though.
I've gotten a few pages done while at your kitchen table here. I'll keep working....
The four versions that are by Geoff Mack: Australia, Americas, UK, NZ; are definitely the most enticing to me. We'll have to see what the future holds....
If he's actually singing places, I'd be happy to go to all of them! This is a really excellent performance though. I think he's singing all the way down to around C2 or so. That's crazy range.
You flatter me, and underrate yourself! I really enjoyed our brief time together, Dave. I'm sure we will meet up again. Thanks again for everything, especially the pillow label!
Hmmm... first post from a new member is about my location...
GUYS!!! IT'S THE COPS!!!! RUN!!!!!!!!!!!
Are you the Tom from Nebraska?
"Take it Easy" is definitely an approved song in this RR. It was referenced back when I passed through El Salvador. Aren't you guys paying attention!
I pull the SD card from my helmet cam, slap it into my tablet, review all the videos and choose the best clips. I use an app called "GIF maker" which allows me to select the length of the clip and speed it up when I want. It's another thing in my process which takes a lot of time, but I do think that it is worth it.
Putting the "Ah..." in Utah
Friday, August 16th, 2019
Somewhere near Mesa Verde, Colorado, USA, Earth
I was so happy to enter this state. Armed with my National Parks pass and carrying my standard allotment of enthusiasm, I had high hopes for this place. I’d only entered this state one time previously and that was in the previous millennium. This visit was far overdue.
Utah is home to song place Cedar City, number 84 of 92 on our list. That city lies in the SW part of the state. Getting there would take some time, as I would find plenty of things over the coming days which would demand me to stop and say “Ah…..” From arches to canyons to hoodoos to goosenecks, the sights of this state kept a perma-smile on my face. I’m sure I got lots of red dust in my teeth.
Route for the day:
I really liked the “Life Elevated” slogan on their welcome sign. So much so, that I am going to propose a similar slogan to my home state once I finish my journey. “Nebraska: Life Flattened Out.” I believe this is just the slogan to lift us from the 50th placed state in tourism.
Utah’s scenery asserts itself quite suddenly. The rocks get bigger, redder and occasionally more holey as one nears Moab.
The Wilson Arch, right off of the highway:
The McDonald’s in Moab wins the award for fastest restaurant internet speed of the trip, so I lingered there for some time getting media sorted and trying to wait out the most intense heat of the day. But I couldn’t resist the call of the National Parks for long. Arches was the first of five on my list.
I rode straight to the Delicate Arch, as I wanted to make sure I had time to see that. This formation is featured on the majority of Utah’s branding, from its signs to its license plates. If it ever goes down, they are going to need a new symbol.
The hike to the arch is about 3 miles round trip. That doesn’t sound so bad, but it is over some tough terrain with steep climbs and the temperature was still around 100 degrees F (38 C).
Looking back down from the climb up this rock slab. I don’t think Annie’s trunk is quite visible from this distance:
Like so many hikes though, it is definitely worth the view.
At the risk of being overly dramatic, I almost had a serious accident here. I swapped phones with a guy from Colorado to get a picture of myself by the arch.
As I was taking his photo, he looked to his left and said, “Uh-oh…” I saw where he was looking and saw somebody else’s phone slowly sliding down the rocky incline. The picture below shows the incline and the drop-off below:
When I saw the phone sliding, I instinctively started running along the edge of this rim to try and intercept it. I lunged at the last moment and got a finger on it, but couldn’t quite stop it. It was only then that I looked down and realized that I was close to having a fall that would have done serious damage to me.
As I reflected upon it later, I decided that this would have been an acceptable way to die. Not that it is worth dying for a phone, but it is definitely worth dying trying to do something nice for a stranger. I would gladly accept an end like this
A reader must always be suspicious when an author relays a story which which shines such a positive light on themselves. I realize that including this tale will have done some damage to my ethos. However, I think it is worth its inclusion as a powerful device of foreshadowing should I meet my end in some similar action at any point in my future.
There’s so much more to see within the park, but I did a rather brief tour of the remaining sights.
There are rock formations of every shape and size spattered around the park. There’s even one that looks exactly like a ….uhh…. popsicle. ….yeah, it totally looks like a popsicle and absolutely nothing else.
The bizarre Balanced Rock:
For the brief time I spent here, I felt like I did the park justice. I returned to the visitors center to fill up my water bottles before finding a spot to camp for the night. In the parking lot I met this wonderful French family who became my instant friends:
We had a great time chatting and thanks to the fact that their English was great. I also improved on my French “Rs” during the course of the conversation. Pascal is a musician and songwriter and he told me that he was going to write a French version of the song so that I would have to come to their country. Bring it on!
I found a nice place to set up camp on some public land not too far away. Though it was an isolated place, I would not be alone for long. A new friend from Utah was about to join me.
As regular readers of this quality publication can attest, I have a very difficult time making friends. Accordingly, I had taken out an ad in the Salt Lake Tribune, attempting to lay out my requirements:
“Wanted: One Utah friend. Must be willing to accept shipping/delivery responsibilities for various phone parts, be an avid motorcyclist, speak Arabic, have a deep understanding of German abject art, work as a film curator and always travel with a sarong.”
Despite these broad, easily-fulfilled requirements, I only had one qualified applicant. Meet my new friend, @derblauereiter aka Davey, and his WR250, "Midnight Mullet."
He met me at my campsite and we connected right away. I could tell that we were going to have a great time together over the coming days.
Saturday, August 17th
I woke up knowing that it was going to be a great day. We were on the precipice of so many amazing sights. Further adding to the ambiance of our tranquil campsite was a hot air balloon in the morning.
Our first stop would be Dead Horse Point State Park. With a name so alluring, you know it has to be good! It is situated in an interesting location. Though it is a state park, it is primarily an overlook for Canyonlands National Park. As we pulled in to the parking lot, I saw a familiar van and soon some familiar faces. It was my French family from the day before.
(This is probably the best picture of Davey’s sarong. He likened it to the prescribed towels from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.)
We had a leisurely breakfast at the overlook spot, enjoying the chance to get to know each other better.
We continued on to Canyonlands NP, getting a closer look at the canyons carved by the Colorado and Green Rivers. There is a road that runs down into the canyon, right along the rim. The view makes it hard to focus on the task of not riding off of a cliff.
There are a set of switchbacks which wind down further into the canyon. I’ll post a sped up video of the descent below. Take your Dramamine now!
This was a really fun ride! The road continues along a lower rim below. If we would have had all day, we easily could have spent it exploring these roads.
I found it absolutely fascinating that in the middle of this canyon, their stood a proud pit toilet.
I asked Davey to set the Over/Under on how many rolls of toilet paper were inside. He was spot on with two. What can you say? The man knows his canyon rim pit toilets.
He got some great media of me, perched up on one of the hillsides.
I should probably add “photographer” to my list of requirements the next time I am looking for a new friend in Utah.
We headed north from the park, en route to Goblin Valley State Park. After spending a spell riding on the interstate, we stopped for a bite to eat in Green Valley. It was here that Davey discovered a tire issue on his bike. He thought about heading back home, but decided to stick with me for the rest of the day.
As we ate, I worked on cutting out the country flags for my windshield. Davey had brought me a scissors for this task. We probably spent about two hours there, waiting out the heat, while having wonderful conversations. I hope the story of how he met his fiance gets used in a sitcom sometime.
We decided to stay off of the interstate to save on his tire and ended up finding a fascinating little road. Davey had first seen it referenced in a RR from @rtwpaul . It was an old abandoned road that went back and forth between pavement and gravel with absolutely zero traffic.
Once we got back to the highway, Davey spotted some dunes which had obviously been used as an off-road playground. Science has yet to explain the peculiarity of the human male. Nearly all species and genders are able to make more wise, informed decisions as a group, but the human male is the outlier. The more of them you get together, the poorer their judgment is (the effect is even more pronounced when the human males are members of this website). So when Davey asked me, “You wanna go drop Annie in that stuff?” I instinctively affirmed.
I made a video of some of our highlights of our ride there. These are fun memories. As funny as it looks from my perspective, it must have been even more comical when one could see Annie’s trunk tearing around these dunes. Even though Davey’s “Midnight Mullet” was probably around 250 pounds lighter, his street tires made it tough riding for him as well.
If I can isolate that strange sound I make at the 0:31 mark, I think I will make it my new text message notification sound.
We didn’t quite have enough daylight to make it to Goblin Valley, so we set up camp in our own personal canyon.
One interesting feature of this site was an abandoned old car. As I've done a few times, I'm going to borrow the car quiz from VicMitch's panamerican RR. Can anyone identify this one?
Inline 8 engine:
This insignia on the trunk:
Davey and I spent the evening swapping stories and solving all of the world’s problems. You’re welcome, earth.
Sunday, August 18th
We packed up and rode to Goblin Valley. This state park is perhaps the most well-named state park in the country. There are an absolute plethora of hoodoos in this valley.
As one explores, there seem to be an increasing amount of formations that look like pointy noses, furrowed brows and crooked smiles.
This was such an interesting place to visit and I am so glad Davey recommended it. The only way I would have enjoyed it more would have been if I was about 25 years younger.
I would be heading south from here, so Davey decided that this was where he would split off and head back to Salt Lake City. He took some time with me looking at the map and giving me recommendations for the remainder of my time in his home state.
I so enjoyed our brief travels together. Most can match my speed, many can match my endurance, some can even match my frugality, but very few can match my enthusiasm. I think it was Davey’s enthusiasm which I appreciated the most. I hope we will be able to travel together again in the future.
I also appreciated his radiator themed joke:
Back on my own, I met another nice French family in a rental van on my next gas stop. The French just love Annie!
I really enjoyed riding through these desert landscapes for the first time. There is such a sense of freedom out here. “No trespassing” signs are the exception rather than the rule. There are so many places where one could blaze new trails all day long.
Capitol Reef NP would be my third of the five Utah National Parks. The park is a long, narrow area, measuring 60 miles from north to south and only 6 miles east to west. The scenic drive only goes a short ways into the park, but it still offers some great sights.
I almost needed to mount my helmet cam in portrait orientation!
I’m going to leave off there for now. It turns out I will need two updates where I thought one would be appropriate. There’s still lots more to see in this remarkable state.
(Still) 9 to go!
Stay enthralled, everybody
I've long been convinced there's no such thing as a bad day in Utah.
Nice audition videos for next year's Moab ride in May. You get my vote, though you may have to prove that you can help lift @simbaboy 's DRZ-400. That seems to be a prerequisite skill.
For my part, I can say meeting up with Brett was a highlight of my motorcycling season! He’s the mixture of down to earth and totally inspiring that he comes across as in this quality publication. Hope to cross paths again!
I wish I had been more prepared to hang on a few more days. Some of my favorite photos from my part on the trip:
So glad to see you cut up a clip of us hooning around on the dunes.
Brett got his new Shinko mounted but getting new bearings tomorrow before putting it all back together. He's a whizz kid, I think I'll buy him a good dinner this evening.
It looks like he’s waiting until you’re not looking and then he’s gonna swap engines on Annie with that bike behind him...
Straight eight makes it a Buick. Looks like early to mid 50's.
In my domestic travels (including a particularly memorable one to Utah), I have found it particularly interesting how the State lines seem to be drawn with a pronounced change in geography and topography. I watched a series on TV about how the States got their shapes (or something to that effect), but truthfully for the most part, you don't really need a border sign. You can just see and feel the difference in the land.
BTW - in my not so humble opinion, I do not think you can experience that change in topography behind the cage windshield as effectively as behind the motorcycle's handlebars. Just saying....
Or early 50's Packard.
I am this far into the report (so far), and feel like I am traveling along with you. Thanks for bringing us along!
It’s a Buick. Packard, Hudson, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Studebaker all had inline eights, but only the Buick was an OHV engine and that one is obviously an OHV engine.
My NC700x does not have anywhere near the adventurous spirt that Annie has...and it wouldn't work anyway, it's a DCT!
Other than falling off of a cliff, I'd have to agree!
Well let me know when the official vote takes place. If you need me to fill out a formal application, I would be happy to. I am pretty good at righting fallen bikes. I'll have a video that will prove that in a few updates.
Thank you so much, Davey. I also appreciate you including the images here. I was going to incorporate them into my posts, but just forgot. That one of me riding up towards the canyon is a real winner. We'll be in touch when I head east!
Other than looking like I have three arms, this is a nice picture.
Interesting observation. I'd say there's definitely some truth to it. Utah, in particular seems to have features that are unlike any other state. I think I will always be able to pick out a picture that was taken in the southern part of the state.
Ah.... Schefferville. So much has happened since then. I'll actually be passing through Yuma in a few days. Send me a message if you want to meet up!
George out here dropping knowledge bombs! How you know that absolutely amazes me.
Annie was just a mild mannered commuter for years before this journey. You never know what a bike is going to do!
Canyons, Casinos and Cans of Beans
Three of my favorite things!….or at least two. In this expansive update, we have a wide range of experiences: Chance meetings, spontaneous adventures, beautiful National Parks, free beans, French invasions and the lights of Las Vegas. I also finally ask Annie the question that she has definitely not been waiting for.
I’ll just pick right up where I was last time…
Sunday, August 18th, 2019 (cont.)
Southern Utah, USA
I continued on through Boulder, entering the Grand Escalante National Monument. In some places on this road, you can see canyons to both sides.
I hopped off and took a short hike to an outcropping to capture the following picture.
When I returned, a rider was waiting with arms stretched out in a questioning pose. Soon I recognized my friend, @rtwpaul, Ronald Thomas William Paul! (I still haven't seen a birth certificate, so I still think this is his full name) He had recognized my trunk/sign and was nice enough to stop to say hi. Now that I've made such frivolous assumptions about his name, I doubt he will stop again!
As I said a couple of updates ago. We had tried multiple times to arrange a meeting on a couple of different continents. Now we were having our second encounter, completely by accident.
We rode towards Escalante together, stopping for a few photos.
I rode a little faster than normal because I was trying to look cool. What would you do if you were riding with a living legend?
He had mentioned right when we met that he’d felt a sporadic buzz coming from his Super Tenere. When we stopped for gas in Escalante he found the culprit: Five broken spokes! Undeterred, he just got out his tool kit and went to work.
If Paul McCartney told you he needed to write a song real quick, you’d ask him if you could watch, right? Accordingly, I had to ask RTW Paul if I could watch his process. He is a talented mechanic and this was a once in a lifetime opportunity!
I enjoyed chatting with him as we sat there. It was a real privilege to be able to pick his brain about all things related to motorcycle travel.
In terms of packing we have a very different philosophy….or maybe it is more accurate to say that he has a philosophy and I have no clue what I am doing. He recently wrote an article about packing for around the world motorcycle travel in just 40 liters of space. (LINK HERE). This includes everything except for electronics.
To put that into perspective, my trunk alone represents about 120 liters of storage. Between it, my two side cases and the frunk, I have 206 liters of lockable, weatherproof, knife-proof storage. On a normal day, I’m probably using about 150 liters of that capacity. I guess my philosophy was that since I had no clue what I was doing, I wanted to allow for as much space as possible. You never know when someone is going to give you some beans… (read on).
Paul was going to camp just outside of Escalante and we agreed to go together. Though it is not in my nature to pay for lodging in North America (just 8 times on this trip), it was worth the meager expense to spend some more time with him.
As we ate and chatted, a Canadian gal named Jamie came over to join us. She was a welcome addition to our group. She was actually going to school in song place Kingston, Ontario when I passed through in 2017.
Paul had been working to convince me to back track and take one of his favorite rides in the world. He even told me that he wanted his ashes scattered along this route. I thought that maybe he uses this line anytime he’s trying to convince someone to take a certain ride. Calling his bluff, I offered to scatter his ashes the following day if would be like to be cremated that evening. He seemed reluctant to undergo the procedure.