Friday, March 30, 2018

Whale watching in San Ignacio

 A whale watching trip to San Ignacio, in Baja, has long been on my bucket list. 

I'm finally....and suddenly, able to go....I make the decision to go on a Saturday, and leave the next Wednesday.

Riding south I stay overnight in Searchlight, Nevada - One of their nice murals.

Then again southward the next morning. I ride some of Route 66, this mural in Needles, California.

The night before I enter Baja I stay at a cheap motel in Calexico. Along about 10:30 at night I get a knock on the motel room door.... Its a salesman, or I guess I should say, saleswomen...  I tell her I don't have enough money for her ware's, and offer an I.O.U. instead - which she flat refuses!
I guess a penny saved is a penny earned....

South again in the morning and into Baja via Mexacalli.
I get on the wrong road in San Felipe.....and don't mind, as I saw some nice sights. In fact I went around the block twice to get better pictures.


I take the short cut past Coco's corner. The first time I took this road it was 40 miles of dirt between paved sections. It is now down to 24 miles.

If you don't know about Coco, he is an Icon in the Baja area. He is a double amputee that has, against all odds, made a living in an inhospitable land.
His 'corner' is well known among adventure bikers, and Baja racers alike. 

Sadly Mexico is building a new paved road that will bypass the famous corner.
I wonder what the future will bring for Coco.

And I make it to Guerrero Negro the first night in Baja.

And to San Ignacio the next day.



The next morning I ride to San Ignacio Lagoon for the much anticipated whale watching....but not this one - Live ones!

This shows the size of the boat we're in.

Tally-ho!

Mom and calf.
(click on the picture to see a whale spout in the distance)

And I get to touch a calf...so exciting!
I'm pretty sure everyone on our boat got to touch a whale.

 Mom and calf again.


The group I went out with...fun folks, and a real treat to share the excursion with!

My very first fish taco...

And then its northward bound...somewhere near Chapala I run into long time friends Adrian and Cindy, and Aaron and Cynthia.
We had a super, but all to short visit on the side of the road.

Comfort stop.

I had thought I had plenty of tread on the rear tire for this trip, but the rough Mexican roads have accelerated the wear. I stop in Encinada and find a replacement. I'm very glad I did this so I didn't have to sweat riding home on a bald tire.

And out of Baja...

I decide to ride a bit more of Route 66 and go home via Page, Arizona. So I head east for a ways, when I take the exit to go north again I take the wrong exit! Dang it...but then I look ahead and see a bike on the side of the road. He is stopped in the sun and close to the cars zipping by so I suggest I push him down the road a 100 yards or so and park off the road in the shade of this tree.

Sam, aka Slyder, is the Sporster owner and was on his way home to Kansas City after having rode to the west coast to visit his brother, currently serving in the Navy.

His bike doesn't have spark, so once we're in a better situation off the road he arranges for a tow truck...the nearest Harley dealer is 50 miles away. After he has the tow lined up there is nothing else I can do for Sam so I leave him a bottle of water and resume my journey.

Sam has a nice looking bike, a great sense of adventure, and an iron grip....I hope everything worked out for him.

And back on Route 66....

.....I run into these gorgeous Ladies  who are visiting the U.S. for a couple of weeks, they are from France, and were a real pleasure to talk to!

I ride through the Grand Canyon National Park...I think it took more time to get in the entrance than it did for me to ride through. The line was horrendous! 

I stay overnight in Page, Arizona where every hotel is full! Expedia couldn't help me so I had to call Bev and she was finally able to find me a very nice, but expensive, room. I guess I have the Easter weekend to thank for that mess....those people should be HOME for Easter!! (lol) 

Leaving Page I see this neat wrap..

Then the Glen Canyon Dam

And a few hundred miles later the Butch Cassidy childhood cabin.

2,976 miles - This trip will go down as one of my best rides!
A big part of that is the whale excursion, but great roads and meeting some very nice folk is another reason.
I LOVE motorcycling!!!!

Cold, hot, cold, freakin cold!

I'm going to ride to Death Valley National Park.
This will be a shake down ride for a longer trip later this year. I have a new tent I need to try and some food prep ideas I want to test.
(ahhh, the best laid plans of mice and men....)

Al and I leave the Salt Lake Valley on a cold Monday.
Riding the back roads we arrive in Ely, Nevada where I pick up a map of Nevada at the Chamber of Commerce.
This mural was on the building next to the C of C.

Al on his GS.

We then get on the road to Tonopah. Our plan is to get to somewhere in (warm) Death Valley and camp....however equipment glitches delayed us over an hour so we decided to stay at Tonopah. But the forecast for Tonopah called for a near freezing night. Neither of us were prepared for those kind of temperatures so we got a hotel instead.

On the road next morning we arrive at Bad Water basin which is minus 282 feet below sea level.
The temps are 80 and climbing...by the time we left DVNP the bike displays were showing high 90's.


We leave Bad Water and go to the Devils Golf Course.

I'd hate to loose my ball in that rough!


We ride the Artists Palette road and then start looking for an open camp site. Annnnnnnd we can't find one. The place was BUSY! So we head to Pahrump for another motel night.

Wednesday morning we are on our way to Hoover Dam.
For this day the temps were perfect!

We walk out on the bridge a ways, then get back on the bikes for a ride over the dam.

The Mike Callaghan, Pat_Tillman_Memorial_Bridge;
This bridge has the widest concrete arch in the western hemisphere. It is 900 feet above the Colorado River, and is the second highest bridge in the US and is the worlds highest concrete arch bridge.
(Click on the picture to see the X that marks middle of the bridge...)





Leaving the bridge....and warm Las Vegas we ride homeward. Stopping in Mesquite for a snack we check out the weather in Utah. Al looks at the snowflakes on the screen and says, "no way". He then rides south to visit family and wait for a better day to ride home.

Al made a good decision, but I wanted to be home before Friday morning...so I continued on into Utah.
I make it to Fillmore before the roads were to bad to continue.
The next day was just as bad, but I'm anxious to get home.... it was a cold and sometimes slick ride, but alls well that ends well, I finally make it home! 

1300 miles for me; Some cold, some hot, all on two wheels!
Life is good.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Ghost tour


I recently read a story on a Utah history site about Grafton, Utah, a ghost town near Zion National Park.

Hmmm....that qualifies as a good excuse for a ride.
I leave on a Monday and ride south to Hurricane, Utah where I stay overnight.

Tuesday morning I ride to Grafton. Grafton was a Mormon community founded in 1859, the population started to decline in 1907 and the last residents left around 1944.

Floods, harsh winters, and Indian attacks led to the towns demise.

This is the church/school/town hall.
and other buildings..


Almost all the buildings were open for wandering through and viewing.

However it is wise to be cautious...this is a ghost town after all!
(ps. they weren't kidding! I tried the knob [without closing the door] and it just spins on the inside, and this door was the only door that wasn't sealed shut...)


The cemetery.
There are numerous stories about visitors hearing a baby crying, or seeing a woman in a calico dress wandering among the headstones. However sadly, (or maybe gladly) I didn't hear or see anything unnatural, mostly the only sound I heard was the traffic noise of nearby SR 9.

The road in/out.

I think this guy is the chairmen of the board...or maybe he is just a  fence sitter..

Wet and dry conditions covered...

The Grafton Bridge.

Then I ride toward Zion NP

The best part about visiting Zion NP during the off season is you can ride up Zion Canyon whereas during the 'on season' you have to ride the Zion NP bus up the canyon. Either way the canyon is a beautiful place.

But....riding up is SOOOO much better!







I ride back down the canyon and
 make my way out of the park via the 1.1 mile tunnel.

After leaving the park I ride to the Paria Township,,,a "Ghost town" that is/was a movie set built by the locals and apparently used in several films.
Unfortunately, in 2006 vandals burned down the entire set.... *sigh*..... so this is all you see today.
However, the 12 mile (round trip) dirt ride is still worth it to see this gorgeous area!


Leaving the Paria township, I ride the 30 or so miles to the Johnson Canyon western movie set....which also has seen better days.

Then I make my way north, homeward bound, and stop overnight in Panguitch.

*Deep voice, thick accent*
"Have you ever seen the moon over Panguitch?"


I leave Panguitch in the chilly (20 degrees) morning and head for home.

I make a comfort stop along the way and see this sticker on a mile marker post...

....Soooo.....what HAAAAVE you done?

About 815 chilly but fun miles.
Utah has a lot more ghost towns I can visit...I need to start planning!