Friday, January 21, 2011

Cold feet, warm hands, cold.....

Finally the snow is cleared enough in our circle that I can get a bike out. I check the weather in St George for the next week, it looks good and voila! A ride is hatched!

I leave West Valley in the mid afternoon Tuesday and get on the super-slab for the 6 hour, 300 mile slog to warmer weather. Just before I leave town I have a large glass of orange juice; about 250 miles later it's cold, dark, and that large glass of OJ comes-a-calling. And it was VERY COLD but I have some electric gear on; a vest and gloves. 'Lectrics" can make a miserable ride tolerable, but you have to remember that they only heat the parts they cover. So my torso and hands are reasonably warm.

Back to the OJ, and my need for a 'rest stop'. This is a very rural area, few gas stations and no official "Rest Stops", but just at the right time I see an exit that looks like it will fill my needs. The sun has set, and the exit is dark and appears to be lightly traveled. I pull over and as I'm getting off the bike even though my hands and torso are toasty and comfy, my knees protest at having to bend while so cold, my hips tell me they too are chilly and uncomfortable. I finally get to the reason for the stop and WOOOOOOO!! That's cold too! I was surprised that something so buried in clothing could get sooooo cold! I guess I wouldn't have noticed had not my hands been so warm...

I finish and make the final leg of the ride to St George where I check into my lodging, and head for the hot tub!


The next day I'm heading for Nevada and the Valley of Fire State Park. To get there I get back on the freeway but this paticular section of super-slab is nice riding. It's called the Virgen River Gorge, and is very twisty. The posted limit is mostly double nickle, but if you have Zen with the road you can hear it chanting, "Do a ton, much more fun - Do a ton, much more fun...." Who am I to argue? And the road is right...what a sweet way to start the day!

I get off at exit 93 and ride through Moapa and then Overton where I see this tank.
Back on the road and into the park.
See the arrow at the top of this road? They are not kidding, the road curves right at the peak, check out the next pic and notice the several single skid marks going off the to the side and into the sand....
Looking out between the cabins.
Shadow man.. Roads go ever ever on....
And back to St George, where I take a nice walk on a warm, gorgeous evening.
Some pics of where I'm staying.

Thursday I decide to go to Zion National Park, and wander around on some back roads in that area.
Up the Mesa airport road that my good riding buddies Suzi and Rob showed me the last time I was there. The road has had several rock slides since my last visit, and has deteriorated quite a bit. This is as far as I can go on the road...
...but there is a dirt road off to the right. I start that way, and soon find it more muddy than I care to ride on with this cold of weather. The treads on my battlewings quickly fill up and I'm slipping all over the place. You can see my track on the left side.

Back to the pavement of the Mesa road, and on my way out.


Next to get to the park I take the Kolob Reservoir road.
It too ends all to quickly, but at least I got into Zion.




I see another dirt road, "Smith Mesa" if I remember right,....again it is waay to muddy, but I go a ways in before I find a non rutty place to turn around. On my way out here.


And back to my place for another nice evening walk, and then soak in the hot tub. Tomorrow I'll head home via Zion NP and highway 89.
A shoe tree just outside of Zion.
In the park.






Lots of ice...









Out of the park now, and on my way home. I've spent a lot more time in Zion than I intended so I need to burn some miles.
Last pic. It was a cold ride home too, some icy roads, some crazy drivers, a couple of warm handed pit stops, and a GREAT ride!

17 comments:

George F said...

I really love that area, I was at Zion 6 years ago by car. Beautiful pictures and roads, perfect for my new soon to arrive bike, the Yamaha Tenere. The bike will be perfect for those dirt/gravel roads. I need to go back, now, how am I going to get enough vacation? :-)

Raftnn said...

Fantastic pictures there. Bloody good you got out, a true motorbiker, and credit to you.

SonjaM said...

Good for you! You got out and brought us back some awesome pictures. The roads look pretty slippery this time of the year. I have been in the area many years ago, and would love to return one day... on my bike of course.

thumbwave said...

Your riding paints a wonderful picture on my computer Ken.

++ Craig

Ken said...

George - glad to hear your getting the Tenere, that would be a good bike to have around here.

Raftnn - Thanks, being called a "True motorbiker" is about as good as it gets!! :)

Sonja - It would be great if you could make it back to Zion, I know a good and cheap (free) guide who would love to show you around. :)

Craig - Thanks! Someday my feeble photog skills might be kinda close to yours! At least I can hope.

Richard said...

Very impressive to say the least. One of my dreams trips would be St. George to Bryce and Zion parks. Excellent photos and narrative. Plus a bit cold it looks like for sure.

Utah Motorcyclist said...

Looks like another great trip! Nice pics too!

Tarsnakes Down Under said...

Sensational pics Ken. A great trip report, which I I really enjoyed as we were at Zion only 4 months ago.
Cheers Jules.

BeemerGirl said...

Sigh...

Wonderful pictures! Looks like a great ride. I would be dangerous on those rodes. Wouldn't be able to stay between the lines to save my life. Would spend too much time looking around. Or not enough time on the bike to make any progress.

When you said warmer clime I wasn't expecting to see snow! I know better and still forget.

LOL on the cold. I hadn't thought about warm hands, cold ***. Much better than warm ***, cold hands. :-O

-Lori

Ken said...

Richard - Thanks! Lots of scenery in that area, plus highway 12 is an amazing road! They should be on any bikers bucket list! :)

Jared - Yes it was a great trip, I'm ready to go again, we should compare calenders..

Jules - Fall is a great time to see Zion, I hope you enjoyed your trip!

Lori - This trip it took me 2 hours to ride the 12 miles through the park, there is just SOOO much to see! And....You didn't mention warm heart... LOL

bluekat said...

Great ride report and awesome photos! I love the rugged landscape in this area. This is the kind of posts that help me make it through the winter!

Ken said...

Thanks Kat. :)

bobskoot said...

Ken:

awesome photos, esp the ice and snow. We were down in Zion and St George about 6 years ago (November), and the Valley of Fire about 15 years ago. Would like to go back and find a "cheap" guide (on a Strom). You are braver than I for riding those rutted roads.

and I agree, you are indeed a "true motorbiker"

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

Ken said...

Bob...c'mon over! :)

Anonymous said...

Awesome Pic's I too was shocked to see all the snow and Ice!!! but looks fun!! Safe travels...

bobskoot said...

Ken:

maybe sooner than you think

http://www.stromtrooper.com/events/59441-2011-north-american-west-rally.html

I may be in the area late July 2011. If you look at the link a few Strommers from Vancouver Island are coming

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

Ken said...

Bob..Cool! That is the same ride I have linked under "Upcoming Rides" My link goes to VSRI. I'm hoping to make it, Boise is about 6 hours north (and a little east) of here.