Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Ohhh the weather outside is frightful....

One of the moto forums I frequent is the My2Wheels group. Most of the folks on that forum are in the Las Vegas area and a goodly number of them are dirt riders. But they welcome all types bikes and riders and are a good bunch to be around.
So when a Christmas party and white elephant gift exchange was announced I thought it would be a good opportunity for a ride.
The first thing I did was check the forecast and the weather was reasonable (cold, but dry) on the day I would be riding down and the day I planned to ride home. Sweet! This is all working out.

Beverly gives me the 'ok' to go but for some reason declines my offer to come along ... 
Now all I had to do was pack the bike and go.

Its 420 super slab miles from my house to Sin city, but this time I decide to stop in St George (300 miles) for a couple days instead of riding straight through. I arrive at my lodging late Thursday and plan to do some riding, and maybe visiting some old friends Friday, but when I wake up I'm feeling a bit under the weather so I spend the entire day cooped up in my room...
Saturday morning I feel somewhat better and get on the bike at around 10 am.

Obviously its a very short ride from St George to Vegas (118 miles), so when I leave the condo Saturday morning I have a couple places in mind to visit.

The first is The Coyote Gulch Art Village in Kayenta, Utah - a few miles outside of St George. Kayenta is a little off the beaten path, but the Art Village has a TON of cool and eclectic art to look at and of course purchase if you choose.
The wind sculptures in this picture are made a few hundred yards behind where I'm standing to take this picture.

Its been a hard winter, these horses are stick thin!

I almost fell in.....

I thoroughly enjoyed my time browsing the art village, but its time to move on.

This tiny town was not a part of my plans, in fact I didn't know it existed until I saw this sign. But 17 miles of dirt road to a remote town sounded like fun so off I went.

I had to do this crossing twice, on the way in and on the way out.

Beautiful scenery along the way.

And in the distance you can see the 'town'.
Just outside of the town I stopped and had a very nice chat with one of the residents. He gave me the rundown on what roads were impassable due to the recent storm, and told me to come back in the Spring and he would show me around.
Small towns and friendly people...gotta love em!

 Back on pavement again I come across this swimming hole... A bit cold for a dip today, but it looked like fun. Look close and see the rope swing.

I make it to Vegas by 4:30 and had time to clean up before the Christmas party. 

What a fun group of people!
The guy in the green sweater (Steve aka Desert Dweller) brought his Dad (white shirt) who was celebrating his 81st birthday. 
It was a nice evening and fun to connect faces with some of the posters in the forum.

I felt bad that I didn't have a cool sweater!

Sunday morning, and once again I'm feeling under the weather. But this time its a gout attack. It gets worse as the day goes on but in the afternoon I go for a short ride out to Pahrump.

Its a good thing I'm not old enough to patronize these places....

Back to the condo and the gout continues to worsen, I can't sleep or even relax due to the pain. Finally a little after midnight I get on the bike and ride to a 24 hour grocery store where I buy some home remedy - cranberry juice. I drink a half gallon and sure enough about 4 am I'm finally able to get to sleep.

Its Monday morning, time to head for home; my plan is to ride the 420 miles straight through, stopping only for gas. I limp slooooooowly out to the bike and leave Vegas at 7:30 am.
I was able to go about 175 miles on the super slab when I run into a surprise (and nasty!) snow storm!

In the distance of about 1/4 mile I go from cruising at 75mph on a mostly dry road  to a terrified 25mph in a raging storm and snow/slush covered road. I'm a mile or maybe two from the next exit and extremely worried about cars that are coming up from behind me.  After winding my way through some cars that had slid into the guard rail, or into each other I look ahead and see two UDOT snow plows trying to make a U-turn onto my side of the road. The first one pulls out in front of me, and I'm hoping the second will do the same as I really didn't want to be in front of the snow plows...but the second truck waits until I get past him then he pulls onto the road. I am now a motorcycle sandwich between two big snowplows on an extremely slick road....dang it all!

Both plows have a front blade and another blade on the side of the truck that deploys and retracts as needed. The plow behind me had both plows down, but the one in front has his side plow retracted. I'm not certain if he can see me in his mirrors so I don't want to get close to him in case he deploys the blade and I get smashed.. We are all going around 25mph.

It takes me a minute but then I realize that he is waiting for me to pass least that's what I concluded as he was driving far slower than plows usually drive. So I take a deep breath and speed up as much as I dared and go past him as wide as possible on the right, which wasn't very wide as I was forced to ride in the tire tracks that the semi far ahead of me had left. That's when I figured out that the two drivers were likely communicating via radio, and they wanted me past them so they could block cars from coming up on me until I could exit the freeway. As soon as I passed him he lowered his side blade (they look a lot bigger from the front..). I finally reached the exit and as I moved off the freeway the first plow driver came abreast of me and gave me a friendly wave.
Thank you to both the plow drivers for watching out for me!

Once I was off the exit, it was obvious that continuing my ride home wasn't an option so I rode (read: slid) to the nearest motel and got a room for the night and then after a series of phone calls I discover the updated  forecast calls for more snow and then freezing temps for the next few days. So a plan is hatched for my son Fenton to drive down the next day with the haul trailer and give me a ride home on  what turned out to be icy roads.

Another huge Thanks to Fenton for rescuing me.

The My2Wheels party was a load of fun, and I enjoyed the ride home with Fenton, but other than that this was a crappy 890 mile ride, least it was a ride. And with out the help of friends I haven't met (the plow drivers) and family rescuers it could have been soooo much worse!

Wintertime rides....sometimes its a miserable way to scratch the itch...

Oh...and I'll be doing it again in about two weeks when I go down to Vegas for the New Years Death Valley ride.
Kids eh?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Ride to eat, eat to ride. Part 1

Part 1
Kathy Stephenson with the Salt Lake Tribune wrote the following article about eating establishments and which ones she felt were the best in each of Utah's 29 counties.

Utah’s favorite road-food eats, county by county

Strom-rider "Satch" posted the article on the Stromtrooper forum and suggested rides and meals at each of the locations. I stole that idea and proposed to Beverly that she and I do the same...... so...... here they are the 'best' road-food eateries in Utah.

Following is my ride (and eating) report of the 29 eateries (1 through 15 in part 1) in alphabetical order;

Beaver county
Beaver, Utah
Timberline Inn
Great food and service! I had the BLT and soup.

Box Elder county
Perry, Utah
Maddox Ranch House
(We avoided the long lines at the Ranch house opting instead to go to the connected drive in)
I took my high school sweetheart here over 40 years ago, it was popular then and still is today. Apparently LDS Presidents have eaten here as have US Senators and numerous other dignitaries.
The bacon burger was good, the fries were very good.

Cache county
Logan, Utah
The article mentions that Angies is known for serving large portions....I didn't notice that my meal was larger here than I have had other places, but it was very tasty!
I had the special of the day; steak and eggs.....very very good!
Our server was excellent!

Carbon county
Helper, Utah
Easily the highlight of this fun project! My mushroom swiss burger was awesome, and staff, Teresa, and Jaymee were a lot of fun. Additionally the route there (Spanish Fork Canyon to Helper) is a good ride, 240 miles round trip from my house.
Win win!

Teresa, Yours truly, Jaymee.

Daggett county
Dutch John, Utah
Red Canyon Lodge

My chicken fried steak was superb, Beverly's salad was a yawner.

We made this one an overnighter staying in one of their cabins, this was our view in the morning.

Davis county
Bountiful, Utah
The Mandarin
Another excellent place to eat. They have a gluten free menu that Beverly ordered from, and I had a walnut shrimp concoction that was heavenly!

Duchesne county
Duchesne, Utah
Cowans Cafe
Cute small town, and very good homestyle cooking!

Steak and eggs.....oh my!

Emery county
Green River, Utah
Ray's Tavern
I've eaten at Ray's several times and never had a bad meal or experience. Always friendly, always tasty.

A mile or two from Ray's Tavern is the Golden ratio sculpture.

Garfield county
Escalante, Utah
This was a stop on this year's annual couples ride, it was a good meal and good times!
(Yours truly, Brent, Kenny, Rooster)

Grand county
Moab, Utah
Moab Brewery
Technically we didn't eat here. Beverly had a cream soda which she claims was the best she's ever had. I enjoyed a very good root-beer; however I did eat here several years ago while attending a Kawasaki Nomad gathering, and it was excellent then. Also there is a lot of interesting memorabilia to see hanging on the walls and ceiling.

Iron county
Cedar City, Utah
Centro Woodfired Pizzeria
I had a mushroom pizza. I had to be quick as daylight was fading and I still had some riding to do to get to my hotel. I would like to have spent more time at this fun place to eat.

Juab county
Nephi, Utah
Reed's Drive-in
Was a decent lunch, but prices were not in line with the quality.
My bacon burger was only average, Beverly's salad was "Yummy",  the sweet potato fries and deep fried green beans were good.

Kane county
Mt Carmel, Utah
The Thunderbird Restaurant
I've eaten here many times with family and friends. The service and food are always good. If you go in the summer months, and sit by a window you can see the Mt Carmel junction (SR 9 and US 89) and watch an endless parade of classic cars and motorcycles going through that intersection, which makes for worthwhile entertainment!

Millard county
Fillmore, Utah
Cluff's Car Hop Cafe
They don't have car hops, but they will bring your meal to your table inside or outside. Friendly hard working staff, terrific ambiance, and the food was pretty darn good.
(My son Will and I)

Fillmore was the first Capital City in Utah, from 1851 - 1856 and was named after our 13 U.S. President, Millard Fillmore.
This is the original State Capital building.

While Will and I were enjoying our Santa Fe burgers this beauty pulled in.

Morgan county
Morgan, Utah
Taggart's Grill
This pic was taken during one of my Father and Daughter rides.
Taggarts serves a fantastic meal. While eating you can watch peacocks wandering around the garden. Sitting at an outside table in the warmer months is a treat in and of itself.

More good food in part 2

Ride to eat, eat to ride. Part 2

Part 2
Kathy Stephenson with the Salt Lake Tribune wrote the following article about eating establishments and which ones she felt were the best in each of Utah's 29 counties.

Utah’s favorite road-food eats, county by county

Strom-rider "Satch" posted the article on the Stromtrooper forum and suggested rides to each of the locations. I stole that idea and proposed to Beverly that she and I do the same...... so...... here they are the 'best' road-food eateries in Utah.

Piute county
Marysvale, Utah
They have signs on the wall saying, "Remember its Hoover's not Hooter's"
Its a fun place to eat and a very nice ride to get there. One of the Strom-riders, Vegashotwheeler has set up several burger runs to Hoover's.
The Vegas crew rides the 600 mile round trip, the Salt Lake bunch ride a 400 mile round trip....we meet at Hoover's, enjoy a burger, good chat, and then return home.
This picture is from one of our annual couples rides.

Rich county
Garden City, Utah
La Beau's Drive-In
The strawberry shake is worth the ride.

Salt Lake county
Salt Lake City, Utah
Red Iguana
Plan on standing in a line at the Red Iguana, we waited 45 minutes.  I had a beef chimichanga, Beverly had their shredded beef tacos, both were wonderful.

San Juan county
Bluff,  Utah
Twin Rocks Cafe
Can you guess how they got their name?
Southern Utah is one of the most beautiful places in the world! Bluff, Utah is no exception. Beverly had an excellent salad, I had a middlin Navajo taco.

Sanpete county
Spring City, Utah
Das Cafe
 It is unusual to find such a popular eatery in such a tiny town, but Das Cafe has become a favorite destination for many motorcycle groups and car clubs. They also have an excellent black licorice you can purchase at the counter!

Sevier county
Salina, Utah
El Mexicano
Delicious Mexican food and friendly staff. I usually eat at Mom's cafe in Salina, but I now have a second tasty option.

Summit county
Kamas, Utah
Hi-Mountain Drug
Super burger! I had the Gonburger, Beverly had a salad that was very good.
The combination cafe, general store is charming and fun to wander around in, this place is worth the ride!

Tooele county
Grantsville, Utah
American Burgers
 My mushroom swiss burger was quite delish... however the ambiance left a bit to be desired - the music was exceedingly loud....even after we requested it be turned down a bit. And flies........OH. MY. HELL...there were a LOT of flies in the dinning area.

Uintah county
Vernal, Utah
Vernal Brewing Co.

Tomato bisque soup and house fries......Delicious!
(The sweatshirt is a shameless promo for our company...)

Utah county
Provo, Utah
JCW's The Burger Boys
We were a group of 5, all of us left well fed and happy.  A crowded, but good place to eat!
(Niece Chelsea and I)

Wasatch county
Heber City, Utah
Dairy Keen: Home of the Train
Great food, but its worth it to go here just to see the little train running around the store!

Washington county
St George, Utah
Benja Thai and Sushi
Ohhhh kay... in the interest of full disclosure I didn't eat here. This is the only place of the 29 that nothing was consumed. St George is 300 miles from my house and they were closed when I was here. So I just took the picture and went on my way. 

Wayne county
Torrey, Utah
 Slackers Burger Joint
Half the fun of eating at Slackers is reading all the cool signs hung around the inside, the other half is the good food, and the other the super roads you ride on to get there.
Slackers is a worthy destination.

Weber county
Roy, Utah
Jessie Jean's Coffee Beams and Homestyle Cafe
Adrian and I met here for lunch on a Tuesday mid-afternoon so it wasn't crowded at all. I had the Alamo burger which was fantastic! Adrian had the mushroom burger and gave it a thumbs up!
(Thanks Adrian for taking the pic)

Thanks a Latte for reading my blog!

Now if only Kathy Stephenson would write an article about the best places to exercise in each county maybe I could lose the extra pounds I picked up bagging all these wonderful eateries!
It's a tough job, but someone had to do it...