Sunday, February 28, 2016

Southern Utah weekend.

Spring is just around the corner, I'm getting antsy for a ride - So I head south for the weekend, I'll be staying in Monticello, Utah.

On my way....
Green River.

Wilson Arch.

I'm bringing two groups of friends down here next summer so I need to check out a couple roads. One of them is on the way to Naturita, Colorado. That will be my first ride...but...I get "lost" in Utah near the Colorado border and run into this decaying old settlement of dugouts.

I could almost stand straight up in here.

Then sadly, I get unlost and I'm back on my way to Naturita.
I check out the route I needed to see and I head back toward Utah - But first a stop in Paradox.

The next route I wanted to preview is the La Sal Loop - the Loop is about 35 miles and goes from SR 128 to US 191 south of Moab.
The Loop is a beautiful road!!

 It gets a little goaty in places...but....
 The scenery is worth it!

Sunday morning I'm on my way home, I had planned to ride straight through, but at the last second I take a left into Canyonland National Park.

The Entrance to Canyonland National Park

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad I did! The scenery in Canyonland NP is incredible!

 I spend two hours in Canyonland NP and was glad I did!

1046 miles of  awesome riding...and as a bonus, it was alllllllllmost warm.
I had a great weekend!
Over the course of two rides - these are most of the roads I checked out.
ps... no weather issues on this ride!!! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!

Friday, February 19, 2016

A week in Nevada - days 1 & 2

Tired of the cold and snow in Utah, I'm going to Nevada to find some sun.

Wanting to avoid the freeway as much as possible I take the bikers-shortcut, which only adds about 80 miles and a couple hours of riding... 

I'll be staying in Vegas and doing day rides Tuesday and Wednesday.
First day ride is to Gold Pointe, Nevada -  a ghost town about 195 miles from Vegas.

The Gold Pointe post office..
There are acres and acres of neat old stuff around Gold Pointe.

I talked to one of the locals, a very nice fellow, who told me that since Gold Pointe is known as a "Ghost town" some of the tourists who come to visit are surprised and somewhat disappointed when they find live people living there. The winter population is a grand total of 9. 

I leave Gold Pointe and get back on the highway and head for the next Gold town...  Gold Field, about another 30 miles...or so.
Gold Field, a town of less than 300 residents, also has a plethora of cool relics in and around town. The main road through this tiny berg is paved along with a few others, but most of the local streets are dirt.

 Speed limits are enforced....I had a friendly conversation, luckily with a happy ending, with a Nevada State Po who was posted on the far end of town, then I took side roads (observing speed limits) back through town to the International car forest of the Last Church. Well, sort wasn't where my directions said it would I asked a pretty red haired lady who was coming out of the post office for directions. "The what?" she asked with a smile, I explained again to which she replied dryly, "Oh that.. Well........" And she gave me excellent directions, which I followed and arrived at the car forest in scant minutes.
 And here it is.... 
Free spirit Mark Rippie and artist Chad Sorg created the car forest completing it in 2011

I'd like to meet the guy (or gal) who lifted that rock up there....

 Another school bus in the background.
If you visit the car forest, bring some crayons, or spray paint, or even a the car forest you are allowed and encouraged to express yourself freely.

Aaaaaaaaand I've tarried to long, I will have to make tracks if I want to be back to my lodging before dark. 
I don't make it and ride the last 45 minutes in the dark....I didn't mind to much, the temperatures were perfect!
(next ride is in ' Nevada ride - days 3,4,5') 

A week in Nevada - days 3,4,5

Before I left for Vegas I had posted on the My2Wheels forum that I was coming down and would anyone want to go to dinner or for a ride?
Vegashotwheeler replied and started a 'dinner' thread, but then he got a little under the weather and couldn't make it; bummer!

Then Desert Dweller, aka Steve jumped in and set up lunch with HHH / Brian, Big Al, and DuneFreak / Pete.
And wouldn't you know it?  I forgot to get a group pic!
 After lunch DD, Big Al, and I went for an awesome ride that DD had come up with.
First we visited the dam and walked across the Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. We had thought it wouldn't be busy...but thats ok it was still fun!
 The walk across the bridge is waaaaaay up there...

 DD and Big Al.
And the old road is waaaaaaaaaaay down there.

In the middle of the bridge, I've got one dirty boot in Nevada and one dirty boot in Arizona...

 A couple of Studly GSA riders.

And we're off for more of the ride... Steve takes us down 3 or 4 boat ramps to the lake...which is very low!

Steve and Big Al kicking up some dust.
 On North Shore road...the scenery is spectacular!

 Remember in one of the Lord of the Rings movies when they are taking the Hobbits to Isengard and the one hungry orc says, "What about their legs, they don't need their legs..?" 
The top of that rock structure reminded me of his face....

 I think this is Desert Spring.
You can see by the shadows that it is getting late. Big Al has invited us to dinner at his house, which sounds good to me! When we get there his wife is just starting to get things ready and in about 10 minutes has this fantastic meal in front of us!
Thanks for dinner Mrs Big Al!

Its Thursday and I'm on my way home. I go out on the same road Steve took us on yesterday...I want to see it at a...... more relaxed pace.

And it's just as beautiful as I remembered from the day before.

When I left Vegas in the morning I was told about a high wind warning for southern Utah....and they were RIGHT! The winds started in Arizona, and just kept getting stronger as I rode into Utah. 

I had stopped in Beaver, Utah for gas. As I fueled (with the wind at the back of the bike) I had to hold the bike from being blown forward off the side-stand (I'm not in the habit of parking the bike in gear). The placards at the gas station were coming out of their holders and blowing past me without touching the ground. Rain and slushy snow were 'falling' horizontally. I was under the stations canopy, but was still getting soaked from the horizontal precip. Something aluminum upwind of me was coming apart and pieces were sliding across the parking lot making an awful screech.

After fueling, as I was putting my helmet back on a man and woman pulled up to me and asked which way I was headed....when I said 'north' they told me they just came from that way, and there were numerous cars that had slid off the road and a semi had tipped over on its side in the middle of the north bound lanes..

Riding in the wind is one thing, riding in the wind on slushy roads is quite another....I got a room for the night and rode home Friday.

The Weather Service reported gusts up to 87 mph.

Friday morning after an excellent complimentary breakfast I was on my way home, 200 miles of temps between 30 and 45 and before I knew it I was pulling into my garage, cold and hungry, but still with happy thoughts of  a super 1,646 mile ride still rolling around in my head!
A little sun and a LOT of road goes a long way........ :)