Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Visiting our Grandson (or Excuse to Ride 7 States) 9/9/2010

  For the first portion of our trip this is the route that we took.  I made a wrong turn at Teec Nos Pos and ended going thru Shiprock missing the four corners area and costing us 27 extra miles but we were able to enjoy a shake at the Sonic Burger because of it.

Map 1

So far this is the longest ride that Dee and I have taken to date and the main reason was to go see our new grandson in Denver, Colorado.  I can’t think of a better excuse to hop on the bikes and see the countryside.  Our first stop was Flagstaff, Arizona.  We knew that it would be a hot ride so we got up early and were on the road by 1 AM to beat the heat in the desert.  Most of the photos were taken on the fly by Dee because she has longer fingers than me but I managed to snap off a few with my little stubbies.
  Here I caught Dee bringing up the rear in my mirror.

 I know this may be a snails pace for some of you sport bikers but this is OSD pushing the limits.
Almost caught the whole sign here!
We stayed the night in Flagstaff and woke to cloudy skies and a few raindrops but nothing too bad.  Here we are heading out of town on the 89.
Looking behind at Dee we see the long expanse of highway.
Gassing up in Tuba City we saw this little reservation mutt who looked dead but turns out he was just dead tired.
Caught a mileage marker along the 160.
  Dee caught me next to this interesting twin rock formation along Hwy 160.
Everywhere we looked there were flowers blooming although at 80 miles per hour it’s hard to capture them with out them getting blurred.
The clouds seemed to be chasing us all day and it was often raining all around us.

Filling our tanks in a little town called Beclabito we ran across a new old friend and discovered his affinity for beef jerky.  I believe he was sad to see us go!
The rock formations out in the middle of nowhere remind me of cathedrals.
As we began climbing into the Rocky Mountains the clouds got thicker and more threatening.
We passed by this isolated outpost which had obviously been attacked by a band of very large Indians.  We thought to stop and render aid but were afraid they may return and step on us!
More signs of impending rain and Dee photographs me leading us higher into the Rockies.

Outside Durango we stopped to change from our mesh gear to our leathers but what we should have done is put on our rain gear because not a mile down the road we were in the thick of it and had to stop and throw it on while it was coming down.
We finally made it to Silverton Colorado and really is a neat little town!
  This might be a fun way to get around to town!
We woke up the next morning to wet bikes and light but steady rain.
Good thing this time I didn’t forget to pack my rain gear!  Looks like we get to ride the “Million Dollar Highway” in the rain!  I guess that means we just take it slower and enjoy the ride more!  There are really few if any turnouts on this stretch of highway.  If you’re lucky you can eek out a little shoulder to stop on to get some photos.

What you will find along this route is plenty of these signs!
Looking down at the muddy creek our suspicions are confirmed, it is indeed raining!
There are these huge rock walls that they saw fit to run the roads around instead of through.  It does make for a nice curvy road!  The kind I am sure most of my fellow Pashnits love?
This must be the famed “Tunnel of Love” I’ve heard so much about since Dee and I rode through at the same time!
Hey what gives?  I thought we talked about this trip and you promised me clear sailing?
Finally as we dropped down toward the town of Montrose the rain gave us a break and the pavement was dry!
I’m thinking I just might build my retirement home right here!
Highway 50 from Montrose takes us back into the mountains where we find ourselves being chased by those big dark clouds once again.  Here we have a look at the seemingly very long Blue Mesa Reservoir out side of Gunnison.
We stopped at a picnic area along side a stream for lunch.  We couldn’t dilly dally long because those clouds were approaching.


  Dee managed to catch a snapshot of this barn as we zipped along on our way.

Not sure which valley this is but Dee framed the picture nicely with the trees.
  I believe these old farms were on Hwy 24 on the way to Leadville.

We finally arrived in Denver and here are only a few of the photos of our new grandson Sawyer.  Isn’t he a cutie!

I think I’ll start by posting this portion of my ride report and get to the rest as soon as I can.  I think I’ll title the next part, “North to Wyoming then Home” or “Look at all Them Durn Critters.”

   After invading Dee’s sister and brother-in-laws house for 4 days (thank you Linda and Matt) we said our goodbyes to all our loved ones in Denver and pushed on to Dee’s brother’s house in Cheyenne.  We could only spend a day and a short ride out to lunch with Mike because we had to be in Evansville before dark due to the high chance of encountering a critter on the road after dusk.  Mike rides a 1984 softtail that he just repainted himself and it really looks sharp except for the engine which the paint job now makes look like crap according to him.
  Here Dee caught Mike and I shooting the ch1t.

  Can ya tell that they’re brother and sister?
Mike sitting on his softtail at the Cheyenne Harley Davidson and whatever else they sell there shop!
We left Mike’s house in time to make it to Evansville before dark as planned and for those who don’t know Evansville is a large sprawling suburb attached to the megatropolis known as Casper, Wyoming.  Here is my brother Ed and his wife Diahann’s home.
You can see from this picture that it might be just as easy to run into some of the locals during the day as it is during the night.
I took a ride up Casper Mountain to get some photos.

  Our arrival coincided with the annual “Wyoming Wind Festival” which runs from January 1st thru December 31st.

  A short ride out Hat Six road will yield abundant finds like this!

When I used to come out here with my four wheel drive the end of the pavement wouldn’t deter me but this is when I’m wishing I could turn this bike into a duel sport.
There is a lot of these little boogers out here and this is the only way that I care to meet up with one!

Here we have a herd of antelope grazing on a farmer’s alfalfa field.  Oh ya the bike was doing a little grazing too!
If you were looking for any more reasons not to go gallivanting thru Wyoming on a motorcycle at night here you go!  Can you imagine if you can see all these critters during the day how many would be around at night?

  My brother Ed is a master griller!  He even cooks his Thanksgiving turkey on the Weber every year.  I always know that when I visit him I won’t be losing any weight!

Dee and Diahann might kill me for posting this one but don’t they look comfortable?

  Dinner is served!  Country style ribs and they were delicious!

   My brother and I did a little fishing at Alcova Reservoir on our visit but I forgot to bring the camera.  On the way out to the lake we came very close to running over a badger that was trying to cross the road.  We caught about 8 rainbows between us with the largest being about 2 pounds.  Not the best we have done on our visits out there but not bad.  No visit to Wyoming is complete without a fishing trip!  The cost of a one day out of state license is up to 14 dollars now but is was worth it.  I have never been skunked on a visit there.
  With our visit to my brothers over it was time to saddle up again and turn our scooters south.  This is the route that I had chosen to take us on our journey home.

  Just outside of town we paused for a photo op.

The mountains up north received a lot of snow this year and the lakes are all full and the runoff is still much higher than normal for this time of year.  Here we have a view of the North Platte River.
We took the 487 toward Laramie and stopped to rest at the Shirley Rim Rest Area. 
Further down the road about 20 miles north of Medicine Bow, Wyoming we happened to see two wolves about 400 yards off the highway.  We were cruising kind of fast and didn’t stop for a photo.  I don’t think that my camera would have captured them very well from that distance anyway.  This is my first time to see wolves in the wild and they were definitely wolves and not coyotes as they were very big.  My brother tells me they have been seen in that area and that they have been known to travel quite a ways. 

  Once back into Colorado our next destination was through Rocky Mountain National Park. Then on to Hot Sulphur Springs where we would spend the night.  To get there we traveled along the Poudre River on highway 14.  Here we spot a fly fisherman.

  Taking a break in the shade along the Poudre River.

We then bade farewell to the Poudre River and headed south on Stove Prairie Rd. or county road 27.  I was thinking that this might be a goaty road but I couldn’t have been more wrong.  It was smooth riding all the way!

Then we turned west on highway 34 or Big Thompson Rd. along the Big Thompson River.  Dee has talked about this area many times over the years and the flood of 1974 when many unsuspecting campers and people in their homes were swept to their deaths in the middle of the night.  I would have liked to have gotten a photo of the signs that said “In case of flood climb to higher ground!”  but I didn’t so you all have to use your imagination on that one but we did capture these views.

The town of Estes Park is beautiful but is a tourist trap and as busy as it was on a Wednesday I can’t imagine it on a weekend!  The views past the town heading for RMNP are nothing short of stunning!

  This was my first time in Rocky Mountain National Park and I was impressed!  The scenery is unparalleled.  We saw elk in the trees as we passed by and laying around in the high meadows.  It was also very windy and very cold!

  Dee also spotted a ham.
Road construction seemed to be a prevalent theme on this trip but I guess that can be expected because they sure can’t do it in the winter time.

Me waiting for the pilot car escort.  Couldn’t be stuck in a prettier place!

One of the many small lakes that litter the countryside.

  Once out of the park along Hwy 34 we come upon Grand Lake to be followed by Granby Lake.

  We finally make our destination the Ute Trail Motel in Hot Sulphur Springs.  Nice place to stay and affordable too.  This was a real friendly place and everyone seemed glad to see us!

  Here’s the view looking east from the motel.
  The next day found us heading to our next stop in Green River Utah.

Never thought of putting old commodes to this kind of use!  We wouldn’t have seen this if we didn’t have to stop in the town of Toponas to figure out which way do we go from here?

  Heading south on the131 we encounter the headwaters of the Colorado River.
We stopped at one of the four rest stops in the Glenwood Canyon to get this picture of the river and pee.  (Not in the river)
  It’s quite a feat the way they built the road through the canyon.  It is also a very beautiful ride!
Dee shows off the “Welcome to Utah” sign.  This rest stop used to be nothing more than a couple of pit toilets in the middle of nowhere but now there is a visitor center and cold water fountains!
We stayed at the Robber’s Roost Motel in Green River and I told the mayor I’d plug his son’s motel.  The mayor and his wife were very nice folks and were helping out their son at his motel.  Nice place to stay, clean and very reasonable.  I have to thank Tombstone for turning me on to MomandPopMotels.com because that’s the way I found many of the places that we stayed at.
Next morning found Dee and I heading for 24 south and Capitol Reef National Park.
  Consider yourself forewarned of the many tar snakes out to bite you!
The creeks seemed to be flowing full for this time of year in the park and Dee and I pulled over for a rest and a couple photos.

Here we have a look at the visitor center.  We would have liked to spend a little more time exploring the park but we still had to make it to Bryce and on to Cedar City.
Looking back on Capitol Reef as we say goodbye.
We stopped at the Subway Sandwich store at the intersection of the 24 and the southbound 12 for a quick bite to eat.  We played tag with these riders and a few others all the way past Bryce Canyon.
The views traveling south on Hwy 12 were absolutely beautiful!

My steed Sampson looks mighty fine up here on Boulder Mountain even as dirty as he is!
Looking down from the viewpoint up on Boulder Mountain it’s quite the view!

  Just one of the many gas stops along the way.

  If anyone asks, now you know where they got the Grand in Grand Escalante Staircase!

Looking down on the road from whence we came.

We continue our journey south toward Bryce Canyon.
I didn’t really know what to expect at Bryce Canyon having never been there and somehow it wasn’t what I expected.  I thought we’d be riding through a canyon but you actually ride along the rim with turnoffs that take you to each viewpoint.  None the less it was very scenic and there were many deer and antelope along the road.  Here are some views of the Bryce Canyon.

My lovely wife at the Canyon Rim.
We headed south on 89 after visiting the Bryce Canyon and veered west on Hwy 14 toward Cedar City.  This is a very nice road too and there is an area near Navajo Lake were the ground is covered  with volcanic rock from ancient lava flows.

  We spent the night at the Best Western in Cedar City and although I was disappointed when the Jacuzzi  next to the pool turned out to be a kiddies wading pool, the beds were the most comfortable we had slept on the whole trip and that along with the continental breakfast made up for that bad construction choice.  In fact knowing that Zion National Park might be an all day ride we booked an additional night before the final leg home.
  The next morning it was off to Zion!

Once again the theme in the park was ROAD WORK!  The kid at the entrance said about 4 of the 11 miles were under construction but I’d venture to say he wasn’t a math major in college because it seemed more like 10 of 11 miles!  Oh well, there was still some of the most awesome scenery that it was even worth getting a boot sole full of tar!  Here we stop for a lunch break in the shade.

Me with an awesome backdrop!
  Just shut ‘er down and wait!
Peace out man!
  Nice road though!
It’s easier to be patient in a setting such as this!
We made it past the road work!  Not!

  This isn’t what you like to see on a Harley Touring Bike!

  They call this the Checkerboard Mesa.
 We went on through the park on 9.  Then caught 89 north to 14 and back to Cedar City.  For some reason Google won’t let you plot a map on Hwy 9 through Zion so my map doesn’t reflect this route.  Here are a couple pics from 89 north.

Other than the Virgin River Gorge there’s not much to photograph on the way home.  Thought about bringing out the camera on the trip home but we were afraid it might melt!  Baker was definitely baking!  Got one last photo taken in the garage at home.

  I’d like to thank Matthew Perry for posting the tutorial on how to post interactive Google maps on  Pashnit and my daughter Teri for showing me how to get the damn map into Paint!  Thanks to all you Pashnits out there for taking the time to view this thread!  Now I need a butt massage!

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