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Buell Forum » Tale Section (Share your tales of adventure here.) » Archive through October 05, 2007 » Solo Trippin' on a Buell Ulysses. » Archive through September 15, 2006 « Previous Next »

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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 04:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Some of you have seen this before. Other's haven't. This is for those who haven't.

This journey started innocently enough. One day in early August I was browsing eBay after a hard day at work. In an effort to stay informed, I often conduct research about motorcycles for sale : D . Pretty soon I made my way over to Cycletrader. Within minutes, I was talking to Bill in Phoenix : D . I wasn't in the market to buy a new bike, I was conducting further research :evil . He was selling a 2006 Buell Ulysses with 670 miles on the odometer. After a brief conversation, I impulsively offered to purchase the bike. Bill informed me there was another guy first in line coming to inspect the bike that evening. I said fine, I'll be runner up. Bill said he would call later to let me know if the bike was still available.

I now faced the opportunity to bring my wife, Julie, on board with my bright idea of buying a bike 2100 miles away and riding it back. As with the previous 53 or so bike purchases, Julie was one hundred percent supportive. Armed with her approval, I began to get excited with anticipation. I called Bill to asked if the other guy had seen the bike yet, and to let Bill know I would buy the bike, sight unseen, for his asking price if the other guy backed out. He asked if I was local, obviously screening me as a potential buyer. I said yes, I live in Virginia : D . He said something about big gonads: D .

For the next several hours, I waited for Bill to call. During that timeframe, I began to question whether I should actually follow through with this long distance purchase. I told Julie I planned to sleep on the idea and make sure I wanted the bike. She agreed that would be best. As we were getting ready for bed, my phone rang. It was Bill. I intentionally let it ring. Bill left a voice mail saying I should call him to discuss the bike. Several minutes later, I was on the phone finalizing the agreement. Julie came into the room during the conversation, and said she was proud of me for giving so much consideration to this purchase before deciding to buy : D .

The following day, I express mailed full payment for the bike. Several days later, I received the clear title to the bike. I then obtained a fresh, Virginia title and tag from the DMV. The bike was now officially mine, although it was 2100 miles away, and I'd never even riden a Buell : D .

Julie and I started planning the return trip. She booked a flight from Dulles Airport to Phoenix, on Friday September 1st, leaving at 7:30AM eastern time, and arriving in Phoenix at 9:37AM pacific time.

The initial planning was overwhelming. Looking at a map of the four corner states, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico, there are so many great routes and great sites to see, it is clear I had to start narrowing down the route to a manageable size. About this time I researched some of MikeO's reports from the previous year. Mike had written something about how liberating it is to accept the fact that you simply cannot see everything, and by forgetting what you're missing, you are free to focus on what you will see. Thanks MikeO, those words certainly helped Julie and I come up with a route.

Julie insisted I book a room for the first three nights, since this was Labor Day weekend. We had no idea how busy the region would be, and it would not be fun to be in the middle of unfamiliar territory without a place to stay. Since I was flying out, I didn't have room to carry my camping gear. After much planning and research, including many great recommendations from the fine folks here on ADVRider, we finally settled on the return route.

The first day I would head north through Prescott, Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon :evil , and spend the night in Flagstaff. On day two I would continue north into Utah, then east to Bryce Canyon:evil . Day three I would continue east through Kodachrome State Park, to Escalante:deal . Day four I'd head east, north east, then south and stay in Moab: D . The next day I would continue east to the Colorado Rockies, then south through Ouray Pass, Silverton, to Durango. Day six I'd leave Durango, head south through New Mexico to Albuquerque, then east on I-40 toward home. I figured the trip would take 9 or 10 days, and total 3100 miles.

As the departure date approached, I lived and relived every step of the way. On Thursday, I programmed each of 10 separate routes into my GPS for the ten day journey. I also contacted my insurance agent and purchased insurance for the Uly. I also joined AAA so I would have free towing up to 100 miles :evil , as well as 2 gallons of free gas delivered in the event I ran out: D .

I barely slept the week before the trip. Every night my mind was flooded with the details of the trip. By Thursday evening I was exhausted. Julie and I went to Dicks Sporting Goods at the local mall to buy some last minute items for the trip. I picked up some cold weather Under Armour, some protein bars, and a Camelback. Someone here on AdvRider suggested I use the Camelback through the dry climate out west. Whoever recommended it, thank you:clap .
As we were shopping, Julie asked how I was feeling. I told her I was tired, and feeling like I lacked the energy to take this trip. I'm a diabetic. Sometimes I do things because I don't feel like doing them. I do them because one day I might not be able to do them. That's partially the reason behind this trip.

I came home and packed my Wolfman Beta and Wolfman Odyssee Duffell, as well as piece of carry on luggage. The carry on luggage contained all the expensive electronics including my laptop, two cameras, GPS, iPod, all the cables and chargers, as well as my insulin, syringes, and some food.

I said goodnight to three of my kids, my dog, and my wife. I slept like a baby all night. The alarm went of at 5:00AM. Julie took me to the airport. She snapped a photo as I was departing. I was slightly stressed at the beginning of the trip, can ya tell?: D

I kissed Julie good bye and went inside the airport. Checking in was like clockwork, until Homeland Security got a glimpse of my cary on luggage,,,,,
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 04:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

We're so uptight here on the east coast. Some folks checking in at the airport are a miserable brood. I stood there and watch people bitching, much to my delight: D . They were bitching about stupid little things. I decided I'd give them something real to bitch about : D .

The line to pass through security was flowing as fast as an airport security line could be expected to flow, until my bag went through the x-ray machine. All of the sudden, everything stopped. The operator called for a security check because of the two viles of insulin (liquid) in my bag. It took about 2 minutes for the first security detail to show up. I'm standing there smiling: D . I'm the only one smiling: D . The people in line were impatient before I stopped the progress. Now, they're ready to take up stones and cast them upon me.

The security detail shows up and asks for back up: D . They pull me aside and for the next 15 minutes, remove everything from my bag, wiping and testing everything for bomb residue materials. They were particularly pissed to see my laptop in the carry on. It was inside a foam protective cover, which was inside a plastic protective case. One guy is checking my stuf, the other guy is checking my reaction to this event. I'm just smiling: D . I explained I don't fly much, and didn't know laptops had to be indvidually examined. They finally finish examining all my stuff, and ask me if I need any help putting it back in the bag. I decline their assistance.

By now, I'm one of the last people to arrive at the waiting area to board the plane. The folks on my plane don't seem too chatty: D . Fine, I'll just wander off into a corner and listen to my iPod. Oh yeah, I was in full riding gear, wearing my Sidi boots and Joe Rocket jacket. The other passengers weren't impressed. Oh well. I'm utterly delighted that I'm not as miserable as some of the fine folks around me.

We finally board the plane. I'm sitting next to the window. A couple, obviously in love, sit nex to me. I stand up and tell the girl next to me, "this jacket has to come off." She doesn't even acknowledge me. Didn't look at me. Didn't say anything. Nothing. I'm thinking to myself this is going to be a long flight. I look out the window. I rummage through my carry on bag at my feet to find my little Kodak. I look out the window. The girl next to me is irritated that I'm doing something. I capture the moment. The mood outside is representative of the mood sitting beside me. Well, not quite that bad: D

I find my stress has completey departed. I think it landed squarely on some of the folks around me. I'm wondering to myself if every flight is full of miserable people:scratch .Nah! The crew is extremely professional. They smile as they walk by. The guy in front of me decides to recline his seat all the way back into my lap. I act like it doesn't bother me. I feel like throwing him of the plane: D .

We take off. Within a few minutes, Tom Cruise is playing on the Screen in front of me. Mission Impossible III is the choice entertainment for the day. Halfway into the flight I have to pee. I don't dare get up. People all around me ar getting up to pee. I didn't want to piss anyone off, again: D . I decide to hold it until Phoenix. I decline the second offering of coffee. Fortunately I didn't have to pee that bad. I enjoy the rest of the movie. It's over and we're just crossing Texas. I grab my camera again. As we descend, I start shooting out the window. There's nothing else to do.

My first glimpse of Phoenix. It doesn't look so hot out there:deal

Downtown Phoenix

The good thing is the plane landed 37 minutes ahead of schedule. Plenty of time to pee before making my way to baggage pick up. The bad thing is, our baggage doesn't come out of the plane until sometime around 10:15. We're all waiting. We all want our luggage. Everyone is nicer now. Several people come up to me and say "Yeah, you're from Dulles, I saw you back in the airport. I'm just making sure I'm in the right luggage terminal." They're surprisingly friendly in Phoenix. People start asking questions. Why are you wearing a jacket in Phoenix? Don't you know it's 108 degrees outside? I look around. Everyone is wearing shorts. I have on heavy Joe Rocket riding jeans, riding boots, and a jacket. It turns out to be a great conversation starter. People seem geniunely interested in what I'm doing.

I talk to a lady who flew out from N. VA for her fathers 75th birthday. She tells me there is no better place on the planet than Oak Creek Canyon: D . That's wonderful, because I'm riding through there in a few hours.

I check my cell phone for messages. I'm getting an unclear signal. Finally, I call Bill who is picking me up. He asks where I am. I tell him I arrived early, but I'm waiting for my luggage. He says he's in the luggage area too. I turn around, and he's standing right there.:clap Bill says, "You said you have blond hair, I was looking for a long haired hippy. You didn't say anything abolut having a crew cut.": D

Bill turns out to be a super nice guy. He's very interested in my plans. He's very interested in sharing about his family. He's understanding about having to wait for my luggage. It finally arrives. We head out to his Big Whit Buick SUV with 20 inch rims. I immediately notice how hot it is. In the shade.

We head towards Sun City West. On the way, Bill offers to swing by the Harley Davidson dealer so I can buy a quart of oil for the ride home. I have the chance to talk to the service manager who just performed the 1000 mile service. He assures me the bike is ready for the road trip ahead. He seems curious as to why I would want to ride the Buell across the country. In the parking lot I notice a sight I've never seen before. The bikes parked out front all have towells draped over the seats. It really does get hot in Phoenix:deal .

We head over to Bill's house, conversing the whole way. No ackward moments. Bill is like a long time friend I haven't seen in years. I had a gut feeling when I first spoke with him on the phone that he was the geniune article. We roll through the gates to his community, past the golf course, to his house. The garage door opens, and I laid eyes upon my bike for the first time.

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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 04:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Bill was super patient with me during the next hour. I really needed to get the bike setup properly before departing the shade of his garage. The first priority was suspension setup. The limited knowledge I had gained about Buells, and the Ulysses in particular, strongly suggested I set the suspension according to my weight and luggage. It was exceedingly important as I would be riding through technical mountain passes within the hour.

After dialing in the front and rear preload, and front and rear compression and rebound damping, I mounted two ram mounts, one for a handlebar mounted camera, the other for my GPS. I really like the 12V adaptor in the dash. Just a plug and play proposition. I then mounted the tank bag. Bill is half freaking out at my tenacity. I had run through these procedures at least a dozen times before the trip began. Finally, I mounted the Wolfman luggage. The Beta bag fit perfectly on the rear seat, serving as a comfortable back rest in addition to luggage. The Wolfman Odyssee Duffel strapped perfectly to the 3 way flip up back rest thingy, and was held in place by the 2 straps on the rear of the Beta duffell. This provided me with 5 outside pockets each having easy access, perfect or storing necessities like water and orange juice.
I strapped a cargo net on top of the two bags, and placed my jacket under the net. I'm all about ATGATT, and consider my T-Shirt ATGATT in 108 degree phoenix heat. The jacket would be worn before I reached the first set of twisties.

Before leaving, Bill offered to fill my Camelback full of ice, and iced cold water:clap . Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mr. Bill. Here's a shot of the bike he bought to replace the Uly for riding in the Phoenix desert :deal

Here's a shot of the odometer just prior to my first ride:

A final shot of Bill and MY Uly : D

My fully loaded Uly:

And the trip has begun. Here's Bill leading the way to Route 60, the first leg of my planned route:

Just after I shot this photo, Bill and departed ways. Here's to you Bill, for picking me up at the airport, and for delivering a better than expected Ulysses:freaky :freaky

I continued heading north on Route 60. It was hot. Make that HOT! At first, all I could get out of my Camelback was the warm water in the syphon tube. It was still better than nothing.

This was the first time I had seen cactus growing in the wild. : D
I continued rolling north, tripping the shutter way too many times.

Soon after riding through Wickenburg, AZ, I took my first GPS indicated turn onto 93N which became 89N. Within a few minutes, the road led through subtle sweepers

then right into some incredible roads snaking through Prescott National Forest. At this time, I was still getting comfortable with the bike. In fact, up until this moment, I really hadn't given much thought to the bike itself. All of my energy was spent planning the trip, and setting the bike up for the planned route.

As the road became more twisty, it also climbed in elevation. As it climbed in elevation, the temperature dropped. Instead of 108 degrees, it must have cooled off to 98 degrees. Still, it felt better than 108. The passage through this section of mountains was pure delight. I stopped the Uly for the first time, got off the bike, and snapped a pic:

I now turned my attention to the bike. As I stood there, I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. Here I was, in the middle of a mountain pass on a new bike, with nothing but bliss laid out for the next 5 days. I took my helmet off to soak in the moment. As I did, I took another swig of water, this time lowering my head as I drank, and for the first time since leaving Phoenix, I was rewarded with a huge gulp of iced cold water: D .
I finally figured out how the Camelback works. I shot another photo bewildered that I was really there, amazed at the fine piece of machinery : D

I started the Uly, and headed deeper into the mountain range. Before too long I caught up with this fellow moving along at a spirited pace down the straights,

and I thought this is cool, we can roll through this section together. That thought lasted until we reached the next turn, where he decided to drop anchor, and I got my first real feel for how powerful the front brake is: D After slamming on the brakes and yawning through the next section of twisties, I politely passed on a double yellow, and rode solo through the next section. The roads weren't too shabby :deal

After cresting the ridge, the roads terrain became more and more red, and the roads continued to thrill

leading me through a quaint little town called Jerome:

Jerome sits right on the mountain ledge. I wish I had more time to spend exploring this place. I was a man on a mission though, so my photos were limited to what I could shoot from the saddle:

The speed limit was 15 mph through town

Proud kind of place:

That is a geniune horse and buggy rolling through on the right:

I left Jerome, filled the gas tank for the first time, and headed toward Prescott. My adventure was underway. I was having a blast and looking forward to Sedona.
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 04:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Route 89 N led me to the town of Prescott. I hadn't planned to stop here, but during a conversation with Bill earlier in the day, he mentioned Prescott is known as a typical place in small town USA. As I rolled through, I saw the courthouse on my right, with a parking space out front that had my name on it.

It was now 3:30 in the afternoon. I should be rolling to Sedona. I'm interested in Prescott at the moment. Straight ahead of the parked bike was the courthouse.

In front of the courthouse was a monument to war veterans

so I grabbed the Nikon and started shooting

Some bikers were having a picnic on the courthouse lawn. It was a beautiful day. Temps were in the low 80's with zero humidity. A picture perfect place really. A man was walking his pair of golden retreivers. I chatted with him briefly, telling him about my golden retreiver puppy back home. I countinued shooting while we chatted.

Prescott even has its own Harley dealer : D

Before leaving Prescott I called Julie to say hello and to let her know I got off to a great start. I told her I was in Prescott, and she asked "where's that?" I told her on the way the Sedona. She said you better get moving : D . I agreed, said goodbye to Julie, then said goodbye to Prescott.

Back out on the road, you can pretty much see Sedona from Prescott even though it's 40 or 50 miles away. (My mileage estimates are probably way off, but I'm writing it as I remember it, accurate or not : D ).

The landscape was continued to impress this east coaster.

That's Sedona up ahead.

The closer I got, the more beautiful Sedona became:

A better perspective of the same shot: D

On the way into town I stopped at this particular spot,,,,

for a reason:evil

I rolled into town

turned left down a neighborhood street

and regardless of where I pointed the camera

found an interesting perspective to shoot

I continued North

through the touristy section of town

and the train kept rolling.

It was now about 5:30PM, the sun was setting fast, and I wanted to roll through Oak Creek Canyon before dark. On the north side of Sedona, I stopped one final time for parting shots, some with the bike:

some without the bike

As I left prepared to leave Northern Sedona, I was putting my camera back inside the tank bag, and hear an ear piercing howl, more of a mean growl, roaring up the road. To my pleasure, I saw three Lamborghini's racing through the pass, coming out of Oak Creek Canyon : D . Damnit, I hate when I miss those photo ops.

I didn't realize it at the time, but Oak Creek Canyon is literally just north of Sedona. The light was fading fast, so I knew my bar mounted cam wouldn't be able to capture images without blur. I shot anyway. And deleted every single shot through the pass. I did stop a time or two to shoot with the Nikon.

This road is 14 miles of nirvana


No Parking. Unless you are from out of town, riding a Uly, and need to take a photo : D

As I rolled out of Oak Creek Canyon, my immediate goal was to find the motel Julie booked for me in Flagstaff. The sun, and temperatures were setting fast

and the rain was moving in

I headed east on I-40 for 5 miles before finally locating the motel. It started raining just as I rolled in.

I asked the attendant if there were any restaurants within walking distance, and there was an Outback Steakhouse just down the street.

After unloading my luggage, the rain passed, and I was treated to a nice sunset.

Instead of walking to Outback for dinner, I went to the food mart and bought some slim jims: D and a couple Coronas.

Here's my GPS log from Day one. Not too many miles, but every inch was fantastic.

And here's me for the final shot of the day: D

I slept like a baby, having gained 3 hours due to the flight. Tomorrow, I head north into Utah.

BTW, as I was typing this portion, Bill called to make sure I arrived home safely. We had another nice conversation and he said he'll be reading this report. Cheers Bill, you were the highlight of the day:thumb
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 05:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Very cool.
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 05:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I'm dying to do a trip like this on my S3T I just bought... Where's the rest!
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 05:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

way cool, the pic format doesn't allow viewing on my work computer, are they posted elsewhere?

great trip so far, thanks
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 05:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Day 2, Saturday, September 2, 2006.

I awoke to beautiful sunshine. The air was crisp, cool, and clean, reminding me of a late October morning in Virginia. Route 89N ran right behind my motel. I arose and fired up my jetboil to boil a cup of hot water for a fresh cup a instant coffee. Life is good. : D

After packing the mule, I headed out. The Uly fired right up. It seemed to idle a touch slow. In fzac t, it would barely idle. I stayed attentive to the bike, giving a little throttle during the cold warm up. Before long, I was in the saddle, rolling up highway 89 which ran directly behind my hotel.

Let me backtrack a second. Late last night my blood sugar dropped. I walked down to the concession machines to buy some orange juice. It was 3:45am. The hotel attendant was inside the room adjacent to the concession machines, smoking a joint. I startled him. He was surprised to see a hotel guest walking about that early. He must have put the joint out when he heard me. And then exhaled a huge puff of dope smoke. It wreaked. I don't smoke the stuff. I don't judge those who do. He said something about trying to stay awake. I was trying to sleep. And get some OJ. This was one of those freak encounters. I didn't mean to startle the poor guy. I think he was paranoid after the encounter. I never saw him again.

Within minutes, I saw a Jack In The Box restaraunt. I grew up eating Bonus Jacks. The local Jack in the Box closed down 30 years ago in my neighborhood in VA. I just had to photo this icon from my youth : D

One of the planned detours Julie and I planned was a 46 mile loop through Sunset Crate National Park. I was snjoying the scenery when the road, Route 545 sudenly appeared. I happened to see a sign for Wupatki National Park at the last second, hit the brakes pretty hard, and made a right hand turn onto 545. I had no expectation because I didn't know what to expect. That's the best way to be blown away by what you see.

Julie gave me her National Parks Pass before I left. This particular jaunt saved me $20.00.

Here's the road leading into the park. It's impossible to convey the perfect conditions while writing this. The place was basically deserted, save for a ranger or two, and maybe 3 or four families inside the park.

This is a field of flowers leading to Sunset Crater. The sky that Saturday never looked so blue.

There was something to photograph every place I looked, even down at my feet.

I stopped at the Visitor Center to get an overview of what to expect inside the park, and some suggestions on what not to miss. I also bout several post cards to send back home.

As I rode deeper into the park, the terrain was rich black from the lava flowing from the volcano.

The road was typical of the roads I'd been riding since arriving in AZ.

I stopped at the base of the volcano. There was a path leading to the top, a pretty hike I didn't have time for. I imagine the view from the top is well worth the effort to view it. A family stopped to where I was to shoot some photos. It was the first people I'd seen inside the park.

Black lava flows continued for what seemed like miles

The view leading from Sunset Crater toward Wupatki, with The Painted desert in the distance

It's hard to describe the feeling you get riding solo through here

Cruising through

The road leading to Wupatki

The ruins at Wupatki were a disappointment, not because of the ruins, but because a tour bus loaded with people were crawling all over the ruins.

Nice roads eh???

more photo ops inside the park

A view of Lomaki ruins

and finally the road leading out of the park and back to 89N.

Once I was riding 89N again, the road is pretty desolate. Better not run out of gas around here.

Way off in the distance, red faced cliffs begin to appear.

the closer you get, the bigger they become

and this goes on mile after mile

until suddenly you're surrounded by rock cliffs, and all alone.

As I was stopped in this area, I met a guy named Bob from Maryland. He just finished a 3 year stint with the Smithsonian Institute, and was in the process of moving back to Washington State. He was looking forward to going back home in Washington, and going back to work in the private sector. He was deeply interested in my adventure. I saw him at the next several stops, and we chatted each time. Unfortunately I didn't catch his photo or last name, but he said he took not of ADVRider and would look for this thread. So if you're out there Bob, drop me a line, won't ya? Dave from VA on the Uly.: D

After meeting Bob, I was somewhat relieved just knowing he was behind me somewhere in case I broke down or got caught out here in a severe thunderstorm.

The landscape is pretty dramatic out here. I was hoping to see a rattlesnake. I never did.

A perfectly exposed black motorcycle is a recipe for a perfectly overexposed background : D

This shot reminds me of the trip to Venice Beach last March, when a fine gentleman spoke to my brother about his WeeStrom, asking him "How do you like that Beam Dub Ya?" : D this shot looks sorta like one of those Beam Dub Ya's : D

Although it doesn't look like, that's about a 40 mile stretch of road right there.

The road led straight to the cliffs ahead before turning left toward the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Before doing so, the bridge ahead crosses Glen Canyon. I didn't get off the bike, but I did shoot several photos from the saddle:

Looking left from the bridge:

Looking Right:

and looking ahead
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 06:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

During this whole trip, I never felt quite so alone as I did riding through this section of Arizona. There's absolutely nothing out there. And on this day, there were very few cars. Off in the distance I saw one of those monsoons building. It started freaking me out when I saw the cloud to ground lightening, even though the storm was probably 50 miles away. As I rode along, I wondered what I would do if that monsoon moved overhead. I certainly wouldn't want to be caught riding a motorcycle out in the open through a monsoon. Would I try to take up shelter in one of those cliffs off to my right. Those suckers are at least a mile away through sandy soil.

I know what I'd do if I saw a monsoon approaching. I'd haul ass back to Bob, flag him down, and hop inside his car : D .

Along this stretch of 89, I started seeing rocks, no boulders, no, HUGE FREAKING BOULDERS BIGGER THAN MY HOUSE, laying on the canyon floor. I had to stop and shoot one of these guys. To add perspective, I placed the Uly in front of one. Unfortunately I photography's limitation prevent me from showing the scale of both the boulder and the cliff behind it. Trust me when I tell ya that cliff behind the boulder is way the heck up there. : D Can you imagine seeing one of those boulders roll off the cliff?

I shot this scene from every angle. I was truly amazed.

The road began climbing in elevation. There was a scenic overlook looking back along the road I had just ridden. This stretch must reach for 75 miles or better.

As I was photographing the scenery, Bob rolled up and we chatted one last time. I told him I thought I was about to get wet, then pointed to the monsoon off to the left. After checking my GPS, it was clear the road was heading straight into the storm. I kinda freaked out a little, but did a pretty good job of disguising my fear of storms.

For some reason, I felt comfortable knowing Bob was there, even though I had only known him for about 20 minutes of conversation on 2 previous stops. And even though he was inside a car, and I was outside on a motorcycle. It doesn't make sense, I know, but sometimes thing just don't make sense.

As we started to leave, Bob asked me if I was planning to go to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. I really wanted to, but I knew that storm stood between me and the canyon, so I said I doubt it, making up some story about being on a tight schedule and not having the necessary 2 hours to spare. The truth was, I didn't have the balls to head straight into that storm. An then have to ride back out of it. Just being honest here : D .

Bob climbed into his car and I waited for him to leave, following him up into the mountains. At the top, Bob stopped for a bite to eat. I stopped for gas. I never saw Bob again. I hope you find this thread Bob and stay in touch.

After filling the tank, the road I was following turned toward the right, away from the storm. I rode down the road about a half a mile, pissed off that I didn't have the guts to go see the Grand Canyon, and I was only 40 miles away. It bothered me real bad. I actually turned around and started heading back toward Bob and the Grand Canyon. I made it as far as the gas station, and turned around again. I simply didn't want to take the risk. Maybe next time. I justified my decision by telling myself I'll save my first viewing of the Grand Canyon for the opportunity to share the experience with my wife. The truth is, if the skies had been clear in that direction, the next photos I'd be posting would be of the Grand Canyon.
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 06:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

With the Grand Canyon now behind me, I descended slowly back down to thicker air. I now focused on the great state of Utah. Here's the road leading down

Soon, the mountains gave way to the red rocky terrain,

and before long I was in a little town just outside of utah, Fredonia, AZ.
I stopped in to buy gas

and one of these to quench my thirst and give me some pep:

after drinking the iced cold frap, I went right back inside and bought another one, and it too last less than 10 seconds.

I departed for the Utah border. It was mid afternoon when I shot my first photo in Kanab, UT.

The scenery changed immediately after crossing into Utah. The rocks in AZ ver red, these clifs were VERY RED, and the roads were still twisty.

This area reminded me of Sedona

hmmmm, starting to look alot like rain up ahead

somewhere in the town of Kanab, UT

Before long, I found myself photographing the strangest things, Like Subway restaurants, just because they were in beautiful locations

A few miles down the road I saw this tourist trap. It was an underground cavern that extended some 200 yards deep. I shot it from the outside, but decided against taking the walking tour

I continued north, keeping an eye on the storm off to my left

and soon it was time to stop for rain gear

so I pulled off the side of the road and put my overpants and rain jacket on

Back on the road, I picked up the pace trying to beat the storm, or at least blast through it quickly. After this shot was taken, both cameras went into hiding inside their plastic bags.

Pretty soon, I was in front of the storm and just hauled ass to stay ahead. I had removed the bike mounted camera, so the only photos I have for the rest of the day were the one's shot when I stopped. The rode for many miles, before turning off route 89 to UT-12.

where the scenery started blowing my mind.

I'd stop, shoot,

shoot another,

and another

ride a half a mile, and repeat.

I was in a photographers playground.

what a boring road UT-12 is :evil

looking back

getting boring, isn't it

From 12, I turned right on 63 into Bryce Canyon National Park. Quite an obscure littl eplace :evil

in an obscure location :evil

I booked a room at the Bryce View Lodges just outside the park. I met a couple of professional photographers, one from Orlando, one from Tampa, who were on their way to a photo show in Las Vegas. We chatted briefly, and I picked their brains for places and times to see the area attractions.

Just before dark, I returned to my room and began uploading photos via WiFi. I phoned home to let Julie know everything was fine, and I had arrived safely in Bryce Canyon. At this time, I wasn't sure I wanted explore Bryce Canyon the next day. Having seen the upper portion, I thought about just leaving early the next day, and exploring other areas. In the morning, I changed my mind, and headed deep into Bryce Canyon. It turned out to be a good decision.
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 06:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Day 3, Sunday, September 3, 2006

Bryce Canyon, UT to Escalante, UT

I slept hard last night. I was only averaging 5 hours per night, but it was a deep, total mind and body sleep. In the morning I would repack my luggage, load the bike, and take off for whatever lies ahead. This morning I decided to ride to the end of Bryce Canyon. The lighting conditions were better than last evening when I first rolled in. The air was crisp, the skies were blue, and the sun was shining.

Here's the motel I stayed in last night.

and my bike parked just below my room on the 2nd floor

I rolled into the Bryce Visitors center to pick up some oranje juice and postcards. I filled the gas tank. The Uly was averaging 50-55 mpg. The tank is only 4.5 gallons, but I was getting 155-175 miles before hitting the .83 gallon reserve. Filling the bike with premium fuel was averaging less than $10.00.

As I walked back to the bike, there was a V-Strom with a guy and girl ready to depart. They came over, saw the Virginia plate, and wanted to know all about my trip and specifically about the Uly. I told them I only had the bike for 3 days, but the Uly is simply amazing. It gobbles up the miles on the highway, and handles the twisties with ease. The stock suspension on this bike is better than any stock suspension I've had the pleasure of riding. It's very confidence inspiring. The guy looked under my bike and said I was leaking something. It was the fuel overflow, again: D .

We went separate ways. They left the park. I went in deeper. All of the scenic overlooks in Bryce Canyon are on the left side of the road. There were quite a few bikes exploring the park this morning.

These little bastards were all over the place

Here's the road leading into Bryce. Portions of it vere covered in crush stone. If I recall correctly, it was 21 or 26 miles long. Just like riding in the mountains.

My first stop this morning was Natural Bridge. I parked the bike, walked over to the edge, and just stood there drooling. My photos suck compared to the vast beauty of the place. The first thought through my mind is this is absolutely the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. I thot well over 400 photos this day. This post will be photo heavy.

Natural Bridge is huge. The photo fails to capture it. The canyon floor just falls away, with the bridge rising to amazing heights. Everyone who saw it for the first time had the same reaction. A whisper of wow.

As I was staring at it, I met a really sweet older couple from New Hampshire. We chatted at length about their trip, my trip, and Natural Bridge. I told them Virginia has a Natural Bridge, but it doesn't compare with this place. They had already seen the one in VA and agreed. He then said to me, "Dave, if you ever find a more beautiful site, will you please let me know?" I couldn't agree more. She then offered to take my photo.

My encounter with this older couple was so typical of my encounters during the entire trip. Everyone is stress free and in a fantastic mood. Everyone is interested in what others are doing. It's the life should be. I'm trying to maintain some of that back here in my daily life. I felt like I'd known these folks all my life. That after only 5 minutes. My biggest regret during the trip is not seizing the opportunity to photograph the people I met along the way. You learn these things as you go.

Bryce Canyon is one of those places where it's difficult to take a bad photo.

Take a photo, turn and look in another direction, and the perspective and lighting changes dramatically.

Walk ten steps, repeat.

Turn to the right, zoom in a little, and shoot.

Take two steps, zoom out a little, check the light falling on the subject, and shoot

tighten up the composition, and click

look to the left

zoom in

zoom out

and it's really hard to screw up a photo in Bryce Canyon.

After investing several hours in Bryce Canyon, I left the park and headed toward Kodachrome State Park. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the road snaked through the hills I had just photographed.

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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 06:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Wassup???!!! It's always nice seeing another solo adventure rider.

Another shot of UT-12 heading toward Kodachrome State Park.

complete with the random rock formation thrown in

You'll never see a sign like THAT in Virginia.

The rocks were white in Kodachrome

This is just outside the park, still on UT-12

Getting closer to the park. The scenery everywhere rocked.

I can see for miles,,,,,and,,,,,,miles.

This area was so beautiful I couldn't ride more than 1/4 mile before stopping again. I really put the starting system on th Uly through hell these first 5 days.

This was shot just inside the park. I had already seen so much, I almost didn't pay the entry fee. Then I found out the State charges bikes only $3.00. It was worth the fee. Basically, the park is a 2 miles stretch leading through more beautiful scenery, some of which is pretty famous.

It was Hot, witha capital H out there.[IMG]

The loop at the end of the drive at Kodachrome State Park. The cliffs were so high it was hard to get a shot behind where I was standing to tak this shot.

Leaving the park

led through a detour, past this gone but not forgotten icon

Back on UT-12 heading east, all those clouds suddenly turned dark. I rolled past 3 Harleys sitting on the side of the road. I assumed they were putting on rain gear.

Several miles later, the wind suddenly picked up, so I puoll off the side of the road. The routine was familiar. Put both cameras away in their plastic bags, then put rain gear on. As I was digging for my rain pants, the 3 Harleys rolled past. It seemed to take forever to find my rain pants. Finally I was wearing my gear, and had the luggage zipped up, ready to roll. Within a few minutes, I started seeing the cloud to ground lightening. I was running solo. Fortunately, I was in the mountains, not out in the open. I wicked up the throttle. I knew the 3 Harleys riders were up ahead somewhere. Here's what it looked like.

Before long, I caught up to the pack. I was doing 80-85 to catch them. When I finally caught up, I rolled back the throttle to the 45mph pace they were setting. We were heading into black skies. The rain started falling in sheets. I was content following behind the group. Soon, we were riding through hail. This lasted less than 10 minutes. Just as quickly as we enter the storm, we rode out of it. The group pulled over to the side of the road. I followed, and stopped about 30 feet back. I shot a photo.

They came walking over and we chatted. I realized none of them were wearing helmets. One of them said they need helmets for riding through hail. They all just laughed. They were checking out the Uly pretty good. About that time they were ready to fire up smokes. I wasn't far from Escalante, my final destination for the day. They were trying to reach Mexican Hat by the end of the day, 150 miles away. I said "happy trails" and left.

Just before entering town, I saw a sign for Escalant State Park. It's basically the home of one of the best examples of petrified forests on the planet. I've wanted to see a petrified forest ever since I was a little kid. The sight required a 2 mile hike up the mountain. I decided not to leave the bike. On the way out, I shot a few photos of the storm that was chasing me. Here's a keeper.

A few minutes later, I found my motel in Escalante.
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 06:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

wonderful, wish i could see the pics!!!!
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 09:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Dave - I love the story and your pictures.
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 09:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

If you put this story of your trip on a CD, I'll buy it from you.
panhead_dan at hotmail.com
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 09:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

But wait, there's more
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 09:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

At first I regretted booking a room in Escalante. The place was dead. Sunday afternoon, and almost everything was closed. I booked my room. Unloaded the bike, and went across the street. The only place that was open was a quaint little shop that sold just about everything, including a restaurant and bar. I bought the finest tasting chicken salad sandwich I've ever tasted. As I was waiting, one of the proprietors told me I was welcome to hang out there and use their WiFi service for free. He wanted to hear all about my trip. They were so friendly, I was happy I found this place.

I brought my sandwich back to the motel and devoured it. I almost went back for another. As I was unpacking my stuff, a truck rolled up and the guy introduced himself as "The Doctor." He said he runs the only bike repair shop around for 200 miles. Said he's open 24 hours, gave me his card, and told me he offers towing if needed. He then told me where his shop was located, and invited me to hang out there all afternoon if I wasn't doing anything. :thumb
He then left as fast as he rolled up. Wow. I'll keep his card forever.

I was anxious to grab a shower and go upload some photos. The wifi at Bryce View Lodge was sketchy, so I was way behind uploading photos.

My motel didn't have wifi. The town had no cell service. I couldn't talk to Julie. I wanted to email her ASAP so she would know everything's okay, even though I wouldn't be calling.

After a quick shower and shave, I went back across the street and ordered up a Corona. I asked the waitress what the police presence was like, explaining to her I wanted to have a couple beers the ride the bike back across the street. I felt obliged to have a few beers since I was hijacking their internet, it was the least I could do. : D She explained the county had one cop, and he rarely comes to Escalante. She said I'd be fine, unless I became obnoxious, at which time she'd drive me home. Then she repeated it.

For the next 3 hours, I uploaded photos, emailed folks back home, and surfed the net. I sat out on the front porch where several people were dining. It was a pleasant evening. I had 3 Coronas. Then I went back to the room and fixed up a cup of java.

Several bikers rolled in and we chatted. They were from Las Vegas, but were rolling in from a bike show in Durango. Everyone was interested when they saw the VA plate on my bike. Nice folks everywhere.

Home sweet home for Sunday night.

"The Doctor" came from the direction of that dirt road.

It was a quiet town.

The establishment with the only internet access in town. Before I left, the gentleman asked where I was coming from, and where I was heading. I told him tomorrow I'm heading east toward Moab. He said, "You haven't even seen the good stuff yet." I thought 'yeah right' but just smiled and said "great."

Tomorrow, my mind would be blown.
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 09:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Day 4, Monday September 4, 2006.

Escalante, Ut to Moab, UT.

Slept like a baby again last night. I woke up and turned the weather channel on. Another perfect day forecasted, with temps ranging between 70 and 88 degrees along today's planned route.

As I was preparing the bike for departure, I happened to flip the channel over to the today show. My mood was suddenly tempered by the knowledge Steve Irwin passed away in a tragic accident. I was really bummed. That guy lived more live than most of us can imagine in 10,000 lifetimes. I thought about his family. Then I thought about my youngest daughter. I knew she would be bummed, as she and I had watched Steve numerous times together. RIP Steve :cry . One thing I took away from Steve's life and death was the fact that he lived such a full life, yet died at the early age of 44. I turn 44 in 2 days. My resolve to live life to the fullest, with my limited means, was cemented that morning.

The bike was locked and loaded. It fired right up. I let it idle for several minutes. I could see my acquaintances from Las Vegas were preparing for departure too. I knew I'd never see them again. I mounted the bike, removed the lense cap from the bar mounted Kodak, and snapped a photo of them preparing to leave.

As I rolled past them, everyone knew I was headed to Moab, then Durango, then 2100 miles back to VA. Everyone of them gave me the thumbs up with a huge smile as I rolled through their congregation. I felt their approval.

I took a right onto UT-12 heading east. The only gas station in town was open so I topped off the tank. The employee reminded me of my dad back home. When I came inside to pay, He said, "It looks like a great day for you to do what you're going to be doing. I wish I could go with you instead of being stuck in this place." I smiles and said, "Yes sir. I hope you have a nice day."

It was ironic. Part of me wanted to stay in Escalante. The place is in the middle of Paradise as far as I'm concerned. I think the folks who reside there don't know how fortunate they are to wake up in such a beautiful place each day, sheltered from the fast paced life most of us are so familiar with. Then again, they probably know.

I had no expectations about this day. My goal was Moab, Ut. What lay between me and Moab was only a guess. What I saw, simply blew my mind. I have never, and can't imagine ever, riding a better 140 mile stretch than UT-12 heading east from Escalante to UT-24 through Capital Reefe National Park. I would shoot over 500 photos this day.

Early in the morning the sun was low, and the road was desolate.

I was riding through the northern part of the Grand Staircase, which extends from Southern Utah deep into Arizona.

There are only a few dirt roads through the region. Grand Staircase is where new dinosaur fossils are being unearthed. It's cool just being close to the region.

Within 10 minutes, the straight road gave way to twisties, and extreme elevation changes.

It was difficult to capture the 3 dimensional reality on a 2 dimensional photo. I kept trying : D

After navigating a few twisties, I had to stop.

I was in a total state of euphoria looking ahead at the roads I was about to ride.

I could see canyons and rock faces for miles, and the road was carved right through both, with curve after blissful curve.

I didn't have the desire to rail this section. I just wanted it to last.

Check out the road in the bottom right corner

The further I went, the rocks were painted a deeper red

I was tempted to stop in for a cup of java, but my ride had just started 15 minutes ago.

I continued on

and continued having fun

The road climbed in elevation

to another overlook

It's hard to tell by the photos, but you wouldn't want to fall from this height

The roads were still twisting

before long, the rocks gave way to shrubs.

the landscape was a pallette of greens and reds,

and I had only been riding 30 minutes.
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 09:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I rode another 15 miles, maybe 30. I wasn't counting. The air got cooler. Then got cold. I was climbing again. I scanned my gps. I was at 7400 feet and climbing fast.

I stopped to put on my rain jacket for an extra layer of warmth. These guys weren't bothered by my presence.

This guy was bow hunting. I waved. He didn't wave back.

Soon, I was immersed in the mountains. I was now at 8400 feet.

I love these trees.

I was on the mountain looking down on the canyons I'd just ridden

More sights to shoot

As I crested the ridge, I hit 9000 + feet. The highest I'd ever been on earth.

Coming down from the heights, I pulled off the left side of the road into a little park. There was a man walking his dog. We exchanged stories. I shot more photos.

He saw me reading this sign,

and asked if I'd seen any. I told him no, and asked him the same. Negative, but both of us were on the lookout.

It was a beautiful morning. Coming out of the elevations, I came out of my rain jacket. We talked a bit more. His car was loaded down. I didn't catch his name. Shame on me. I didn't catch his photo. Double shame. I don't remember where he was from. I do remember where he was going. He was moving, yes, relocating, to Mexico. And taking the scenic route to get there. I think I mentioned ADVRider. I hope you find this thread, whoever you are, wherever you are. He departed. I took a piss, and departed in the same direction.

Coming out of the mountains, I could see more red ahead.

I also saw cattle crossing signs.

As I was rolling along, there was cattle along the road. On the wrong side of the fence. On MY side of the fence. I was laughing at the thought of hitting one. It really wouldn't be funny, but I thought about the conversation the authorities would have with my wife. "Hello ma'am, this is the Utah State Police. Sorry to inform you your husband has been involved in a motorcycle accident."

"Oh no, what happened, did someone pull out in front of him?":eek1

"No ma'am, He hit a cow." : D

This guy has it made out in Utah.

I continued on. The scenery started to get very interesting. Again.

As well as the roads.

Waddup Yo?!

Pretty soon, I was stopping again.

As I shot this, the guy heading to Mexico pulled over to check if everything was ok. I told him yes and gave a thumbs up. That was the last time I saw him.

A view from the saddle

This was the approximate area where I turned right on UT-24 :deal

I entered Capitol Reef NP. I hadn't planned to visit this park. I didn't realize UT-24 goes right through the park:norton . Man I'm glad it did.

The bike looks right at home here, don't ya think? : D

How 'bout here? : D

Better exposure without the black blike throwing the meter off

Another half mile down the road, and repeat.

This was getting ridiculous! Another 1/2 mile, another mandatory stop.

More dirt :evil

do de dum

No traffic.

A little further, I'd find Goosenecks Point State Park. :evil
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 09:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Day Four Continued.

I forget the exact time of day at this point in the trip, my best guess is between 10:45 and 11:45 am. I had stopped the Buell so many times already to shoot photos, I started wondering if the charging system and starting system, and cooling fan, would continue working. The bike always fired right up.

The planning stage of this trip was a refreshing lesson in southwest geography for both Julie and I. During our research, I rediscovered many sites that I remember reading about long ago, but had forgotton about. This time, the names of those sites became relevant. One such place wa Goosenecks Point State Park. After a morning of great shooting and even better roads, I saw the sign for Goosnecks Point. I had made such little progress, but the thought of not visiting the park never entered my mind.

The cool thing about this diversion was the road leading to the Goosenecks main attraction was a dirt road about a mile or two long, over some rough and tumble terrain. At the entrance to the dirt road was another overlook, but it looked pretty lame. The great thing was, everyone was at the first, easily accessible lame parking area. The road leading to the real views was empty.

There was one car in the parking area, and the occupants were nowhere in sight. I took off my jacket, gloves, and helmet, and took a nice long drink of orange juice. I grabbed my camera, and started walking up the path.

The sky was super cooperative, and the plants provided a colorful splash of life against the otherwise barren soil.

This was shot looking back toward the lot where my bike was parked.

This is an overview of the view I was anticipating upon reaching the summit.

All of the handheld photos were shot using a Nikon D50 camera body with a 17-55 f/2.8 lense. Even at the widest perspective, the composition of many sights, Goosenecks Point included, prevented me from capturing the entire scene in the viewfinder. That's okay. It just meant I would have to shoot more photos : D Here's my first view overlooking the park.

I was standing just a few feet from the ledge when shooting some of these photos. I was completely alone. Totally tripping on the experience.

If I ever take this trip again, I'll need a wider angle lense. A zoom in the 10-20mm range would have been perfect. Then again, I wasn't complaining when these shots were taken.

The muddy looking path at the bottom is a river. It looked to be nearly dried up from where I was standing. It was so far away, and I really didn't want to get any closer to the river than where I was standing.

I was standing on a narrow ledge overlooking the gorge, maybe 3 or 4 feet wide. Directly behind me were still more shots waiting to be captured.

This is looking left from where I was standing.

Just another view of the path I was on.

I've never seen a rattlesnake in the wild out west. I was hoping to find one here. Instead, I found more empty brush to shoot.

A shot of the parking lot.

As I was heading back down, I finally saw people. I shot this,

a girl was climbing up toward me, her soul mate following in the distance. I had seen them photographing each other during my previous stops. I gave them space, noting they were so into each other and absorbed in the scenery, I don't think they were aware of my presence. I doubt they missed the Uly in the parking lot though : D . As she go closer, I simply stated something to the effect 'it's hard to make any progress in southern Utah, isn't it?" They both laughed in agreement. I walked past them to my bike and left them alone in the park. What a fantastic place to be alone with your soul mate. I never saw them again.

Another bike mounted cam shot leaving the park, heading back to UT-24

where once again the sights were worth capturing

I continued riding through the canyons, and soon the desolate brown cliffs succumbed to lush green foliage along the road

and within minutes, I was off the bike again.

The building appeared to be a historic one room school house. The front door was wide open. The heat was stifling. I wandered around, shooting,

carved into a rock behind the building

and when I reappeared around the front of the building, I was half startled to see this girl walking across the road toward me

soon to be joined by the youngster.

I peered inside the school room. This time I was thoroughly startled. Inside was a dear, of the two legged variety. She was a park ranger hiding from the direct sun. She was totally aware of my presence outside, I'm sure. I was totally unaware of her presence inside, I'm sure : D .

For the first time during the trip, I opened the lense up to f2.8 and shot a photo of the school room.

I told the ranger about the deer I had just witnessed walking across the road. She said minutes before a herd of 20 or so came through. She asked where I was from which led into a discussion comparing the greenery of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia to the reds of southern Utah. It turns out she worked in the Shenandoah Valley for three years before discovering Utah. We agreed both regions possess a unique beauty. I left just as another couple were arriving.

Within just a mile or two, I was off the bike again. This time it was petroglyphs that caught my attention. They also caught the attention of a 15 or 20 other folks, so for the first time this day, I would have some real human interaction.

I parked the bike and walked halfway down this bridge at the bas of the cliffs.

There was a family coming toward me. I was wearing my black jeans and riding jacket. The family consisted of a married couple, a son maybe 4-5 years old, and a daughter, maybe 2.5 to 3 years old, lagging behind, lost in her own little world of discovery.

I said hello as they walked past me. They seemed 'concerned' about the daughter lagging behind, with me in the area : D . I spoke to her briefly as I walked by, trying to get several yards away from the little girl to alleviate her parents fears. That totally sucked. It the way things are in this world. But it sucked none the less. All the parents saw was a 'biker.' The truth is, at that moment, I'd have given my life to save that little girl if hers was in danger. Oh well. As a parent, I understood the protection mechanisms kicking in by the concerned parents. It still sucked.

I walked over to a group of people staring straight ahead at the cliff. As I walked up, I smiled : D , and said "What are we looking at?" Everyone was super helpful explaining the carvings in the rocks. This one man took me as his personal student. He patiently pointed out the location of the herd carved into the rocks. I couldn't see it : D . I tried on several attempts to find what was so clear to everyone else, but I still couldn't see the carvings : D . He would point to a clear object which I could see, then I'd slowely follow his pointing arm over to the subject. I could follow him right to the subject, but I couldn't see the damn carvings : D . Finally I said out loud, "WHY CAN'T I SEE THIS?????" He looked at me and said. "I DON'T KNOW." :rofl I was getting frustrated and thought about faking it. I kept looking, and FINALLY, I saw the little bastard carved into the wall :lol3 .

I shot several photos. They're in there somewhere : D . I just don't remember where :freaky .

Everyone started clapping when I finally saw the petroglyphs. Several of them were on a bike trip from Minnesota. Retired types, sincerely interested in my adventure. I regret not getting a photo of these fine people. It was an experience I'll never forget. Happy trails to each of you, especially my tutor :thumb
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 09:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

After leaving the petroglyphs, I actually rode a distance of about 3 miles before witnessing the next subject worthy of the viewfinder. As always, I continued shooting while rolling through the gorge.

the cliff tops changed from solid red to white

I rolled into a turnout along the roadside, came to a stop, and started shooting, again. Here's looking left

looking ahead toward the direction I just came from

and finally, a tight shot of Navajo Dome.

I walked over to capture the site info.

and as happened many times during my journey, a couple, parked near by, posed the question, "Did you ride all the way from Virginia?"

I responded, "No, but I'm riding all the way back : D ," which always led into deeper discussions about what I was doing, and more importantly to me, what they were doing.

This couple was visiting from Cali. When he found out I was riding solo from Phoenix all the way to VA, the questions started flying. He looked at my bike and asked if it was a Kawasaki :lol3 . I said no, it's a Harley : D . He then walked over, and asked if my ass hurts while riding it? I told him, "so far, so good. : D " He said his firend bought a Kawasaki that looks just like my bike :lol3 , but his ass hurts after 3 hours :wink: . I said it sounds like your friend bought a KLR650. He responded with more enthusiasm than I anticipated, "THAT'S IT! IT'S A KAWASAKI 650:clap :clap :clap !! How did you know?" "Well," I said, "You said it looks just like my bike : D ."

All this took place in about 30 seconds. As he approached my bike, he say's "Well look at you, all set up with the Kodak Easyshare mounted up front and center, and the Garmin 600 right on the handlebar : D .":freaky :freaky :evil : D

I was just grinning. Inside I was laughing my ass off. Yeah, it's a Garmin 600 something or other alright : D . Just good people is all they were. I probably could have asked them to fry me a hotdog, and they would have given me a steak, right there roadside. I was having the time of my life. I was having one of the best riding days of my life.

I told them I'd love to stay and chat. Honestly, I would have loved to stay and chat. But, even out in the middle of paradise, I was on a schedule. After all, it was now approaching 12:30. We went separate ways.

This day was just getting started.
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 09:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

As I headed out of Capitol Reef NP, I was slightly disappointed. Disappointed the previous stretch of road was coming to an end. The fine folks from Cali mentioned the scenery would change up ahead. It certainly did.

I continued rolling, and for the first time all day, started making progress towards Moab. Along the way, I stopped at the post office in Hanksville, UT to drop off 3 postcards. One to my son Zach in Attu, Alaska, one to my wife and kids, and one to my youngest daughter. This photo sucks, but has personal meaning.

I continued, stopping at the intersection of UT-24 and UT-95. UT-95 heads south to Powell Lake. UT-24 leads North to I-70. I pulled into a gas station to fill the tank. I pulled up to a pump, inserted my credit card, and in return, received a message, "please see cashier inside." Those are the last words you want to see when trying to fill up while on a bike. I walked inside, and the gal said, "You must be on pump 4. For some reason that's the only pump that won't receive the card without me resetting it from inside."

She was nice. Super friendly. The irritation evaporated. I went back outside and filled the bike. I went back inside and paid the nice girl. I overheard her talking to a friend, hanging out inside. She told her friend to hang in there. She was being supportive. Her friend was leaving and told the the teller to have a nice afternoon. The teller said her nice afternoon would begin in 40 minutes when she got off work.

I used the restroom, then found my way back to the rear right corner of the store. I found a super iced cold Starbucks strawberry laced milk drink and returned to the cashier to pay. She wanted to talk. I chatted just a bit, disclosing enough info. that others around me knew I was heading slowly towards VA.

A guy and two girls were standing there. The guy asked me how I liked the Uly. Oh man. I'm always ready, willing, and able to talk bikes. I start talking. I notice they're all 3 sporting super dark sun tans. They all look pretty nice. Two of the three look really nice :evil . I notice as my mouth continues running, they are pulling 2 watercraft behind a motorhome. I also notice that while I'm explaining my journey, the two girls are hanging on to every word. It was one of those moments where it seems like what's happening in someone elses life is more important than what's happening in your own life. In this case, they were jonesing to be doing what I was doing. Especially when I got to the part about taking 10 days for the return trip back to VA. It was just a blip of time. I was in the moment. Just as soon as it all started, it all ended. I hopped on the bike, said my usual "Happy Trails" and headed north on UT-24.
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 09:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Day Four is now half over. It continues here :deal

: D

I'm now heading north on UT-24, having just had an exhilerating conversation with suntan laden bike worshippers :rofl . All day I was cruising at 40mph, give or take 10mph. Now, I was hauling ass, cruising at 80mph. We're finally making up some lost time.

Off to my left, in the distance was the San Rafael Reef. I know, because I just looked it up on my atlas : D . Here's what it looked like from my perspective:

This stretch of UT-24 spans for 50 or so miles before reaching I-70. About halfway, I stopped again. Here's looking left.

here's looking right

and here's looking right again : D

The lady in the bottom right hand portion of the photo came walking up as I was putting my camera away.

"Did you ride that bike all the way from Virginia?" : D

"No, but I'm heading there after Moab and Durango." : D

"Oh, make sure you visit Dead Horse State Park in Moab. Whatever you do, don't miss Dead Horse State Park."

I thanked her for the referral. She was travelling with her husband back to Denver, CO. They were pulling one of those huge party boats. She asked if I had been to Lake Powell. I lied and said yes. I don't know why I did that. I just didn't want to hear all about Lake Powell, I guess : D . We talked for at least ten minutes. Her husband never appeared. I remember her telling me, regarding southern Utah, these exact words, "You could spend a month of Sundays exploring souther Utah." I nodded in agreement, thinking I could spend the next year exploring southern Utah and still find more to discover.

The next part of my trip was uneventful. I didn't shoot any more photos. I continued on UT-24, then merged onto eastbound I-70. The scenery was better than expected on I-70. Any scenery on an interstate highway is better than nothing. I kept rolling. Forty or fifty miles later, I merged south onto 191, towards Moab.

where I witnessed the Rocky Mountains for the first time.:deal

Tomorrow, I would head toward those mountains. I'd cross over the near ridge, and ride south through them. Tomorrow would get here soon enough. Today, I had alot of exploring to do.

About 15 miles from I-70, I saw the sign leading to Dead Horse State Park. I think the route was 313. I made the right hand turn. Within minutes, the roads began twisting again, and I started seeing world famous sites. Like the Monitor and Merrimack Rock formations, named after two famous civil war battleships.

The landscape continued to impress

so I continued to shoot

Several miles depper, I reached Plateau Country

Where the majestic Rockies came into better view

as did other rock formations

It was now mid afternoon on Labor Day. The only cars on the roads were heading out of the Park. I was happy to be heading in the opposite direction.
For what seemed like 20 miles, I kept going and going. Finally I stopped at the ranger booth, paid my entrance fee (less than 5 dollars, either 3 or 4, can't remember) and rode up to Dead Horse, where I took my first jaw dropping glance over the edge.

This place is like a mini Grand Canyon. There's nothing mini about it though.

I'll shut up now, and just post the photos.

When I arrived there was a Hispanic family viewing the gorge. A young girl, in mid to late teens, was sitting right at the cliff edge. It was a spectacular perspective. I noticed her family didn't take notice of her. I wanted so bad to shoot a photo of her. Even more, I wanted to explain to her family they were missing a great photo opportunity. It's saved only in my mind. She was wearing a red outfit, sitting less than two feet from the edge

so many different perspectives

what to include,,,,


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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 09:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

oops, I hit enter by mistake. I'm not done publishing photos : D

Taking it all in


This guy was in survival mode

I rode to the end, walked up this path

looked over the edge

and was blown away

see the Uly?

I told ya it was a photo heavy day

I finally had enough, and left for Moab

Along the way, I saw a sign for Arches National Park. First, I wanted to find a motel, unload the bike, and get a drink of cold water.

Next up: Moab and Arches National Park, Late afternoon, Day 4.
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Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 10:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Day 4 Continued

I left Dead Horse State Park and made progress towards the day's destination, Moab, UT. The entire region is dirt biker's heaven. Three out of four vehicles are transporting some sort of ATV or dirtbike. Coming from VA where off road riding places are all but extinct, Moab is a place I could easily relocate to.

I crossed over the Colorado River,

and entered Moab. My mission was to find a place to stay. The criteria was simple: find a one level motel with parking directly in front of the room. I rode through town, to the edge of town, mad a u-turn, and rode back through. My selection was easy.

I found the perfect place, The Adventur Inn at Moab.

The parking met the criteria.

The blurs in the photos are bugs on the lense: D

I secure the room. Chris, the proprietor :evil , said I was welcomed to use their laundry machines. She was very kind, and told me to let her know if I needed anything. I told her I was low maintenance, and asked for a restaurant recommendation. She gave me several options.

I checked into the room, unloaded the bike, took a drink of water, and left. I was heading back out of town toward Arches National Park. It was 4:10 in the afternoon, and I wanted to see as much as possible before the sun went down. I left without bringing any water. That was a mistake.

I arrived at the Park entrance and asked the ranger what to expect inside the park. It's basically a drive in park, about 23 miles, with turn outs every so often at the major sights.

I rode into the park, bugs on the bike mounted camera lense, and all : D

this could be interesting.

Inside the park looking back toward Moab

Hey look. A photo without bugs.

The view looking North toward Dead Horse State Park.

The view looking straight down. Notice the cars and people at the bottom. When I initially rode past, there were people climbing half way up the sand hill. They were way up there.

The first of many photos I was about to shoot.

Soon, I stopped at the first turn out. I removed the helmet, and walked up a hill toward this sign.

I was reading the sign, trying to decide whether to continue hiking up to see the sight, when an older gentleman comes hobbling down the trail and tells me emphatically, "Get your ass up there young man. It's beautiful!" I smiled and said "Okay.": D

Here's looking left:

and looking right

I shot another

and noticed a guy walking towards me. He saw my camera, handed me his camera, and asked if I would take a photo of him. I obliged, shot a photo, then told him to go stand in front of a different rock formation, and took another.

We were pretty amazed at the sights. The conversation just flowed naturally. The guys name was Jason. I asked hime if he was from Wisconsin, based on his accent. He said no, he was from MA. Whoops: D . He had been in the area all week for the Speed Trials. I still don't know what speed trial he was there for. He had flown in, rented a convertible, accomplished everything on his agenda, and decided to come visit Arches. It was late in the afternoon, Labor Day. He commented on how nice it was to basically have the park all to ourselves. I told him my rap, hopped on the bike, and said "I'll see you at the next turn out."

I didn't have to travel far to find something to shoot.

Those Rockies are getting closer

On the way to the next turn out, and the next conversation with Jason

I told Jason about ADVRider. At the next stop, he said he was planning to check out the site, and look for the ride report. Jason was the kind of guy I found terribly easy to get along with. It was surreal. Here we are, a couple of east coasters, out in the middle of a Utah national park, talking and laughing, and basically being blown away by the sights.

Petrified sand dunes leading to the Rockies :deal

It was nice being on the bike. I kept the Nikon in the tank bag. It was easy to pull over, grab a shot, and continue.

At the next turn out, I shot this photo,

and noticed Jason coming toward me as I was walking back to the bike. I finally learned my lesson of regret for not catching photos of the people I'd met along the way, so I spun around, and CLICK

ladies and gentlemen, meet Jason : D

He wanted me to tell everyone he was wishing he was in one of his two BMW's back home, but the GT Convertible was the next best rental he could find to explore Utah: D .

I hope you find this thread Jason:freaky If so, send me an email at [email]zrex1100@adelphia.net[/email] . I'd love to hear from you.

After I shot the photo, I looked down inside his car and he was drinking from a huge cup, something iced cold. I was so thirsty. I didn't have anything wet to quench my thirst. I didn't say anything. There was a tour bus parked nearby. I almost asked the driver if there was anyway I could get a bottle of water from someone on the bus. I didn't. I kept going seeper into the park.

The ADV Salute

A terrible shot of a famous rormation. By this time, I was starting to get concerned about heat exhaustion, and didn't want to expend the energy necessary to get a better shot. It would have required a hike, and I didn't want my body to lose any more water.

I walked back down the short path to find everyone checking out the wacky Uly. Practially dead from thirst, I'm always willing to talk bikes. These guys were from the NW,,,,,maybe Oregon, honestly I forget. We talked bikes, then I split. I think I saw the same bikes the next evening in Durango at the motel next to mine, not sure. One of them said he frequents ADVRider, so if you happen to read this, please post up and set me straight on my shady details : D .

The road kept going and going. My thirst kept growing and growing. There was one way in, one way out. I got so thirsty, I limited my shooting to easy shots.

I finally reached the end of the park.

I was starting becoming seriously concerned about heat exhaustion. The week before I suffured a serious bout of heat exhaustion while working, so I knew the symptoms well. On the way into the park, I missed the two most famous sights, "Windows" and "Delicate Rock." I wanted so bad to photograph them on the way out, but both require a hike, and I didn't have the energy.

I was 26 miles from the park entrance, the sun was setting, and I knew the visitor's center would be closed before I could get back. It was an effort just trying to focus on the road. I started picking up the pace where I could. The speed limit was 35mph. I was hitting 65-70 trying to get back. Of course, the sun was casting angle light on the rock studies during this time, so I missed the best photo opportunities. I didn't care.

Finally, I reached the visitor's center. In the parking lot was an Irish gentleman preparing for departure on his BMW 1150GS. I asked if the center was open, and he said in a strong Irish accent, "sorry, they closed at half past." I asked if there was water available, and he told me there were machines by the front door. I walked over as fast as I could, fearing I wouldn't have the proper change. I had enough to buy 2 iced cold 16 oz waters. :clap

I took the first one and guzzeled it. As I was walking back to the bike, I saw an older couple in the parking lot. The man was obviously checking out the Uly. I came closer, and he asked me if that was my Buell. Having just been given a new lease on life from a simple drink of water, I was ready to talk bikes : D . I said "sure is, do you ride?" He followed me over to the Uly for a closer inspection. He was amazed the bike sported 1203cc's. We talked for at least 20 minutes.

It turns out I was standing there talking to Stan from Red Rock (I think) Iowa. Stan raced motorcycles for 23 years. Boy oh boy, I could have stayed and talked to Stan all night. He rides a Yamaha V-Max. We just had a wonderful conversation. I felt like he was a long lost friend. He was genuinely interested in hearing all about my trip. And damnit to hell, I didn't get Stan's photo. One day soon, I'm going to see if I can look Stan up, and say hello.

Before leaving, Stan told me if I ever make it to Iowa, I have a place to stay. Stan, you are the man! As we were talking, his wife just waited over near their car. I got the sense this scenerio has been played out many times throught their years together. Stan, talking bikes, and the wife content that her husband is enjoying a conversation. Good Stuff.

I headed back to Moab, riding right past the restaurant that Chris highly recommended. After the thirts episode, I didn't feel like eating a heavy meal. I rode past my motel, straight to Burger King. Ordered up a chicken sammich, a large fry, and a HUGE pink lemonade. After my gourmet meal, I went back to the motel and started uploading photos. I called Julie and told her about my epic day. She was excited I was having the trip of a life time.

Day four was coming to an end. The sum total of roads, sights, miles, photos, and most importantly people I met, made this one of the best days of my life. I want to thank everyone I met for adding to my experience.

Tomorrow, I'd leave Moab, UT and head straight for the Colorado Rockies.

(Message edited by iDave on September 15, 2006)
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Posted on Friday, September 15, 2006 - 12:45 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Epic! Wow! I'm blown away. Thanks for sharing all that Dave! : )

There's more? : D
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Posted on Friday, September 15, 2006 - 04:26 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

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Posted on Friday, September 15, 2006 - 08:41 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Dave, I'm assuming you're already back home?
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Posted on Friday, September 15, 2006 - 09:48 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)


I've been following your trip on AVRIDER and you couldn't have picked a better route between two end-points.

I've ridden most the roads you're hitting and they are, each and every one of them....INCREDIBLE.

Welcome to the world of Buell.

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Posted on Friday, September 15, 2006 - 10:03 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Keep 'em coming, Dave!

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