|14-09-2006, 01:59 PM||#6|
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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?" this shot looks sorta like one of those
Beam Dub Ya's
Although it doesn't look like, that's about a 40 mile stretch of road
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:
and looking ahead
|14-09-2006, 02:01 PM||#7|
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 .
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. Can you imagine seeing one of those boulders roll off the
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
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
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.
|14-09-2006, 02:02 PM||#8|
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
Soon, the mountains gave way to the red rocky terrain,
and before long I was in a little town just outside of utah, Fredonia,
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
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,
ride a half a mile, and repeat.
I was in a photographers playground.
what a boring road UT-12 is :evil
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
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.
|14-09-2006, 02:31 PM||#9|
Mapping the next ride...
Join Date: Mar 2006
Now THIS !!!!!!!!!!!!!! is a ride report...Holy Cow
That one will go straight to the trophy-shelf.
I'm stumped !!
A HUGE Thanks
|14-09-2006, 02:52 PM||#10|
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 .
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
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.