Summer 2016 – Day 13, Colorado to Oklahoma

I began the day by backtracking a few miles in US 50. No sooner was I out of town than traffic came to a complete stop in both directions. There were cattle in the road. I don’t know if this cattle drive was intentional not. Regardless, there were cowboys on horses trying to keep the cattle together. These bulls looked like they had been fed a steady diet of steroids. Several passed me on the shoulder and one looked like he was giving me the evil eye. “Just move along” I thought to myself, “there’s nothing to see here”.
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Summer 2016 – Day 11, Zion National Park

The days were flying by too quickly, but we had jammed as much riding, hiking and sightseeing as we could into each one of them. Today was our last day together, and we started it at a wonderful coffee shop right around the corner from our hotel, Willow Canyon Outdoor. It was a combination coffee shop and sporting goods store. What a great idea! With no big box stores anywhere nearby, Kanab is the sort of locale that can support a business such as this. We enjoyed coffee and biscotti and then loaded up to return to Zion National Park
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Summer 2016 – Day 9, North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Our ride today took us south from Tropic UT, through Kanab UT and Fredonia AZ to Jacob Lake and AZ 67, the Grand Canyon Highway to the North Rim. AZ 67 is a wonderful ride in and of itself. Even if the Grand Canyon were not included, the 44 mile ride from Jacob Lake would be a destination ride. It takes you through the Kaibab Plateau, through forest and meadows, the type of smooth undulating road that riders cherish. We were blessed with a clear, dry, nearly cloudless day with comfortable temperatures in the 70s.
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Summer 2016 – Day 8, Capital Reef National Park

Today we traveled a large clockwise loop, leaving Bryce in the morning and finishing the day in Tropic, UT. We headed north on US 89, which continued to parallel the Sevier River through a scenic valley. There was little traffic – just mile after mile of easy touring, smooth roads and beautiful farm country. We were thoroughly enjoying our time together on the bike, chatting occasionally on the intercom but otherwise content to simply be in the moment. We went as far north as Sigurd, then turned onto UT 24 and headed south toward Capital Reef. The weather was turning, with thunderstorms moving across the mountains to the southwest of us. We eyed the dramatic clouds wondering if we would escape the heavy rain that we could see pouring from them. Now we were both wishing that we had packed the rain liners instead of leaving them behind in the rental car at the hotel. Murphy’s Law. The rain caught us as we rode past the Koosharem Reservoir Recreation Site, but it didn’t last long and we both agreed that’s it’s part and parcel of the adventure.
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Summer 2016 – Day 7, Zion & Bryce Canyon National Parks

We planned our time riding together so that we would start and finish at the same hotel in Washington. We would leave my extra gear and my wife’s suitcases in her rental car in the parking lot of the hotel. They were fine with leaving the car, even though we wouldn’t be there for 4 nights. She had brought her helmet and jacket in a separate suitcase and I had the foresight to pack my Air Glide jacket as well. Phew! It would be nice to get out of the Odyssey. We had packed our jacket liners -nah, we won’t need these. It won’t rain. It won’t get cold. Guess what? The day we rode to Capital Reef National Park, we hit rain. And the night we returned from the Grand Canyon, it got cold. It would have been nice to have the liners.
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Summer 2016 – Day 6, Page, AZ to Washington, UT

Leaving Page, AZ, I headed south on Highway 89 to Bitter Springs where I would pick up 89A. The section of 89 just north of Bitter Springs descends along the edge of the mesa toward the valley below. The views were fantastic, but alas, there were no places to pull over for photos. I approached Marble Canyon and Navajo Bridge, the graceful arch bridge that spans it. The original bridge is now close to vehicular traffic, but open to pedestrians so it was a nice spot for photos of the gorge and the river below. I met a wildlife photographer who was photographing condors. This was his second day at this location.
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Summer 2016 – Day 5, Monument Valley, Lake Powell/Glen Canyon Dam, and Tar Snakes

I was eagerly anticipating taking the iconic photo of Monument Valley on US 163 heading southwest from Mexican Hat. The spot where Forest Gump stopped running. Around 8:30 AM I crested a hill and there it was before me. I pulled into the small gravel parking area on the right. I wasn’t alone. This morning there was a mini-van and group of 6 Chinese tourists milling about in the middle of the road taking pictures. My first thought was “This is great. I’ll have someone to take my picture and I won’t need to setup my tripod.” I parked in the gravel, got out my camera and took a few pictures. Almost immediately one of the men came up to me and the conversation went something like this.

Tourist: “She would like to take a picture with you”

Me: “Me?”

Tourist: “Yes, she would like to get a picture with you”

Me: “You want me to take a picture of all of you?”

Tourist: “No, just you and her”

Me: “She wants to have her picture taken with me?”

Tourist: “Yes”

Me: “Well, sure. Why not!”

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Summer 2016 – Day 4, Million Dollar Highway, Four Corners, Moki Dugway

The day started with fantastic mountain riding in cool temperatures and ended in the hot, dry desert of southeast Utah.

Bear Creek Falls Overlook is only about 10 minutes south of Ouray, so no sooner had I started then I stopped for photos. Absolutely breathtaking. Somewhere between Ouray and Durango (I don’t remember exactly where) traffic was stopped in both directions as road crews cleared rock that had been blasted earlier that morning.
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Summer 2016 – Day 3, Pikes Peak to Ouray, Colorado

I’ll admit it. I am a sea-level flatlander. I live in a single-story house. No stairs. No hills in Jacksonville other than the bridges over the St. Johns River. I had just completed 1800 miles of riding across the flattest part of our nation. And this morning I headed to the top of Pikes Peak. “Make sure you drink a lot of water” I was advised, “it’ll help prevent headaches caused by the altitude”. The first half of the road to the top is not challenging, but the switchbacks and sheer drop-offs further up require concentration. And the bike just felt odd. I realized that I was experiencing the famous Goldwing wobble. I hadn’t noticed it with the original Bridgestone tires, but the new Avons seemed to accentuate it. It was unnerving. For me, the ride up was worse than the ride down. Heading up, you only see the curve in the road and sky. Heading down, you can see the vista.
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