Summer 2016 – Day 15 – Arkansas to Florida

The original plan was to ride in the Ozarks, but when I woke up on Saturday, I knew that I was done. Ready to be home. This became the highest mileage day of the trip. 1100 miles from Fayetteville, AR to Jacksonville, FL. An unofficial Saddlesore 1000.

My only regret of the trip are the photos I didn’t take. The cook and the swinging table grill in Mexican Hat. Bear, our tour guide in antelope canyon. A portrait of the “Green eyed lady” singer. A group photo of the three ladies from North Dakota with their photo friend “Sally”. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park. The rail yards in Grand Junction. A railroad bridge over the Rio Grande. Sunset in the Curecanti National Recreation Area. An oil well in Oklahoma.

Next time. Next trip.

Summer 2016 – Day 14, Oklahoma to Arkansas

I thought that western Oklahoma was beautiful. Early morning riding down a two-lane US highway, with farms and ranches extending as far as the eye could see, from horizon to horizon. I passed a farm with round bales of hay in the fields, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them. I passed a truck hauling a base for a wind generator, then a convoy of trucks moving a combine to another farm for harvest. The first truck hauled the combine, sans tires. The next was a flatbed hauling the tires. The third was the rolling repair shop. The next hauled a mobile home for the crew. Everything is big out here. Big machines, big farms, big distances. Stopped in Slapout, OK for gas. Population 8. Slapout was about the only thing that was not big.
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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 12, Utah to Colorado

Today was the start of the final third of my trip. It was time to head home. I decided to return to Colorado for two more days of mountain riding and cooler temperatures. I headed north on I-15, then East on I-70 to Grand Junction Colorado. I saw signs for the Colorado National Monument and decided that I would bag another Passport stamp and pin. So at Fruita, I headed south on 340 to the park and rode Rimrock Drive through the park to the Visitor Center.
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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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