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Old 08-31-2007, 04:38 AM   #46
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Wink Grand Junction CO

Hey thanks everyone for your replies and support. This is a lot of fun!
================================================== ===

Here we look for supplies for camping tonight. The temps were in the high nineties. We stopped at a Wal-Mart. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough. We blast up into the foot hills of the Rockies and camped at Island Acers state park. Our camp spot was real close to the Colorado River. This was a popular camping spot with a lot of activity. We ended up getting one of the better spots with shade, but that was all.

Colorado River:







Fire Water:
I woke up before Heidi today and went out to make coffee. We have been using plastic 750 ml vodka bottles for our water bottles. They are flat shaped and a perfect fit for our tank panniers. Well I poured some water in my tin coup and started to boil it. Next thing I notice the stove and cup are on fire. I pick up the cup with a camp handle and the water was on fire. I dumped the water on the ground and the ground was on fire. Duh…! I boiled the vodka we had for cocktails. Heidi and I have a good laugh. Thank god this vodka bottle didn’t have a pour spout on it. I would have questioned my sanity….

Today we are doing a short ride up into the mountains. The map shows a large national forest and a lot of camping. Sounds good…



Going up!


Grand Mesa camp grounds:
It was looking at first like there weren’t any camps spots available. We get to the very last two sites. They were open. With both sites you had to walk up a steep hill to get to your tent. We for sure had the best spot in the place, closest to a clear blue lake with fishing and hiking trails.



Sunday:
Today was devoted to hiking. There are trailheads all over this area. The signs claim lakes and photo opportunities. Sounds good. We pack some trail mix and a jug of water. We are off.



The first trail was well groomed and maintained. It circled around several small mountain lakes. After about an hour the trail doubled back to where we started. We remember seeing some more primitive trails on the way to this trailhead. We start hiking. Woods, lakes, swamps, springs, open grass savannas. This place has it all.

Heidi keeps following. This is good.





We merge onto another more defined but difficult terrain trail. We meet several mountains bikers. It had to be a hell of a ride for them, some had full face helmets.



A great day of hiking ended with a big camp fire. This place has unlimited fire wood.



Monday:
It’s been raining steady since last night. A few days ago in Rock Springs we heard Hurricane Dean was going to bring rain all day on Monday. We made plans accordingly. The plan is to hunker down in the tent, read, play games, eat and just chill out. The rain stopped just lng enough to make coffee and grab the corn muffins. It’s a challenge to be comfortable hanging out in a tent all day. We got several reprieves from the rain where we were able to walk around and stretch but most of the day was inside, Its not as warm up here as hoped, in fact it’s been quite cold all day. We are looking forward to going down from the mountains tomorrow and warming up. Heidi is starting to go nutty, she wants a bath & _ _ _…..
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Old 08-31-2007, 04:42 AM   #47
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Moab Utah:









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Old 08-31-2007, 07:46 AM   #48
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Excellent adventure and entertaining report.
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-31-2007, 09:53 AM   #49
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Excellent report and photos. Looking forward to more. :)
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Old 08-31-2007, 09:57 AM   #50
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Really great!

You take excellent pictures! Thanks for sharing.

I think this trip is made all the better by the bike you choose. It just 'feels' different reading this vs. a fully decked out 1200GS or 950 etc.

Feels like a - bring what I have and don't look back type of ride!!!
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Old 08-31-2007, 10:53 AM   #51
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Tom, Your pics and story are fantastic!! Good to see ya out there really living! Can't wait til the next installment.
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:20 AM   #52
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As has been said before, Thank you for sharing!

I feel like I am there too.

I look forward to a journey like this for my wife and I, and with ride reports like this, I am very jealous!

Thanks again for the great pictures, and I look forward to the next update.
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Old 08-31-2007, 05:43 PM   #53
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Wonderful report! Thank you!!!
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Old 09-01-2007, 04:06 PM   #54
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I'm enjoying your trip, and I look forward to following it for some time to come. Great pictures and narative!!
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:50 AM   #55
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Thumb Moab Utah:

We like Moab. It’s a fun tourist town geared toward adventure activities; rafting, hiking, mountain biking, dirt biking, four-wheeling. The hiking was great but the weather was in the high nineties. The pool at the Sleep-Inn felt good. We were surprised at all the foreign tourists around. At the pool there were French, Germans, Italians and us. Good time, everyone is here for a good time.

We planned to hit the road early because of the heat. This is the Friday before Labor Day weekend. Heidi is worried the campsites and motels will be full so we plan to look for a place to hunker down for the entire weekend. At an adventure shop in Moab I looked at a great map of the state with contour gradients and listing for tons of camping spots. I’m glad I studied the map because the Utah state map you get free from the state doesn’t have any of the National Forest campsites listed. There are a ton of them.

Out in the parking lot early in the morning we were talking with three couples, all 2-up on motorcycles. One couple had their own Gold-Wing with a huge custom painted trailer. The other two couples rented bikes in Salt Lake City where they flew to from Iowa. The women asked Heidi how she packs for two years. They all had a good laugh while Heidi expounded about not having any shoes along. I think I overheard her bragging about having eight bikinis along. Hmmm… We could have talked all morning but like a sailor who needs to hit a weather window, we had to cut it short and get going. We were planning on doing the Burr-trail road right through Capital Reef Park but with predicted temperatures around 105 degrees we changed our plans again, head for the hills where the temps will be cooler.

The morning light shining on the hill formations around Moab is spectacular. It felt like we were seeing it again for the first time, beautiful. We didn’t take much time for photos. The urge to just keep riding while in this type of landscape is overwhelming. We just concentrate on enjoying the ride. This is biking country. If you are a biker, road or dirt the Moab area is not to be missed. Heidi and I can’t say enough about the place. A ‘do-again’ for sure.




At the map I looked at in Moab I remembered seeing a lot of camping in the national forests around central Utah. On the map we have we see a couple of big lakes with peaks at around 10, 000 feet. That sounds good, Fish lake National Park, here we come. Heidi was a little nervous, the map we had showed no camping anywhere near where we are heading. I assured her that I remember seeing a lot of camping around this area on the map I looked at in Moab. We just go for it.

The ride was uneventful. All we can say is Utah is one fantastic place to ride…..


We turn north on highway 24 off the main road. There are no markers saying it is highway 24 but I knew it had to be it. The road starts heading up in altitude. We could feel the temperatures start to cool. Utah has a lot of free camping all over. We start seeing campers congregating around some of the ideal areas in the Mountains. We also pass a few National Forest campsites but we wanted to try Fish Lake. If I can’t catch a fish there I have problems, Fish Lake!

We pull into Bowery campground. Tons of birch and pine trees surrounding a crystal clear blue lake. We tooled through the camp and almost all the sites had reservations stickers on them. The campsites are on the side of a mountain and are steep. We ride through a small loop way up at the top. A road sign said “Tent camping only” I’m not making any of this up. We get what we think has to be the best camp spot in the place. It has a high-up lake view, a rushing mountain spring babbling right next to us, privacy and tons of hiking starting right there. I pay for three nights. We are set for the entire Labor Day weekend. YES….



Breakfast…..first time cooking something that isn’t entirely from a can.


My specialty, pork and bean omelet. Yum!


There was a lot of activity around the lake. This is a popular place. A lot of people hauled boats. The lake has a resort on both ends and in the middle. The lodge at the middle resort looked about 200 years old. The dining area is huge and double as a Mormon church on Sundays. It’s all log construction built right on the lake. It felt like we stepped back in time. There are hiking trails circling the lake and leading up into the mountains and forest. The resorts have free hiking trail maps of the area. You could devote a week to hiking all the back country trails here.









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Old 09-05-2007, 08:59 AM   #56
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Laugh We froze our butts off at night

Three days was nice here but again we froze our butts off at night. During the day the temperatures were perfect, upper seventies and mostly sunny but as soon as the sun set it started to cool down seriously. We played gin on the picnic table until we couldn’t see our cards. Then we got a campfire going but this site is kind of primitive. There isn’t any good place to get comfortable close to the fire. We ended up retreating to the tent. In the tent we have small LED lights great for reading.

Before starting this trip Heidi and I saw a show on PBS about meditation and how it can activate large sections of a human brain that are normally dormant with most people. Sounds good, I ordered a couple of used books off amazon.com, Insight Meditation. Reading is a big thing on long rides and finding reading material is sometimes difficult. Anyway I’m talking more insightful now trying to be real deep. Heidi thinks I’m full of S. I think I’m well on my way already to becoming a ‘Motorcycle Zen Master’ Haa! Heidi and I always have fun trying to tease each other. ‘When I ride I ride’ I do everything to keep my attention on the road. Meditation trains to focus and control the mind. On marathon rides everyone has moments when their mind wanders. You think of this and that and go over scenarios with people in your mind. Number one: recognize your mind is wandering. Number two: bring it back to riding or back to whatever. This Is a good thing.

To survive the cold nights we got more serious, thicker socks, more layers, more padding underneath. It got better every night but I have never had such a hard time staying comfortable camping. I know this can’t be good for Heidi.

Heidi and I are constantly talking about what is working and what is not working and what we should do different. We thought we would share a short list of ‘What’s working” and ‘What’s not working’

================================================== ======================
What’s not working:
> My first sleeping pad was some old one inch thick sponge rubber. That’s all I’ve used in the past. It’s not working now.
> The light weight sleeping bags we bought at the last minute suck. They zip together but the bags have one heavy half and one
thin half. When zipped together one person has the heavy cover on top, the other person has the light cover on top. Not good.
> We’re not following the rule: Provision for food before we get the camp site. In Colorado we needed to drive over 60 miles round trip down a steep canyon road just for some food and drink. Da!
> The right pannier is leaking bad when the bike is parked in the rain. I think it’s because of the angle the bike sits when it’s on the kickstand. The high bag has a smaller lip on the outside. I think that’s where it’s leaking. I’m hopping a strip of tape will cure that.
> I didn’t have my first-aid kit handy enough. It was buried on the bottom of the backpack. I cut both hands on separate occasions and didn’t want to bother digging for the kit, where of course I have everything. The cuts were small and I thought it was no biggie. Well the my right thumb got real sore and I had difficulty with the throttle. Soap and water, antibiotic salve and band aids for a couple of days. Now, every cut, every time.
> Not following Grant and Susan Johnson’s advice: If you need it and you see it, buy it. Don’t think you will find it later at another place.
>

What’s working:
> Pillow case. Heidi says this is the best idea. Thanks Grant and Susan Johnson.
> Thermorest sleeping pads. We have the short one inch version. These pads are working well but in pay campsites we could use a thicker version. I hate gravel tent sites. In the mountains they retains the cold and are uncomfortable. A good quality bed roll is important.
> We are happy with our fresh water carrying capability. Plastic 750 ml vodka bottles fit perfect into the tank panniers. We carry 6 liters no problem. Plus we can strap on a gallon jug to the backpack anytime.
> All the biner’s we have attached to the backpack and the tank panniers are working great. We strap our helmets to them when parked, water jugs, garbage bags, shoes.
> World camp stove. We have a Wisper-lite world camp stove. This thing runs on white gas, unleaded gas, kerosene or jet fuel. Once I learned how to work the thing I love it.
> 3 person tent. The REI TAJ-3 tent has been nothing but good for us. It has lots of room for two people with enough space for a lot of gear. It goes up in a flash and the rain tarp is even easier to deploy. It has 5 pockets altogether including one huge packet on the ceiling.
> The backpacking clothes we picked out have been working great. The main thing is they fold up and pack small and appear to be made with a lot of quality. Columbia is one of the higher grade clothing brands we have.
>

I’ll add to this list or modify it from time to time as a kind of a check list for us. I hope it may be of some use to others also.
================================================== ======================
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Old 09-05-2007, 09:01 AM   #57
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Eek 105 degrees for tomorrow

The temperature predictions for Saint George are 105 degrees for tomorrow. Ouch! We plan to take off early and make it to just north of Saint George and stay at around 7,000 feet, where it should be a lot cooler. The next morning we’ll make a run to Las Vegas, our last big splurge. I have a niece and nephew that live there. It will be nice to see them and hang out at the Hard Rock Casino pool for a couple days.

Before leaving the national forests we stop at a small pull over. Nice stream and a few flowers.


This is some more great cruising grounds. Heidi is having fun taking photos as we cruise.














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Old 09-05-2007, 09:03 AM   #58
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Thumb Vegas Baby!

We stopped about 15 miles from Cedar City at a nice campground on a river in the woods. Campgrounds are usually a good place to pull over and chill even if you have no intention of camping. They are normally located in a nice setting with a picnic table to hang out at. I pulled into an empty group site, Heidi seemed uneasy. I assure her that places like these are use to wary travelers and are accommodating to them. She thinks I’m ‘a little goofy but soon starts to relax and express what’s on her mind.

It feels cold here even with our leathers on. It’s looking like rain ahead.

We make a run for it. Heidi is sick and tired of being cold and my attempt to suggest camping at 7,000 feet just before Cedar City was futile. I say it’s going to be in the hundreds down there on the way to Vegas. I wanted to shoot for it early tomorrow morning when it will be cooler. Heidi said “Bring on the heat. I want it Now!”

It was serious hot. We pull over at River Canyon Park in Arizona to wait until the sun goes down. We hydrate, rest and wait in the shade.


About a half hour after the sun sinks behind the tall rock cliffs we take off. It was I think hotter then before. We blast down to Vegas. 75 MPH is the speed limit but I tried to keep it around 65. The tires have to be running super hot. I didn’t want tire problems with Heidi on board.

Vegas Baby!
We like Las Vegas. The Hard Rock casino is a tropical resort to us with nothing but great rock and roll music played everywhere and one of the world’s best pools. Palm trees, tall drinks, beautiful people, good food, no kids. What is not to like about this?

These guys were from Germany, they must have rented the bikes in New York or something.


I say to Heidi that we should go have one at the Harley Davidson Café before we check into the hotel. She thinks I’m nuts but I tell her it’s been my tradition. I get a smile and an OK.

I got this Vegas thing down. I-15 South, exit on Tropicana Blvd, cruise down the strip for a few blocks and pull right into the Harley Davidson Café. There is enough space if you park right at the curb and. I never had a problem with this. Heidi thought our parking spot was a little over the edge. Ya know, parking right on the strip in the heart of Las Vegas, for free. I tell her “Just act like we own the place” I get a look.



Heidi goes inside to freshen up while I go to try and grab a table outside on the strip. The waiter tells me that the outside seating is for people eating dinner only. At first I accepted it but then I went back to the guy. I tell him “Hey, your killing a tradition here” I told him that we drove all the way from Wisconsin and this has been a tradition to stop first and have a drink here, at the Harley Davidson Café, outside. That worked.


We were not going to spend a hundred and some bucks just to sleep, so we head straight to the Motel-6, on Tropicana Blvd, just a few blocks off Las Vegas Blvd. Under fifty bucks.

We are out of the Motel-6 at eleven, It was like a hundred degrees outside. We shoot straight to the Hard Rock casino, just up the street.


Obligatory shot: Heidi was claiming ‘Helmet hair’


The same bell guy that’s helped us the last few years is here again. He pretends like he remembers us. How nice.

We unload our tent, sleeping bags, tarp, leather jackets and a backpack with clothes. Our buddy will store it and have someone bring it to our room later, when we come back and can get into our room.


We have a few hours to kill. We know of a great place on the strip for breakfast and cocktails, just up the road.

We park at the Harley Davidson Café again.



A half a block away. We are hungry.

I’m having this feeling of euphoria set in. Heidi says she’s feeling something also. We are set. All is going according to plan. The Hard Rock awaits. We are on schedule to be South of the border by the 15 th, just when our world health insurance kicks in and our USA health insurance ends. Now lets just enjoy Las Vegas!
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Old 09-05-2007, 09:20 AM   #59
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Hi Tom & Heidi,

Too bad we couldn't have hooked up while I was in Yellowstone. I was probably only a 100 miles away from you guys. Oh well, maybe I'll see you in Mexico.

Tom
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Old 09-07-2007, 09:17 AM   #60
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Wicked Las Vegas - Hard Rock Casino:

Hey! If you’re lucky enough to have a riding partner that’s into everything you’re into, great. But every ride I’ve been on with others involved compromise and constant tweaking. Riding with Heidi is no different. She has been a total champ in my book enduring all the camping and roughing it stuff that I like but now it’s time for some payback. ””Las Vegas””, Heidi is on the phone with her sister’s exclaiming that she wants to live at the Hard Rock. A room on the eleventh floor with big patio doors overlooking the pool and the strip.


South end:


This is not a bad thing for me either so I to try to endure it. The patio doors are wide open, air conditioner cranked, bloodymarys in hand. We are getting ready to go to work (Hanging out at the pool or beach is what we call work. It’s not easy ya know)

Walk to work:








This could be my new avatar!


Pool entrance:


Lagoon connecting pools:


From pool bar:


We go to work:


Two nights at the Hard Rock was great. We saw the singer of the rock band Incubus down at the pool with other band members. WEF (World Extreme Fighting) had a match here our second night. A lot of the fighters were hanging around. This is an A1 place for people watching, that is if you don’t mind beautiful women in small swimsuits drinking tall cocktails. At one point a couple of hot guys were hitting on a group of babes in bikinis. The guys had rented a cabana, one of a couple dozen cabanas that surround the pool. They have big king beds, a huge flat screen TV and constant service from the staff. The cabanas cost about $150 per day. If you are a group of guys with a cabana your goal is to attract in some bikinis. Well these guys were doing pretty good for a while with some girls, ordering then $18 Tiki head cocktails. In a flash a big dude with Rocky Mountain shoulders and a WEF t-shirt came over and said a few words to the girls. In no time the girls were on their way to the WEF guys cabana. The 3 hunky looking guys were once again along together in their cabana, trying not to look too disappointed.

We’re having fun with the scene here. The prices for a day at the Hard Rock are over a hundred dollars mid-week but starting Thursday the price goes up to over $250, Friday and Saturday over $350. Thursday (Yesterday) we move to the Super-8, $54 a night and again just up the street. Today we will try to hook up with my niece and nephew and maybe take a long walk along the strip later.

Keep tuned! Things should start getting more adventurous from here on. This US tour has been great fun and has worked well as a shake-out for Heidi and I as riding partners.
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