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Old 06-07-2004, 05:24 PM   #241
MikeO OP
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4th June

I’m on the road at 1000 it’s a cloudless sky and it’s going to be hot later – although I’m now in the high desert (above 4000ft) and it’s dry with a light, but very warm, breeze. I’m riding Highways 24 & 12 again – they wind through the canyons of Utah – the part of the palette where God mixed his reds and yellows…



I pass a signpost to Capitol Reef National Park, advertising a scenic 10 mile drive. On a whim I turn down it and find myself, after a few miles of asphalt, on a rough and, in places, very sandy track.



The canyon walls start narrowing, until it feels a little like a scene from ‘Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade’…



…the rock walls are pock marked – I’m not sure what causes this effect – leaving the appearance of a sponge…



I rejoin the 24 and start climbing into the hills towards Escalante. The last time I came along this road, there was still snow in sheltered spots and the aspen trees were bare. It’s now pleasantly warm and the aspens are an incredibly vivid green



The views are spectacular…



I stop for lunch at the Burr Trail Grill in Boulder – an excellent little eatery



I ride on, stopping to take in the view at Calf Creek…



…the great switchbacks at Grand Escalante…



and Powell Point…



…before riding past Bryce Canyon, stopping to take some pictures at Red Canyon – the pics I took when I was last here were lost when a Compact Flash card corrupted the data :(…



I head south and then turn west into Zion National Park…



…by which time I’m tired and, in retrospect, probably a little de-hydrated, despite regularly drinking throughout the day. I set Betty to the task of finding me a motel and, 30 minutes later, I pull into the car park of Motel 6 in Hurricane. I unload the bike, crank the air conditioning up to max and have a cool shower. Parked in the car park are eight or nine Gold Wings.

I come back out to my bike and can smell petrol – I’ve had an idea that I’d smelt it a couple of times earlier in the day, but (with blind optimism ) had assumed that it was coming from another vehicle. I have a poke about near the fuel lines and, sure enough, find one of them wet with fuel…

There was nothing for it, tired as I was, I had to strip the bike down. Actually, my main concern was that I was going to have to fix the bike in a car park full of Hondas

The Adv is soon looking like it hit the car park at 200mph…



…and it’s not long before I’ve found the culprit. The plastic fuel crossover line has split near the right side, as the pipe moves when the suspension is compressed, the split opens and allows fuel to leak – thankfully it’s not one of the high pressure lines…



After much head-scratching, I ring Jorge Carbo up in Oregon, whose innovative solutions to problems encountered on the road have always impressed me. He doesn’t let me down and suggests I use a nitrile rubber glove…



…and some duct tape…



…to seal off the right hand end of the cross tube, until I can get the fuel level low enough to remove and replace the hose. As I’m doing the job, whilst chatting to several of the Gold Wing crowd, who turn out to be a great bunch of people, I actually manage to put the tank into such a position that the leak stops. I remove the pipe and cut off the split part. There is, thankfully, enough length left to replace the pipe and make a good seal. Here’s the guilty party…



I grab a shower and open a beer - and fall asleep before I’ve finished it…

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Old 06-07-2004, 05:25 PM   #242
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5th June

I’m heading for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon this morning. I’ve decided to stay here at Hurricane tonight, which means I’ll be able to leave most of my kit in the room and ride the bike unladen for a change. I stop almost straight away to buy some bottled water and, returning to the bike, I’m dismayed to smell fuel again – until I work out that this is not unusual in a gas station…

I ride up through Zion National Park again. It’s an unusual place, in that the recommended way to tour it is by a ‘Park & Ride’ system of tour buses. I’m just using it as part of my (scenic) route to the Grand Canyon, so follow the slow moving succession of RVs through the winding roads and tunnels…



…past the Towers of the Virgin, before rejoining the Kanab road. Spying a GS Adv in a restaurant car park, I pull in for brunch. I meet up with Ron Ramsey, from Anchorage Alaska,



who has been out living under canvas in Grand Escalante for a few days and is on his way to take a few days off the ascetic life of the motorcycle adventurer - in Las Vegas . We chat for a long time about the vagaries of travelling the back roads of the USA. He’ll be back in Alaska in August and gives me his card and invites me to look him up if I get there…

I also, whilst eating an excellent breakfast, get to meet Elsie Wilder, who runs the place – she is awaiting delivery of her Gold Wing trike (she reckons she’s too short legged to use a standard Wing) – she’s been riding bikes for decades – she’s been to Alaska a dozen times and knows everyone it seems – she’s just had by-pass surgery, but can’t wait to get back on a bike. Elsie gave me a card with her phone number on – “if you get into trouble or need anything, give me a call – if I can help – I will” – I don’t doubt she means it… She accompanies Ron & me outside to wish us a safe journey, and I take a quick picture…



I continue south towards the North Rim. I’m soon in the National Park and riding through beautiful lush, green, open meadows…



The bike feels really good without the weight of all my kit and it feels almost lightweight as I ride through the twistier roads approaching the rim of the canyon.

I arrive at the North Rim Lodge and walk down onto the ‘Sun Deck’ – which surely has one of the most breathtaking views of any restaurant…



As I sit and drink a bottle of water (despite being at high altitude, there’s no wind and it’s hot), someone in the lodge behind me is playing the piano. Playing it very well. There’s no other sound and, with the epic vista in front of me, I know that I’ll remember this moment for a long time…



I take a stroll down the ¼ mile track to Bright Angel Point. It’s hot and I’m wearing my armoured jeans and Daytona boots, so I take it easy. I pass a family coming back towards the Lodge – the 10yr old boy whining ‘So are we done with the Grand Canyon now?’ – clearly keen to get back to his Playstation… : I expect I was just as bad at his age:P.



I get back to the bike and decide to go back to the motel the easy way – it’s hot, even up here at 8000ft, so I know it’ll be baking down towards Hurricane. I get kitted back up and set off, turning left along the 389 at Fredonia. It’s very hot indeed (I later find out it’s 107º F) and I stop regularly to drink and stretch my legs. I get back to the hotel at 1730ish and, after showering and cooling off a bit, go over to the filling station and buy a case of beer, as I’ve been invited by the Gold Wing guys & girls to have some pizza in the little lawn tonight.

For some reason, I find that I’ve failed to take a single photo of the Gold Wingers – an excellent, friendly and as hospitable bunch of people as I’ve met. Doug & Olivia Mullins, Wayne & Mary Harding and Tom & Sandy Raynor are visiting from Florida and we talk for hours as the sun (& the beers) go down. It’s an excellent, mellow evening & I retire to bed after midnight (and definitely after too much to drink). Unfortunately they’re all leaving (for the North Rim) early tomorrow morning – it would’ve been nice to spend more time in their company…



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Old 06-07-2004, 05:26 PM   #243
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Thanks for all the advice about where I should be going at the North Rim - unfortunately, I only got to read them today...

Mike
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Old 06-07-2004, 05:34 PM   #244
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Nice job of capturing the color and depth of the canyon in a picture. A little hazy but a great shot.


Keep the reports coming they are great for a break from work sux
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Old 06-07-2004, 06:04 PM   #245
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Thanks - I understand the haze is in fact pine pollen. When I got back to my bike, after 90 minutes or so, there was a guy on a black HD parked next to me - he was wiping tons of pollen off his bike - he told me that was what was causing the 'haze'...

Mike
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Old 06-07-2004, 06:16 PM   #246
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Originally Posted by MikeO
Thanks - I understand the haze is in fact pine pollen. When I got back to my bike, after 90 minutes or so, there was a guy on a black HD parked next to me - he was wiping tons of pollen off his bike - he told me that was what was causing the 'haze'...

Mike
The smog blowing in from CA doesn't help either When I was backpacking in the canyon I had a dicussion with a ranger about the air quality measurements they take at the canyon. Has to do with lasers etc. Not sure what they do if they air quality gets bad but it was an interesting dicussion.
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Old 06-07-2004, 07:52 PM   #247
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7th June

Having spent Sunday doing my chores (laundry etc), plus recovering from a fairly spectacular hangover… I set off at 0900 heading north towards Salt Lake City. I’m approaching 66k miles, when I’m due to do a minor service on the bike. My plan is to get BMW Salt Lake to do an oil & filter change tomorrow (they do a ridiculously cheap deal) and then leave the other service bits until I get to see Jorge and Sheila at the weekend. I ride up the US89, rather than the freeway, which I experienced at Easter, when I had to visit Salt Lake to get new tyres…

I ride through Cedar City and then into Cedar Breaks National Monument. The road climbs to over 10,000ft and the views on the way up are great…



…but pale in comparison by those from the visitor centre…



…and yes, that white stuff is snow . Further on the views continue to impress…



I follow the road down to Panguitch, where I spent a couple of nights back in April. I stop for brunch at a small diner and the waitress tries to rip me off by charging me for a different breakfast. I’d normally give someone the benefit of the doubt – but in this case I knew it was deliberate – I get the bill adjusted and depart (without leaving a tip). Good breakfast though



I continue up the 89, which is a very pleasant ride – it’s a 'cool' 84º F this morning – a pleasant change from the high temperatures of the last few days. I ride the route Betty & I worked out last night.

I don’t know anything about horses, but there was something about this small herd with a couple of foals that made me turn around and take a picture…



As I near Salt Lake, I become aware of a large Army presence – it seems that this area hosts a major series of supply depots. On the hillside I recognise munitions bunkers and a reference on a street sign to ‘Chemical Stockpile Outreach Program’ – which sounds as odd an idea as I’ve heard of . I also notice, every few miles, these things…



…which, according to the signs on them…



…are some form of warning system. There are also a plethora of blank electronic roadside signs – my suspicious mind turns to evacuation procedures in case of chemical weaponry leaks… But, hell, what do I know…

I spot a Best Western in Tooele (I’ve no idea how to pronounce it*) and check in for the night. Salt Lake City tomorrow, then into Idaho tomorrow evening. Unless something else comes up…



*EDIT: Apparently it's pronounced 'Twilla'
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Old 06-07-2004, 08:55 PM   #248
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Beautiful pictures, been through that area a few times. Keep having fun and stay safe!
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Old 06-08-2004, 03:00 AM   #249
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeO
Thanks - I understand the haze is in fact pine pollen. When I got back to my bike, after 90 minutes or so, there was a guy on a black HD parked next to me - he was wiping tons of pollen off his bike - he told me that was what was causing the 'haze'...

Mike
G' day Mike,
the cottonwoods are even more fun. A great report as usual, it should make a great book when you finish the trip.

Ride safe
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Old 06-08-2004, 08:39 PM   #250
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8th June

I stayed up late last night (0200), so slept in and missed breakfast (normally lukewarm coffee and crappy doughnuts – so no great loss). I pack the bike and I’m on the road for 1000. I make my way to BMW of Salt Lake…



I was last here at Easter. The Adv needs an oil & filter change as part of it’s 66k minor service. I’ll do the rest of the service with Jorge in Oregon on Friday – but I like to get the oil changes done on time. They have an excellent deal and do the job, while I wait, for $41 – about £25.

As I leave, heading north, I realise I’ve not really planned any kind of route today. I’m going to be staying with Jay (Sasquatch) in Boise on Wednesday, so I take a slow ride up the 89 towards the Idaho border. The road is wide and unchallenging, but the views are lush alpine meadows, although I’m only at 4000 ft…



I keep looking for somewhere to stop for lunch, but find only a succession of MacDonalds, Burger Kings & Taco Bells (what is it with Taco Bell? – I never see anyone in them, but they’re everywhere : ). I decided that I’ll wait for a small town café to appear…

I notice a sign at the side of the road…



How does one end up in this line of business? Do children ask their Career Teachers about it? Do people have a burning desire to collect bulls’ semen? How do they transport it? In one of those foam coffee cups with the lids on?

Hmmm - I’m obviously getting bored with wide roads, so I turn left at random…



…through some fantastic twisties, heading north west…



…into some more open meadowland, before quite suddenly coming across some new tar being laid. I can either go through it or turn back at least 15 miles. I press on, covering the bike with tar – bugger!

The road suddenly turns into a gravel and dirt track. It’s well surfaced, mostly recently graded dirt, and I keep 55-60 mph up along it. A little further along, I come across some old friends…



…Mormon Crickets. The picture above is of a dirt road, not a gravel track. The ‘gravel’ is a plague of crickets – millions of them. They are much bigger now – for nourishment, they seem to be feeding off their own dead :barf



I step crunchingly around and take a few pics – this one gives an indication of how big these things are - it also shows the bloody tar & crap:mad: …

I set off once again, it’s a very temperate 75º F and the scenery around here is very pleasant – almost European – thankfully the crickets seem to keep to their own territory…



I realise it’s now after 1600 and I’ve not eaten – I’m starving. I ride north towards the nearest large town, the weirdly named Pocatello. I find Oliver’s Restaurant and have a huge spaghetti dinner – then find a car wash and blast off all the tar and crap that I can :(…

I check into the EconoLodge for the evening – for a change, not feeling too hot & bothered.

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Old 06-08-2004, 08:44 PM   #251
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I'll second what Mitch said, it will make a great book. To me this seems like the motorcycle version of Peter Jenkin's "Walk Across America". I want the hardback version in large print.

I also laugh at myself because I feel like one of the followers of Forrest Gump as he ran back and forth across the country. One day he stop and said "I'm kinda tired, I think I'll go home now". As he was walking off someone in the crowd was heard to say "Well what are we going to do now?" It will be a sad day Mike when you go home and I don't get my nightly MikeO fix. I think there will be more than a few that will think, "What will I do now". :):

Thank you for your effort to share this with us.
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Old 06-08-2004, 09:09 PM   #252
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeO
8th June


I notice a sign at the side of the road…


.jpg[/IMG]
Did you stop and make a donation could have been worth a few quid

cheers
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Old 06-08-2004, 09:21 PM   #253
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Mike,
On your trip here, take a couple of detours. Thousand Springs down on the Snake river in Haggerman is absolutely beautifull. Water gushing right out of the canyon walls..

The gorge bridge going from I-84 into Twin Falls. Major hangout for base jumpers.

Try and find creators of the moon national monument again, outside of Arco.

Bruneau Dunes state park (highest sand dunes in N. America) near Bruneau (S. of Mountain Home).

Once you pass Mountain Home, it is Booooooorrrrring untill you get to Boise.

See you tomorrow
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Old 06-08-2004, 09:26 PM   #254
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Did you stop and make a donation could have been worth a few quid

cheers
Wrong species - now if they'd wanted Bull Shit - I'd still be there...

Mike
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Old 06-08-2004, 09:30 PM   #255
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3rd June

…anybody want to hazard a guess as to the make & age of the car?
1949 Buick Super
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