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Old 07-31-2011, 11:22 PM   #1
1200gsceej OP
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Joined: May 2007
Location: San Francisco Peninsula
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My solo trip from SF to Boulder, CO and back

I had occasion to visit my Son in Boulder, CO in July 2011, so decided that I’d take the opportunity to ride my GS out and back. I had four objectives:
1. cover country I’d not seen before (and repeat some I had)
a. US 50 – the Loneliest Highway
b. central Utah
c. the Million Dollar Highway – Silverton to Durango
d. Moab
2. experience a long-distance solo trip
3. see what kind of extended miles-per-day I could do and was happy with
4. check out some new gear I had and how it helped #3.

Here are links to the routes I planned on Google Maps:
a. http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=203456809320940205247.0004a44ec8365626276c 3&msa=0

b. http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=203456809320940205247.0004a45855a8113ec43b 3&msa=0&ll=38.548165,-113.686523&spn=15.928103,26.103516

And here is a link to my Spotwalla page of my actual route:
c. http://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=32d74e1a7484d8c7d

For personal reasons I allocated 4 days out and 4 days back (see #3 above). I would have loved to take longer, but that is the time I had for this trip. From that I was able to target places to be each night. I don’t camp; maybe I’ll try it some day. So I used www.tripadvisor.com to read reviews from other folks and select places to stay.

At the end of each day I’d write what I could remember of the day’s travels in a small notebook. (I really want a way to record verbal notes while I am riding because I have many good thoughts but forget most of them!) What follows is from my notes and my camera of each day’s travels.

-ceej
__________________
My bike: Yellow '05 1200GS - on the Spotwalla ADV location page as CJ3.
My solo trips: 2014 Natl Park triangle, SF-Colorado-SF 2011 and 2013, SF-LA loop, Pinnacles and Carmel Valley loop
With Ol'Badger: http://www.2guysonbikes.com
And remember: Beauty is in the behind of the holder.

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Old 07-31-2011, 11:25 PM   #2
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Location: San Francisco Peninsula
Oddometer: 1,247
Day 1 – 7/14/11 – Palo Alto, CA to Fallon, NV – 314 miles

For once I was pretty confident that I had found and packed all of the miscellaneous items that I would want sometime on the trip: charging cords, batteries, water bottle, etc. Before I-80 was constructed, U.S. 50 came all the way to San Francisco. Now U.S. 50 starts just west of Sacramento where I-80 curves north to bypass the city. Stopped in Folsom for gas and liquid. Pushed on east; could see the foothills of the Sierras in the distance.

To me, Placerville marks the boundary. The road changes, undulating up and down, left and right. Ponderosa Pines and wonderful smells as I rode up the American river gorge. Great view at Echo Summit of the Lake Tahoe basin, but construction prohibited me from pulling off to take a photo. But it was clear and beautiful. Had lunch in a nice place not far from the lake. Once across the border into NV the road widened a bit and the traffic thinned. A pleasant ride to Carson City on wide sweeping turns.

I had decided to stop in Fallon because there is nothing for another 104 miles, it would be hot in the afternoon, and I wanted to do the bulk of the desert in the early morning. Day 2 would be long, but it is what it is.

The final 60 miles to Fallon was not an exciting road, but I did run across a lush wildlife reserve with lots of water. It turns out that that this northern NV desert is not so dry and barren as further south. Got to Fallon at 5pm. Nice Motel 6 off the main road. Ate at the Waterhole, a nice family run steak and Mexican food place. Asleep by 9 or 9:30.
__________________
My bike: Yellow '05 1200GS - on the Spotwalla ADV location page as CJ3.
My solo trips: 2014 Natl Park triangle, SF-Colorado-SF 2011 and 2013, SF-LA loop, Pinnacles and Carmel Valley loop
With Ol'Badger: http://www.2guysonbikes.com
And remember: Beauty is in the behind of the holder.

1200gsceej screwed with this post 08-01-2011 at 10:29 PM
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:26 PM   #3
1200gsceej OP
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Day 1 pix

Loaded up and ready to go:


One of my favorite road signs in the Bay Area, near Berkeley, on a roadway actually heading north!


The start of U.S. 50 in west Sacramento:


Entering Placerville. Ol' Badger and I have stayed here twice on some of our Sierra foothills rides.


Now the road gets better:




Lunch in South Lake Tahoe




Carson City - descent, legislature, extracurricular stuff






The road to Fallon


Lonely casino:


Water in the desert - wildlife and boating


Fallon, and my motel room.


__________________
My bike: Yellow '05 1200GS - on the Spotwalla ADV location page as CJ3.
My solo trips: 2014 Natl Park triangle, SF-Colorado-SF 2011 and 2013, SF-LA loop, Pinnacles and Carmel Valley loop
With Ol'Badger: http://www.2guysonbikes.com
And remember: Beauty is in the behind of the holder.

1200gsceej screwed with this post 08-01-2011 at 12:09 AM
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:30 PM   #4
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Day 2 – 7/15/11 – Fallon, NV to Delta, UT – 457 miles

I wrote this at 10:30 p.m. in Delta – I really need voice recording mechanism for notes.

Today exceeded all expectations. I thought the ride would be boring, hot desert. I was wrong! The temps were mild to warm and the scenery was spectacular. It may be the Loneliest Road in America, but it is not at all desolate.

I left at 6:30 a.m. with the sun in my eyes, but it was not yet 70 degrees. Fallon to Austin was 104 miles of almost what I expected – dry sagebrush landscape. The first strange thing that I noticed were the repeated places for cars to pull out and install/remove chains! It turns out that in this Basin and Range country, the basins are at 6000-6500’ and the ranges are 7000-7500’ elevation – plenty high for snow and ice! There were lots of high mountains around that still had snow, even as far inland as Ely and Baker. I’d ride 10-20 miles in a Basin, then go over a Range; then repeat.

Austin is small, about ¼ mile long. I got gas but was not ready to eat so continued on. The scenery got better. There must be enough groundwater to support small tree-like shrubs and the silver green sagebrush. Arid but not like the Arizona desert. The temp was still cool and the sun finally moved out of my eyes, up and to the south. Stopped 71 miles later in Eureka and gassed up again (never pass a gas station!). Had a hardy breakfast at the Owl Café and Casino. I met a couple from VA who were on a 10 week trip to AK and around the US – he on a lowered RT and she on a small HD.

More beautiful scenery on the road to Ely. I took shots of the road stretching on forever, and of the mountains to the left and right. I passed at least one large body of water – a boating and wildlife refuge.

There were so many things that went through my mind while riding that I wanted to record. So many images in my head that are not on my camera. But they do not last until the end of the day. A wonderful ride nevertheless.

After Ely the temps rose into the 80’s and the wind started blowing from the south. My shoulders ached. Rode through some beautiful valleys, many green from mountain groundwater – a stark contrast to the brown foothills. Got to Baker and visited the Great Basin National Park (no fee). They have limestone caves! I took the drive up to the Wheeler Peak overlook. Stay much longer than I had planned; don’t leave for Delta until 5:15 p.m. – a long 100 miles away (and I’ll lose an hour at the UT border).

The road is almost literally a straight line all the way to Delta. There are places where I exit a range and can see 10+ miles of straight road across the basin before it disappears into the next range. Constant wind now. And more water! I ride 5-8 miles through essentially a small lake with water 3+ feet deep on my right (up to the top of fence posts). As I finally approach Delta the land turned lush green, full of grasses and corn. Much water here.

The Rancher Café and Motel is a funky place. I check in, shower, then go to eat. It was a Friday night with lots of people coming and going. The vinyl in the booths is cracked and torn in places – little evidence of attempts to fix. But the people do not seem to mind. They come any way - for the food, and hospitality and to see other folks there that they know. Reminded me a bit of the diner in the movie American Graffiti. One young man came in with his 3 year old nephew. Talked briefly to a friend about “putting in his papers” (enlisting). “Seems the right thing and time to do it.” His parents arrive later and sit with him; talked of buying a motorcycle before he signs up and leaves. They seem sad but resigned that this is what their son will do. Other folks talk about basketball games and golf tournaments. A down-home place.

I spoke a bit with Laura, the owner, before I turned in for the night.
__________________
My bike: Yellow '05 1200GS - on the Spotwalla ADV location page as CJ3.
My solo trips: 2014 Natl Park triangle, SF-Colorado-SF 2011 and 2013, SF-LA loop, Pinnacles and Carmel Valley loop
With Ol'Badger: http://www.2guysonbikes.com
And remember: Beauty is in the behind of the holder.
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:31 PM   #5
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Day 2 - pix

There is water around Fallon:


But not further on. Here's the first 100 miles of Day 2.


Main street in the little town of Austin:


On to Eureka






Breakfast and other shots of Eureka:






The run to Ely, NV on the Lonliest Road




Ely main street and museum:




Pushing on to Baker, NV






Great Basin Park


Caves:


Wheeler Peak


The view towards Delta, UT



More straight road


Delta has water too (maybe the source of the name?)




When I first saw this I thought of Vortices in Sedona; then I saw that it appeared to be real.


Delta, the Rancher Cafe (I did not get a street view!), and my room.




__________________
My bike: Yellow '05 1200GS - on the Spotwalla ADV location page as CJ3.
My solo trips: 2014 Natl Park triangle, SF-Colorado-SF 2011 and 2013, SF-LA loop, Pinnacles and Carmel Valley loop
With Ol'Badger: http://www.2guysonbikes.com
And remember: Beauty is in the behind of the holder.

1200gsceej screwed with this post 08-01-2011 at 09:13 AM
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:35 PM   #6
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Location: San Francisco Peninsula
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Day 3 – 7/16/11 – Delta, UT to Craig, CO – 377 miles

Well, I am doing what I set out to do and to discover on this trip, but I don’t think I will want to do one like this again. I am really tired, and there were towns in which I could have had a coffee and sat a while, but I did not. So I think that 400+ mile days, however possible, are not what I want to be doing regularly. But of course, fewer miles per day means more days on the road away from home and of course more cost.

Up at 7 and have good breakfast in the Café. Turns out the waitress is Laura’s mother; I talk with her a bit. There is a photograph of a gentleman on the wall behind the cash register counter. I meant to ask if that was her husband, and if she and he had started the place. Another missed conversation.

Farmland, then mountains toward Nephi where I encounter the warning: Frequent deer crossing next 24 miles – migration area. I watched carefully! Just beyond it I ride into the town of Fountain Green at 9:30 a.m. The entire town is setting up for or arriving to watch a parade – it is Lamb Day. (See: http://sanpete.com/pages/lamb_days). I toy with the idea of staying (Ol' Badger and I did watch a July 4th parade in Chester in the Sierra Foothills one year). Could I have made up the time? I was already weary from the prior day. But I’ll never be there to see it again. I’m not sure I did the right thing, but I motored on.

After Moroni and Mt. Pleasant, I turned into the Huntington and Eccles Canyons National Scenic Byway (see: http://www.utah.com/byways/huntington_canyon.htm). What a great road. On my way down I encountered a bicycle check-in station and a man stopping traffic. “Watch out for bicycles on the road ahead”, he said. I wound up in the middle of the Scofield Triathelon! (see: http://bbsctri.com/scofield) I cannot adequately describe the road from there down to the Scofield reservoir where the swimming section had been held, and along the banks of which participants were doing the final running leg. I can’t imagine riding up those hills on my motorcycle, much less on a bicycle. Along the way down there was a coal mine and a long chute delivering what I presumed to be coal slurry to a processing or burning plant. I could not tell, nor stop – the road was so steep and the walls so sheer. Needless to say I wish I had pix.

Next I get on U.S. 6 (goes from Bishop, CA to Maine). The last 10+ miles into Helper are 60-70 mph downhill sweepers through a magnificent rock canyon. The road cuts were spectacular. From Helper I climbed to 9100’ on US 191 and then went downhill for 25 miles through a canyon of layered rock and scrub trees and brush. I wondered if it would ever end. But eventually I encountered US 40, real traffic, and a succession of half-dozen small towns all similarly decorated - flowers in pots on the sidewalk and hanging from the lampposts. I never did discover the reason.

After Vernal the road was pretty empty for the last 100 miles to Craig. High Colorado plateau, more water, more wind, high mountains to the north and Rockies to the east. The only real evidence was the clouds getting darker on the horizon. Cruised at 70-80 most of the way. When I arrived I discovered that my GPS battery was almost dead, and my aux lights were not working. Checked in at motel, unpacked, then tore into electrical system. I wiggled this and poked that. Finally found a lose connection in my Centec AP-2 which after tightening seemed to make things all better (whew!).

Took a short ride through town to check it out and get gas. Found a lovely park with lots of log-carved statues – an annual town contest it seems. Ate, watched with fascination the setting sun shining on this huge U.S. flag blowing in the wind across the highway. Wrote all this, then crashed.
__________________
My bike: Yellow '05 1200GS - on the Spotwalla ADV location page as CJ3.
My solo trips: 2014 Natl Park triangle, SF-Colorado-SF 2011 and 2013, SF-LA loop, Pinnacles and Carmel Valley loop
With Ol'Badger: http://www.2guysonbikes.com
And remember: Beauty is in the behind of the holder.

1200gsceej screwed with this post 09-07-2012 at 08:18 PM
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:36 PM   #7
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Day 3 - pix

Leaving Delta in the early morning sun.


Getting ready for Lamb Day parade in Fountain Green




This next section, all the way to Helper, UT was wonderful.


Do check this out


Meadow and road at 9000+ feet.




Helper is split by the highway that comes down the gorge. Wiggling around on the east side I found what I believe to be the old town.




This is a shot of the canyon that U.S. 191 goes down as it approaches U.S. 40 and Duchesne. It is typical of the scenery for about 20 miles as the road sweeps left and right. I kept saying to myself, "This *must* be the last turn." It was lovely and peaceful.


But it did finally end. The sky was magnificent.


One of the towns on the way to Vernal


I did not have time to visit here again. I did so many years ago on one of my early solo cross-country trips in my car. Another instance of wishing I had more time ...


City Park in Craig, CO






Motel and Flag




The sun was at the right angle, and the wind just right for the large size of this flag. I took more than 20 pictures of the shapes and folds and ripples that it made. Here's one
__________________
My bike: Yellow '05 1200GS - on the Spotwalla ADV location page as CJ3.
My solo trips: 2014 Natl Park triangle, SF-Colorado-SF 2011 and 2013, SF-LA loop, Pinnacles and Carmel Valley loop
With Ol'Badger: http://www.2guysonbikes.com
And remember: Beauty is in the behind of the holder.

1200gsceej screwed with this post 08-01-2011 at 09:36 AM
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:40 PM   #8
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Location: San Francisco Peninsula
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Day 4 – 7/17/11 – Craig, CO to Boulder, CO – 235 miles

The last leg, and the shortest one. I decide to ride straight through to Steamboat Springs and eat breakfast there. The road is nice and scenery lovely, but the sun is directly in my eyes almost all the way. Ask the first patrol cop I spy where to eat. “Wynona’s” I am told. Fine place; good food. There is money in this town, though maybe not as much as Aspen. Lots of day riders – it is Sunday after all.

All the rest of the roads I’ll take today have scenic dots by them on the maps, and they earn every one of them. It is beautiful country. I ascend to 9200’, then enter high mountain meadows, lush green with streams and trees. Again I tried to stop and take “sample pictures” along the way. I hope they will augment my memory. I follow the Colorado River as if flows down from Granby. There is lots of water; here and elsewhere the streams and rivers were all straining at their banks, and overflowing in many areas.

I almost pass the road to Rocky Mt. National Park. I gas up and head north into the Park. Things have changed quite a bit since Ol' Badger and I were here in 1999. Lots more buildings outside the park on this side than there were then.
I decided that I would take it slow and easy through the entire park and not rush myself. Stopped at the visitor center but they did not have any information on weather conditions on the top or to the east. So to be on the safe side, I put the liners in my pants. It was to be a good decision.

I stop at turnouts to take in the views and the majesty of this place. Up, up I go, encountering more cars, many parked with lots of people hiking on snowfields. Finally reached the summit visitor center – it was packed with cars and others waiting to pull in. Cars were parked in any nook along the side of the road where they could fit. I continue on – it was pretty dark and ominous ahead. A mile or so later I hit a traffic jam! Cars stopped way around the bend. As I slowly approached I realized why – HAIL! Not quite the size of small marbles, this stuff hurts when it hits my arms and legs. Everyone slowed to a crawl. There were many motorcyclists on the mountain that day – and those w/o helmets were suffering!

It was long getting down at barely 25 mph, but we were mostly in trees so there were no views to miss. At the bottom the sun came out and the clouds were behind me. So I took the peak-to-peak highway south to Ward as I had planned. These are some pretty serious bicyclist roads. Eventually the narrow canyon opened to the plains just north of Boulder where I was welcomed with a heat blast in the 90’s. I wasted no time in getting to my son’s house, off the bike, and out of my riding clothes.
__________________
My bike: Yellow '05 1200GS - on the Spotwalla ADV location page as CJ3.
My solo trips: 2014 Natl Park triangle, SF-Colorado-SF 2011 and 2013, SF-LA loop, Pinnacles and Carmel Valley loop
With Ol'Badger: http://www.2guysonbikes.com
And remember: Beauty is in the behind of the holder.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:39 AM   #9
1200gsceej OP
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Day 4 pix

I gassed up in Craig, CO at one of these stations; thought it was an anomoly. Turns out it is a chain! Odd name I thought, so here's a pix ....


The road to and lunch in Steamboat Springs




Then on to Kremmling and Granby. I can see the Rockies in the distance.


Merchants at the turnoff to Rocky Mountain National Park




Rocky Mountain National Park
My little camera can not do justice to what you see there.










And finally, the ride into Boulder


Pearl Street and Broadway, Boulder, CO
__________________
My bike: Yellow '05 1200GS - on the Spotwalla ADV location page as CJ3.
My solo trips: 2014 Natl Park triangle, SF-Colorado-SF 2011 and 2013, SF-LA loop, Pinnacles and Carmel Valley loop
With Ol'Badger: http://www.2guysonbikes.com
And remember: Beauty is in the behind of the holder.

1200gsceej screwed with this post 08-01-2011 at 09:49 AM
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:40 AM   #10
1200gsceej OP
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8 days in Boulder and Denver

I spend 8 days in Boulder, with a half-dozen day trips to Denver. I see the new Denver Art Museum (nice MUD exhibit, as well as some Burgess Shale fossils) and the new Library (great looking building, inside and out). Walk along 16th street, visit the Botanical Gardens as well as the Hammond Candy Factory! In Boulder we eat several times on/near Pearl Street: Jax (fish), The Med (italian, et al), a great falafal place and an Indian/Nepal place. Both Boulder and Denver would have been a lot more fun had it not been so HOT! We're talking 90's each day with nightime temps in the low 80's.

The four day trip back will get written up and posted in the next day or so.

-ceej
__________________
My bike: Yellow '05 1200GS - on the Spotwalla ADV location page as CJ3.
My solo trips: 2014 Natl Park triangle, SF-Colorado-SF 2011 and 2013, SF-LA loop, Pinnacles and Carmel Valley loop
With Ol'Badger: http://www.2guysonbikes.com
And remember: Beauty is in the behind of the holder.
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:04 AM   #11
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Day 5 - 7/26/11 - Boulder to Cortez, CO - 428 miles

Alarm rings at 5:45; up dress, eat, pack bike, kiss everyone goodbye. But I’m still not actually on the highway until 6:50. So much to say, to recollect. I do have good photos which should help me when I transcribe this later. Sadly, I have to pass on taking CO 119 and on going to Mt. Evans. It is going to be a long day even without seeing them. I will have occasion to be back in Boulder again; they will have to wait until then.

It’s a pleasant, not-quite-main-road ride to Golden, and then onto U.S. 285 south to U.S. 50. I started out in my mesh jacket because of how hot it has been. Once I got into the mountains it got chilly quite quickly. Kenosna Pass is 10,000 feet, so I changed to my other jacket and was much happier for the rest of the day. Wound up in a high mountain plain at 9000-9500’ elevation for perhaps 20 miles. Green grazing land, surrounded by ‘small’ peaks of perhaps 12-14K feet. After Buena Vista the road parallels the Arkansas river (!) on which there are lots of people/boats whitewater rafting.

I eventually reach U.S. 50 and head west. Ol’ Badger and I did this in 1999, but in the evening and in the other direction. So the reverse trip was all brand new. Particularly stunning over the Continental Divide at Monarch Pass (11,300’) and continuing on to Gunnison (no Black Canyon visit this time. I do personally recommend it, but you need to be interested in geology).

The whole day has been with white clouds and little direct sun. Now as I approached Montrose they become grey and heavy. I was not going to escape rain. But I was well dressed. Stopped for gas and a snack during which I avoided my first storm which passed south of town before I got there.

The ride on U.S. 550 to Ouray was lovely. No sign of the old motel once visited; lots newer motels and condos now as you approach. The town itself is little changed. Only the main street is paved, and it has a serious tilt. I had to search carefully for a place to park the bike near the south end of town, then walked a bit. I struck up a conversation with two guys who were headed the other way on a V-Strom and HD.

Rain or no rain, it was time to leave. Getting back on roads never traveled before. I headed up the switchbacks at the south end of Ouray where I encountered rain. Not terrible, but the wet pavement and precipitous drop-offs slowed me and all the other drivers considerably and obscured what is a great climb and view. It stopped raining as I went down the other side.

Silverton is a flat, less scenic, and poorer version of Ouray - perhaps not unlike some of the little towns in the Sierras. I motored through the town to take some pix. Spoke briefly with a German bicyclist – he and 3 others were headed for Ouray. They had no gear, so I suspect there was a sag wagon following them.

Now begins the really dramatic portion of the road, from Silverton to the Coal Bank Pass. The road hangs from the side of the mountains on the right with a huge valley to the left. There was never a place on the right to stop, and the few on the left were to scary for me to cross over, park, then cross back again! So, no photos (sigh). But if you are there, don’t miss it!

After Cold Bank Pass (10,540’) the land sloped gradually all the way to Durango (6500’) with many sections of long, sweeping turns. The profile is not unlike the Sierras on the east and west sides. Lots of confers. Durango is a sizeable town with a touristy Historic District. I road around and took pix, but did not feel like wandering alone. Something else I have learned about a solo trip – you are in total control of your time and route, but there are circumstances in which not having a buddy to walk and talk with is a real loss. So I headed west to Cortez.

Here is a good write-up about U.S. 550 - http://www.roadtripamerica.com/places/million.htm
And a map of the region including the San Juan Skyway - http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/2101/travel.html
My original plans had me going from Cortez back up CO 145 to Telluride, but again there was not enough time.

The Cortez Motel is OK; I could have gotten a better rate had I called them direct. It is almost full; a number of foreign tourists (german and english). The shower is good. The restaurant next door is OK (Jack and Janelle's Country Kitchen). I am all gassed up for an early departure tomorrow – 120 miles to Moab for breakfast.
__________________
My bike: Yellow '05 1200GS - on the Spotwalla ADV location page as CJ3.
My solo trips: 2014 Natl Park triangle, SF-Colorado-SF 2011 and 2013, SF-LA loop, Pinnacles and Carmel Valley loop
With Ol'Badger: http://www.2guysonbikes.com
And remember: Beauty is in the behind of the holder.

1200gsceej screwed with this post 12-21-2011 at 11:43 PM
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:05 AM   #12
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Day 5 pix

Just south of Boulder


Kenosna Pass




... and down the other side.


Monarch Pass on U.S. 50


Just past Gunnison - the Black Canyon is not much further west


South of Montrose, on U.S. 550


Ouray


Red Mountain Pass - 11,000'


Silverton


German bicyclists


On U.S. 550 heading down to Durango






An old store in historic Durango


Just outside of Cortez


Its "up there"
__________________
My bike: Yellow '05 1200GS - on the Spotwalla ADV location page as CJ3.
My solo trips: 2014 Natl Park triangle, SF-Colorado-SF 2011 and 2013, SF-LA loop, Pinnacles and Carmel Valley loop
With Ol'Badger: http://www.2guysonbikes.com
And remember: Beauty is in the behind of the holder.

1200gsceej screwed with this post 08-01-2011 at 07:56 PM
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:05 AM   #13
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Location: San Francisco Peninsula
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Day 6 - 7/27/11 - Cortez, CO to Panguitch, UT - 482 miles

Up at 5:30 and on the road at 6. Now having breakfast at the Moab Diner. This is a *long* but *great* day of riding.

The word for this morning was FOG. Past Dove Creek there’s this dark cloud right on the horizon. I stop and suit up for rain. Then ride on, only to find that I’m in a big fog cloud for some 5 miles. Looking straight up I can see faint blue sky. I cross the Utah border and “poof!” it is all gone. Only 5 miles later I hit a real FOG BANK and have to slow way down – I cannot see much more than 100 feet or so ahead. Evidence later showed what must have been a large storm overnight that left water on the roads and in the fields. With ground temps in the 50s, the early morning sun created the fog. It was certainly strange to encounter.

I have to pause and say once again – Utah is spectacular. I am now in Panguitch, sitting in the Cowboy Steakhouse. What a day and ride this has been!

I got into Moab at 9 a.m. and was not on my way again till noon! 45 minutes gas and eat; an hour at Arches; and another hour+ at Canyonlands! While gassing up I asked the guys driving the garbage truck where to get breakfast. Their unequivocal reply was the Moab Diner, and I concur – relaxing, good food, hot coffee. Then I had to go to Arches. It was fun and interesting. First you climb up the side of this cliff, then you are in a place similar to Monument Valley, only a smaller scale. You’ll see from the photos below. I did what has worked in several other similar situations – I did not stop on the way in, but after checking the map, I rode as far as I was willing to go, then stopped everywhere I wanted on the way out. I was happy with the time I spent, but would have liked to spend more (I am a real geology nut).

If I had it to do over again, I’d probably not go out to Canyonlands unless I was prepared to spend more time there. It is 20 miles just to the park entrance. It is spectacular, akin to the Grand Canyon, and deserves more than a few clicks of the camera shutter. The road there and back is nice, wide, with good turns and rollers. However, it has TAR SNAKES! And it was just warm enough to make them slippery.

Where I want to be next is due west in the town of Hanksville, but you can’t go straight across. Ol’ Badger and I did the southern route, UT 95 from Monument Valley, back in 2007 (see: http://www.2guysonbikes.com/2007/2007_colorado_plateau.htm). And I’d like to do the Burr Trail into Boulder, UT some day. But for this trip I have to go north to I-70 (31m), then west past Green River (33m), and then south to Hanksville (44m) on yet another long, straight road. To my left this entire loop is the Green River basin as it flows south into Canyonlands and its eventual meeting with the Colorado (which I crossed just north of Moab on my way to Arches). To my right around this basin were mountains everywhere on the horizon. And clouds. White most places, but an ominous dark grey hanging over Hanksville. I had a lot to contemplate as I rode straight at it for almost an hour.

There was less to Hanksville than I remembered. My attention, however, was focused on the clouds ahead and to my left (south). The road wound through dry grey and white canyons; then wet red-rock canyons with greenery. The clouds hung heavier in front of me all the way. Somehow, as I rode west to Torrey and then south to Boulder, the rain passed ahead of me, leaving wet roads and swollen streams, and occasional sand and dirt washed across the roadway. I must say that my senses were quite heightened during this whole time!

Torrey is the beginning of UT 12 – what must be one of the most scenic roads in the entire country. Do make it a point to ride this route if you can. I stopped for a while in Capitol Reef where loud claps of thunder could still be heard. I would have taken the road further into the park except for the construction – it was dirt/gravel, waiting for repaving, and now quite wet from the storm. Discretion said don’t take a chance (dropping the bike or not being able to turn around), so I passed. I expect to be back on UT 12 and will plan to spend more time here then.

Climbing the 9200’ summit over “Boulder Mountain” was as wonderful this time as before. Green tree forests and beautiful scenery. From the lookout I could see the storm where it had moved south and east. Luckily my timing was just right; I am glad to have missed being in it. I did not stop at the Kiva Koffee House (http://www.kivakoffeehouse.com/) – another instance in which had I been with a companion this would have been a great place to sit and talk. Escalante was beautiful and seemed to go on forever. There is a stretch where the roadway comprises the entire width of a ridge snaking between two canyons. Gorgeous.

I ride across another green valley, then up the next ridge to Bryce Canyon. Some have said, “If you’ve seen one hoodoo, you’ve seen them all!”, but I don’t agree. In I went, stopping at Sunset Point just at sunset. I’ll let you decide from the photos if it was worth it. Some day I would like to come back and do some hiking down inside the canyon among the formations. You would expect that to be it, but no, UT 12 goes through beautiful Red Rock Canyon before it finally ends at U.S. 89 and I head north to Panguitch.

I like my motel and the proprietor. Happy to have motorcyclists. A huge bin of rags in an outdoor sink for cleaning anything you need to clean (and I certainly did!). Took a hot shower, ate at the Cowboy Steakhouse, then fast asleep.
__________________
My bike: Yellow '05 1200GS - on the Spotwalla ADV location page as CJ3.
My solo trips: 2014 Natl Park triangle, SF-Colorado-SF 2011 and 2013, SF-LA loop, Pinnacles and Carmel Valley loop
With Ol'Badger: http://www.2guysonbikes.com
And remember: Beauty is in the behind of the holder.

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Old 08-01-2011, 10:06 AM   #14
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Day 6 pix

Leaving Cortez in the early morning




Approaching Dove Creek


I did not stop; 'twas not open yet


Moab Diner, view from window, main street






Colorado River


Arches National Park


Petrified sand dunes


Natural Arches








The road north


Canyonlands




Crow and road to south rim




Looking down


Somewhere near Green River


Just east of Hanksville; trying to avoid the rain


Capitol Reef







Escalante







Bryce Canyon


__________________
My bike: Yellow '05 1200GS - on the Spotwalla ADV location page as CJ3.
My solo trips: 2014 Natl Park triangle, SF-Colorado-SF 2011 and 2013, SF-LA loop, Pinnacles and Carmel Valley loop
With Ol'Badger: http://www.2guysonbikes.com
And remember: Beauty is in the behind of the holder.

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Old 08-01-2011, 10:07 AM   #15
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Day 7 - 7/28/11 - Panguitch, UT to Tonopah, NV - 423 miles

Up and off at 6:30 – it was 47 degrees! So I put on the green fleece and was toasty. Before I left, talked with one of the bikers in the next room (who I’d seen at the restaurant last night). They are from Portland, OR; were at the Jim Butler in Tonopah the night before, and are doing UT 12 today. Then SLC and back to Portland. Small world.

Route U.S. 89 south does not have any “dots’ on the map, but it is a pretty drive. Flat green farmland, then from Long Valley it descends along the East Fork Virgin River – sometimes narrow, sometimes broad. With the sun on my left and not in my eyes, it was lovely.

I have a great combo breakfast in the Thunderbird Resort Café in Mt. Carmel Junction – eggs, home made patty sausage, pancakes, coffee – yum! And listening to a good Sirius XM radio station, too. At the table there was a nice 1-page history of the resort, including the somewhat controversial wording on their sign. See if you can find it in the photo. I tried to locate the story on line and this is the closest I could find: http://www.zionnational-park.com/hist.htm. When I told my waitress that I liked reading it, she said, “Thanks, I’ll tell my mother.” Turns out she is one of the family grand-children who work there; she introduced me to a great-grandson who was bussing tables. Plan to stop there if you are in Mt. Carmel.

Next stop – Zion! It was great. Most of the folks were going the other way. I got to drive slowly and stop a lot. It was wonderful. Got lots of what I hope are good pix. As I exit, the Zion River flows down through broad mountains, a green stripe that eventually disappears into the desert. I gas up in St. George and head north. Nothing is really as I expected. This is much dryer desert than on the way out – the Sierras and Owens Valley mountains probably block all the moisture. Yet there are beautiful, colorful mountains. And a separate bicycle path for 10 miles or so along the highway. I’ll need my pix and the map to fill in the pieces.

I eventually get to Caliente; it lives up to its name!. Caliente was a railroad town – has what was a grand train station / hotel like the one in Barstow, CA. It is now the Civic Center, town offices, and library. I got gas, some Mt. Dew, and added some oil to the engine. I head west on U.S. 93. The sky is brilliant blue with large fluffy white clouds. The pix will remind me of why it has “dots” – it is a lovely ride.

When U.S. 93 turns south, I jog over to NV 395 – the Extraterrestrial Highway. A mile later I spy a sign that reads, “No gas for 150 miles.” Wow! I am already 45 miles from Caliente. Four more gallons at 45 mpg = 180, so I guess I have enough and push on. There is no gas there, anyway. Now is where the Sena and Zumo come in handy. Although beautiful, there is nothing to do but ride. And there is nothing there but an occasional car/truck going either way. So I put on some Beatles and it helps pass the miles. Again, the sky and mountains are spectacular. At one point along this section I measure a 17 mile stretch of straight road.

I spend time thinking about an eventual ride report, and my front tire. (see the summary for more details). Things good and things I’d do differently.

Eventually I hit U.S. 6 (Maine to Bishop, CA) for the last 45 miles to Tonopah. The clouds begin to disappear – is it getting dryer? I come upon a newly surfaced section of road – a black ribbon in the desert. About 10 miles from Tonopah I encounter the entrance to the Nellis AF Test Site, complete with missile signpost (see pix). Five miles later I finally get a gas warning – 45 miles left in the tank – about a gallon. That means about 5 gal * 45 mpg = 225 miles at 4000 rpm (65-75 mph). I roll into Tonopah, get gas for tomorrow, and check into the Jim Butler. I get quite a fancy room. Unpack, take a most needed shower and get into new clothes.

Now I’m sitting in the Club House Saloon in Tonopah with my hand around a cold beer. I did my walking tour of the town, so I’m relaxing and writing down the day’s events. I have a nice beer buzz, so I call Ol’ Badger but my phone battery immediately dies – I’m really bummed. Should I have another beer or not ….? I ask one of the locals at the bar about where to eat. He says there is no good place to eat in town, then mentions the same places the lady at the Jim Butler did. I decide on Italian food in the Banc Club ‘cause I did not want Mexican. Mexican would probably have been better. The Banc Club is a small, sad, one-room casino whose “restaurant” is the size of a small coffee shop. I eat, then go back to room to sleep.
__________________
My bike: Yellow '05 1200GS - on the Spotwalla ADV location page as CJ3.
My solo trips: 2014 Natl Park triangle, SF-Colorado-SF 2011 and 2013, SF-LA loop, Pinnacles and Carmel Valley loop
With Ol'Badger: http://www.2guysonbikes.com
And remember: Beauty is in the behind of the holder.

1200gsceej screwed with this post 08-01-2011 at 04:48 PM
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