Thursday, May 15, 2014

No Cops Around this Time – Thank God!

We woke up in Torrey and mingled with the travelers. It turns out this little secret is getting out to everyone but the locals. We chatted with some folks that came in from New York to visit Hell’s Backbone Grill, and a couple from Colorado that were doing the red rock tour.

Light dusting of snow in Torrey

Snow was on the bikes this morning, a light brushing. We dusted them off and moved them into the sun. Soon we were riding through Capitol Reef National Park and enjoying the red rocks and winding road. I love this place – it reminds me of Sedona without all the people. The green trees from the orchids just stand out against the reds of the rocks and the blues in the sky. All landscapes are alive, but this area is truly vibrant and joyful. We continued on to Hanksville for lunch and then on to the Moki Dugway. Problem was… there is nothing out there. There is one rest stop, but we failed to stop. Sure enough, faced with needing to go to the bathroom, and the Alaska mentality, we just stopped to go in the woods.

Potty break in the woods
Glen Canyon Rec Area Overlook

Glen Canyon Rec Area
Now I know you are all remembering the time a cop caught us for public urination in Arizona, but we weren’t yet in Arizona, so.. technically we had no record in Utah. And we had to go. What surprised me though, was that Gene and Arlene were game too! I felt so bad. I also kept thinking… oh gosh… don’t let a cop show up…. Not with Gene and Arlene! Gene actually told me later they were chuckling about the experience… he even told Arlene to lean her back up against the fence post for stability… but don’t slide your ass across it.. you will get slivers.  They made it back to the bike. Not sure if they will ride with us again?

Gene and Arlene have been great sports
The Moki Dugway is an amazing drop of the plateau to the desert floor below. The switchbacks are winding on top of each other, the road is gravel. We had a grand time dropping to the floor. Shortly after we split, Gene and Arlene headed to the hotel in Bluff, Ut. while we went off road and traveled through Valley of the Gods (VG).
Check out the road on the GPS at the Moki Dugway.

Switchbacks down the side of the mountain... everyone is a spec... look close.
VG was amazing. What I like about this place is that you can get back there right up against the rocks. No people. We had the whole place to ourselves. It was so beautiful. The road was for the most part pretty tame sprinkled with a couple of gravel and sand surprises. We had Go Pro #3 with us on this trip (having lost or damaged the previous 2). We were able to travel fast. I switched the Go Pro to the helmet and got a lot better coverage. I was reluctant to put stickers on my $700 helmet, but I caved. We finished out short adventure and rolled into bluff.

Playing in the dirt, near Valley of the Gods, Utah.
New GoPro location.. on my head... what a dork.

Valley of the Gods

Michael had a grin a mile wide and said “Riding the road is a sacrifice that must be made in order to get to the dirt.”

Pavement is an necessary evil to reach the dirt...
We met up with Gene and Arlene for dinner at Two Rocks CafĂ©. After dinner, I searched town for fresh fruit to top off the snack bin – none to be had. What fruit Bluff had to offer was “growing” in the case.

Twin Rocks for dinner, Michael.

I have no idea what is going on here, but the car was parked next to us in the lot.. you figure it out.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Was That a Sock That Flew Off Your Motorcycle?

And we are off!

Gene and Arlene, Michael's parents, are accompanying us on part of our trip.
Me, packed and ready to go.
Michael packed and ready to go!
We pulled out of Grantsville headed over to Tooele and then turned south. Stopped for coffee at Vernon and then crossed over the hills into Eureka. Gene and Arlene were leading the way, and I was second, with Michael bringing up the rear.  All of a sudden, I see a black object fly out of the back of Gene’s bike. It looked like a glove, but it was so fast, I wasn’t sure. I pulled over as soon as I could and told Michael something flew off their bike (they are still moving forward, unaware). Michael circled back and glanced at the object and saw it was a sock; assuming that instead of flying off the bike they must have run over something in the road, and kicked it up. Not wanting to pick up a strange sock in the middle of the road, he opted to ignore it and we caught his parents later up the road.  Turns out it was Arlene’s sock. In a hurry to leave the house in the morning, she accidentally grabbed them off the dresser, thinking they were glove liners rolled up. When she got cold on the bike and realized they were socks, she was attempting to put them on anyway, when the wayward sock got away.

We rolled into Santaquin for lunch at The Family Tree. The temperatures were colder than Alaska and Michael was regretting not bringing his heated gear.
Santaquin stop for lunch.
My heated grips work on my BMW, so I was doing okay, but Michael blew out his grips a while back and has not corrected that. We rolled into Rocky Mountain ATV in Payson. Gene and Arlene added extra liners to their gear list (needed to replace the sock) and we were off to Salina, Utah. Just as we rolled into Salina, it started snowing. We pulled over and everyone put on another layer. I only had one layer to spare and we still needed to cross over an 8300 foot pass near Fish Lake. Brrrr.  Arlene’s eyes were getting bigger. Gene rolled with it.
Snow in the air outside Salina, Utah.
The ride went downhill from there (as the road went uphill). The temperature started dropping rapidly, and soon we were riding at 32 degrees. The roads were wet, and there was ice fog cascading across the road. I was leading, and dropped my speed to match conditions and elevations. By the time we crossed at the top we were down to 45 mph. I did not want to find the slick icy spot on the road. Snow was on the sides of the road.
Gene helping Arlene with more layers.

We rolled into Torrey, Utah. We went straight to the Torrey Schoolhouse B and B.  Arlene and Gene were shot. We got them inside and offered to go find food and bring it back to them. After calling around we all decided chicken soup and strawberry shortcakes would do the trick. Michael and I added schnapps to the menu. Not camping.. but close enough.
Arlene at the end of the day.. expressing how cold it was...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Overland Expo 2014

Adventure in the Desert – Overland Expo 2014
We are headed off to Overland Expo 2014. This is an adventure travel conference filled with courses and venders related to folks that like to travel off the beaten trail, generally by motorcycle, ATV or a well-suited vehicle. We have scheduled a few activities we are tackling leading up to our 5 year around the world motorcycle adventure, and this is just one of the events we will be attending. The event kicks off in the high desert near Flagstaff, AZ.
We flew into Utah and uncovered the BMWs. They were in desperate need of love and attention. My bike was riddled with power problems from the battery drain on a set of Tourtech off road lights. I needed new lights and a new battery. Michael’s needed minor maintenance. First order of business was equipment. We spent two days in Salt Lake City area rounding up the last of the gear and equipment.
We decided to bring our own alcohol (just simple schnapps to sip – perfect camping drink), rather than try to figure out which county we could by a bottle in on a Sunday in Utah. It was a very good idea to do this. We brought enough to get us to Arizona!
We asked Michael’s parents to join us for the ride – they area accompanying us to Torrey and Bluff, Utah – then down to Page, AZ. where we will split. Michael and I are planning on taking an off road detour through Valley of the Gods, while Gene and Arlene head to the hotel.
We have been concerned with the weather.