Ken's Story

2007 Mountain Tour - Ken’s Version

The quest is to ride together on our Indian Chief up the east side of the Rocky Mountains and down the west seeing all the sights possible along the way.

What Ken brought:

Equipment: Camera, phone, alarm key fob and chargers for all three; bike locks and keys, house keys and sun glasses.

Documents: Credit cards, drivers license, business cards, maps, registration, insurance card, medical cards.

Tools: Leatherman, screw driver kit, vise grips, adjustable open end, wire electrical and tie, tape, tie wraps, spark plug socket, socket set and ratchet, flashlight, baggies, rubber bands, hair ties, cleaner & rags.

Clothes:  Helmet, leather jacket, pants, and boots,  high tech sports underwear, shirts and socks four sets each, swim trucks, thin sneakers, one pair of jeans and a nice wrinkle-free shirt.

Ken's needs:  Allergy drugs, vitamin packs, tooth brush, paste, sunscreen, soap, shampoo, conditioner, razor, scissors, nail cutters & sunscreen.

The cycle of typical  a days ride

Our day starts with a shower and very carful re-bagging of all toiletries and tight rolling and rubber banding of all clothes.  Then we carefully insert every baggy and each rolled clothing item one-by-one into the saddlebags to use every bit of space, and with stacking that leaves the most often needed items on top.  Come night time, we will then have the next day's clothes on top.  I followed Fran's example by rolling one set of shorts and a pair of socks inside a shirt for each day.  On go the leathers and out we go to the motel breakfast nook for orange juice, coffee, a pastry and our vitamins.  This is the best time to memorize the map of the day's ride.  Now back to the room for a bathroom stop and our helmets.  Off to the office to check out.  Unchain the bike, spray and wipe the visors and mount up for our first gas stop of the day.  We put in about one hundred miles before we take a break, clean visors, and top off the gas again.  We don't have a gas gauge and stations don't appear when you need them, so topping off  is mandatory.  About this time we will decide on eating early or late depending on upcoming towns and our expected destination.  Then eat or not, more riding, another gas stop and  more visor bugs to clear away prior to our final destination.  We don't make motel reservations, giving us a chance to roll through town and size up our choices.  Location and is very important as once we get a room, our first goal is to strip off the riding gear and change into street clothes (our one set).  Now this means our new digs better be near a choice of diners.  We have had great luck with Best Western but you can save money by taking risks with more independant motels.

Physical reality

Riding all day requires a comfortable bike, full commitment and willingness to take what the road dishes out without whining.  We don't run a windshield and could only get away with it by wearing a helmet and leathers.  Yes we get hit by tons of bugs, occasional rocks (little fuckers hurt).  It turns out almost no one else will be found out in open company without at least a short windshield.  Our bike style is very simple; we don't have anything tech on it but the hidden alarm.  No tachometer, fuel gauge, GPS, stereo or intercom interrupt our old school look.  We cannot even talk to each other while we ride but is there really any reason to?  We both are in the same moment taking in the same sights and memories.  Generally we only have to follow two or three highways a day, so I just concentrate on how many miles I have on the gas tank, follow the road and take in the sights.  We did not hit much rain this trip but when it comes, the best course of action is to just put up with the discomfort, press on and be thankful all your skin is covered.  Rain at anything over 50 mph is quite painful and completely unacceptable, hitting you in the bare face for even a few miles.  

Day 1 – 6/23 Phoenix, AZ => Springerville, AZ

Started with coffee in the yard, watering the plants and closing up the house.   We pulled out at 7:10 and headed for Payson.  The day was warming up fast with an early summer sun rise and an expected 115˚ in Phoenix.  The temp seemed to drop as we turned north on Highway 87 up the “Beeline”.  Very calming moving out of the traffic and up in altitude and into open spaces.  Fran and I rode into Payson in one smooth unhurried flow.  We stopped for  breakfast in an all too traditional dinner for corned beef hash and eggs.  Headed east to Springerville on a quest for a resort we heard about.  Failing to find it, we asked a service station attendant and were directed to a resort near a ski lift; and so off we went some 25 miles to the mountain top, found it and booked a room, changed into out street clothes and went off to look for milkshakes.  The stairwell and room is swarming with flies and the structure is totally run down.  Well let,s see, here is the lounge – closed, the voices from upstairs sound promising, ah the restaurant with seated patrons.  Turns out to have just closed and will not open for 3 hours.  Well thats it for the main building, out to scout the rest of the grounds.  Oh look - trees, hills, lake, road, ski lifts a mile away and a boat rental hut and us, stuck at a mountain getaway with nothing to drink and eat but lake water and road kill.  As we were in the fog of dizzying dehydration and weak with hunger; we kindly stated that this resort did not meet out expectations and checked out.  25 miles back to Springerville and a room at “The Road Inn” right downtown.   It turns out to be hosting the Triumph Owners' Group with bikes called Sprints and Rockets, to name a few.  The whole gang fled away as we got there, on a quest for beer.   Then back they came to begin the drinking at the table directly in front of our motel room door.  Wow this is great bikers talking about bikes.  

Fran and I walked the streets and found a great coffee house and restaurant and had some iced coffee and kicked around the rest of main street before returning for a great rib dinner.

Day 2 – 6/24 Springerville, AZ => Santa Fe, NM

Today we Saddled and headed east for New Mexico.  Smooth sailing over rolling hills, through long empty plains and repeat.  Looking for gas ... eyes not seeing towns am seeing eyes BIG eyes.  More and more big eyes extending to the horizon.  It's the VLA, 21 – 25 meter dishes arranged in a Y configuration and linked to build one virtual radio telescope dish spanning 27 kilometers (see movie “Contact”).  We just happed to drive right through it.  So cool, it's right here in New Mexico and we did not even know it would be on our route.  So, of course, we stopped at the visitors center and took the tour.  It has antenna dishes, radios, waveguides, computers and fiber optics; I felt right at home.

Gas... found it at Magdalena and one restaurant in Socorro with really bad chili fries and a burger.  Riding  from  Socorro to Albuquerque, a Stater raced by, then the second races by, then slams on his brakes to cut in front of us and join the first one.   Seems they pulled over a blanket laying by the road.  The third Stater, inbound from the north, came in a little slower.  Now how does one do a homicide investigation on a blanket roll when no feet are sticking out of it?

Albuquerque is really too big, folks drive too aggressively.  We cooled down and checked the map at K-Mart, then went to see Old Town.  Got there, rode in, rode around, rode out.  The sidewalks and parking  were packed and it was also very hot so we bailed on the whole down town stop and headed east on 40 to Tijeras then North on 14 to Santa Fe.  We followed twisty roads past homes nestled in beautiful rocky hills and cool little art communities.  I pulled over into one so we could get a milkshake.  When we dismounted Fran asked if I knew where we were – uh no.  This is Madrid, the town “Wild Hogs” was filmed in.  This movie had just come out and we both enjoyed it.  How cool that we just rode in on it.  We walked around it and stopped for Frappachinos and watched the self proclaimed tough bikers trying to act tough on their pilgrimage to this hollowed ground, and all this while missing the point of the movie.  We love making fun of guys who think just because they can make the bike payments, everyone should give them the respect they have earned.  Give me a break, most of these guys can't even change their oil.  The rest of the ride to Santa Fe was great.  We settled on Hampton Inn, got in the room and watched the painters tape off the window.  O.K. closed the drapes and the painter left.  Now we cannot see the bike or anything else outside.  I went out, found the painters on a different part of the building and convinced them to come back and finish up.

Day 3 – 6-25-07 Santa Fe, NM => Buena Vista, CO

Santa Fe is such a nice town.  We ran all over the old part and wandered around the square.  The “Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi” is amazing.  The statues and monuments declare the good and righteousness nature of Catholicism.  One statue was dedicated to the fallen soldiers who gave their lives in wars against the savage Indians.  The word 'savage' was beaten out of the marble engraving but it seems clear that is what it originally said.  Now there is a whole row of jewelery traders along one side of the square and even an Indian museum.

We headed north on 285 and into Colorado.  We kept company with wide open spaces  and sparse communities.  We ate breakfast in Antonito, CO; good food and Beamer biker company.  This is the first time I a saw a blue tooth ear bud built into a helmet.  We left the valley and moved higher into the mountains (this may be the last time we will see landscapes below 6,000 feet until our last day).  These are the Rocky Mountains we came to see.  At our next gas stop in Salida, we saw rafting companies and white water rivers everywhere.   Smaller streams have beaver dams and all around there are 14,000' peaks.  The Indian had pulled us around all day on another great ride.

Day 4 – 6-26-07 Buena Vista, CO => Fort Collins, CO

We Canceled our trip from Buena Vista, CO to Colorado Springs, CO because Colorado is really spectacular and the original route went through large cities.  This was at my request as I thought Denver was what I thought of when I thought about Colorado.  Now that we are in it, I realized Denver is just another big city and the mountains are the real attraction.  We drove N on 24 to 91 N to 70 E to 40 N to 34 E to 25 N Loveland, CO.  This is routed us through the best mountain range of the whole trip.  Leadville is a city worth revisiting at about 10,000' with a impressive Molybdenum Mine located nearby at around 11,000'.  Working our way down the to I-70 reminds us why we have been staying off the freeways.  Everyone was driving hell bent to push through the traffic regardless of risk.  Along I-70 are designer ski resorts and whole retail town centers designed for money extraction.  During burger eating at a bar in Winter Park the rain came in.  We watched it start light and get fairly heavy with big fat drops.  I spent the next half hour looking at the sky hoping for a hole in the clouds.  This pointless task was brought to an end by Fran suggesting we try to ride out from under the cloud.  While risking a compete soak down, this turned out to be the right choice.  In just a few miles we were in the clear and air drying.  

We left I-70 and headed back up into the Rocky Mountain National Park.  Then back across the Great Divide, and this time on up to 12,000 feet.  Now we are in the cloud bank and it is sprinkling from time to time.  The real issues are the cold and visibility, though.  instead of grand vistas I am just trying to keep the bike 20' in front viewable.  The plan is if he goes over the edge we should stop following him real fast.  During the mandatory summit photo shoot, Fran would not move from the bike.  I snapped the photo got back on so we could ride down and thaw Fran, but not a half mile down, the roadway was blocked by a whole group of abandon vehicles.  The owners are standing by the road taking photos of some Elk.  From our freezing perspective this is the most irresponsible, self centered behavior possible.  Coming out of the clouds this was once again an amazing group of mountains, but at part speeds, it was quite late before we came out of the park to look for a place to stay the night.  We drove through Loveland, CO and did not see one motel.  No problem we will try the north-south highway, no joy, this town hates tourists.  We rode to Fort Collins and found four hotels all full.  The next exit with a logging sign worked.  

Day 5 – 6/27 Fort Collins, CO => Lusk, WY

We backtracked to a Harley store in the morning to look for rain gear and pick up a quart of oil.  The rain gear was too heavy weight to pack well, unavailable in my size and very expensive.  We ended up with oil and accepted the weather risks, as is.

Up the freeway through farming country and a lunch of shepherds pie at a mercantile in Meriden, WY.  We put up for the night at Lusk, WY and had the rest of the afternoon off.  We walked completely through Lusk, visited an old variety store and a spent quite a spell in a great little museum.  Along the same street we had a great pizza and beer.  We ended the day with laundry in the sink as usual.

Day 6 – 6/28 Lusk, WY => Deadwood, SD

Big Day with a lot of riding and see.  Rode up 85 to 18 E and into SD east to Hot Springs, SD.  Blowing bugs and the filth from the rain and road grime at the coin op pressure washer made me feel a whole lot better about the Indian.  North now on 385 then north on 87 through Custer State Park.  Grassy rolling grasslands and pine trees punctuated by buffalo, antelope and prairie dogs, all seeming to be living together and getting along.  None seem very concerned about the human element.  The people seem to be the dumb ones here.  Each animal gave the bigger ones a wide berth but the people seemed intent on petting them.  We rode through the park working our way to 16A.  This is the best way to ride up to Mt. Rushmore.  This is a fantastic park and the road gives tantalizing peeks along the way, riding on fresh oil and gravel the whole way.  At the summit of this road is a nice place to take Rushmore photos and photos of the “Dis-honest Indian”.  This is a Kawasaki cruiser fitted with Indian parts from JP Cycle and other themed items (see photos).  It looked real good and had me at first glance.  Rolling along the rest of the way to Mt. Rushmore, this road goes through a rock tunneled out to exit directly facing Mt. Rushmore.  We rode up to Rushmore, walked in, took photos and walked out.  I mean, really, even if you read all the signs, visit all the gift shops and sit to stare at it for an hour of meditation over it's meaning, it is in itself just a impressive rock carving that does not change.  Fran and I have  watched the TV specials on its creation previously, so we move on to our next destination.  Crazy Horse is not far away so we drive over and pay again to see this one.  Crazy Horse is an ambitious project that is only partly finished.  When (if) finished it will be very big and meaningful but I don't think funding for this one will come very fast.  We looked at the work so far, and models of the final work, walked through the visitors center and found we got routed into a long maze of vendors and exhibits designed to invoke a sense of personnel guilt for the sins of the past.  I do my part in calling attention to these types of behaviors in the present (Iraq – Outrageous and unproductive) and would rather focus on improving the future.  We settled up again to find shelter for the night in a turn of the century mining town, Deadwood (recall the HBO series, Wild Bill [Jim] and Calamity Jane).  We got a large room and took the trolley through town on a quest for food.  The Trolley driver recommends a restaurant.  The whole place seems to be a casino.  Asking, we the find the restaurant is on the second floor.  Looks nice enough but dinners are listed as $25 a plate and all they sell is slabs of meat.  No salads or pastas is a policy we shall see repeated often in Middle America.  We settled on ribs which turns out to have very little meat.  After dinner we took an interesting bus tour of Deadwood and learned a bit of history.  We carefully avoided the gun fights that these towns require to keep the tourists downtown and shopping.

Day 7 – 6/29 Deadwood, SD => Sturgis, SD = > Sheridan, WY

We had a Deadwood Best Western breakfast and following the Sheriff's advice, rode out of town on the horse we came in on.  Surely Sturgis would accept us!  Driving through Sturgis convinced us to make a U-turn and rode back out.  It must be the people that draw the crowds?  We headed West to see the Devils Tower in Wyoming.  The Devil's Tower turns out to be 860' high above her visitors shack.  Her place is not very inviting though it seems to be made of solid granite and has no doors.  We walked around it and took photos.  Off again. Headed for Sheridan, WY, I found myself getting too sleepy to ride so we took a nap at a rest stop along the way.  We found a large motel in Sheridan, WY.  The desk clerks were having quite a time with the guests of three weddings.  It seems everyone kept reserving and canceling rooms without talking to each other and the motel did not have enough space for all and did not keep track of who made the changes to account for the shortage.  The guests where really making a stink.  We wandered down main street and found a very good restaurant.  Afterward, and another block down, was a car show.  I was most intrigued with a dual turbo charged, injected and intercooled straight eight Buick.  We went through a furniture store with log furniture, what a bunch of crap.

Then there was this Rat infestation tearing up this restaurant in the movie Ratatoulle – Recommended.  My beard and long hair seen to scare folks around here.

Day 8 – 6/30 Sheridan, WY => West Yellowstone, MT

Sweet mountain roads with great curves and elevation changes, back down to boring plains and 25 mph towns.  Every other main street is closed for forth of July parades or street maintenance.  One stop for coffee and another for ice cream and the usual gas stops.  Lost my sunglasses again this time I searched the all over the store and gas pumps before finding them on my third trip through my jacket in  a rarely used pocket.  Off onto “Hwy 14 Alt” through the the mountains.  All was going well until we hit the “Loose gravel for next 7 miles” sign, they had the whole road torn up.  We made up the mountain through all the dirt fine.  This whole forest, ridge after ridge, was burned by the Yellowstone fire.  We got into the park proper and saw some really huge bison, a moose and an eagles nest.

The Dragons Breath Fumarole growls with a deep threating huffing and belching and the puking; oh man.  Can I get one in my yard?  I also enjoyed the stinky, boiling and spitting mud pits.  

We made it to West Yellowstone in Montana for the night.  We must have tried 6 motels prior to finding a vacancy.  After getting in to our room and changed into our street clothes, we tried for a meal.  After a number of blocks we ended up in a, newly built, rustic dinner and I had roast beef.  This was a very mediocre place so we declined desert.  We left walking down a different street and found a group of upscale stores.  Some days you pick the wrong street first.  Browsed the souvenir shops and sat down in the book store for excellent coffee and pastries.

Day 9 – 7/1 West Yellowstone, MT => Hoback Jct., WY

Fat filled Montana breakfast with a bus load of traveling seniors; hits the spot but causes acid reflux.  Fuel and face shield cleaning and it's off to explore the best park in the United States – Yellowstone – WOW!  Rode into the park north at 7000' to one streaming geyser after another.  The first “Monument Geyser Basin”.  This is a series of bubbling pools streaming under and steaming over and through the bridge railings.  cold mornings seem the best time to go a geyser-hunting.  “The “Artist Paint Pot” is a bubbling mud bath.  Later, Up through the trees, plumes of steam rise out of the forest.  We found the source at “Norris Geyser Basin”.  Strangely, so had others.  Who else had bribed the ranger station for the secret map?   Seems there is a whole valley of steam vents, bubbling pools, geysers draining over terrace with alluvial plains of multicolored mold mats fed by sulfur dioxide, colored with iron.  We also got to see a small geyser blow a couple of times.  An adjacent area was completely dormant along the length of the board walk.  It seems as fast as the walks are built, the underground trolls move the piping.

Roaring Mountain is a whole hillside of vents puking sulfuric acid into the river.  Mammoth Hot Springs is a series of bubbling pools whose run off, hardens into ridges, sealing off leaks, leaving the foul water to cascade informally down the whole face to the next level.  Each level's terrace adds to the one below ending in a whole hill waterfall.  At the bottom there is this bottom fed stalagtite, thing, that looks like a head.  Seems to have a oozing lesion of earth puss erupting out of it head, creating dreadlocks of hair eroding into facial features.  Nearby the elk have taken over the administrative building grounds and are eating it.  Well, the grass and shrubs anyway.  Some are now eying the park ranger lunches.  Time to pee...  Damn the public loo is full, lines and others circling looking for parking.  It is a pain in the groin to visit Yellowstone on the weekend.  We completed the west side of the main northern loop of the park and the east side has a less points of interest marked on the map.  So the plan is run down the east half of the loop, back across the park and down the western side to the south end of the Park.  This part of the journey, while gorgeous was very slow.  The other visitors are bent on stopping every mile in the middle of the street to gawk at and photograph the wildlife.  These people's unwillingness to park off the road are denying us our right to leave the park for the night.  When they're not parked, the legal beagles stay right at the park's posted speed limit of 45 mph.  These altitudes put the Indian at a speed too low for 4th gear, no power, and too high to run comfortably in third.  The Chief prefers the open highway and all other gears are there.  

We made it to Midway Geyser Basin.  This is a very large and colorful pair of ponds with deep blue pools and great slippery plains of bright red, brown and orange connecting them to the surrounding hills and river.  There are so many things to see you'll just have to see for your self – SEE THE PHOTOS.  Old faithful is still working, but what a tourist trap!  As it happed, we got there about twenty minutes before the show.  It went off in the usual way by making the sound of cameras going off.  Then it is off to the races to get back to the parking lot ahead of the herd to save a few hours of traffic jam leaving. 

After more endless delays, we are finally out of the park but a long way from the next town and its attendant motels.  We passed by a couple of really huge natural lakes on our way out of the Park to the the Grand Tetons.  This starts another long ride past the Tetons and on to Jackson Hole, WY.  Seems folks get caught in the hole and cannot get out.  Side walks everywhere but no place to walk as all surfaces are already covered with the shoes of tourists. After unmounting and and going into a number of motels it was clear all the beds are also covered with suit cases.  Turned out into the night, we looked for a humble stable to have the baby in the straw.  Failing that, we hopped on the trusty Chief and pressed on to the next town.  It is a good thing Fran is attentive; I just rode by an intersection on to the wrong road.  We turned around found the six buildings near the intersection were the next town.  Look!  Under the forest canopy – it's Shangri-La.  We walked up to the temple desk and were given the key to our roomy corner of paradise overlooking the river and the view of a steel lattice bridge.  The man at the desk gave us a couple of tickets for drinks at the local watering hole and steak house.  We had an interesting meal but were unable to get drinks from the forgetful waitress; I had walk up to the bartender to get them.  Afterward, Fran and I sat out on the deck under the Pine trees and wrote these notes before turning in.  

Day 10 - 7/3  Hoback Jct., WY => Heber City, UT.

Time to make tracks south.  Staying in the mountains along I 89 S, we rode through one small town after another.  The route dipped into Idaho where we missed a turn at Geneva, ID going south and ended up running around the west side of Bear lake.  This put us not only miles out of our way but smack dab in the middle of super fishing, boating and jet ski land; i.e. traffic.  We got back on track and down to Evenstan, WY (we have been in and out of Wyoming 4 times now).  Choosing between freeway and mountain roads, we found a mountain park and pass. Hwy 150 S. brought us through yet another big great mountain and kept us out of Salt Lake City.  Finally we worked our way to Heber City and found a Holiday Inn with a jacuzzi for $109 next to Claim Jumpers.  Claim Jumpers.  Right.  Looked closed, went in, were seated at a table with empty wine bottles on it.  The bottle labels turn out to be the menus.  Wow, we get to pick from all of eight items, all beef.  I asked about salad and were offered a dinner salad.  Fran asked about pasta and was offered spaghetti and marinara sauce.  Talk about being tricked – this place could never fullfill our expectations.  We left and had cheap Mexican.  

Day 11 – 7/3 Heber City, UT => Torrey, UT

We drove through a number of cites preparing for their July Forth parades.  Geography took us through Provo Utah then back through more road construction, dirt roads and mountains.  Today we returned to the Southern Deserts.  After a good hard ride through open country.  We ended in Torrey Utah and found a nice room with other bikers to talk to.   There were two BMW's and a Triumph along with about 5 oh-so expensive and reworked Harley's.  The difference in attitudes and life style is huge.  We watched the complete disdain between camps, no words or glances would be exchanged.  The “Bikers” living big, king of the hill and live-for-today attitude.  While the “Motorcyclists” were, are, completely unimpressed.  Their bikes and riding clothes are more sophisticated and practical.  They do not have a chip on their shoulder but also do not seem to be having as much fun due to the lack of vibrato and booze.  But I suspect their credit rating is higher.  With with the Indian we seem welcome at both camps while being completely independent, by choice.  We had so many requests to tell our story and be photographed by people who did not own bikes, so our style must be unique.  We took our customary walk through town visiting a couple of shops and had burgers, onion rings and milkshakes.  Afterward, I did some laundry at the coin-op which of course gave me the opportunity to inspect bikes and commune with the other riders.

Day 12 - 7/4 Torrey, UT => Kanab, UT

Epoch ride

After coffee and scones with two pleasant motorcyclists we rode out, the wrong way, but this short side trip was a beautiful ride under red rock mesas.  This time we both recognized the road running in the wrong direction and swung around to look at the rock walls from new angles.  Farms, forests and small towns led us along into magnificent deserts with more mesas, red and pink rock, balancing rocks and entire red walled vistas.  I spotted the guys we had coffee with in a small town and we rode out together.  We followed them through Escalante State Park (The Devils Backbone).  This bit of road really capped this long ride for me.  Initially, we ran out along an ever narrowing ridge line that concluded with the road edge dropping straight down the cliff face on both sides to views of both valleys.  We stopped, took a few photos and plunged down into the fray with the Triumph 900 taking the lead and the 1050 Boxer BMW ahead of us.  These bikes are much better suited to hard mountain riding then the old school Indian cruiser and these riders are smooth and capable.  The Indian is very good bike at cruiser speeds (think John Deer) but does not have a very powerful brake; and together, the bike, us and the luggage comes in at 1200 lbs.  This may be the greatest bike road I have ever been on.  The road drops away hard and fast corkscrewing around in a roller coaster between a bizarre forest of rock pillars capped with balancing boulders above, and rocks piled at the valley bottom, awaiting mistakes.  These guys are having fun and I am working hard to carve lines through stone walls to keep momentum without grinding the floor boards.  Surprisingly, Fran and I were able to keep right with them, although I'm sure they could have left us if they really wanted to make a point of it.  We made a great showing without pushing past all our safety margins or dragging the boards.  Fran's comment afterward was simply “MEN”.

Bryce Canyon is a huge and impressive part of America.  The park has roads along the rim with pull-offs to gasp at immense valleys, red pillars supporting balancing rocks and even natural rock arches.   Big tourest attraction, but Fran and I feel it would have been more dramatic if viewed from below.  The panoramas are too vast to be photographed with the average camera lens.  At one lookout, two ravens stalwartly perched on the rock fence posts awaiting food and would not be put off by kids or the bus load of tourists lining up to have their photos taken with the birds.  We ate at Bryce and rode onto Kanab.  We found a great old time styled hotel; big stylish room with jacuzzi and fireplace.  We walked through town to get ice cream just to find out the rest of the town was closed for the fourth of July.  Even the speed trap was manned by a plastic mannequin.  We ended up getting squishies at a gas station.

Day 13 – 7/5   Kanab, UT => Pheonix, AZ

After on hour of trying to figure out how to shower in the luxury jacuzzi, we got dressed and went down for our home style breakfast.  Quite disorderly; it seems everyone filled out their request slip to have breakfast at the same time 7:00 which is the first available slot.  Most travelers like to get started early in the day, you know.  We did, however have a lot of fun talking to the other guests around the table.  The secondary highways are really the only way to see America.  Originally set down to link people who put roots down in the best places that could be found, they wind around to every place of interest.  The freeways are built later to run through the most uninhabited places to side step land ownership disputes and provide a direct route between the largest cities; yuk.  We rode through the/a painted desert all through the rest of Utah on 89 and above the vermilion cliffs before dropping down along, but not up to the Grand Canyon.  We did that one last trip, coming out of Oregon.  We made a gas stop in Flagstaff and going around and around the construction zones ended up on I-17 Southbound without ever really going into Flagstaff proper.  By the time I figured out that we had bypassed our intended stop for the night and we were on our way South, we just decided to push on home, combining two days journey into one.  Dropping from one elevation to the next, the heat jumped in huge steps.  By the time we got to the Phoenix valley floor it was 112º F.  The traffic kept building until the last 15 miles where it ended up just crawling into town.  It would not be so bad with air conditioning, but on a motorcycle wrapped in leathers and a helmet, while sitting on an over-heated gas stove, it is a bit of a bother staying out of shock, and such.  We got out of traffic as fast as possible by turning into Claim Jumpers, the real one this time, and had our often missed, good meal.  After a half a dozen glasses of water and wine, I was hydrated enough to continue home.  It is very good to be home.  By the time we where heading south through Utah, thoughts of home started to grow stronger.  This turned out to be a great ride throughout.  We did not have any real problems with weather, the motorcycle, traffic or carrying out Fran's ambitious trip plan.  I had really good time.  Thank You for sharing our trip with us through our little stories.

Be a biker not a follower

Want to really have fun?  Don't just buy the kind of bike everyone else buys.  take a couple of months and pick one that is special to you and fits all the uses you have in mind.  Too many people throw down their money on a custom thinking they're going to ride to Sturgis, only to find it's way too uncomfortable to go to the next town.  Then, taking your bike for a ride means putting it on a truck.  We bought a bike we could live with over the long road.  No one plans our ride for us.  We don't ride in a pack (support group) our clothes aren't in the van following us.  Group rides lead to group crashes.  We can stop whenever we want and don't have to wear someone else's colors or support a club house.  Independence comes at the cost of being responsible for our own actions. 

Copyright Ken adkison