I went on a Fall tour from Colorado through Utah and Nevada over Tioga Pass to Yosemite, and then to the Corbin Factory for a custom seat. Down the coast to Pasadena for a couple days, then back across through Vegas, Zion, Lake Powell, and Mesa Verde. I'm sort of working backwards, so these are from the last couple of days of my trip...
On Saturday, Oct. 15th, I came across the Mojave from Pasadena, zipped through Vegas where I stopped for gas and some killer Panang Curry at a Thai Restaurant I just lucked out finding. I continued through St. George, Utah, and left I-15 at Hurricane.
Oct, 2006- I was in Hurricane Wilma..
Oct, 2011- I was in Hurricane, UT. It was 96*
Headed to the South Entrance of Zion Natl. Park. Two big surprises- you can't drive into the inner canyon anymore, tour buses only, and the campground was already full. I wasn't about to leave the bike to take the tour (I've been there probably 5-6 times before), so I headed on through the park.
It's a great drive- turny, excellent surface, tunnels, and scenery galore. It wasn't too crowded, surprisingly, Saturday evening.
I had to figure out where to camp, so I took the first left outside the park boundary, and headed up the road towards Escalante canyon. I found a spot I could leave the road and poached a campsite in some juniper/pinon trees. Turned out to be a really nice spot, but the dirt was really soft and loose, making it tricky getting the bike in. Went to sleep to the sound of coyotes yipping not too far away.
Woke up a year older- Sunday was my birthday. fifty-frickin-six.
Got out pretty early and headed for Lake Powell and Page, AZ.
Stopped at the Visitors Center at Glen Canyon Dam and met this fellow:
Left Page and headed for the 4 corners region. I won't bore you with pics of me sitting in all four states. :P
Had my birthday dinner at a reasonable Chinese restaurant in Cortez, and then headed for Mesa Verde National Park about 8:30 pm. Next surprise... the campground was closed! It had been open that day.... So I drove back to the park entrance and poached another campsite near the residence of the park superintendent. Got up and out early and caught first light on the entrance to the park:
It was chilly, but not too bad. Probably about 38-40. I went to the museum, tried to get coffee, but the cafe didn't open until 10am! Off-season. Brewed some coffee in the parking lot, and then headed off to take the Cliff Palace tour.
Home to the Anasazi Indians about 800 years ago. Anasazi means "enemy". When the Spaniards asked the Pueblo Indians back in the 1500s who lived in the dwellings, they said- "the enemy". Climate change, overuse of resources, reduction of habitat, and fear/competition drove them out back in the 1200s sometime. Hmmm.... why does that seem so familiar???? The modern-day Pueblans and Hopi, and some Ute and Navajo are descended from the "Anasazi".
The drive out of the park kept offering photo opps-
Fall was in full stride in this part of the country... it was pretty ****ing awesome!
So, back to Cortez, lunch at a micro-brewery- great red ale, green-chile avocado angus burger, and a hot blonde waitress half my age.
Headed for home- 280 miles away. Went over Lizard Head Pass to Telluride, then through Montrose and Delta, then through Hotchkiss and Paonia and over McClure Pass, which is one of the best motorcycle roads in Colorado. It was chilly, even with the heated liner! Got back home just after dark. Here's the Lizard Head Pass/Trout Lake photo-
Pretty great trip- almost 2800 miles in 8 riding days... through what I consider some of the best scenery in the west!