2010 Road Trip – Day 17

The last day of the ride. I’m definitely ready to be home but part of me wants to keep going… The ride was a little windy, a little warm, but completely issue free. The o-ring replacement in Santa Fe seems to have worked. The oil leak is gone, so that’s good. I rolled in to the driveway at around 5:00 PM.

17 days
5,892 miles
2 countries
13 states
3 provinces

Pictures and an epilogue to follow…

2010 Road Trip – Day 16

I got up early and went out to work on the bike’s oil fill cap leak issue. After removing the plastic insert that goes in the head it was immediately apparent what the problem was. The o-ring was shot, flattened out on the side against the plastic insert, allowing grit in and oil out. I replaced it and then got cleaned up, packed the bike, and headed for Lubbock. The ride went well, up until I got just past Clovis, NM. The skies opened up with a classic high plains thunderstorm. I managed to skirt most of it, just catching the trailing end of the first cell and watching the other one move up as I went by. I rolled in to Jason and Vic’s place and had a blast catching back up with them.

Tomorrow, home…

2010 Road Trip – Day 15

Definitely on the homeward leg now. I checked the tire pressure (perfect) and oil level (a little low), got breakfast, and started down the road to Santa Fe. The ride was pretty uneventful, taking me through southern Utah, the southwest corner of Colorado, and finally New Mexico. I crossed the continental divide on US-84 in New Mexico but didn’t stop to take a picture as I noticed the sign as I rode by. My first stop on arriving in Santa Fe was the local BMW dealer to pick up replacement o-rings for my oil filler cap. It’s been leaking since Seattle, nothing serious, just annoying. After that I checked in at the hotel and unloaded the bike, then walked down to Horseman’s Haven for dinner. The green chile was as tasty and hot as I remembered, nicely scorching my face. I’ll be back for breakfast for sure!

2010 Road Trip – Day 14

After a good night’s sleep I got up, packed the camera gear, and grabbed some breakfast before going over to Arches National Park for a day of hiking and photography. The park is beautiful, a feast for the eyes, and just a real pleasure to be in. I managed to get to most of the points of interest that I’d planned on before the heat started beating me down. At that point I was guzzling Gatorade from the backpack and choosing not to hike except for important-to-me sights. I got to see the North and South Windows, Balancing Rock, Turret Arch, Delicate Arch, and a lot more. This is somewhere I’ll be coming back to when the weather’s a little cooler and I’ve got better hiking gear. Traipsing around on sandstone ledges in motorcycle boots is really not the best of ideas.

When I’d ridden all of the roads in the park, I started back for the hotel, stopping off to mail a post card to Reese and fill the bike’s tank. After cooling down and doing some school work, I made my way back over to The Moab Brewery for a burger and some more excellent beers.

Tomorrow, Santa Fe…

2010 Road Trip – Day 13

Today was originally supposed to be a shorter day, but I added in a stop at Natural Bridges National Monument which brought my route up to about 400 miles.

It was well worth it, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The first planned stop was at Capitol Reef National Park, and while on the way there I hit a new trip-altitude record of 8,385 feet. Capitol Reef was beautiful, with many stunning views of weathered mesas, cliffs, buttes, etc. composed of red, grey, yellow, and white rock. The ride through the park was great, and I stopped in many places to take pictures.

From there I rode over to Natural Bridges, but passed through Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on the way there. It was, also, amazing. Words, especially ones from someone who is not a writer, don’t do it justice. The roads, winding through canyons of red rock, are amazing motorcycling roads. I hadn’t planned on seeing this and am definitely glad I had the opportunity.

After leaving Glen Canyon behind I pulled in to Natural Bridges and rode around the park, snapping pictures of the rock formations as I went. I didn’t get to hike down to any of the lower viewing areas because, frankly, I didn’t trust my footing in motorcycle boots. I’m sure the views were incredible, and I’ll be back to do this again with better walking gear, but for now pictures from the overlooks had to do.

I rolled out of the park heading for Moab, UT, tonight’s destination. I’ve planned some time to really go though Arches tomorrow so I needed to press on tonight. The ride to Moab was even better, because even though I was out of the parks the scenery was still a feast for the eyes.

I arrived in Moab, got my hotel room for the next couple nights, and went over to The Moab Brewery for dinner and some very tasty, if low alcohol, brews.

Tomorrow, Arches…

2010 Road Trip – Day 12

It was a good thing that I stopped in Fernley last night. I re-read the Loneliest Road challenge rules and it turns out I needed to get a stamp from there. So I went down to the chamber of commerce’s office, picked up my survival guide, and got it stamped. They also gave me an audio tour on CD, but unfortunately between the netbook and the bike I don’t have anything that can read it.

I topped off the tank, not taking any chances, and rolled on down US-50 to Fallon. In Fallon I found the local UPS store and shipped my camping gear back. That removed a nice bit of weight from the bike! The UPS store stamped my survival guide for Fallon. Another splash of fuel, a refill of the hydration backpack, and I’m on the road for Austin.

This leg was where the signs of civilization started to disappear. Even the power lines weren’t there for part of it. It was really peaceful being the only human around for miles. But it had to end, and I arrived in Austin where I topped the tank off and got that stamp added to my growing collection. I also grabbed a bite to eat there as well.

With tank and belly full, I pressed on to Eureka. I think this was the toughest part of the ride, because between the full puppy syndrome and the monotonous riding, it was tough to stay awake. I managed though and once in Eureka I got some more fuel, another stamp for the guide, and some much appreciated caffeine.

Leaving Eureka I was on the way to Ely, the last of the five big towns on that stretch of US-50. The ride was a lot more interesting, with more twists and turns and more varied scenery than before. I made it in to Ely with no issues, got my guide stamped, topped the tank off, and pointed the bike towards Utah.

I got to my chosen stopping point, Delta, UT, a little later than I would have liked, but there was a room available so it’s all good. With the bike unloaded and my check-in phone calls done, I grabbed a bite to eat and then turned in. Tomorrow should be a fun day’s riding…

2010 Road Trip – Day 11

Red, Morgan, and I fired the bikes up and made our way to Crater Lake National Park. It was a chilly morning, especially on top of the volcano, but the views were spectacular! We stopped at a few of the overlooks, took pictures, and admired the scenery, and shopped at the information center. Red was having some trouble with her brakes so she and Jon headed down to Livermore while I continued on over to Nevada. We split up in Klamath Falls, OR, just before lunch. I was sorry to see them go, but wonky brakes are not to be taken lightly.

From there I trekked across Oregon and the top of California on various state highways and US routes before ending up on I-80 in Reno. Once in to California the weather warmed up enough that I could take off the jacket liner, in fact I had to because it was getting uncomfortable to keep it on.

After getting through Reno I got off the interstate and called it a night in Fernley, NV. It’s pretty close to the start of the section of US-50 known as The Loneliest Road in America. I’ll be riding that tomorrow, on my way to Delta, UT.

2010 Road Trip – Day 10

I got the last of the camping gear and clothes packed away, said my goodbyes, and headed for Tacoma to meet up with a friend I haven’t seen since I left Rhode Island. The ride back over the Tacoma Narrows bridge was chilly but it was worth it. I got over to Marcia’s Silver Spoon Cafe a little later than I’d planned, but Don stuck around. It was good catching up with him after all that time.

After breakfast I headed south on I-5 down through Washington and in to Oregon. Just south of Eugene I got on OR-58 and headed for the first gas station I saw to top the tank off and walk around for a few. When I pulled in I was right behind Red and Jon Morgan, who I’d planned to meet up with in Chemult. We rode the rest of the way down together, through a couple National Forests, on a very nice winding road. The weather’s gotten chilly again, and once we checked in to the motel we found out that there might be frost tonight. Dinner has been eaten and we’re off to sleep. Tomorrow should see Jon peeling off to get back to California while Red and I continue on in to Nevada…

2010 Road Trip – Day 9

Nothing much to report today. It was a definite down day, no riding period, just hanging out with a bunch of good friends. We had some fantastic prime rib for dinner, lots of coldbeers and other beverages, and more great conversations. I turned in a little earlier than most because I’ve got to get an early start tomorrow to meet a high school friend I haven’t seen in almost 18 years…

2010 Road Trip – Day 8

The last day in Canada saw me heading down 5A from Kamloops. It’s a really nice road, with lots of twisties to keep you interested. After a little play time I got back on 5, going southwest towards Vancouver. More chilly weather in the mountains and lots of turns and elevation changes as I made my way to the border. The wait to get to the border crossing in Sumas, WA was longer than I’d expected and I had to turn the bike off a few times to keep it from overheating while I waited my turn. This crossing was a lot easier than the last one, and once back in the US I headed for Seattle. Traffic was a bear, but I made it through to the Tacoma Narrows bridge and ultimately to the island for the weekend party.

The tent is pitched, the beer is cold, and I’m going to be enjoying a relaxing weekend before heading for home.