Thursday, 30 June 2011

Ogden to Logan

Wed 29th June

When Bob was loading his bike this morning I realised why he had wanted to jettison his camping gear.

Check out the lovely colour co-ordinated cool bag that has been attached to his rear rack………..

…… keep his beer cool…………. that’s style.

Our ride was to Bear Lake and Garden City via Highway’s 39 & 16. A scenic route but not as spectacular as we‘ve seen recently. As we crossed the mountains we were at 9000 ft and up in the snow again, probably for the last time for a while

Strong winds and rain greeted us at Bear Lake so we decided not to stop and carried on to Logan instead.

Even most of the budget notels over here have swimming pools & spas and we've been making good use of them after hot days on the bike.

........... I suspect we won't be having such luxuries once we get down into Central and South America.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Lehi to Ogden

Mon 27th & Tues 28th June

Our plan if there is such a thing is to continue north in the mountains and ride around the top of Great Salt Lake, then come south again through the salt flats to the Bonneville Speedway Site, the location of all those land speed record attempts, before heading west to San Francisco.

Today’s leg was to get up into the mountains to the west of the lake and ride some minor roads and gravel tracks

At Midway we stopped off at the War Memorial on the top of Memorial Hill. There were great views but it was the patterns in the fields that caught the attention..........

Crop circles American style.

The sculpture at the memorial, of boots, helmet, rifle and dog tag was quite poignant.

Heading into the mountains

We found the snowline again (around 9000 ft). It was over 90 degrees at the bottom but a lot more comfortable up here. The snow should have been gone a month or more ago but apparently it has been a particularly long and hard winter with two or three times the normal annual snowfall.

Some more dirt roads on route to Morgan where we had hoped to find a bed for the night, however, there were no motels or anything else for that matter, so we continued down the Interstate to Ogden.

We decided to stay a second night here at Ogden to catch up on some housekeeping, ie washing, shopping and fiddling with the bikes and a bit of time in the hot tub and pool.

We’ve been travelling nearly eight weeks now and I thought Bob had lost the plot when I saw him pulling faces and clapping at the computer. Men in white coats came to mind.......

........until I saw Emelia, his grand daughter on screen, so I didn't make the phone call...... I see she's practising grand dads eating habits already!!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Salina to Lehi

Sunday 26th June

Our plan was to continue heading North today on Highway 89 but it didn’t quite work out that way. At least not at first. The grand old Duke of York (Bob) marched his man 10 miles down the freeway and then marched him back again. Thirty minutes after leaving the hotel we rode straight passed it again, this time going the other way. Sat Nav gets blamed for a lot these days!!

They spend a fortune customising their bikes & cars over here!!

It was still very hot but we soon started heading into the hills.

I suppose we couldn’t ride through Utah the home of the Mormon faith without visiting their spiritual home at Manti. The temple was built in 1877 but looks like it was completed yesterday. The rest of the city was equally immaculate.

The reason we came North, Trees, mountains still with snow on and a lot, lot cooler.

Using a gravel road rather than the freeway.

Bob’s credit card was declined at the motel again....

Lehi is at the northern end of Utah Lake a short distance from Salt Lake City.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Tropic to Salina

Sat 25th June

Last evening we decided to ride into Bryce Canyon, hoping to get some good pictures in the evening light.
Everyone says that Bryce Canyon is the best but both Bob and I were a little disappointed. Maybe it's because we have been in canyon land for a few days now and been in the wild and woolly bits.....
....Bryce is a bit like the Grand Canyon. It's somewhat sanitised and a little too organised.

For those fed up with pictures of rocks.

We didn't manage all the viewpoints last night and I suspect we missed the best. Our intention was to go back into the park this morning but we were up half the night (alarms on the bikes kept going off).

There was also work to do (Bob's headstock bearings loose again. My left fork leg loose and throttle cables out of adjustment). It was gone 11am before we were ready and decided to give Bryce a miss.
We decided to ride North to Salt Lake City then across to San Francisco, rather than West, leaving Death Valley & Yosemite til later (getting up into the mountains to some cooler air and a change of scenery were the deciding factors).........
Red Canyon

So it was west along Highway 12, through Red Canyon before turning North up Highway 89. At Panguitch the annual balloon festival was taking place. The Hot Air Balloons had all gone long before we arrived (so no photos). Lunch was an ice cream and a chat........

....... with the local Highway patrol. They were reluctant to let me take it for a spin (shame).

One of the big pluses of travelling is the people you meet in the most unlikely of places. At Koosharem we stopped for a drink and met a guy (Shane Bartholomew) who insisted on paying (thanks Shane). He's a keen off road motorcyclist who's off-roaded in the Copper Canyon a number of times and like Craig ridden the Baja race (Do you know him Craig?).

The lack of sleep last night finally took its toll.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Hanksville to Tropic

Fri 24th June

Eating establishments in Hanksville were in short supply. In fact Stan’s Burger Shack was it, so providing you wanted something fried in a bun with chips you were ok. Unfortunately our complimentary breakfast was there too and the menu was much the same. Although tough to turn down a free breakfast neither of us could face it, so we rode 50 miles to Torrey and bought one instead.

Bob was up at 6.15am this morning, wanting to be on the road before the heat got too much and very reluctantly I dragged myself out of bed too as I didn't relish the thought of riding in a furnace either.

A little dirt road riding to wake us up

It wasn't long before the temperatures started to rise to uncomfortable levels. Shirt sleeves or mesh jackets are the order of the day here and I can see myself investing in one once we get to a decent sized town. Less than a fortnight ago I was complaining of the cold!!!

Our route to Torrey along Highway 24 provided some interesting pictures with.......

strange shaped rocks.......

....and big boulders (The Twin Boys)

After Torrey we took highway 12 up into the hills to some very welcome cooler temperatures......

grass and the smell of the trees was a novelty after the desert conditions of the past few days, so we stopped to savour it for a while........

It was short lived though as we dropped down the other side of the mountains. We had been to over 9000 feet and even a few pockets of snow were hanging on up there.

We stopped at Escalante for an extended lunch to sort out a few admin issues and caught up with our nearest and dearest on Skype whilst still a reasonable time in the UK.

After a pretty much uneventful day on the road, we stopped for the night a little distance from Bryce Canyon at a place called Tropic.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Bluff to Hanksville

Thur 23rd June

An ignominious end to the Honda’s trip as it was loaded onto the pick-up. We said our goodbyes to Craig and Linda as they set off for home.

Seems odd now that we are back to two. I asked Bob how long he thought Craig had been with us. He said five weeks. In fact it has only been three. Amazing how time has slowed because we are doing so much.

Our plan was to start heading west on Highway 95 with the intention of eventually getting to Bryce Canyon in a day or two. First stop was The Natural Bridges National Monument.

Owachomo Arch

Not in the same league as the Arches National Park but as we had bought an annual pass to get into all the National Parks and Monuments, we’re making sure we get our money's worth. (for anyone interested an annual pass cost 80 dollars and covers two motorcycles. It costs 20 dollars each for a day pass to enter Yellowstone).

Although the scenery was stunning as we rode through the canyons, we became reluctant to stop as the temperatures rose above 100 degrees.

Glen Canyon

The Colorado River didn't provide any respite from the heat. Strange how snow and ice suddenly seem appealing.

Should have used the gorilla pod rather than another tourist, it wouldn't have cut our feet off.

By the time we had got to Hanksville, both of us were suffering. We stopped for the day to take refuge in an air conditioned room............Heaven

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Bluff (Boys fun day)

Wed 22nd June

We found a little oasis here in the Recapture Lodge and just across the road is the San Juan River Kitchen which served up some of the best food we have had so far on this trip. Breakfast was memorable too at the Coffee House just up the road. All three are worth checking out if you come this way.

We will miss Craig's company but we found a replacement until Terry can join us.……..

Today was ‘boys having fun day‘. Most of it spent riding dirt and gravel roads.

We started by riding the dirt road along the Valley of the Gods. Better than Monument Valley as far as we were concerned........

.......we got a lot closer to the rock formations and the road was so much more fun to ride

A few more shots to make the motorcyclists amongst you jealous

The Valley of the God's road was about 20 miles long, full of twists and turns..........

.........and some great inclines

At the end we started climbing to the top of the plateau........

........ and then onto another dirt track to Muley Point.

...........Oops. Bob found a bit of sand and was awarded 9 out of 10 for artistic impression. The only damage was to the nearside crash bar but a size 10 boot soon sorted that out.

The view at Muley Point was stupendous (probably the best to date).

Temperatures today were up in the high 90’s and by the time we got back, we were sweaty heaps in need of cooling down......

.......the answer was just across the motel parking lot.

Linda arrived in the pick up, after having been driving for 12 hours, to transport Craig and his bike back to California. We went across the road for our last night (for a while) dinner. The fifth person is the waitress who wanted in on the picture too.

An update on Bob's bike: He stripped out the immobiliser that he had fitted and connected an additional earth and touching wood it's behaved itself since.