Just when I thought I’d got away with it, Bec asked me to write another……..here goes...
Tuesday 25th Oct
Left a quaint town called South Fork. It was getting bloody cold by this time so setting off in negative temperatures was becoming the norm.
We trundled on through Colorado scenery that literally took our breath away at every turn from snowy mountain passes to jaw dropping valley and plains vistas.
Also we could now listen to music without the continual clatter of worn out chains in the background... bonus!
We had a great choice of corners to carve up through out, but Becs tyre was squaring off and wearing out quite rapidly (another change and in fairly short order was required).
We ended up in Utah, in what can only be described as a town out of a Clint Eastwood Western film called Bluff (no club there sadly though before you Ngakuru readers ask).
It had its own open air museum set up, complete with buildings and associated bits and bobs to which we were educated on by a chap in all the cowboy regalia and charming mid western drawl with how the town came about.
Deep breath… this is the compact version!
Mormon settlers set off to find and settle new lands but hadn’t taken into account the ruggedness of the land they were navigating, even their forward scouts buggered off after thinking they were on a hiding to nothing, but as is the way of that pioneering spirit they prevailed. They even channelled out a 6ft gap between two hills of solid rock which I wouldn’t even try to get down with a rope let alone go down with a team of horses and wagons!!
It took them so much longer than they planned that they even resorted to making bread out of the horse feed!
There were the usual deaths from disease with up to 90% mortality in some families mainly through Cholera (how lucky are we today with modern medicine). They ended up setting up shop next to the river and had no dramas with the Navajo Indians and had quite good trade with them.
That evening we stayed in a Mexican themed hotel that looked out onto the Twin Rocks.
Wednesday 26th Oct.
From Bluff we set off west again and stopped at Sand Point to see some ancient Navajo rock art.
We then rode through what they call “Valley of the Gods” on some fairly tame gravel/sand (at least in the dry it was). Our jaws couldn’t drop any more surely?
If there was one good reason to stop whinging about the cold it was now as we virtually had this place to ourselves, which always works for me, and it was FREE!!
We then poked our heads in to The Goosenecks State Park, a meandering river which over many years has carved great gorges through the rock some with hundreds of feet in height, quite the spectacle.
It was here that Bec allowed, sorry asked, if I would like to use the other GoPro.
Now empowered with this responsibility we made our way up a dirt road with really tight switch backs and even more butt clenching drop offs!! And the most incredible view at the top (we had just climbed that!).
I had read some where that 8 seconds of filming each time was enough; what a croc that turned out to be! I did however soon empty the battery power and since learned that it was a real ball ache having 90 different movie files when editing ...according to my wife!!! I have obviously again been relegated back to a writing role.
This route we were on then took us onto parts of the other National Park wonders of Glen Canyon and Bryce Canyon.
Around lunch time I was started to get a bit peckish and ducked down a gravel side road much to Becs horror, looking for a picnic spot and found one down a farmers track over looking a small canyon. The wife was happy!
They love their side by sides here and you would see the odd dust trail in the distance as they charged about this inhospitable landscape where they tried to re-live that Mad Max feeling.
Time was now getting on and weather forecast wasn’t looking brilliant for the side of the hill we were on (-4 and snow overnight) so we charged over the hill and once again through snow and freezing temperatures to stay the night in a place called Escalante at the aptly named Cowboy Inn .
Thursday 27th Oct
Good start again trundling through the rest of Bruce Canyon, gaining altitude as we went to 2700 m (8858 feet) where temperatures dropped and snow again, great twisties again, but taken far more gingerly this time as there were still signs of ice in the shadows!
We then carried along past a place called Zion National Park and onward to North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
The road here had far more snow at the edges but also lovely great spots of black ice spread around on corners so speed and looking ahead became even more important!
We only saw cars coming towards us and nobody followings in, had we left it too late? Well, as it turned out we wouldn’t have wanted to leave any longer as the lodges, campsites and amenities at the North Rim had already closed for the winter, and the road in itself would also be closed in a week or so. But that about just sums us up... cutting things fine.
But was it going to be worth it? all the Grand Canyon hype? We did have some trepidation; would it be full of people (like Yellowstone and Banff) and would the views be just the same as we had seen in Utah?)
Well I can categorically tell you that (and with my grade C command of English language) we don’t have the words to fully describe what we saw! With everything we had seen and encountered the past couple of days this place was just NEXT LEVEL and if there’s only one thing you ever get to see in the States, then make it this!
The pictures will never do it justice. It humbles you.
We spent some time just soaking the surroundings in (it must get mad in the summer) but there were very few few here today. Then we left in awe and rode the hour back to our lodgings once again dodging the black ice.
At this point I started to feel a little off, which progressed further that evening until it left me in a feverish shivering wreck; COVID? Bugger! what to do? Poor Bec had had no sleep also after looking after me all night and shivering also as I’d pinched her blankets!!
Next morning we made the decision "lets get out of Dodge", we’ll head the 5 hours direct to Phoenix in the south (ah!! warmth!! and cactus, bloody big ones as it turned out) where we were meeting up with my brother, Gavin, who was working there.
Loaded up with ibuprofen I felt able to ride and only needed one top up enroute but obviously wasn’t firing on all cylinders as when I went to go to a service station and fill up the bike with Gas I mistakenly took us the wrong way down the Interstate and on a 35 kilometre detour!
When we arrived I took a COVID test, Negative, PHEW! Turns out I had an infection but dosed up on anything that was available, (thanks again Gavin and thanks nursey Bec, minus the uniform!) and went straight to bed while the other two went out for food.
Two days past (and Happy 59th birthday to me!) and I’m raring to go again.
Becs bike has been re shod, (lucky that my brother works in the aeronautical industry and has access to massive warehouses so we could take the tyre off ...or at least we think he does ...maybe he just broke in???) maps have been purchased, route sort of done and entry papers almost finished for our next leg and entry to Mexico!
To say we looking forward to it is an understatement.