a motorcycle journey 2up

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Albuquerque, NM to Post, TX & Post, TX to HOME

Day 34 & 35 - July 3-4, 2010
Mileage Today: 395 + 311
Total Trip Mileage: 10,116

Today we are headed to Roswell, NM on our way home. They are having a 4th of July/Alien Fest thing going on, so we are going to check it out.

Heading South to Roswell:

They really go all out with the alien theme here:

We walk around an expo area where people are peddling their various alien swag, and pick up a sticker to add to the side cases on the bike. Then we go out to the street to watch the parade.

What a lousy excuse for a parade. It was 30 minuets late getting started, and it was only like 5 minuets long. Seriously. It also included a pathetic rap/rock/outer-space themed band on a trailer with the poorest quality sound system we have ever heard. For your viewing pleasure:

And the rest of the parade:

We checked out the local museum and then headed out. We figured we would get as far East as we could today, that way tomorrow would be less of a drive to get home.

Heading East towards some rain.

Shortly before we entered Texas, we hit the rain, and it was pretty impressive.

It seems about par for this trip to have very odd weather. We went to Alaska in June (when it is colder) because the consensus is that it’s drier - it wasn’t. We spend a week in the Pacific Northwest (commonly referred to as the Pacific NorthWet) and it never rained. And now while in West Texas, where they average 8” (inches) of rain a year, they have received upwards of 6” in the past few days.

We ride through the rain for about 2 hours, and find a motel to stop at in Post, TX. *A quick observation about Post, TX (and probably similar West Texas towns). This place reeks terribly of oil. It hangs in the air, creeps into all the buildings, and saturates everything with a stench. Now, I realize that the odor may equate to $$money$$, but I would sure hate to live there. It seems impossible that you could live their your whole life without getting some terrible lung disease, but I digress…

So, we stay in the motel and crank the A/C all the way up so it runs constantly, and hopefully filters some of the air. We are awakened in the morning by the sound of thunder. Apparently it has been raining all night, resulting in this:

There were flash flood warnings, and for some reason (not the obvious one) the Tornado Sirens kept going off in the town. We wait for the rain let up some, then quickly pack the bike, and head out to get wet. The roads were really flooded, it was like driving through creek crossings at a lot of the intersections.

After about 180 miles or so we finally got out of the rain, and into the sun. Within a couple of hours we were back home.

And a reunion with this guy:

It was amazing trip. The bike ran perfectly, minus the chain/sprocket issue which is still unresolved, but got us home, and is technically a wear item. My wife is an awesome travel companion, and we got to experience some amazing scenery together. We took over 3,500 pictures, and met some really awesome people. A truly epic journey. Thanks for following along.


Moab, UT to Albuquerque, NM

Day 33 - July 2, 2010
Mileage Today: 411
Total Trip Mileage: 9,821

First thing this morning is to go get some breakfast from the Moab Diner. Then we head out of town towards the 4 corners monument.

We leave Utah and enter Colorado.

(graffiti-ed prior to our arrival)

The 4 corners monument is where the corners of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico all touch. Unfortunately, the actual monument was closed for “construction” although I didn’t see anybody working. Here is the monument from behind a chain-link fence.

And a lovely piece of painted plywood with a diagram explaining the monument that you are forbidden access to.

Some scenery from the parking area:

Leaving the monument we enter Arizona for a bit.

Then into New Mexico.

Where we picked up I-40 and headed east. We got stuck in some mega traffic because the highway was shut down due to a accident ahead. I never realized how much of a pain it is to be stuck in traffic on a motorcycle. Especially on a motorcycle that is slightly too tall for me to touch both my feet flat to the ground. We pass by the carnage from the accident and continue on into Albuquerque.

We got a motel room tonight at a Motel 6 that has recently been renovated to that new sort of ultra modern/modular d├ęcor (kind of like the fancy McDonalds). Check it out.

Best $39.99 of the trip.

We were also treated to a slightly entertaining domestic disturbance next door, but it was over soon enough and we had to find something on TV to entertain us. Then we went to sleep with the plan to get up and out early and head to Roswell, NM.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Ely, NV to Moab, UT

Day 32 - July 1, 2010
Mileage Today: 440
Total Trip Mileage: 9,410

We depart from Ely, NV by about 8am and continue down Hwy 50 toward Utah.

Still plenty of desolation to go around…

Desert in front, desert behind.

But the scenery is starting to change a bit as we head into Utah.

Lush greenness in the middle of the desert; the miracle of irrigation.

We stopped for lunch at a small burger stand. Since we are in Utah, they include a tub of fry sauce for dipping your French fries in. Apparently fry sauce is a mixture of ketchup, mayonnaise and pickle juice (?)

Hwy 50 eventually junctions with I-70, which carries us through this scenery:

We make it to Moab, UT and it is super hot. We find a place to set up camp, ditch our gear, and head to Arches National Park.

Then back to camp for the night.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Redding, CA to Ely, NV

Day 31 - June 30, 2010
Mileage Today: 530
Total Trip Mileage: 8,970

Today is a really just a travel day for us. We have no stops planned along the way, just going to pound out the miles heading East.

The last bit of forest as we head out of California:

And into the High Deserts…

In Nevada!

We make a quick stop at the REI in Reno to do an exchange. See, we bought this air pillow for Nikki before the trip. It packed down to the size of a pair of socks, and was insulated as well. Everything looked good on paper, but she used it the very first night way back in Kansas, she was not very impressed. We decided that she must be using it wrong, so for the next several nights she tried every variation in inflation pressures, positions, wrapping it in articles of clothing, but nothing worked. By this time we were into Montana, and had passed all the REI’s that we would encounter until Washington. She was stuck with it. When we finally got to Washington there was something always prevented us from being able to get there. It was either too early, or we were too busy, or we would forget until it came time to go to sleep. Finally in Reno we remember and exchanged the pillow for a standard foam one. A lot of effort considering we only have like 4 days left in the trip.

Right outside of Reno we pick up Hwy 50 the supposed “Loneliest Road in America”.

The stretches between services were no greater than the longer ones on the way to Alaska, but the landscape certainly seemed way more desolate - totally devoid of water, and anything warm blooded (at least that's the vibe I got).

Although, you could probably get rich if there was a demand for harvesting sand...

This was to be our scenery for the next several hours and several hundred miles.

We finally rolled into Ely, NV at about 7:30pm. We found some quick lodging, ditched the bike and gear, and ran over to see a movie. A civilized night on the town, and a well deserved bed after 500 miles in the desert.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fortuna, CA to Redding, CA

Day 30 - June 29,2010
Mileage Today: 313
Total Trip Mileage: 8,440

The perfect days keep piling up, and today looks to be no exception. We are eager to get moving today because it looks like it will be a long one. The plan for today is to find the “Lost Coast Highway” and take it South down to the beginning of the “Avenue of the Giants” and ride the Avenue back North. After we finish riding through the “Avenue of the Giants”, we will head East towards a planned destination of Redding, CA.

So, the “Lost Coast” is an undeveloped stretch of coast a bit South of Eureka, CA. The terrain was too harsh, rugged, and costly for the state to build a large highway through, so the highway (Hwy 101) treks East for a bit to go around. This leaves a large area of wide open ranch land that butts right up to the Pacific Ocean, and is only accessable by a very narrow, poorly maintained road. It was the best thing ever!

See for yourself:

I don’t know if you remember those commercials on TV about the “Happy Cows” that make better cheese because they live in California, and it is absolutely perfect. This is where the “Happy Cows” live for sure.

A minor mishap -

Usually Nikki takes pictures with the point and shoot digital camera while I drive. Occasionally we will come to a spot that we may want to get off the bike and use the tripod, use the other camera, get a different angle, ect… I park the bike, we get the shots, then continue on. Done it a million times (or at least 82). But remember I mentioned that the “Lost Coast Highway” was really narrow, right? So, I was making sure I got all the way over, as close to the ditch as possible, when the bike fell over and shucked us both off into the ditch.

It actually fell over a few degrees past horizontal. It was hilarious! We were in the middle of nowhere (or so it seemed) with no one to witness our debacle, we could really laugh about it and document it with photos.

BTW Nikki is still buried in the ditch in this pic - have a closer look ->

We eventually got the bike turned right-side-up, finished laughing, and press on.

Continuing down the road we get our first glimpse of the coast line:

It was hard to believe you were actually in a place like this, or that a place like this still existed, in super developed California no less.

We soak it in for a while…

Turn our backs to the Ocean and begin to climb back into the mountains to intersect with the “Avenue of the Giants”.

Came across a couple on a couple of KTM motorbikes, one of which had a flat front tire. We stopped, lent some tools, and made sure they got it all changed without any problems.

(we figure we could use all the extra Karma points just incase)

Time for lunch.

Then to the “Avenue of the Giants”

The “Avenue of the Giants” is actually a 30 mile section of the old Hwy 101. It meanders through several groves of Redwoods and Giant Sequoias.

Simply amazing…

Just to give you some sort of scale.

The tallest Redwoods here tower to a height of over 350 feet.

By the time we got done with the Redwoods, it was already 4pm, and we still had a ways yet to go. We gassed up and hopped on Hwy 36 East. This road was 150 miles of hairpins, steep grades, and switchbacks. I am glad we were on a motorcycle, but it was still hard work, and by the time we arrived in Redding we were beat - or at least I was.

Landscape is starting to dry out.

This will be a theme for the next couple of days as we head into some high deserts.

Taking a break.

We are No Tell - Motel-ling it tonight. It is nice to have TV and a proper desk to type this blog on. Tomorrow we head into Nevada, and what I fear will be triple digit heat.


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