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Author Topic: BBB2010 - Running through Colorado (part 14)  (Read 1398 times)
Olive
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« on: July 30, 2010, 05:38:33 PM »
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Morning dawned early.  Once the bike was packed up I headed out for a quick bite for breakfast in Moab.  The local pancake house.  As per my usual, I requested a table with a view of a power plug.  There were a few things I had with me that could not be charged off of the BMW powerlet.  Actually, nothing that I had with me could be directly charged off of the powerlet.  I had built and adapter so the powerlet ran into a three outlet 12V cigarette lighter setup which was adequate for things like my cell phone and recharging camera batteries.  Two items that are almost vital for a trip like this.  

After a small breakfast, I headed out and discovered a wonderful road leaving Moab, the 128.  It passed through Castle Valley.  A fancy name meaning an area rich with rock formations.

The road followed a meandering river, and cut through some tall cliffs.  This meant that lots of curves were in the offering.  The river seemed a little out of place given the desert environment of Arches only a few kilometers to the west.  The landscape here still spoke of desert.  Tall rocky cliffs, sparse vegetation and stone monuments rising eerily out of the ground in the distance.  Each curve brought a new vista.  Most were welcomed, although some were not.   In a few places the road was covered with a thick ochre mud that had flowed off of the cliffs.  Rather odd, given that there had not been any rain the night before.  It was dense, sticky and as slippery as owl snot.  I longed for the tar snakes of a few days before, as those were a little more predictable.

Heading through the valley, I settled into a series of tight curves, with the occasional sweeper thrown in.  Apart from the occasional mud slick, the road was in excellent repair, and seemingly not very popular with the RV crowd.  Another definite positive in my books!  A few cars went past the other direction, but apart from that I had the asphalt ribbon to myself.  While there were quite a few good photo opportunities along the road, they were not paired up with good options for pulling the bike off of the road to pull out the camera.  Given the number of curves and blind corners, I opted not to surprise a speeding car by acting as a speed bump at the other end of a corner, and just enjoyed the road and vistas for what they were.





The 128 emerged from the valley, crossed the river and the scenery abruptly changed into farm country.    Sometimes it was a little disconcerting how quickly desert could give way to lush farms, almost as if I had switched channels on a television.  The road linked onto another secondary highway, and then once again for a brief stint on the interstate.  Unfortunately I was leaving the wonders of Utah behind as I headed towards Colorado.  Another new state to add to my traveled territory map.

"Welcome to Colourful Colorado".  I rode past another state line, although perhaps the sign ought to have been amended to read "Welcome to Colourful Wet Colorado".  

I had stopped so often on the trip to gas up and grab a cup of coffee on this trip that it hardly seems worthwhile to mention the stops.  I had developed a semi-regular pattern in where I stopped.  Quite often I would just go to a McD's, as they seemed more tolerant of my attire, had the cheapest coffee around, as well as a free wifi connection.  It served to be a very good way to minimize the trip budget.

Once again I had passed the intended turnoff and wound up in Grand Junction.  It was a matter of a few minutes heading west on the interstate to hook up with the 139 and start my northerly journey.

Farm country gave way to ranches, some more free-range territory where cattle viewed the road as part of their territory.  I was used to seeing this on sections of road closer to home and was mindful of surprise cow patties on the road.

The road climbed up through a series of switchbacks as I headed into more mountains and towards a building cloudbank.  I stopped a few times on the road to take a few photos.  The road provided a good ride, technical in spots with a lot of scenery.  The familiar yellow “curves ahead” sign acted as the motorcyclist's endorsement for the road ahead.  Although some of the scenery was a little wet as the skies opened up and the threatened rain became a reality.  

The rain encouraged me to keep covers on my soft luggage and leave the camera in the dry.  Not as many photos from this part of the ride.





I paused in the middle of the mountains for a quick break.  While I was stopped by the roadside I saw movement.  This animal was fairly small and low to the ground, my initial though was perhaps a large coyote.  What the camera captured looks oddly deer like.  Although the photo doesn't provide an idea of scale, he was too small to be a member of the Cervidae family (deer).  





One thing that has really struck me about the mountains on this trip are how completely different they are from my own.  I am used to the Rockies in Alberta.  They are a very jagged range, and I'm sure that if you have read any of my regular ride reports you are intimately acquainted with their appearance.  On the territory that I had covered so far on this trip I had encountered quite a few different mountain ranges.  They were the same in that they were rocky outcrops reaching for the sky, but that's where the similarities ended.  A lot of mountain ranges were what I would have termed as foothills, but I'm not one to argue semantics.  It served as a reminder that while everything was the same, everything was different.  It seems that it is the small things that resonate on a slightly different frequency that remind you that you are far from home.

Emerging out of the mountain range I found a gas station and started to pass through another succession of small towns.  Rangely.  Dinosaur.  And the oddities of the smaller places began to manifest themselves.

Coming into one town seemingly in the middle of nowhere there was a large field of dirt.  In the middle of the field was a large fountain with a waterfall.  A little unusual, but easily explained away.  It struck me as odd that they had the fountain commissioned with water despite the fact that there was nothing else around, and the area was still a work in progress.  But this didn't explain the flamingos.  Pink flamingos.  Obviously they had spent some quality time outdoors as they were sunfaded.  Flamingos were perched everywerhere around the fountain.  Large ones.  Small ones.  Pink flamingos with legs that spun like pinwheels.  It was odd.

Very odd.







Another oddity in the same town was the sidewalk.  Rather than go through the trouble of taking down a tree and removing the stump, the sidewalk had obviously been poured around the trunk of the tree.  A tree which was cut down, leaving just the stump.  Or perhaps they had simply poured it around the stump.  The sidewalk had that "new" look to it.  I idly wondered about the story behind the tree.  Regardless, it was a very different approach to things.  The lyrics of a Joni Mitchell song came to mind... They paved paradise and put in a parking lot.  



I continued riding.  Back into Utah.  They seem to have adopted a dinosaur as their mascot.



Stopping to consult my map, I decided that I would try to find a campground along the 191, perhaps even traveling as far as Flaming Gorge for the night.  I travelled through Vernal and followed the 191.  Roosevelt.  Gusher.  Ballard.  Hmmm... those names on the sign didn't seem that familiar.  But what really bothered me was the mileage posted for Salt Lake City.  Heading north, I should really be heading away from it.  I paused to search for them on my map.  Not finding any of the indicated names, I took the opportunity to unfold my map and check... sure enough, I was on another detour.  Well, crap.  Perhaps next time I could pick a more interesting road to detour on - long, straight, divided highway with lots of traffic wasn't my first choice for a fun ride.

I traveled back along the 191, and into Vernal.  A town that was beginning to look familiar, having passed through it not that long before.  It took me a few passes through the town before I located the signpost for the 191 north.  It was cleverly hidden, unlike the signs for the 191 south and explained why I had taken the unplanned detour.

As the sun was beginning to set, and the skies threatened rain to the north my day ended a little short of the planned distance in a campsite just outside of Vernal.





I usually tried to avoid the KOA style campgrounds, but given the hour decided it was a good idea to camp where I found a space.  For me there is little appeal to a campground that has the tent sites divided by a wooden pole fence, and rows upon rows of RVs parked beside each other.  Oddly enough I found that the KOA campgrounds were significantly more expensive.  I much preferred cheaper campsites with trees, and some actual space between tent sites.  The difference is character.  But all I needed was a place to pitch the tent for the night, and this certainly would suffice.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2010, 05:42:09 PM by Olive » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2010, 07:55:20 PM »
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Keep the hits coming!
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2010, 08:43:03 PM »
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...after reading this episode thoroughly, one sentence stands out among all the others:

 It seems that it is the small things that resonate on a slightly different frequency that remind you that you are far from home.


'nuf said !  ....
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« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2010, 02:59:16 AM »
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GOOD STUFF..... headbang occasion14.....Tennessee Squiggly Road Signs, and Florida Plastic Pink Flamingos...There are Thieves among us..... laughing7 laughing7 laughing7
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I LEARNED A LONG TIME AGO, BEST WAY TO REALIZE THE DANGER OF YOUR PACE IS WHEN IT GOES FROM THAT SPEED TO ZERO REALLY ABRUPTLY.....MIGHTA' BEEN FASTER THAN YOU THOUGHT.....SKUUTER

PEDALING IS SLOWER AND HEALTHIER.....SKUUTER

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