Monday, August 26, 2013

Safe in Seligman...it's a Wrap!


Excuse last night 8/23/13
I'm having trouble with my Eye Fi card again, it may or may not transfer pictures to my phone.
Update this morning 8/24/13
It's not transferring most most of my pictures. They're on the card, it's just not transmitting a signal.

Here's a couple shots at the San Juan Inn I would have posted the 23rd.



Finished from home 8/25/13
The good news is you won't miss much from the glorious morning ride because it was too glorious to stop for pictures in the beginning and too wet to stop in the back half.

After careful consideration and planning we picked perennial favorite Seligman. Since it's an easy ride over familiar roads we didn't get on the bikes 'til after 11:00am. It was already in the 90s but the air felt cool when we started across the bridge towards Monument Valley. (Sorry Brian Jr. She made me!) The wind was gusty and we could see squalls ahead. The road through Monument Valley is smooth with plenty of pullouts at permanent stands set up where Indians sell jewelry and other things they make.

Here's the catch and this isn't a cop out or judgement call. On a motorcycle the primary sensation is motion, not isolation. whether it be in city traffic, a race track, or the open road the thing that makes it different is you are connected to the motion. When you're riding a motorcycle you are immersed in the scene. You're committed 100% to the moment. The weather, good or bad, the smell and feel of blowing dust, or the road after the rain, and skunks. Whatever it is, it's you and your imagination... and that's the problem. Sometimes stopping to take a picture is like a commercial in the middle of your favorite movie.

The places we ride through and write about will be equally interesting but different in an auto. You'll have more interaction with your companions, can pack a picnic, lock your belongings in the trunk and go for a hike. Spend more time looking at things... we plan to revisit many of these places in a truck too.

Monsoons
Anyway, the ride was great. Monument Valley is beautiful (you have to go on your way to Glen Canyon) and we stayed dry until after our first gas stop in Tuba City.
About 10 miles out of Tuba City you turn left on Highway 89--on this trip towards the monsoons we'd been warned of all morning. Desert storms are pretty cool, you can see them for miles. The sky can be sunny with clouds or gray with clouds. The darker clouds that touch the ground are raining. You can follow them, be chased, and sometimes just miss them. Like a gray rainbow, as you approach them, they disappear. The wind will gust, the temperature will drop and you might see some lightning. Then the rain cuts loose and if you look in the mirror when Lori's behind you, you'll see her bouncing in her seat clapping like a wind-up monkey. This went on 'til well past the Cameron Trading post where the smart guys were hunkered down (Lori didn't want to stop and I agreed). We kept a close eye on the water flowing beside the road and were careful of washes. About 20 miles from Flagstaff the clouds broke and all was bright and sunny. Then it began pouring harder than ever, apparently we were being stalked by a second storm. It cleared up just out of Flagstaff and the ride on to Seligman was perfect.

Seligman
Reinhardt checked us in to the Elvis room at the Canyon Lodge and then we headed straight to the Snow Cap. John was working hard and cracking jokes as usual. Their 60th Anniversary party went off well and the tacos were epic. We stopped at Angel's Barber Shop to see Mo. A year or so ago Mo and I were talking about Made in USA stuff and at the time he was making an effort to stock more. He's done well! About 80% of their merchandise is now Made in USA. They put Made in USA stickers on things so the good stuff's easier to find... and the customers buy it!!!
The Canyon Lodge...could be the cleanest rooms in the world!

Order window at Snow Cap

Zen Garden?

A storm looking for us.

She loves these tacos

Storm found us
After dinner we rode to Lilo's for some Fruit of the Forest pie then walked around town a little before going to bed.



Saturday and Sunday
We left the comfort and hospitality of Seligman for mild temperatures and steady rain. The pace is easy on Route 66 and traffic was light so we rode through Oatman and didn't touch the 40 until the California border. We met Barry (link) and Valentina at the Wagon Wheel in Needles for lunch. They're on the way to Colorado for a couple weeks to visit family.

We didn't have a plan other than getting off the 40 and stopping by Roy's. We messed around so long we ran out of options. 29 Palms Highway to Joshua Tree. We stayed at the Safari Motor Lodge and walked to the Joshua Tree Saloon for dinner and entertainment. The Safari is a clean, simple motel run by one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet and the food at the Joshua Tree Saloon is great! I had grass fed rib-eye, steamed vegetables, and fresh mixed green salad. All prepared perfectly. Good food with bar food prices. The Ghostlight Trio provided a perfect soundtrack for our last night on the road...sadly I haven't had much luck with audio on my iPhone videos so you'll have to go HERE to see them.





Home for Now
We slow roasted then froze some pork & beef before we left so we could have a nice meal when we returned...hatch green chile and shredded beef tacos on fresh tortillas.


Favorite Summer Jacket
Did I mention I love this Jacket? I wore it because the button front allows air flow but the amazing thing is it kept me dry during long periods of rain...doesn't make sense to me but it worked this trip. It's lined and has 6 functional pockets. BUY YOURS HERE!
Bugs washed off 'cause the picture taken after monsoons.


Now I'm back at the shop packing orders and ordering new stuff. I'll get the fresh crop of t-shirts to Mike for printing this week!  
That Buell cup on the right corner is full of our "The Drip Stop" secret blend...a very good reason to be home. Now we have to make it to Saturday without Grampy Pat's Bread!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I saw where Dinosaurs live and the edge of the earth!

Buying a paper map today!
With 128 miles between Hanksville and Mexican Hat 3.3 gallons should be plenty. The problem was we weren't absolutely sure it was 128 miles. The computer maps were giving different estimates and route variations when we were planning the night before. Luckily even the highest estimate put us in range  as long as we didn't get lost or do any extra sightseeing and it wasn't all up hill. Turns out it was 128, mostly down hill, and we didn't get lost. We both had a gallon to spare!
No signal here

Edward Abbey Country
I read a book called "The Monkey Wrench Gang" about 25 years ago. It's a cat and mouse story about a group who is trying to prevent the Glen Canyon Dam (Lake Powell) mostly with sabotage. It's a good read but had slipped my mind 'til our friend Gavin reminded me. Ed Abby was a passionate writer who knew and loved this area as much as anyone. After reading his book I figured I had an idea what it would look like. I didn't. You have to see this in person. Cancel that trip to Disney, Vegas, Bahamas, or whatever and do this instead! Just don't expect to get your ass kissed by a bunch of strangers. The stuff out here is real!
...and Gavin, we're coming back to spend a few days!
Looking at the Colorado towards Glen Canyon. The canyon is on the other side.

How to get off a Mesa!
Here's the basic instructions!
Go!
Left side of the road
Right side!
Switchback
This is steep, you should have seen the nervous look in the eyes of the guys riding up on Adventure bikes!
Near the bottom, still steep!

Mexican Hat and San Juan Inn
We had a great ride and our destination delivered. The San Juan Inn is carved into a cliff above the San Juan River with a path down to the bank, plenty of seating outside the rooms, and bats!  The rooms are nice and they can accommodate large groups. Most of the guests are European. The restaurant's ok but we'll probably go back to the Cottonwood in Bluff next time, it's outstanding.


Q-What's the best thing to do after riding around in the desert all day?

A-Get on your motorcycle and ride around in the desert some more!

In 2009 we rode to Denver, it was Lori's first long ride on her own motorcycle. It was a glorious journey and inspired the purchase of the 66 Motor Palace. We stayed in Bluff and Rick from the Cottonwood told us to check out Goosenecks. Lori was pretty excited and wanted to check it out. When we got started I wanted to get ahead of an impending storm...so I pretended not to see the sign. I've been a goat ever since.
This is Goosenecks I am now a good husband and Lori's dreams have come true!
She got to sit on cliffs!
Watch me take pictures of my Sportster!
...and hers!
I think she's looking at the picture of a lizard she just took!
She even got to hang over a cliff! (She really is)
I have more pictures but they didn't all transfer from the camera.

Good stuff at www.bondorella.com

A Good Place to Ride a Motorcycle!

More Pleasent Riding
...but before you waste your time on this go to Lori's blog www.bondorella.com it's much better.
Goodbye Denver and all the nice people at tha Magnolia Hotel. Thanks for taking good care of us and our motorcycles. Your Valets are the best anywhere!

The Ride
On 70 out of Denver you are immersed in the majestic splendor of steep sided mountain passes, long tunnels, charming towns, dark green forests, and the untamed Colorado river runs with you for miles...plus you can blow through at 65-75 mph. It's the perfect union of beauty and effeciency. If you have a choice and are coming or going to Denver choose the 70 over the 25. The only disappointment was not stopping in Glenwood Springs. It was one of my favorite places on the way up last time but too close for a first stop. It's a worthy destination.

Instagram Reruns
I was enjoying the ride so much (and trying to do a little work at gas stops with wi-fi signals) I didn't get to take many pictures.
Must be a regional thing.

The dinosaur is cute and the gas got us to Green River. 71mph this segment. Lots of down hill.

Green River
This is the entrance to Room with no Number at the River Terrace in Green River. I think all their rooms overlook the river. There's a restaurant and melon stand next door and they even give you "Saddle Blankets" to wipe down your motorcycles and helmets.

The River Terrace's complimentary breakfast has the usual bar with cereal, toast, bacon, etc. plus a long list of freshly prepared entrees. Lori and I both went for the Chile Verde Omelette. This was the best Chile Verde Omelette I've ever eaten. Our new friends and frequent road trippers seemed to agree.  Al & Sandy shared their table and we had so much fun we're all going to get a late start. They live in the Reno area and are on their way to Ely Nevada now.

View from bed

Melon Stand

River bank lounge

Prize Winning Melon (it really was good)

Complimentary Saddle Blankets (not pool towels) see Lori's post. www.bondorella.com

On to Mexican Hat and Goose Necks!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Half way Home!

We're Here!
We got an early start and more good weather today but with a deadline today the ride was all business.
I'm writing this from the Milk and Cookie Lounge at the Magnolia Hotel. The Magnolia is one of these historic hotels they've "Hipped" up. The room is nice and so are the people who work here. The purists in the historic building scene might cringe but I'd rather see a building adapted to have broader commercial appeal than see it go broke and crumble.

Earlier Today
Real early today 12:15am I looked out the window and saw a drunk staggering toward the Sportsters, he climbed on mine and I yelled something about a bullet in his head. As he scrambled off he tripped over Lori's, got up and walked into the sprinklers as he moved on down the road. I called 911 (the PD is 150 yards from the Hotel) they said I had the wrong number and would transfer me. It rings awhile and a guy says "hello?" I say is this the police? He says "no", I say "I'm sorry" by then the guy was out of sight.

Anyway we had a good breakfast at the Plaza and got going on time. 25 north out of Las Vegas NM is one of those perfectly paved roads with infinite beautiful scenery. Green grass, farms, rocky hills, mountains and plateaus. You are passively and  consciously aware of your surroundings the entire ride. I don't have the skills to capture these scenes, you owe it to yourself to find the time if you haven't.
But we did stop for gas!
We saw a town called Trinidad that looked real cool, lots of old brick buildings in a hilly area. It's on the list of places to explore on a different trip. Had to get to Denver.

From Pueblo north to Denver is kind of like Southern California or area around Phoenix just at a higher elevation. Same type of development, restaurants, and stores repeated every 5-10 miles. The buildings are styled differently to reflect the communities devoured to create room for the big box stores and "Town Center Cross Roads Pointe (with an E)" malls.

This doesn't have anything to do with the post. Our neighbor Pat got this for Lori. It  provides a more upbeat tone to the post after my urbanization mini rant. (Have a long version)

We'll be in Denver a couple days then back on the road. Got to go do what pays for the trip so probably won't post much 'til Thursday except Instagram #66MotorPalace. Thanks for checking in!
See Lori's posts at www.bondorella.com