Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Sunshine

Some generalizations and some rants today.
1. All Californians cannot stand to have a vehicle in front of them, and will pass at innoportune times so that they can be first ..for 30 seconds

2, Contrary to perceptions, Europe is not in financial stress: all of Germany is visiting North America.

3. All German girls are blond and buxom.

4. Nevada is flat, dry, and more flat.

5. I did not see one potato in Idaho.

6.Idaho farmers do not fool around: I saw a feedlot for dairy cows which contained, at a minimum 3000 cows.  That is a lot of ice cream.

7. Not all of the world is going to school and has their nose to the grindstone from September to June.

8. So-called free internet is not necessarily fast enough to upload photos.

9. The great Canadian novel could be written from the back of  a motorcycle, if one could figure out how to dictate and ride at the same time.  I have many great thoughts as I roll down the road, avoiding jackrabbits and the like.

10.  Rants, raves, generalizations and gennerally pissed off comments are a function of the number of looky loos, gawkers and rubberneckers that I run into when I am expecting, no, demanding a clear road...

I had a plan yesterday which I had worked out courtesy of Google maps, and some directions from some ladies at an Info center a couple of days ago.  I have not figured out how to use my smart phone, and in fact I don't think that it will run here.  I would like to be able to transfer routes to the phone.  I think that I could also move the planned routes over to Mr. Garmin too.  More study, more time, sigh..

11. All blond, buxom German girls can speak perfect English...Sigh

Well, the plans for yesterday got sidetracked after a conversation with a information fellow at a town which I have forgotten, and I dont have my maps with me.  He showed me that in order to go to Moab, as well as Bryce Canyon, I was going to end up doing a loop which I did not really anticipate, and it would probably cost a day, not that I am worried about time, other than I have the BCAA timeline in the back of my head, with the so-called limit of 5 days to get across the US of A.   I decided to change direction and head in a more southerly direction in order to take in Bryce Canyon, which my friend Tony has raved about during his trips down in to this neck of the woods.

On my way to Bryce Canyon, that little bird which sits on my shoulder, "Impulsive is My Name"  decided that any road that is called "The Devils' Backbone" needed to be explored.  I  have forgotten which rule number "Have Good Local Maps" this rule is, but I should have that rule tatooed on my nose. I assumed that this dirt road would come out some where, and I assumed that Blondie still knew how to ride in the dirt, after 2500 km of slab and more slab.  I had recently fuelled up, and I have been fuelling at every little town and village along the way, as it is a good chance to get off the bike and stretch as well as give Blondie some cool down time.  Back to the Devil's Spine, or Backbone, or something like that: I was intrigued by the focus on the poor old Devil and the underworld around these parts.  It seems that every bad road, dry and dirty prairie, or desolate canyon has some name associated with Hell, the Devil, or the underworld.  It must have something to do with the higher elevation of the Utah mountains.   Anyways, about 25 miles into this ride, I was beginning to wonder if the Devil did in fact have a backbone, and if in fact some joker had seen me coming.  There is no doubt that the scenery was spectacular, and certainly worth the diversion, I was wondering if BCAA would come for a tow when I had no idea where I was, and probably could not describe my location within a state or two.

Eventually, I ran into a car. He pulled over to let me by, and gave me the thumbs up.  I didnt know if that meant that the devil was waiting for me, or he was glad that some other sucker was heading into Dante's Den.  The road got very steep, and very narrow, and now I was in a sitiuation where it was ride or fall over. I was damded if I was going to fall over because it would take me 3 hours to unload Blondie and get her on her feet again.  The road reminded me of a cross between the Nickleplate and some ridiculous no-name roads that have done my in in the past couple of years.  Well, the climax to this little tale is that I eventually came to the focus of the devils ride, and the bridge across the gap should give you an idea of the inquenuity and engineering craftsmanship required to bridge this gap.  Apparently the first bridge was two pine trees, and a catskinner  volunteered to walk his cat across the
two fallen pines in order to get  a compressor and gear to the other side of the gorge.  After  the bridge, the road improved slightly, and I was now pretty well convinced that there was an endpoint on some pavement somewhere, and that I would not have to backtrack.  After about 30 more miles, I came out onto a forest service road and some signage that indicated that I could eventually reach my starting point after an impulsive but thoroughly enjoyable side trip.

After this little venture, I continued on my way  towards Bryce Canyon. I could tell by the terrain that things were going to get interesting.  I was finally moving out of the flat, dusty and sagebrush  prairies of Nevada into the more interesting and varied terrain of Utah.

I was rolling along and came across two cowboys trying to hustle a herd of Aberdeen Angus  across the road. I slowed to not frighten the horses, and noticed that the cowboys were also looking after these black beasts.  The first bison or buffalo that I have seen in three years.  These guys were big, enjoying a dust bath, and quite curious. I remember a friend of mine telling me that if the buffalo want to leave a compound, there is no fence in the world that will stop them.  I was glad to sit and watch them, and imagine myself astride an Appaloosa, surveying my dinner menu.

Edit  Just had an interesting conversation with a Scot named Hugh.  He has ridden all over Europe, and raced Enduro and the like.  He owns a bunch of British Bikes, as well as a BMW 1200.  We talked about bike touring.  He feels the same way about Las Vegas  as I do, and I think that any bike work and phone work will be done some where other than Vegas.  We both acknowledged that the history of First Nations people can get downplayed in many cases, as the local areas become "popular".

Big Oaks from Little Acorns...

If I were a Grouse, I would be munching on these berries..

 A Horny Pronghorn in the Morning...

There is a Paiute legend that tells the story of all the bad people in the world being turned into stone people by Coyote.  Today we call them Hoodoos.  If they are in front of me in a white car, I call them idiots....

It has been a relaxing day at Bryce Canyon, and I am glad that I stopped to take in the sites and view the truly unique geology.    A big part of this ride is to discover, perhaps for the first time, what truly makes up this world of ours. Today has truly been educational, in that the polyglot of languages and different people that I have observed is truly boggling for this village kid.

My plan is to head for Zion tomorrow, and then move in a Southerly direction, and prepare to pass into Mexico by mid week.  I have left my battery charger for my camera somewhere, hanging off a motel room outlet, I think.  I will need to replace that.  I think that I need to talk to somebody about my phone before I head into Mexico as well.  I am thinking that Phoenix may be a logical  stop.