Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day Two: Remedial Road Lessons... (Finally!)

Day Two of My Summer Trip...

I woke up around 7 The next morning feeling ratHer hung-over from the prevIous dayS dehydration on the road. I took my time, getting a shoWer & pAcking up to leave before making my way into the diner portion of the Store/office of the hotel. I fixed myself A cup of coffee and a plate of french toast and sat down to eat as the owner of the hotel was wanderinG aRound clEAning up The store. We exchanged pleasantries and began to chat while I ate & he cleaned. He asked where I was From and where I was headed. I coUld see a spark of memory in his eye when I told him and he started to regale me with his own tales of a younger life on the road. It seems he was an old sChool biKer from ArIzoNa who used to ride up into Utah every chance he Got. When the time came foR hIm to retire & plant himself in one spot, this was the only suitable location. They bought the lanD & startEd the hotel & store and were workIng on a full serviCe restAuraNt to go with iT.
As I finished my breakfast I asked him about the fastest Way back to I-15. He just kindA smIled and Told me thaT if I left the 89 I'd be dOing my trip a Great disservice. As he Outlined my pAth I would only be losinG about 30 minutes And the rIde would be much more eNjoyable to stay on the State Highway all the way to I-70. Well, who am I to argue with a great ride?
My God, was he ever right! The first thing I saw was , as he had told me, the Sevier river that runs backwards! He had told me that it was the only river in North America that runs South to North. I have found, though, that there are a handful of others, but regardless of exclusivity, this was both gorgeous and weird! I was riding leisurely along just south of Panguich, Ut, enjoying the beautiful landscape (and glad to be out of the desert!) when I noticed a couple of hot-air balloons rising up above the trees.

I pulled over to take a couple of photos and get a drink before continuing up the road. A little farther up the road I saw a couple more balloons, so I pulled back over for some more photos.

Now convinced I had seen a beautiful sight and had the pictures to prove it I started off again, sure that I wouldn't need to stop again. Boy, was I wrong. As I topped the hill & rounded a curve this is the sight that greeted me.

I couldn't wait to pull over to get the photos. I swear there must have been a thousand balloons in the area! A banner stretched across the road announced it as the "Panguich Valley Balloon Rally". I was passing through on it's last day.
Beside the road was a Utah Highway Patrol car with the Li
ghts flashing. Apparently he was trying to keep people from pulling over to take pictures and causing what would pass for a traffic tie-up in Panguich. I got my photos and offered my apologies & headed on my way.
Pulling out the other side of town, I learned another valuable lesson. Never follow a pick up with a barking dog through a small town's residential district. After fueling up I fell in behind a farm truck with a farm do
g that was very excited by all the balloons. He was bouncing around the truck bed from side to side barking his head off. He was a beautiful dog (I'm a dog person) and I was getting a kick out of watching him... Until we pulled in front of another dog's house. It seems the resident dog didn't like the truck dog barking in front of his house and he came out to let him know, chasing the truck barking his head off. I damn near ran him over. I was seriously afraid he was going to get caught up in my front wheel. The dog was all over the road, so maneuvering was not really an option, so I got yet another test of how fast I can shut Kate down when something goes awry.
After getting out of town, I had only open road & time to reflect through out the rest of Utah. I did stop at a view point off of I-70 to get some pictures of Devil's Canyon, but I must tell you that the best View of it was from the highway right after the view-point. Sadly, I was not willing to push my luck and as I was being followed by another of Utah's finest, I didn't pull over for those photos.
My next lesson of the day came when I pulled over for lunch & gas and decided to call the Harley dealership that I was planning to visit to see when they closed. The Atlas I got from Harley listed them as open on Sunday, but that seems to mean little to the dealers... They were closed.
So I satarted cal
ling other dealerships along the way. I reached the folks at Aspen Valley Harley Davidson in Glenwood Springs and found that they were indeed open on Sunday, but in order to make it I was gonna have to push. So, I spent the remainder of the afternoon well focused on getting there on time. In the end I made it with a few minutes to spare.

I'm not sure how well you can see it on the blog, but in the photo of the gas station, you can ju
st make out the snow capped mountain under the corner of the canopy. I had never thought that I would be riding in places that still had snow on the ground, but I did!
I had been having wonderful luck with the weather so far, And just a couple of miles East of Glenwood Springs, that luck ran out. I started feeling water drops that I thought were splashes from the river beside the highway, as the sun was still shining bright and there were only a few clouds visible. The drops however got bigger and more frequent as the clouds started to show themselves, Culminating in a full-blown rainstorm. At this point I didn't have any rain gear except for my Leather, which I pulled over to don, thinking to myself that my next opportunity I was going to purchase a full set of rain gear. I pulled into Limon, Co. just after sunset and found a hotel. I was told by the clerk to park my bike right outside the door as there would be someone in the lobby all night & they would keep a close eye on her for me. Thanking her I lugged all of my gear (Is that why they call it "luggage?) to my room and spread my leather out to dry before taking a quick shower & heading across the road for food. After a great plate of grilled liver, ,a couple of Sam Adams and a quick game of pool, I could not wait to get back to the room to go to sleep. As much as I was enjoying the ride, I was definitely ready to arrive the next day...
Day three will follow soon, I hope you're enjoying the ride!
I'll catch you on the road!


Willy D said...

The balloons were very cool. They brought back memory's of when I lived in NY. There was a private air field about a mile away. Very often balloons or parachutes would land in the field next to my house when they came up short. Thanks for the great pics.

KT Did said...

What a great trip this was for you. I have found that listening to the locals always brings the the best information and food:) and in your case a great road to ride. Waiting til the next Day Three

mrs rc said...

Sounds like an awesome day. We got a glimpse of a hot air balloon filling up to take off when we visited Skyline Dr last year, but it was nothing like the festival you saw! Breathtaking!!!

You are definitely right...the locals know the best places to eat.

Can't wait for day 3...hope its not as long a wait as this one was ;-)

Saphira said...

Beautiful shots! You will have to plan another trip out here on Kate again soon! All that damn rain we had ruined our riding time!!! AND ...... now that Eddie has a bike we can all ride!

FLHX_Dave said...

Pretty cool brother. I love riding in Utah. It's a state that changes with almost every mile. People always give me a strange look when I talk about it like I am a nut.

Cool picts of the balloons. Passing through Heber, UT on my way to Sturgis I ran into a bunch of hot air balloons hovering 100 ft over the roadway.

Thanks for sharing the trip. Brought back alot of memories for me.

Mr. Motorcycle said...

Cool pics. I've never been through Utah. I liked the Baloons. Looks like a great ride!

fasthair said...

Camron: Another nice installment of your great ride. Here in Iowa we have the hot air balloon museum just down the road from me about 15 miles. Funny how I've never been to it though. Ever summer they have the National Hot Balloon Championship so I get to see a lot of them every year. Looks like fun but I'm not much of a fan of flying so I will probably never go up in one. But you never know stranger things have happen.


~MotorMama said...

Oh yeah, it SOUNDS like a great fuckin' trip... no WONDER you can't wait to go again! =)

You sure make a gal wanna pack up a few things & just hit the open road...

Thanks for sharing! The pix are awesome.

Teknikka said...

Shhhh!!!! Don't let everyone know how great the riding is out here!

I'm glad you enjoyed the ride, I love that road up through AZ and Utah.