Was headed south towards Lake Havasu but decided to slow down near Vegas and see some sights. Never been to Lake Mead, or Hoover Dam, and decided to stretch my legs. The weather has been windy and cold, so no paddling this week. Loading the bike up in the morning and headed further south. Looking for lows in the 40’s, maybe next stop?
Odd thing happened yesterday, after I ordered a tire from the local bike shop, I figured I would overnight nearby in town. The next morning I woke to the sound of knocking on the door, and I slowly made my way to find nobody outside. I figured it must have been one of my many fans, and started some coffee. About the time coffee was ready, some sum-bitch pulled up and was writing a note, and headed towards the bus. It only took me a second to recognize the face of a buddy I met last year – Scott from the RTR!!
We caught up a bit, and he told me he was camped outside of town, and told me to join him – I was excited to join him, as he rides a dual sport too, and has been living a similar life as me for the past year. When I picked up my tires I headed the six miles or so south into Arizona, and onto the plateau with mountains surrounding. We wound up going to dinner at a nice steak restaurant, and this morning I went exploring the desert.
I found some petroglyphs less than 5 miles away and took a few pics. Apparently the LIttle Black Mountain petroglyphs range in age over 8,000 years and many tribes of natives. I probably found less than 100 of the 500 described to be in the area. It was a short day of riding as I was underdressed for the weather. I did get a feel for what I was in store for the rest of November. I think I will like St. George.
Yep, it is public land, and I have to share it with…………white people. Hundreds of honkeys riding up the mountainside every morning, in the bike-shuttles (think van-taxis for bicycles). My favorite is Coyote – they use several VW buses to drag people up. I always get a thrill to see the green one dragging up the hill, just a bit faster than my bus would take the hill. Then the other shuttles companies BLAZING up the mountain in the newer Fords.
White people. Hundreds every morning go up, and I never see most of them again. I am guessing the trails they are blazing down are north of me, and take them back into Moab. So I see empty shuttles, a few campers, locals cutting wood, and a few scenery drivers. Lots of white people. But I do see another variety coming down the mountain.
Black faces, thousands of them come down the hill, right past my camp. A few brown faces mixed in. Refugees? What exodus is this? Why are they coming down the hill? My only guess was that they knew that it would be a hard winter surviving up top, and their best chance would be at lower elevations. But what made them all come down in large groups -as if answering the call to dinner?
Just south of Moab I found some BLM land that was wide open, and had amazing cell signal, so I overnighted within sight of a no-camping sign, hoping nobody would get upset with me parking overnight. Three days later I decided to find something a bit more “legal” and moved up the hill into the Manti La Sal Forest. Now I am overlooking Spanish Valley and Moab, and I am in the shadow of Mt. Peale. More stunning free camping in Utah. Will probably be here till my water tank runs dry.
I was stunned when I drove past this beehive for the first time. I think it may even be the one on the state tags, and road signs? Look closely at the base you can see a little black dot at the bottom right, just above the grass – it is a 10-foot cave door. Looks can be deceiving, this thing is almost 200 feet tall.
I am camped about 5 miles from the monolith, and I can even see it from camp. This is the first time the bus has been on slickrock, and the first time I have camped on it.
In the other direction I can see what I am calling the Alien Birthday Cake – at the base you can see the hangers for alien space-craft. I will be exploring both structures tomorrow.
But tonight I am chilling in front of the first campfire I have had in WEEKS!
I came into Rio Rancho Thursday night and woke to a small spectacle Friday morning with the kickoff for the big event on Saturday. The weather was perfect, and got to watch the balloons spin in front of me for hours. Sunday’s wind simply blew the balloons down the valley and it was a much shorter event, but still a good trip. Now, to go north?
Driving over to Silverton from Ouray was made even more interesting due to the snowfall from the day before. A bit frightening being stuck all winter in a volcanic caldera, I decided it was time to head a bit south. The bus does not like high altitude anyway, so I figured it was a good move. Now the question becomes, should I continue to ride back up into those amazing mountains, or should I continue south/west to explore new territories?
To push me in one direction, answer the poll below.
Spent a couple of days scouting, exploring and testing the areas around Ridgeway(north of Ouray) looking for the most interesting areas that I have not seen yet. Endless riding down dirt roads, but the mud and the cold rain kept me to dipping toes mostly below 10,000 feet. Partly cloudy and warm, everywhere around the San Juans, but 43 degrees, and raining on top. Got lots of good timelapse, and saw many new things, places, and stops.
The rain kept pushing me away from the tallest mountains, and finally a big storm came blowing in right on me, and chased me all the way into Ouray, and made me drink a beer……brrrr it gets cold up there. So not only is the rain keeping me off the mountain, the weather is changing rapidly, as it snowed all over the brown-tops I have been looking at for a week now.
This is what it looked like today, tundra covered in snow.
One of the most iconic, rugged passes in the world, Black Bear Pass is a short route between Ironton and Telluride. In fact, I found out that the central, and most difficult section is ONE WAY. In other words, if you get to a point where you find you are in over your head, and decide to turn around – you can’t! I imagine quite a few people have gotten to that point. I had watched quite a few videos of motos traversing “the steps”, but had no idea how steep and narrow the steps were until I was well into the Point of no Return. None of the difficult elements of this section, by themselves are overwhelming. Steep, narrow, rocky, slippery, off-camber, 2-3 foot steps, deadly plunges, all these elements can be overcome easily. When combined in one, 200 foot section, hanging off of a 80 foot waterfall, and a 90-deg. turn at the final step, creates a might intimidating final pitch before you get to the 1,000 foot plunges below. This was one of the most difficult crawls I have done other than Poughkeepsie Gulch just a few miles away. Man, the miners really knew how to make some crazy roads. Wonder how many people have died on this pitch?