To be clear, we did not ride I 70 together, but it was most expedient and as of today, efficiency counted.
I hit Moab in it's last fling of summer's visitors. Moab is a town that does not wear summer well...way too congested and crowded; if you're considering, wait a month. There's beauty in them hills, but at this point I had not the time. And I was just there the previous fall, the ride that led me to the current GS, L'il Red. But I knew I wanted to do Paradox Valley, and get to Gunnison for the evening. That's a far piece.
Paradox Valley, near Bedrock, Co--surprisingly no Flintstones memorabilia in sight, that was where Fred and Barney's cribs were, right?
I turn left onto Co 141 outside of Naturita, and wind up with the thrill ride of the trip. Those familiar with 141, okay, you may not be...141 is mostly a canyon road. It's gorgeous and twisty and sweepery, with cliffs and rivers and old bridges and...
On this late summer afternoon there were also thunderstorms that were nearby. Big fat a$$ bolts of lightening, too. Vertical. OK, so I am thinking I do not want to die anytime soon and certainly not this afternoon since I already paid for my room at the Comfort Inn in Gunnison--it was Labor Day weekend so I planned ahead. I did consider though if I were hit by lightening, and if I were one of those people who are struck by lightening, yet live to tell of it, if that, would the lightening also ignite the fuel in my tank, a double whammy of sorts. Or, would it just vaporize it? I realized I probably wouldn't care unless I lived to tell, then what a story, huh?. I did not put lightening into the equation, but I figured I was deep enough in the canyon, that there would be far easier things to consume with supra-solar energy than me. Anyway, I wasn't stopping for it either.
Hey! Problem solved, or so I thought.
I also didn't put into the equation mudslides and water hazards. In truth, they really didn't take too long. They did age me more than the time they took, like they existed outside of my time.
Well, there were three:
The first one, the road was covered with the red mud of the canyon walls. No rocks, just smooth smooth mud, probably about 3-4" thick, extending over about 20 feet of road, with, icing on the cake, a metal cattle grate in the middle.
For a brief moment I considered turning around, only briefly though. I am not particularly experienced with off road, though I've done Moki a few times, and Bodie. I've also gone down in Alabama red mud. Suffice it to say this was outside of my comfort level. Still, I am riding a GS (so man up!), and there is no turning around, there was no place to head that made sense for the rest of the trip. Just f****n do it. I go to "enduro" mode, mind, body and bike.
As I go through the mud my feet are out, I feel them skating on the mud and think how slippery it is. A pedal glissando. I feel my front wheel starting to act like a rudder, in a bad way, but I correct. I am at the cattle grate, and it's raised. And metal. I give her gas, spin the rear wheel but bump over the leading edge of the grate, now the front wheel on the grate, I continue to gas, and bump across, now in the last part of the mud and exit.
I congratulate myself, the weather is clearing some and within 5 minutes I come across quickly flowing water across 141. Only one way to go: forward. The water is flowing fast enough that it has big ripples in it. I get off the bike and look to see if there is actually road underneath the water. There is, and it looks to be maybe 4-5" deep.
I cross it safely.
Starting to feel a bit smug at my road hazard competency I ride on. 5 minutes pass, it's almost sunny! And I come on the last mudslide across the road. This one has cars, the other two didn't. All the cars were backed up from the oncoming direction. Chicken$hit or wise...I cannot tell...They were all watching me. I could feel their stare. Ok, so this mudslide doesn't look as bad as the first, and there is no cattle grate, and if I go down there are people who can help me up. Two Harley riders await my progress. I can see them smiling.
I again plow through, now actually feeling more confident. I stop and chat with them, they were concerned could they do this? I told them my experience and they told me it was clear sailing up ahead. I left them to decide on their course.
I suppose, as is said, bad experience is the best teacher, and while this was bad, it could've been much worse, but I was glad for a 19" front wheel and enduro mode and the superb balance of the GS. I did think how would my former ride, an 09 r12r, have handled it. Worse I think.
So, I ride into Gunnison a while later, older and wiser, I think, and feeling a twinge of the satisfaction of stretching your limits solo. In retrospect, this was good stuff!
There have been times when I considered myself a poser on this bike and while I make no claim to be anything other than what I did last, this made me feel real. No claims to be anything more, but feeling much more in tune with what this riding thing is all about. I am a sophomore!
Gunnison to Trinidad to Somewhere-In-Texas and home, the plan gels.
Out of Gunnison in the morning I hit rain for a short time, then John Denver Rocky Mountain High kind of weather (WARNING: Do Not Assume I Am A John Denver Fan)...colorado, rocky mountain high, colorado...
Out of Gunnison I take 114, a very nice road, similar to Co 12 between Trinidad and 160, I take that too.
To get between 114 and 12 you have to take a bit of 285. I got off of it, took a left on County 5 over to Alamosa and 160 to 12--that's not important, but that's where these final few were taken.
The ever-present sunflowers
Trinidad was uneventful and the next morning I was in full blown haul a$$ mode, two long days from home.
I knew I was definitely in Texas when I stopped at this place outside of Amarillo.
And that about does it...some details
Bike 2016 BMW r1200GS LC
Total mileage 6250miles
no days 17
oil use: none
average mpg prob in mid 40s, hi and low mid 30s to mid 50s
Changed original front tire in Missoula at 12k + miles
Nikon d700 w 24-70, 70-200, 16-35
Samsung Note 4
Best meal, Timberline Inn, Beaver, Utah close second Inzo's Italian Kitchen, Roanoke, Texas; no really bad meals this time around.
Glenfiddich 15, gone by Big Sky, and Green Spot Irish Whiskey bought in Ft Benton, Mt (the next afternoon!)
Least bang for buck motel, Comfort Inn, Red Lodge Montana.
Favorite roads, ID 51, Nv 225, US 85 out of Deadwood to Wy, Ok82 off the top of my head. Of course Chief Joseph and Beartooth. Second tier Going to the sun and Lolo.
totally surprising area Great Basin area - didn't see that one coming!
I am holding the TRAVEL section of the newspaper in some hoping to get my picture posted in their Sunday Travel section.
Thanks for coming along.