Day 4 – Two more states, come and gone
Date: 06/05/2016 Sunday
Starting Location: Mesquite, NV
Ending Location: Panguitch, UT
Starting Odometer: 7650
Ending Odometer: 7912
Mileage Today: 193 Miles
Mileage Total: 1074 miles
States Visited: 4
Holiday Inn – Mesquite, NV
The Holiday Inn in Mesquite was a pleasure to stay at. The room was great, the pool was relaxing, and the WiFi was reasonable. I spent a good deal of time in the hotel working on the Blog, and getting laundry done. All of my regular clothes are now clean, and fresh smelling, but the riding gear is going to need to be fumigated once I get to Denver, and arrive at Landy’s place.
I got a bit of a late start this morning. I knew that I had a relatively short day, so I wanted to be sure to get a good night’s sleep, and by the time I got up, packed all of the gear on the bike had breakfast, gassed up, and drank the required 2 Liters of Gatorade, I hit the road. Let’s say that I hit the highway at about 9AM.
State of the Union
Since leaving the Bay Area, I had spent all of my time in CA, with a little bit of time in NV. When I crossed into NV from CA, I did not even make note of the sign that designates the border. This morning, I got up and very shortly after hitting the road, I crossed into AZ, and then within about an hour, I left Arizona and entered UT. So, I’ve now crossed three state borders, and visited 4 states.
As I was crossing the two state lines today, it dawned on me that I need to start capturing all of these border crossings so that I can tell that story later. So, with any luck, I’ll capture them all, from this point forward.
Zion National Park
About 95 miles after starting my morning, I approached the gate of Zion National Park. I was surprised at how busy the gate was. As I approached, it seemed like there were at least 50-60 cars in line, and the heat of the day was already becoming oppressive. As I slowly moved forward in line, for the first time since starting the trip, I felt a trickle of sweat running down my back. Until this point, either I was riding in very dry (low humidity) conditions, or the cool vest was working it’s magic. But, approaching Zion’s park gate, the combination of heat, and slightly higher humidity started to cause some discomfort.
Because of the high number of cars at the park entrance, it seems inevitable that there would be high-traffic, and traffic jams in the park. Unfortunately, this proved to be the case. It seems that too many drivers, who have insufficient driving skills were attempting to drive through the narrow, and complicated roads of Zion. So, I found myself riding behind slow moving cars as they tried to navigate the roads, while also taking in all of the spender of Zion.
When riding on a motorcycle, you tend to have a completely different experience than a driver of a car would have. As I rode through Zion I stood up on the pegs, and used the torque of the bike to chug along at whatever pace was fast enough to keep pace, and slow enough to stay far enough back from the car in front to ensure that I wouldn’t have to stop.
Standing on the pegs I’m able to look around and see just about everything. I did what I could to take in Zion, but at the same time, I needed to be very conscious of all of the little obstacles that can cause an accident. More on that subject later…
The trip through Zion took about 45 minutes, and part of that drive included driving through a tunnel that was about a mile in length, and was carved through the rocks that are the base of Zion.
Cedar Breaks National Park
The trip to Cedar Breaks was supposed to be about 62 miles or so, but as I approached a turnoff that would have put me on a dirt road (Stout Canyon Rd) but as I was about to turn into that road, I noticed a sign that says that the road was closed at the midpoint. So, I continued straight on Hwy 89, and then turned left on Hwy 14. As I made the left onto Hwy 14, I noticed another sign that said that Cedar Breaks access road was closed. So, in the course of about 15 miles, I was forced to deal with two road closures. Or was I?
Eventually I came to the place where Cedar Breaks Nat Park was, and noticed that the road was open, and so off I went, up the hill towards the park called Cedar Break. Now, I had only one problem… I had no idea what the hell a cedar break was, and so it was a little hard to imagine a whole National Park, dedicated to a type of thing that I had never heard of.
I eventually stopped at a scenic overlook in Cedar Breaks, and found it to be another breathtaking, but well hidden and majestic view of lots of rocks, and hardly any Cedar trees. It was at this point that it dawned on me that Cedar Breaks National Park must have something to do with the tree line, and the lack of trees at this elevation.
Safety, Safety, Safety
A little earlier I mentioned that I’m always aware of the dangers of riding a motorcycle on a long trip like this. So, let me be more specific.
As I ride along a highway, I’m always dealing with cars that want to stop abruptly, change lanes without any warning, or turn across the highway in front of me, In addition to the risks from other drivers, there are always the risks that come simply because the roads I’m riding on are very curvy, and dangerous. Most of these roads have decreasing radius turns, and drop-offs of hundreds of feet. So, if I miss a turn because of entering the turn too fast, miscalculating the entry, or simply not paying attention, the outcome will be catastrophic, and perhaps even death.
Those of you that know me well know that I love to live on the edge of safety. I enjoy speed, and try to drive as fast as possible, with the highest level of precision that I can muster. I’ve spent 10s of thousands of dollars on training to make me a more precise and better driver. I’ve also spent many thousands of dollars learning the skills of adventure riding.
So as I ride through these canyons, as I cross the country, I want all of you to know that while I’m enjoying the twisty roads, and I push it a bit, I’m always thinking about what could go wrong, and I moderate my speed accordingly. For example, if I’m driving a remote highway, and there is no one else around, I slow down because if I ever missed a turn rode off the edge of the road, it is possible that I might not be found for quite some time, and frankly, I consider that unacceptable (no shit Sherlock).
So, to all of you that are worrying about me, and are sending me messages to stay safe, I wanted to let you know that I’m listening, and I’ll stay focused, and look forward to the end of the journey being just as safe as each day has been so far.
Holy Smoke, what’s did you put on those nuts
In Nevada, at the intersection of Hwy 9 and Hwy 89, there is a small cluster of restaurants, RV Parks, and gas stations. in one of the gas stations was a sign that said “Hot Smoked Nuts”. I love BBQ, and I love nuts, and I also love spicy. So I figured why not buy some of these locally produced delicacies.
Now, let’s put this into context. It’s about 95 degrees outside, and it’s getting hotter. So, almost immediately after eating some of the nuts, I began to realize that this purchase, was not one of my finest. These nuts are called “Helldorado! Almonds”, and I’m happy to say that the name is an accurate description of where the nuts must have come from. Within seconds of eating the nuts, I began to sweat even more.
From now on, I’ve decided to enforce a new food rule on the trip. No More Hella Hot Nuts!. it’s a simple rule, but I think you’ll all agree that it’s the right thing to do.
Bryce Canyon – Hmmm, that’s a whole lot of red rocks
Years ago I visited Bryce Canyon with a bunch of friends from the Bay Area. After entering the park at mile marker 1, we headed up the hill towards mile marker 17, which is at over 11,000 feet. As we drove up the hill, we stopped at each of the numerous scenic overlooks along the way. These overlooks are there to give you a number of different ways to see the natural rock formations within the canyon.
I guess it was at about the 5th or 6th stop one of the folks in our group asks the question; “Are there any other exhibits in this park? All I see is a bunch of red rocks”. I won’t mention the name of the person that spoke these words, but for the rest of the trip we couldn’t help but have a little fun with that statement.
I mean, here we are in an United States National Park that is renowned for it’s beauty, and we’ve got someone that simplifies it all down to a bunch of red rocks.
The tunnels at Bryce Canyon National Park
On the way out of the park I started the camera, and filmed the two tunnels that are part of the road to the park. I thought you might enjoy them. As I stood on the pegs, it felt like my helmet was going to rub against the rocks.
Today’s route was not especially long, but it did have the virtue of including 3 states, and 2 state border crossings.
For years I’ve had back problems. At some point about 2 years ago I got sick and tired of waking up with back pain, and I decided to take a chance with Doc Wong, a local chiropractor in Belmont. I went through a program that had me getting regular adjustments, rather than waiting for back pain to get the adjustments. in February of 2016, I started taking Bikram Yoga classes again.
Yesterday, I woke up with a little bit of back pain, and I was starting to get really concerned. In years past, this kind of pain would have caused me to live with compromise for several days until the pain subsided. But this time, something completely different happened.
After doing some morning stretches, I found that I was able to stretch the muscles, and relax my back to the point where the pain completely subsided. Of course, as I continue my ride, I’ll need to be careful with my back, and while on the bike, I’ll need to maintain good posture, and keep my core muscles working, but the pain that was once chronic, now seems manageable. Wish me luck…
In Panguitch, I’m staying at the Quality Inn. At check-in I found the front desk staff was very accommodating to motorcyclists and he gave me a room on the first floor, with a great place to park. After getting settled in, I took a shower and headed to the restaurant.
I was surprised to meet a number of waiters and other staff that all seemed to be from the Czech republic. That was strange, but not nearly as strange as seeing them all dressed in cowboy/western outfits. I later learned that the owner is from the Czech republic and he invited all of his family and friends from “the old country” to work at his restaurant over the summer. So, there I found myself dealing with accents and misinterpretations that come when you talk to a cowboy from the Czech Republic.
What’s on deck for tomorrow?
Tomorrow I’ve got a big day. I need to get up and get started early, so that I can visit all the parks along the way, and travel the 290 miles to Moab. I need to arrive in Moab in time for me to stop at MadBro Motorsports, where I’ll have my new tires installed.