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Joe Frickin' Friday

My Torrey Odyssey

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Paul_Burkett

Good writing Mitch, I will be there in July on the way to TOR in Paonia. My mother and stepfather live in Westminster.

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jeddy

Thanks, Mitch. I remember touring the Coors brewery as a 17 year old kid back in 1972. Freshly graduated from high school, I was roaming the west for the first time with three good buddies and my Dads Ford van. At the time, there was no "allotment" and no I.D. required. We took maximum advantage of the situation. Legal age for drinking was 18 and no one much cared how many beers you had before driving. Times have changed. thumbsup.gif

 

Coors was a regional beer back then and you could not get it in Minnesota, so we would fill our trunk with it in subsequent trips and have a Coors beer party upon our return to the midwest. I still have a nostalgic appreciation for it and buy it occasionally to this day.

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Tasker
thumbsup.gif

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Bob Palin
In the last step of the tour, we are shown the packaging process. From the tour gallery, the room is so big that one camera shot can’t cover it all:
I spent a week working at Coors once (not in the brewing department, they also make hi-tech specialty ceramics). I got a tour of the back room areas including the packaging room, even with ear muffs on that room is deafening!

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Mike T

Next time you guys are in Boulder stop by our Winery. Boulder Creek Winery. We're right off of HW 119 in Gunbarrel. Free tasting and tours plus BMW riders get a 10% discount.

 

bouldercreekwine.com

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Joe Frickin' Friday

Day 5: Wednesday, May 16

Route: Louisville to Moab

Distance: 496 miles

 

2007-05-my-torrey-odyssey-031.jpg

 

 

It's my birthday; I'm 37 today. Sometime during breakfast my cell phone vibrates. It's a text message from my friend Scott back in Michigan: “Happy Birthday, Phaedrus.” He and I have both read 'Zen,' and he always refers to me as Phaedrus (in the third person) when I'm traveling on the bike.

 

The last two days have been relaxed play-days, simply heading out to explore the Front Range. But today the mood is different. We're on a mission to reach Moab, and we're taking the long way, expecting to cover almost 500 miles. After finishing breakfast, we pack the last of our things in the sidecases, say our goodbyes and head out. Just as the day before, we cruise to Boulder, head up 119 to Nederland, and then turn south – but this time, all the way to US6 and Idaho springs, where we merge into I-70. 25 miles west we exit for a favorite detour: Loveland Pass. The interstate takes virtually all of its traffic west through the Eisenhower Tunnel; only hazardous-cargo trucks and the occasional tourist choose to climb over the pass instead, and there are numerous passing opportunities. At the top of the pass we cross over the the continental divide; and after descending the western slope and cruising past seemingly endless ski resorts, we meet the highway again at Dillon, and then just a couple of miles later stop at a scenic overlook. Looking back across the interstate, Frisco and Dillon are nestled in a broad basin on opposite ends of a lake, with a backdrop of snow-covered mountains. I jokingly wonder why they didn't put Denver here in this stunning location instead of out on the flat, boring prairie. Then I think of those poor schmucks crossing the plains in their covered wagons: “Mountains!?!? Aw, crap! Well, this'll do, right here...” :grin:

 

(click on image to open a full-size, scrollable panoramic in a new window)

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Back on the interstate, steep pine-covered slopes with snow-crusted avalanche chutes soon give way to dry sage-covered hills, and eventually the highway routes us into the narrow rocky canyons east of Glenwood Springs.

 

We stop briefly in Glenwood Springs to refuel, and then head south on SR82, playing leapfrog with a local rider on a 650GS. By the time we reach Carbondale the road has veered eastward to run toward Aspen (along with our GS rider), and we turn sharply south again on SR133. After leaving town, the road passes through flat ranchlands for a few miles before it enters a narrow valley and sashays back and forth, matching the Crystal River bend for bend. With lush greenery all around, we zig and zag toward McClure Pass. Capitol Peak, one of Colorado's “fourteeners,” looms silent and massive on our left. It's still early in the season, so the snow cover runs far down from the summit, even down below the treeline.

 

It's cloudy and a few drops of rain fall, but we continue, encouraged by the sight of blue skies far to the south. The rain ends as we climb up over McClure Pass and come down the south side again, descending into another river valley. 20 miles later, the valley is lined with some major mining operations. Huge mounds of coal, tailings, and material handling equipment come into view. We ride through Somerset, where the houses – and the road – butt tightly up against the mine buildings.

 

We pass by Paonia , site of the TOR rally, and Hotckiss. The mountains and valleys disappear, and we're dumped out onto the high plains of Colorado as we head west on SR92 to Delta. After a quick lunch at Wendy's, we ride south on US50 to Montrose, where we fuel up for the final 170 miles into Moab. The skies to our south are getting pretty dark, but I remain optimistic, keeping my Phoenix jacket on. Halfway to Ridgeway, I have to admit the obvious: it's getting ugly up ahead, and it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. We stop by the side of the road and I struggle in heavy winds to put on rain gear.

 

At Ridgeway we take a right on SR62, and make for the Dallas Divide. Off to our left, amid the peaks of the San Juan mountains, several cloud-to-ground lightning strikes flash in my peripheral vision. This is a bad place to be: we're on a broad, flat hillside, headed toward a pass, with no shelter. I rationalize my way through, telling myself that the main storm cloud is still far away in the San Juans (the truth: lightning can go many miles horizontally before grounding), we're not preferred targets (just two more random targets out of many), and that our best bet is to minimize exposure time. We run at WOT up the hill and down the other side, where we quickly tuck down into a narrow valley. I feel safer here, but by no means “safe”. As we turn right yet again at Placerville onto SR145 the rain comes down properly hard now. We run through a canyon, parallel to a turbulent whitewater river, at one point passing a rafting expedition. The roads are wet, but we keep up a rapid pace anyway, anxious to put the lightning and rain behind us. The GPS shows the road up ahead taking some sharp turns and pulling away from the river; we're running downstream, and somehow I hold out hope that this means the road will go downhill, away from the foul and dangerous weather. Instead, quite the opposite happens: we cross the river and begin winding steeply up one of the canyon walls.

 

This is not good.

 

Halfway up, we come to a stretch of construction where the road has been reduced to a single lane. Temporary stoplights have been set up to automatically control traffic flow through the one-way stretch; when we arrive, our light is red, and we come to a stop.

 

Shawn's bike dies.

 

He starts it up again, but I can hear something is not right. After a few seconds of increasingly unhealthy sounds, it dies for a second time.

 

Beyond the rim of the canyon, lightning again flashes to our south.

 

Oh, CRAP. This has to happen NOW?

 

Shawn desperately thumbs the starter, but both of us already know exactly what the problem is. We went through this two years ago, when his RT died on a trip from Virginia to Michigan. Back then, we got his bike towed to my house, and figured out that it was a dead HES; we extracted the working HES from my bike, got him back on the road the next morning, and he paid for a brand new HES for my bike. Now, my old HES in his bike – with well over 100,000 miles on it – had picked this unbelievably bad time and place to stop talking to the Motronic. Shawn is angry, frustrated, worried about the lightning, worried about what we're gonna do next. I'm mostly worried about the lightning. I've already wrapped my brain around the solution; it's a time-detour I wish we didn't have to take, but the path through to the other side of this problem is clear, so I'm not worried. I'm anxious to get started on Shawn's bike and I share the answer with him, but our first task is to get the hell off of this mountainside and out of this dangerous weather. The GPS shows Norwood four miles up the road: that's where we've got to go.

 

With thunder booming and rumbling loudly around us, I help Shawn back his bike downhill onto the gravel shoulder, hoist it up onto the centerstand, and tie down a rain cover. We stuff his tankbag under the bungee net on my own RT's rear rack, and I climb into the pilot's seat. With freshly muddied boots on wet pavement, I brace for all I'm worth and give Shawn a nod; he clambers aboard behind me, and somehow I keep the whole wiggling contraption upright. I start the engine, and we wait for a green light.

 

Have you ever seen video footage of the Saturn V moonrocket lifting off from the launch pad? That thing weighed 6.7 million pounds, and had a sea-level first-stage thrust of only 7.7 million pounds. You think they're showing the video in slow motion, but they're not: immediately after release from the launch pad, it barely hovered there. Well, that's us when the light turns green. This is a steep uphill launch – with a fraction of sea-level engine torque available to my right hand – and with two soaking wet riders and a full load of gear on board, we are probably 150 pounds beyond the gross weight limit of the bike. I rev the engine and ease the clutch out; even at WOT, it's a painful four seconds before I can achieve full clutch engagement without killing the engine. I silently apologize to my clutch, which must be about to burst into flames.

 

After a ponderous mile of riding up the hill, we come onto a plateau. Frankly, we were better off in the canyon: we're really exposed up here, and I'm nervous. The road runs due west for three white-knuckled miles before finding cover amid the heart of “downtown” Norwood. Through the rain I'm scanning the buildings, looking for a place that's open and hospitable. We get halfway through town before I spot a gas station, but we're not the first ones to get there: there are already half a dozen bikes and riders huddled under the pump canopy, a group of local BMW riders on a loop ride from Grand Junction. We find a slice of territory underneath the canopy and I wiggle my RT in with them while Shawn goes in and starts making phone calls. He manages to track down a flatbed truck owner in town who will pick us up at the station and get the bike; and over the phone, the gas station clerk convinces the station owner to let us work on the bike in one of their unused carwash bays.

 

So now we wait for the flatbed to arrive. One of the other BMW riders can't finish a giant bag of Fritos he bought here, and he hands me the rest of the bag. I generally don't buy Fritos for myself – they're so good, but they're so bad for you – but I can't turn them down when they're free. I stuff it into my tank bag for some other time, and since Shawn and I are going to be here for a while, I wiggle my bike up against the side of the gas station to get it out of the way of the pumps.

 

After a short wait the flatbed pulls up. It's a very well-appointed vehicle with the right equipment for the job: crewcab, low miles, and up on the bed there's a brand new Condor wheel chock anchored to the winch. We squeeze into the back seat and head out toward Shawn's bike. The driver is a quiet, friendly fellow in his 30s or 40s. In the front passenger seat is his elderly father, who speaks at length – almost unintelligibly – about his younger days riding his Harley, and the long history of cars running off the cliffs of Norwood Hill (where Shawn's bike is parked). We nod and laugh politely at his stories, despite understanding perhaps only a third of what he tells us; thankfully, it's a short trip. We arrive at the bike and after about twenty minutes of fussing manage to get it tied up on the truck. Back at the gas station, we unload the bike and park it in the carwash bay. Shawn pays out in what I call the Deal of the Century: only $65 for an hour's work from those guys and the use of what must surely be a very expensive truck.

 

While Shawn settles up with the wrecker guys, I'm already back in the carwash bay, tearing into Shawn's beleaguered RT. By the time Shawn comes in, I've got most of the Tupperware unbolted:

 

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I pull off a spark plug cover to check for spark, and then think better of it. Lack of spark will only tell us that it could be either the ignition coil or the HES, but we're already pretty sure it's the HES, so I opt for a more direct test of it. We jiggle the gearbox into fifth gear and turn the key on; the fuel pump cycles audibly for a second or two. Then I grab the rear wheel and manhandle the engine through a rev or two. The fuel pump should trigger periodically along with the HES, but it remains silent. Now we know the problem is either the HES or the Motronic, and the strong odds are on the HES.

 

Two years ago, when Shawn's original HES died, he had it rebuilt: new sensors got riveted to the baseplate, and a new harness with high-temperature insulation got soldered in. Shawn tucked it under the seat of his RT, and now all that work has paid off. Instead of hauling the bike 130 miles up to Grand Junction (think $$$) and ruining our trip with 3-days on the sidelines, we have the part in hand; Shawn's got a full complement of tools; and between the two of us we've already been through this job. We're going to swap it out the HES in the middle of Podunk, Colorado, and get ourselves back on the road. :clap:

 

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It's a long tedious job, fully requiring two people. There are no quick-disconnects on Shawn's fuel tank, so we have to take turns lifting and holding it back above the airbox, and dealing with the HES connector buried underneath the tank's usual resting spot. Having only just topped off in Montrose, the tank is heavy with fuel, but we manage. We align the new HES with the dust footprint from the old one and snug up the screws. Pulley on, belt on, tension up: a crescent wrench doubles as a pry bar to lift the alternator up and tighten the belt. With the new HES in place, we settle the tank down on its mounts and cross our fingers as Shawn hits the starter. Much to our relief, the boxer rumbles to life and idles patiently. :clap: :clap: Twenty minutes later, the Tupperware is back on, the rain has stopped, and both bikes are running well as we launch westward out of town.

 

I don't recommend deliberately breaking your bike to learn what I'm about to tell you. But if you've ever done your own roadside repair in the middle of a long trip, then you know that there are no miles sweeter than those ridden immediately after executing an emergency roadside repair on your own bike. It's a huge sense of relief at the return to normalcy; a sense of vindication at the fact that your preparations (i.e. bringing tools and spares) have just paid off BIG; and a sense of pride at having used your know-how to tackle the job on your own. The dead HES could have wrecked the trip, but for a mere $65 and a couple of hours, we managed to pull our own bacon out of the fire.

 

We pass through Redvale and Naturita, turning west onto SR90. It's getting late, and we're anxious to reach Moab before it gets truly dark out. The road is running dead straight along a wide, flat valley filled with short sagebrush plants that cover the ground right up to the shoulder of the road, and this straight run continues for 15 miles with no one and no thing in sight. We're doing close to 90 and the air is completely stagnant; all I can hear in my helmet is the buzz of the engine. Fifty yards ahead, a coyote suddenly appears, seemingly out of nowhere, crosses the road at a dead run, and vanishes into the sage on the other side; he must have started running long before he got to the road. A few miles later, a desert hare pulls the same stunt, and we back off our speed a little bit. Finally we traverse the roller coaster of bluffs at the edge of the Manti-La Sal forest; the sun hasn't set yet, but the sky to the west is dark with heavy clouds, and my tinted visor is becoming increasingly inappropriate. We cross into Utah, and shortly after our final climb up onto the high plateau, an oncoming car vigorously flashes his headlights at us, although we're already traveling pretty much at the speed limit. I don't grasp the real threat until we crest the next hill: I get on the brakes hard as we are greeted by the sight of several dozen mule deer on and around the road. We creep past at about 30 MPH, and instead of running, they simply stare at us like they'd be quite happy to beat the crap out of us if we dared to stop. It's damn creepy. A mile later, we finally do stop, and I exchange my tinted visor for the clear one.

 

The sun hasn't set yet, but it's so dark that I can't believe it's not raining. The heavy precip is well off to our right, shrouding the high peaks of the La Sal Range. Just like at the Coors brewery, Lord of The Rings springs to mind and I can't help but think of Mordor and Mount Doom; all that's missing is the lava.

 

As we reach US191 and turn north for the final 20 miles, a piercing red setting sun peeks under the far western edge of the cloud. Somehow we avoid any rain, and arrive in Moab just as the sun sets. It's late – our bodies still haven't fully adjusted to mountain time – and we're exhausted after what has turned out to be a very long, stressful day. We check-in at the Super8 on the north edge of town, and then check in with our families. Back in Ann Arbor it's 10:30, and Masako hasn't heard from me yet. But I left a message with my sister when Shawn's bike broke down, and I found out that Masako had talked to her not too long ago and knew to expect our late check-in. Whew.

 

We head back into the heart of downtown Moab, looking for good food to celebrate both my advancing age and our hard-won victory over cantankerous machinery. We settle in at Woody's Tavern. After a toast to roadside repairs and birthdays, Shawn wants to buy me dinner, and seems disappointed when I order a simple cheeseburger. But I don't order cheeseburgers very often, and dammit, this is a good one: a half pound, well-done, with swiss cheese. Slouched in a comfortable booth at the end of an eventful day, with a big-ass cheeseburger and a beer, in Utah with my riding buddy, and tomorrow we make for Torrey. It's a really good cheeseburger, alright. :thumbsup:

 

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BFish

great story. could sense your exultation as you rode off post-repair.

 

lurker.gif

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rogera

Another great chapter. Looking forward to the next one grin.gif

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EffBee

A finely crafted piece of story telling, Mitch. I, also, could feel your sense of exultation at having defeated the mechanical gremlins, as well as your true concern for your safety from the lightning. Then at last, a complete change of tempo. A "big-ass" chesseburger. Yeah. Good. We won.

 

Superb.

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Foot

Keep it coming Mitch, great story!

 

Alan

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Lone_RT_rider
A finely crafted piece of story telling, Mitch. I, also, could feel your sense of exhultation at having defeated the mechanical gremlins, as well as your true concern for your safety from the lightning. Then at last, a complete change of tempo. A "big-ass" chesseburger. Yeah. Good. We won.

 

Superb.

 

Fernando,

 

How many shop hours are slated for an HES change?

 

Shawn

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Tasker

Very nice!

 

Knapp and I had a similar experience last year coming back into Gunnison on 92. We had just stopped to change our visors to clear, as it was almost dark and we knew we were heading down into a valley. Less than a mile after we re-started, we came up and over a hill to find dozens of black cows standing in the middle of the road. It was freaky. I really didn't want to moto through all of them but we had no choice, other than to turn around.

 

I was praying that none of them knew that I was the one who ate many of their relatives -- medium rare. eek.gifsmirk.gif

 

Mitch, great reporting and great intensity.

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Whip

Mitch, I'm think you need to get out on the road more. We need more of your Ride Tales.

 

thumbsup.gif

 

Whip

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Lone_RT_rider
Mitch, I'm think you need to get out on the road more. We need more of your Ride Tales.

 

thumbsup.gif

 

Whip

 

With 3 house to take care of and his Mojo bar production lagging behind, he miiiiiiiiiiiight just make this ride tale last until the next Torrey. grin.gifthumbsup.gif

 

Shawn

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Whip
Mitch, I'm think you need to get out on the road more. We need more of your Ride Tales.

 

thumbsup.gif

 

Whip

 

With 3 house to take care of and his Mojo bar production lagging behind, he miiiiiiiiiiiight just make this ride tale last until the next Torrey. grin.gifthumbsup.gif

 

Shawn

 

 

 

That sounds like a personal problem!!!!!!

 

grin.gif

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bakerzdosen

I'm sorry, but the Saturn V imagery was TOO perfect. smile.gif

 

thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gif

 

Keep 'em comin'

 

lurker.giflurker.gif

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Endobobdds

Had no idea you two had such an exciting time just getting to Torrey! Great road side fix. thumbsup.gif Looking forward to the rest of "ride report".

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Berkley

This is such a great ride tale, maybe it shouldn't end!

 

back to the lurker.gif

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algover

Superb, Mitch. Absolutely marvelous tale! thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gifclap.gifclap.gif

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Couchrocket
thumbsup.giflurker.giflurker.giflurker.gif

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Limecreek

Wow...nice tale--the detail and your delivery make me want to keep on reading. So when are you going to post the link to your blog?

 

One of my goals while in Torrey was to get out and whoop it up with you and Shawn. In the end there was too little time and too many people to wade through.

 

I'll look forward to a chance to chase some curves with you next time. thumbsup.gif

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Joe Frickin' Friday

Day 6: Thursday, May 17

Route: Moab to Torrey

Distance: 316 miles

 

2007-05-my-torrey-odyssey-035.jpg

 

 

We're in a cheap motel on the edge of a small town, but the breakfast area is abuzz with people. It's a Thursday, school's not even out for summer yet, but this place is overflowing with visitors who are eager to get outdoors and explore the area. When I first came out here as a small boy in the late 1970s on a family summer vacation, Moab was a nothing-town in the middle of nowhere, little more than a convenient place to get gas or hole up in a fleabag motel. The town has its roots in agriculture and mining, and soon after nuclear weapons were invented, Moab was christened “The Uranium Capital of The World.” But since my first visit nearly 30 years ago to go hiking and camping, it's been transformed into a tourist Mecca as people from all over the world have become better informed about both the existence of this place, and about alternate forms of recreation. Moab is now a major jumping-off point for hikers, bicyclists (road and off-road), four-wheel-drive enthusiasts, photographers, kayakers, BASE jumpers and rock climbers; the local economy has shifted to accommodate this huge influx of tourists, offering hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, and equipment rentals to suit any taste.

 

All of that to explain why I can't seem to get two sips out of my coffee without someone bumping into my chair on the way to the waffle iron or cereal bar. Between interruptions, we chow down on (yet another) continental breakfast and set about packing up the bikes. Even taking the long route to Torrey, it's only 250 miles, and we've got all day to do it, so we opt for a scenic detour. We leave the hotel and head north on US191, bound for Canyonlands National Park. We forego refueling, and with about 170 miles since Montrose, we don't have a whole lot of range left. Shawn comes through on the FRS, wondering how far we'll be traveling before coming back through Moab, and in the same moment I realize that stopping at all of the overlooks up here would take an awful lot of time. We agree to cut it back to what I think is the best of the lot, the overlook at Dead Horse Point State Park. After ten miles we turn onto SR313 and immediately enter a redrock canyon. Bizarre, sculpted rock formations flow past as we make our way along, and after a couple of miles, the road suddenly climbs upward through a couple of 20-MPH switchbacks. Up on the plateau, the edge of the treeless landscape a mile or two distant on either side of us obscures the horizon; it's clear why this place was named “Island In the Sky.” In another fifteen miles, we've reached the overlook at Dead Horse Point. We walk out to the railing, and the view is, well...

 

(click on image to open a full-size, scrollable panoramic in a new window)

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Yes, that's Shawn at the left edge of that photo. He's taking this shot:

 

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It looks a lot like El Canyon Grande, no? Made in much the same way, and in fact that's the very same muddy-brown Colorado River.

 

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Down below, in front of the river, Potash Road connects Moab with the Shafer Trail, a rugged “FOUR-WHEEL-DRIVE-ONLY” road originating in Canyonlands that my dad – against all advice – somehow bounced us through in a simple station wagon so many years ago. We didn't see many other folks on that wild 40-mile adventure back then, but as Shawn and I look down now, the road is dotted with a procession of vehicles.

 

Shawn captures the scene:

 

2007-05-my-torrey-odyssey-039-L.jpg

 

 

Mitch capturing another scene:

 

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Two yellow-bellied bastages:

 

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After riding back to Moab, we tank up and head south on 191. We get about ten miles before traffic comes to a dead stop: another span of road construction with a one-way stretch. We shut down the engines and relax for a bit. Breakfast wasn't very big, and I'm getting hungry. Suddenly, I remember yesterday's Fritos sitting in the tank bag:

 

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It's difficult to eat with my Shoei in place, but somehow I manage. With my left glove removed (my God, but these things are greasy) I hoist a handload upward, raise my chinbar with my right hand, and push them all into my mouth. My helmet bobs up and down as I chew. The lady in the car behind us must wonder what the hell I'm up to:

 

2007-05-my-torrey-odyssey-044-L.jpg

 

 

The Fritos hit the spot, and eventually oncoming traffic clears the one way stretch; we fire up the bikes and trundle through the construction zone. Ten miles further, we run into the exact same scenario, but this time the wait is much longer. We park the bikes and I wander a bit. I can see way in front of us that traffic has been piling up for quite a while:

 

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And behind us, for upwards of fifteen minutes, traffic continues to pack it in:

 

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Finally we pull through the construction zone and work our way past an accumulation of slower traffic, finally stopping at the A&W in Blanding for lunch. This is the third time in three Torrey trips that we've eaten here; go figure. It's a strange hybrid of a place, a combination gas station, grocery store, and fast food restaurant. We chow down on typical A&W fare as locals wander in and out. After a warm morning ride, the sudden onslaught of heavy food saps my energy; I feel sleepy, but we relax in the booth for a while, and my alertness is restored.

 

Back out to the bike, my mechanical paranoia is surfacing again. With the RT up on the centerstand, I briefly lift each end of the machine and spin, jiggle, and jerk the wheels to make sure the bearings are still behaving themselves; I don't want any unpleasant surprises for the next 150 miles if I can help it. Meanwhile, Shawn has noticed his headlight isn't working. We ride a couple of blocks to a NAPA store, where he buys a new H4 bulb for the low, low price of $9. :eek: As in Norwood, I start tearing into his bike while he's taking care of things in the store. The connector is badly melted, and the filaments in the old bulb both look fine. We worry that the problem may not be the bulb after all, but decide to put the new bulb in anyway. Much to our surprise, the headlight now works, so we button it up and prepare to head out. Like noobs, we've parked the bikes nose-down on a steep incline toward the curb. Shawn walks his bike back up to level road before hopping aboard, but I'm already straddling my RT; Shawn and a local pedestrian are watching to see what I'll do next. I hit the starter and use the engine to force the front wheel up over the curb, and momentum brings the back wheel along for the ride. I U-turn on the broad sidewalk in front of the store, drop off the curb into the street again, and away we go. :Cool:

 

Just a few miles south of town, we turn onto SR95. For us, US191 is a connector – a way between Moab and Blanding – but SR95 is a road we came here to ride, and we've been looking forward to it ever since leaving home. US191 is a high-traffic thoroughfare, the main north-south road in the southeastern part of the state, and UDOT has worked hard to straighten the curves, flatten the hills, and put in passing lanes wherever they could.

 

In other words, they've made it a real drag for folks looking for a sporting ride.

 

SR95 is quite the opposite. There's far less traffic, so UDOT put a lot less effort into making it grandma-friendly. Not only that, but there are places where the terrain makes this impossible. The road is carefully positioned between mesas and canyons, making numerous bends and twists to avoid running smack into either of them; in a couple of places the road turns quite suddenly and passes through a deep cuts in solid rock so as to facilitate gentle descents into wide rifts in the terrain.

 

After about 80 miles, a long, high bridge carries us northwest across a silt-choked Colorado River. Two miles later, we cross the Dirty Devil, and lean hard into a long, 180 degree sweeper with a 1/4-mile radius. Roads like this are the reason we ride: perfect pavement, unobstructed sightlines, virtually no traffic, and the heat of mid-afternoon combined with high speeds assures that the tires are about as sticky as they can get. We'd have to buy time on the track to improve on these riding conditions, and then we'd have forfeited the transcendent experience of moving through this surreal landscape.

 

After a couple more bends we climb quickly up out of Glen Canyon and stop for a break at the Hite overlook. Here we are treated to a spectacular view back over the last seven miles of road just traveled:

 

(click on image to open a full-size, scrollable panoramic in a new window)

2007-05-my-torrey-odyssey-047-L.jpg

 

As during other stops, our bikes and attire attract interest from folks eager to make a connection with fellow travelers. This time it's a retired couple who seem to have vehicles (including several motorcycles) stashed all over the country. Despite all the stories I hear of how hard it is to save for retirement, the elderly travelers we meet all seem to have done very well for themselves. But then again, there's a built-in survey bias: the ones who are living out their golden years on a shoestring budget aren't likely to be found touring southeastern Utah in a brand new Mustang.

 

After some conversation about our vehicles and theirs, we convince them to capture a photo of the yellow-bellied twins at Hite Overlook:

 

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And a glance in the other direction, with accordion-like rock formations in the distance:

 

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It's 3:00, the hottest part of the day, more or less. I'm sweating profusely even in my Phoenix, and Shawn's got to be broiling in his Roadcrafter. So we saddle up and head west again on SR95 into the canyon, where 24 miles of high-speed, constant-radius sweepers come at us in rapid-fire succession. It's hot, hard physical work and mental concentration, but like playing racquetball, we delve into it eagerly, aggressively, without hesitation. All too soon we are dumped out at the north end of the canyon, where we pick up speed for the final 15 straight miles into Hanksville. My mechanical (and to a lesser extent, legal) paranoia gets the better of me: despite the clear view for miles in every direction, I can't find what it takes to pin the throttle wide-open anymore. We find a comfortable middle between “legal” and “red-line,” and the 15 miles go by in about ten minutes' time.

 

Like fighter jets after touchdown, half a mile from the edge of Hanksville we roll off the throttle and rapidly decelerate to in-town speeds. We pull into the Chevron for fuel and end up taking a fifteen-minute rest in the shade at the front of the station. A few bikes pass by on the road, and a few others pull into the station, but nobody we immediately recognize, and nobody on a BMW. This is in sharp contrast to the last two times we came this way: in ‘03 Ron, Shawn and I already had one new friend in tow (Greg Clark, “Limecreek”) before we even reached this Chevron station, and then met several others (including Hannabone and Sir Rodney) while resting here. A similar convergence happened in ‘04, too. We're surprised this time, but OTOH we're a day early. In any event, our disappointment is small and short-lived, as we know our friends will be there to greet us in Torrey, now only 50 miles down the road. :clap: :clap:

 

After we saddle up and begin the final approach on SR24, yesterday's weather begins a repeat performance. Dark clouds gather over Capitol reef as we ride the 30 miles to the park's eastern edge. Hills and mounds of rough clay and silt line the edge of the road; most of them are covered with motorcycle and 4-wheeler tracks going up and over them at peculiar angles. As we continue westward they are supplanted by progressively larger and more rugged formations and hoodoo rocks that forbid vehicular transit. There is much less red rock here than there was back on SR95, but no less variety; instead of hot red and brown, the earth is now rendered in eerie grayscale, in shades ranging from jet black to off-white.

 

To our left, lightning arcs across the front of the storm clouds. I glance nervously back and forth between the clouds and the GPS, as I try to estimate whether the road ahead will skirt around the worst of it or carry us straight into perdition. The GPS shows the road turning south for a distance, but how far? And just how far away is the storm? Soon a cold, gusty wind is added to the mess, and before long rain begins plinking against my tinted visor and splashing through the mesh of my Phoenix. We're not carving through sweepers anymore, we're just trying to get past this storm as quickly as possible. As the road directs us on a four-mile stretch to the south, I watch the storm anxiously, hoping the road veers west before we really get underneath it.

 

Thankfully, we do indeed turn west before the deluge arrives, and we cross into Capitol Reef and the WaterPocket Fold. We couldn't have timed it any closer; the roads here are soaking wet, the heavy rains having just passed through this area. As we ride out from under the storm, the sun shines down from a partly cloudy sky, and the grey-and-white moonscape of the past half-hour gives way to cliffs and mesas rendered in warmer shades of tan, brown, red, and mahogany as we cover the last few miles of the day.

 

Finally – 3 years and 2500 miles in the making, and after contending with uncomfortable, dangerous weather and cranky, aging bikes – we rise up over one last hill and arrive at the eastern edge of Torrey, Utah. We pull up at the Chevron pumps and park the bikes, and before I can walk two steps to stretch my legs, Shawn surprises me with a big bear hug, formally marking our arrival.

 

We gas up and putter 20 yards over to the front of the Days Inn, and after checking in at the front desk, we wander up to our room. When I made the reservation several months ago, all they had left was a suite, and they charged accordingly: $120 a night. The sting of that high price is reduced a bit when we head on up and discover that this is the single biggest hotel room either of us has ever stayed in. :Cool: It must be about 700 square feet, and although it's positioned squarely behind the hotel's portico, the windows still afford a view on either side of it to the bluffs and trees of Dixie National Forest.

 

Eager to relax, we change out of our riding gear and into swimsuits and head for the hot tub, only to find it crowded with strangers. Thankfully, the main pool's thermostat is maladjusted and it's running very warm, probably about 95 degrees. This ends up being the perfect temperature for us, a nice, gentle “cool tub” at the end of a hot day. Soon after entering I notice that the pool has been overfilled to within an inch or two of the deck; I entertain myself by pushing off from the edge like an Olympic backstroke swimmer, sending huge tsunamis over the floor at the other end of the pool room. :grin:

 

45 minutes later, sufficiently cooled and relaxed, we dry off, dress up, and hop on the bikes for the short ride over to the Chuckwagon. Upon arrival we're surprised at how thin the crowd is – based on Bob's list, we expected to see perhaps 75 people this evening – but we're happy to see a number of familiar faces including Laney, Dennis, Knappy, Drew, and the ever-present Marty Hill (:wave:), and we quickly make friends with others.

 

Before long Rainy arrives, after a trip that has been less thrilling and more exhausting than ours. Up at 3AM this morning to catch a flight from Charlotte (an hour and a half from home), only to learn her flight had been delayed two hours. After catching a (later) connecting flight in Houston, she finally arrived in Salt Lake City, picked up her rental car and drove 3 hours to get here. After she decompresses for a bit, seven of us – Dennis, Laney, Rainy, Shawn, me, Drew, and Knappy – head out for dinner at the Capitol Reef Inn and Cafe.

 

Despite the fact that less than half of the expected BMWST group is in town, it's already enough to seriously disrupt local businesses. At every step of our dining experience there are very long delays; at one point I actually walk back into the kitchen myself, where one of the cooks smiles and waves as I collect a pitcher of water for our table. Nonetheless, we pass the time enjoying each others' company, and enjoying the fact that we're finally here: at long last, we've made it to Torrey. :clap: While we sit, old friends walk through the door at regular intervals. Before we're done, Sir Rodney and Hannabone – whom Shawn and I haven't spent time with since 2005 – arrive and sit down at the table behind us.

 

Shots of the dinner crowd, including (left to right) Drew, Dennis, Laney, and Rainy:

 

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Joe Frickin' Friday, Knappy, and Drew:

 

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Knappy and Drew (man, that guy's in every damn shot!). Someone just told a really good joke, or Steve farted, I'm not sure which:

 

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After dinner Rainy ferries me and Shawn back to the Chuckwagon in her car, where we pick up our bikes, and then all three of us head back to the Days Inn. Sir Rodney and Hannabone are just down the hall, and after a quick invite, we all round out the evening together by laughing through a really atrocious 2006 remake of The Omen. :smirk:

 

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Paul_Burkett

Getting better every day.

By the look on Steves face, I bet it was a fart.

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Wow...nice tale--the detail and your delivery make me want to keep on reading. So when are you going to post the link to your blog?

 

Blog? What blog? No way I could write like this every day on a regular basis; too time-consuming. I'm falling behind on this ride tale as it is. Casual posts on the board, no problemo, but for this ride tale I wanted to make a good finished product that captures details, and it's pretty taxing.

 

One of my goals while in Torrey was to get out and whoop it up with you and Shawn. In the end there was too little time and too many people to wade through.

 

Ya, we missed ya, dood. It may be acoupla years, but we'll get out there again. thumbsup.gif

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StretchMark

Seems we did a many of the same roads, just 1 day behind you guys. We got stuck at that same cheezy Hole in the Rock place, and did that same GPS to storm cloud dance every afternoon. We made the detour to Natural Bridges only to leave immediately as the lightning caught back up with us.

 

Good stuff, keep it coming!

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Tasker
Knappy and Drew (man, that guy’s in every damn shot!). Someone just told a really good joke, or Steve farted, I’m not sure which:

153801266-M.jpg

 

Based on Knapp's smile, I'd guess...

 

Great story, Mitch!

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SageRider

lurker.giflurker.giflurker.gif

 

Great read so far.....

Please don't tell me in the end it was all a dream in the shower. eek.gif

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ChrisNYC

Great Ride Tale, Mitch.

 

JFF said It’s a huge sense of relief at the return to normalcy; a sense of vindication at the fact that your preparations (i.e. bringing tools and spares) have just paid off BIG

 

And remember kids, it's not an adventure until something goes wrong thumbsup.gif (I wish those were my words, I heard someone else say it, seems to be true!)

 

Carry on lurker.gif

 

------------------

Chris (aka Tender Vittles )

Little '77 KZ400 in the Big Apple

Black '99 RT for Everywhere Else, such as ...

310287-mar2004.gif

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Mark Menard (Vita Rara)

Mitch,

 

Keep it up. This is an amazing ride tale. Thanks for taking the time to craft it as you have. Your work is truly appreciated.

 

Mark

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Joe Frickin' Friday
And remember kids, it's not an adventure until something goes wrong thumbsup.gif (I wish those were my words, I heard someone else say it, seems to be true!)

 

Over on ADVrider, I recall seeing this similar item in Striking Viking's sig line: "The adventure begins when things stop going as planned." thumbsup.gif

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Lone_RT_rider
And remember kids, it's not an adventure until something goes wrong thumbsup.gif (I wish those were my words, I heard someone else say it, seems to be true!)

 

Over on ADVrider, I recall seeing this similar item in Striking Viking's sig line: "The adventure begins when things stop going as planned." thumbsup.gif

 

Sometimes though...given the amount of issues I have had with BMW boxers in our family, I would really like it to go as planned. At least once in a while would be nice. I spent over 2 months and close to 2,000 dollars prepping that bike for the trip to Torrey. Heck I even replaced the final drive BEFORE it failed.

 

Shawn

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Joe Frickin' Friday

Day 7 - Friday, May 18

Route: Torrey to Bryce Canyon/back

Distance: 271 miles

 

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While dining on (yet another) continental breakfast, we meet John Eddy, who came out from Minnesota to attend the gathering. After some discussion of the day's plans, he opts to ride with us to Bryce Canyon and back, bringing the party total to five riders (me, Shawn, John, Drew, Knappy) and one driver (Rainy).

 

A few days before I left Ann Arbor I got a call from the Chuckwagon letting me know they finally had a room available for us on Friday and Saturday. We still needed Thursday night in the mega-suite at the Days Inn, but two subsequent nights at the Chuckwagon was both cheaper and more central to the action, so I locked it in. And so now, with no place to keep stuff during the day, we pack up all of our luggage and stuff it into the trunk of Rainy's car, hoping to render our bikes just that much more nimble for the day's ride.

 

While we button up our riding gear and discuss a last few details, Rainy drives off down the road, trying to get a good head start. Before long, the rest of us are ready, and we pull out of Days Inn and head down SR12.

 

The first time I rode this route was seven years ago, on that same cross-country trip where my ex-girlfriend and I got lost just outside of Boulder. It's an incredible road, encompassing a tremendous variety of riding and scenery – everything from miles-long dragstrips to 10-MPH switchbacks, passing over everything from bare redrock to lush forests. I rode it again in 2003 at my first Torrey event, and ever since then I've been looking forward to today. After 8 miles of sweeping through hilly terrain with scattered rocks, pine and sage, we slalom upward into Dixie National Forest, twisting and turning as we cross the ravines and ridges on the eastern slope of Boulder Mountain. The pines and rocks soon become grassy meadows and dense aspen forests; the leaves have only just begun to spring forth, and from a distance the overall effect is simply a faint greenish tinge over the tops of the trees.

 

We pass a few cars, finally coming up on Rainy in her red Malibu, and then we pass her too. :grin: Several miles ahead, I pull off into a scenic overlook; Rich (Mr. Zoom) and Bob (Endobobdds) are already there, taking in the sights. As I pull my helmet off and unzip my jacket, the rest of the bikes – and then that red Malibu – come over the rise one by one and pull into the overlook behind me.

 

It's hard to capture the whole group and scene together in one photo, so I cross the road to the north side and scramble up a short incline:

 

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Behind me is the spring-green tinge of brand new leaves on the aspens. From my perspective on the hillside, I am able to take in everything:

 

(click on image to open a full-size, scrollable panoramic in a new window)

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While we chat, John tells us just how big the fish are back in Minnesota:

 

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After a good rest, Rich and Bob head out, and within a few minutes Rainy follows. The rest of us saddle up, and shortly after passing through the town of Boulder, we pass Rainy, and then Rich. I ride behind Bob for a bit, and within a few miles we follow the pavement up onto the famous stretch known as The Devils' Backbone. If you've never seen it, you simply can't believe what the road does. (If you have Google Earth, fire it up, if not, install it, it's free. Turn on the roads overlay, and then do a search for “Boulder, Utah”. Zoom down close to the ground, pick a suitably angled perspective (not straight-down), then follow SR12 west and south a few miles out of town.) On the Backbone, the road teeters on the top of a ridge that gets narrower and narrower until the road shoulders drop away, and eventually the slope is nibbling at the white fog line on both sides of the road. Here's the start of the really hairy section:

 

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Off in the distance, to the right of the sign, you can see the road continuing along the ridge:

 

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As much as I want to, it's just about impossible for me to ride this section in a sporting fashion. There's a clear view of the upcoming road, but all of the usual horizon cues are missing. If I try to ride quickly, only the road itself gives any sense of speed; everything else in my field of view is very far away and appears to move very slowly, which ends up being very disorienting. I crawl through at about 25 MPH until the road finally drops down the right side of the Backbone.

 

A couple of chicanes descend steeply down the side of the Backbone, and suddenly we're twisting through a narrow canyon. Calf Creek burbles along next to us, and the road repeatedly takes sharp turns to get around gigantic boulders that have been loosed at one time or another from the surrounding outcroppings. A mile and a half later, we climb out on the other side of the canyon and the road runs southwest for another mile and a half, After negotiating a particularly exciting set of ascending curves, we arrive at the Head of The Rocks overlook, where we are treated to a fantastic view of the road just ridden, laid out like a swath of gray paint over bare rock:

 

(click on image to open a full-size, scrollable panoramic in a new window)

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The effect is like looking down from a grandstand or a blimp onto racetrack; one almost expects to see a pack of GP bikes or Ferrari's come over the rise, battling for the lead.

 

After taking in about as much of the scenery as we can, we gear up and head west again toward Escalante. After only a couple of turns we are faced with a 2.5-mile long straightaway running slightly downhill.

 

That's when the firebrand rock star, sitting quietly somewhere in the back of my brain, suddenly jumps up and yells “NOW!” My right wrist rolls the loud-handle all the way to “LOUD.” The engine is short on air up here, but aided by the gentle downhill slope, the speedometer begins climbing.

 

79.

 

85.

 

91.

 

 

96.

 

 

100.

 

 

104.

 

 

 

107.

 

 

 

110.

 

 

 

114.

 

 

 

 

116.

 

 

 

 

118.

 

 

 

 

120.

 

 

 

 

121.

 

 

 

 

 

122.

 

 

 

 

 

123.

 

 

The motor is screaming as the tach creeps up on the redline, and the wind is roaring, despite the plugs in my ears; the entire chassis buzzes and vibrates beneath me, pushing forward against the wind as hard as it can. The rockstar is now wide-eyed with mad glee, watching the terrain stream by at fighter-jet speeds. In years past the he was given free rein, and the RT's engine got beaten like a rented mule, running balls to the wall like this for minutes on end. But this time the engineer, sitting quietly next to the rockstar with his hands folded in his lap, is gradually getting more and more nervous: he knows the cops around here are lenient, but not that lenient, and he also knows the road will be anything but lenient if some aged and highly stressed part of the driveline shatters at these speeds. “OK, that's enough!” He finally gives the order to back away from Ludicrous Speed; I roll off the throttle, and the immense wind drag rapidly slows the three of us back down to a more earthly velocity.

 

Eventually the whole group of riders slows down to in-town speed and we gingerly slip through Escalante. On the far side of town we pass a car as we climb back up to cruise speed, but as I close in on the next vehicle, something seems odd about it. I creep closer; it's a plain white SUV, but there's a cage visible through the rear window, and something about the plates isn't right. I finally make out the words “FOR OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT USE ONLY” above the plate numbers. He's also traveling at exactly the speed limit, refusing to pass a rather large RV in front of him. Is he a cop? Is he going to light us up if we try to pass him? I can't be certain, but jeez, I don't want to run the last 40 miles to Bryce like this!!!! The straight flat road offers plenty of passing opportunities, but we'd have to break the speed limit to pull it off. I known the folks at the back of the pack are probably wondering why I won't lead us past, but I don't want to drag everyone into a traffic citation. So we ride in formation behind the mystery SUV for upwards of fifteen minutes.

 

Rainy captures the action from the sweep position. The RV leading the whole procession is visible here:

 

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We'd be past the RV in a heartbeat if it wasn't for the damnable SUV in front of me:

 

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The RV driver finally spots a pullout and surrenders the lead to the white SUV, who continues toeing the line for several minutes longer. Eventually he slows to a few MPH below the speed limit on a long straightaway with no oncoming traffic. Tired of the holdup, I move closer, signal, and edge into the oncoming lane. Creeping past at only a couple of MPH, I can see there's no strobes, no search light, and no insignia visible anywhere on the car. The cage isn't between the front and back seats, it's between the back seat and the cargo area. Finally parallel with the driver, I can see he's definitely not wearing any sort of uniform. Satisfied this is not the long arm of the law, I complete my pass, and rest of the group follows suit:

 

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After getting some distance and a couple of turns between us and the white SUV, we jack up the pace again. Before long we pass through Henrieville, Cannonville, and Tropic in quick succession. We race up the final set of twisties to the top of Paunsaugunt Plateau; the edge of this landform is the rocky cliff face from which the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon are formed.

 

Arriving at Ruby's Inn, we pull up to the Texaco pumps to refuel before lunch. We're surprised to find that the pumps themselves don't accept credit card, and the station policy requires you to walk inside and prepay before pumping. In the thrall of a stupendous addiction to modern convenience, we ride off in disgust to the Chevron station across the street, where the pumps accept credit cards.

 

Ironically, Chevron's pumps won't accept our credit cards. After some puzzlement, we end up having to go inside after all and hand our cards to the clerk before the pumps can be activated. I later realize this is Chevron's policy: whenever they see a string of small fuel purchases over modest distances – for example, the amount of fuel you might put in a MOTORCYCLE after 150 miles – they assume this might be a stolen credit card being periodically tested by the thief at an anonymous fuel pump. Thus the rationale behind making the card user hand over the card: this gives the clerk an opportunity to confiscate the card in the event that it's reported as stolen, or at the very least it may deter a thief from attempting to use a stolen credit card there. It seems like a good thing for reducing the consequences of credit card theft, but it ends up being a royal pain in the ass for touring motorcyclists.

 

After a quick lunch at the Ruby's Inn Cafe, we enter Bryce Canyon National Park. While Rainy takes a more scenic tour, stopping at a number of overlooks, the five of us on bikes decide to ride nonstop to the south end of the park It rained during lunch, so the roads are wet. This is not a huge letdown; with a 35-MPH speed limit and a lot of sight-seeing traffic, you don't come to a place like this with a sport-riding agenda. This is a place to relax and see some sights. Most of the 18-mile road meanders through pine forests and grassy meadows, affording very rare glimpses of the famous hoodoos. But soon enough we come to Rainbow Point, where we park and relax at the overlook.

 

Drew, “The Flying Scotsman,” takes in the sights:

 

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I find a quiet spot and take a series of shots to stitch together into a panoramic:

 

(click on image to open a full-size, scrollable panoramic in a new window)

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and Shawn captures some good, sharp shots of the rocky spires:

 

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Sometimes when you ask a total stranger to take your picture, the results fall completely short of your hopes. Four of us huddle together by the overlook railing, surrounded by an astounding vista of the hoodoos and mountains, and after I hand my camera to a willing third party, this is what I get back:

 

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A zoomed-in close-up of our heads and torsos, backed by a generous helping of gray skies, garnished with a couple of chunks of nondescript rock on the right behind John. Dear stranger, wherever you are, you need to pick a different hobby cuz photography just ain't your bag. :/

 

Other folks seem to have a knack for it, or just good luck. While we pose in the parking lot, a more apt stranger stands among our bikes and captures this fine shot for us:

 

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Left to right, that's me, John, Drew, Knappy, and Shawn. :Cool:

 

Right around this time someone notices that we have cell phone service here. Very strange, at the far south end of an isolated park, when nobody's cell phone seems to work back in Torrey. :S I go for my phone, and after a bit I realize that four of our group of five riders are jacked into their phones. I chuckle and step back for a shot of the remaining three:

 

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In the course of checking messages, Steve gets one from Ron, saying he's stopped a few miles outside of Cedar City (50 miles due west of us, but 100 miles by road). Ron's got a flat tire, and the bead has broken loose from its seat on the rim so that he can't even get air in the tire to find the puncture, let alone fix it. After getting in touch with Ron, Steve realizes his Austin-Powers Super-Shagadelic cell phone actually has internet connectivity here; he Googles up a motorcycle shop in Cedar City, and the staff agree to pick up Ron and help him out. Whew, another crisis averted. :Cool:

 

During all of this, Rainy finally arrives at Rainbow Point in time to capture one last shot of us among the bikes:

 

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After gearing up again we putter north toward the park exit. At the Chevron station, Rainy continues back up SR12 while the rest of us stop briefly so Drew and Knappy can top off their tanks before the ride home. They declare their intent to take a more leisurely pace home, leaving me, Shawn, and John to move at our own spritely pace.

 

Back on SR12, we slalom down off of the plateau. Rainy had enough of a head-start that she was able to park in a wayside and get her camera out before we arrived. Unfortunately I'm moving a bit too fast for the shutter sequence on her digital camera:

 

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During discussions at the Chevron station, we had decided that we would take a short scenic detour down the paved portion of the Burr Trail. Now we're moving fast, about 90, partly out of the sheer joy of speed, and partly out of a desire to make time for that detour. Traffic is thin and the road has long straights and sweepers with great sight lines, so whenever we need to pass someone it's done without breaking stride at all.

 

Somewhere west of Escalante an SUV approaches in the oncoming lane. It's a Dodge Durango, dark silver. As he goes by, I spot a heavy brush guard with pusher-bumpers over the front end, and I can see the windows are virtually blacked out. In my mirror, the Durango gets on his brakes hard and dives for the shoulder.

 

Uh-oh. :eek:

 

“Is that a cop?” I say into the FRS.

 

Shawn's reply: ”YES, F*#(, THAT'S A #&;*&;#$&;*$ COP! #!@#!@*!!!!!!”

 

We quickly scrub our speed down to less than 60 MPH, and in fairly short order the Durango comes up behind John, treating him to an impressive red, white and blue light show. John and Shawn rapidly slow and pull over toward the edge of the road, but there's no shoulder here. If we're going to do this, I'd rather see all of us get well out of the traffic lane, so I slow to about 30 with my right blinker on, and continue toward a scenic turnout about a quarter-mile ahead. The cop by now has made a note of Shawn's and John's license plates; eager to make sure none of us escapes scrutiny, he pulls around them and follows me closely until we reach the scenic turnout.

 

As we shut the bikes down, the Garfield County Sheriff approaches and waits for us to get our helmets off. He's polite and sympathetic, but firm:

 

“Fellas, I realize it's fun to go fast on motorcycles, but you're going way too fast; I'm sorry, but I can't let this go.” :(

 

He thanks us for not making him give chase, and for not arguing with him, and says he's going to cut us a break because of it. After taking all of our licenses and paperwork, he retreats to his vehicle.

 

Pretty soon Drew rides by at a nice, sedate pace, followed shortly by Knappy. A little while later, Knappy circles back to see if we need any kind of help (like maybe some bail money), and for some reason decides to park behind the Durango. If you've ever read Pilgrim's excellent write-up on how to comport yourself during a traffic stop, then you know that smart, long-lived cops work hard to control the encounter and keep track of everyone in their immediate vicinity. Our sheriff is no dummy: he watches intently in his mirror as Knappy parks and dismounts. We tell him that Steve is with us, though I'm not sure this does any good or not. Now there are four of us for the sheriff to keep track of. :/

 

After a few minutes, he calls each of us back into his Durango, one at a time, to sign and receive our citations. During the process, a considerably number of BMW bikes pass by, most of them having left the BBQ in Boulder City bound for Torrey. Eventually a familiar red Malibu creeps by; just like Knappy, a few minutes later Rainy turns around and parks behind the Durango. Now there are five of us for the sheriff to keep track of. :/

 

While the sheriff is processing the last of us, Rainy asks if she can take some photos. He says she's allowed to take pics of his car, but not of him: “if you shoot me, I get to shoot you,” he quips. Rainy snaps a few souvenir shots:

 

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Unfortunately, none of us are doing the things we really should be doing to put the sheriff at ease. In addition to keeping my hands hidden in my jacket pockets most of the time, we all wander extensively and separately:

 

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Finally the paperwork is done; we've each been cited for 80 in a 60 (instead of the true 90), saving us each about $150. The sheriff steps out to chat with us informally about BMW motorcycles. Are they reliable? Does the ABS really work? Just how quick are they off the line? After a bit of conversation, I notice he's acting a little strangely, keeping his distance, making sure there's no one getting behind him. Finally I notice another important detail: his right arm is not dangling casually, it's flexed to keep his hand hovering near his holstered sidearm, and he's nervously snapping and unsnapping the strap over it. It's a genuine friendly conversation, but he's no dummy, and he will not let his guard down. He gets even more uncomfortable when a complete stranger on a BMW doubles back and pulls in to talk briefly with us; for a short time there are six people for the sheriff to keep track of. :/

 

With the traffic stop over, we all suit up and head out – this time doing not much more than 65 MPH. We've burned a lot of time, and the detour down Burr Trail is no longer an option. Traveling at this speed, we'll barely make it back to Torrey in time for the poolside dinner at the Chuckwagon.

 

Still, there's fun to be had in the twisty sections on Boulder Mountain. I've attended one of the RidingSmart classes, so I'm trying to do it all right, getting my head down/forward/out toward the mirror, and weighting the inside peg. It gets easier when I lift my opposite hip off of the seat and press that knee into the tank. I can do all of that fairly reliably, but now I'm trying harder to also keep my arms loose. But I can't seem to get them as loose as I would like; I feel like I'll slide right off of the bike.

 

Finally, in the middle of a long sweeper, I decide to make a more deliberate effort to unload the bars completely. I relax my left hand until it's literally hovering around the grip – no push, no pull, no deadweight, no squeeze. My right hand has to squeeze/twist gently to keep the throttle open, but I try to make sure it's not pushing, pulling, or bearing deadweight on the grip. I can't do any of this without putting a lot of extra downforce on the inside peg. It all happens at the same time, and suddenly I notice the bike is diving for the inside of the turn. Holy crap! It's another movie moment: you remember the first Star Wars movie, when Ben closed the blast shield on Luke's helmet and told him to “let go” and trust The Force? This is it! I'm hanging off to the inside, I've “let go” of the bike, and it's dying to take me through the turn! I think back to my first BMWRT.com get-together: the ”Tennessee Taste, Tech &; Trek,” hosted by David Baker back in 2002. At a stop during that afternoon ride, when I overheard him talking to Pilgrim about steering the bike with body weight, I blurted out “That's BULLSHIT!” I was quite sure that handlebar inputs were the only way to really effectively maneuver the bike, and that body English was pretty much reserved just for suspension and ground clearance effects (my remark made quite an impression; read David's, Pilgrim's, and my posts in the thread at the above link). But now, in this moment of really leaning off, and really removing any handlebar inputs, the bike is suddenly behaving very differently than I think I'd ever seen it before. :Cool::thumbsup:

 

After experimenting with my new, visceral understanding of bike handling physics for several more miles, we finally reach Torrey again and make our way back to the Chuckwagon. Far different from yesterday, the place is now swarming with people, as virtually all of the attendees have arrived. There's a big food service trailer parked in the lot and the crew inside it is bustling. Every so often a gust of wind delivers a thick cloud of smoke from the trailer's chimney downward among packs of hungry riders, surrounding us with the delicious aroma of grilled hamburgers. All in all, it's a pretty pleasing scene: 100+ people milling around, and I know about half of them; motorcycles parked all over the place; stunning vistas of many-hued cliffs and mountains on the horizon; and dinner's almost ready. :thumbsup:

 

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Finally the call goes out, and everyone lines up to take part in this early summer picnic. As I walk to the end of the line, Kent Lundgren (Pilgrim) approaches from the direction of the general store. Although we've enjoyed extended email discussions of numerous topics, I haven't seen him in person since he and David left me in the dust on the afternoon ride of that 4T back in ‘02. I yell “LA MIGRA!” to get his attention (he's a former border patrol agent), and after a hearty handshake and hello, the discussions begin anew. I mention my run-in with the sheriff a few hours earlier; as it turns out, Kent (and many others) was coming up SR12 from the BBQ in Boulder City, and passed by us while we were being cited. Small world, no? :/ We continue talking as we move through the line and gather hamburgers, potato salad, and various other food items from the grill trailer and buffet table.

 

We find seats near the pool and tuck into our food. Near the end of our dinner, Fernando stands up and addresses the group, welcoming first-timers and reviewing the plan for Saturday's memorial ride. He finishes with a warm introduction of Terri and Gleno's extended family; Gleno's absence was already noticed and felt by everyone, but Fernando's remarks bring it to the fore, making it a tearful moment for many of us.

 

With everyone properly fed and watered, the after-dinner conversations – fueled by alcohol and ceegars – begin in earnest.

 

Hanging around the pool after dinner, from left to right, Dennis, Eebie, Knappy, Drew, Shawn, and Rainy:

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Richard and his balls (it appears he's left-handed):

 

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For those not in the know, Richard (BeniciaRT_GT) has a background as a commercial aircraft mechanic; his balls (the steel ones in his hand, at least) are said to be main spindle bearings from a 747 jet engine. And his shirt? Well, I can only guess that it's part of some sort of workplace safety campaign to remind the mechanics not to put the engines together without the required ball bearings. (“It's all ball bearings these days!”)

 

The west-coast folks are still on Pacific time; 10:30 rolls around and they're still yelling and laughing with no signs of slowing down, but I can't keep my eyes open anymore, and I have to call it quits. I head off to bed with a smile on my face, at the end of an outstanding (albeit expensive) day. :Cool:

 

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Tasker

Great chapter!

 

Sorry about your performance award... dopeslap.gif

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bakerzdosen

I keep feeling like this is like Titanic (fortunately without Leonardo DiCaprio). I know all the salient details to the story (including how it ends), but for some odd reason it's the telling of the story that makes it more entertaining than just knowing 'just the facts' - pun(s) intended.

 

lurker.gif

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RandyShields

Mitch, a truly enjoyable read. With pictures! I was going to post my little Sunday ride to finish the NC Piedmont Byways and have lunch at a Chapel Hill bistro with rising co-eds and Mr_Ed, but it just didn't seem right -- especially after forgetting my camera. Then, reading your tale, I am convinced that I have a long way to go to meet the story telling bar you have set. My favorite parts: Your bike getting washed and waxed (I might even be able to read the letters on the tail now), Dot's resemblence to Dot (I even see a bit of family color there with Shawn), anticipating the fully loaded take-off description when I realized Shawn was going to be riding bitch (I would really like to have seen that lmao.gif). The biggest realization -- I could not do any ride of length without you or Shawn along to fix my bike. Gas and oil is about all I could handle. confused.gif Absolutely right about the strength of the pioneers in our history. Thanks again for a great story.

 

Randy Shields

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Joe Frickin' Friday
...anticipating the fully loaded take-off description when I realized Shawn was going to be riding bitch (I would really like to have seen that lmao.gif).

 

"seen it?" Jeez, you prolly coulda SMELLED it for about a mile. I think that's the worst burn I've ever put on the clutch in the history of my bike. blush.gif

 

The biggest realization -- I could not do any ride of length without you or Shawn along to fix my bike. Gas and oil is about all I could handle.

 

I think half of my trips lately have resulted in one bike or another getting worked on for something by me and Shawn.

 

  • Un '02: busted speedo cable; replaced with spare provided by Eebie or T-Roe
  • Un '03: collapsed shock preload adjuster; removed rear wheel, lengthened shock manually
  • Un '04: loose fuel line in tank; pulled tank, reconnected line
  • Un '05: flat tire on Shawn's bike, dead HES on Rainy's bike, busted turn signal lever on Spike's loaner Ducati; helped w/flat, diagnosed HES, fixed Spike's turn signal lever
  • El Paseo fall '05: bad windshield relay; pulled front fairing, replaced relays
  • Torrey, Spring '07: 1000 miles on Shawn's head gasket, dead HES on Shawn's bike: retorqued head, replaced HES

 

What's next???? cool.gif

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Highway41

Enjoyed that very much - the report, not the performance award part.

We passed the same DS outside Boulder on Wednesday. He was hiding behind a big rock clocking folks with his radar.

Bill

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ChrisNYC

JFF said (of the amateur's group photo) ...A zoomed-in close-up of our heads and torsos, backed by a generous helping of gray skies, garnished with a couple of chunks of nondescript rock on the right behind John. Dear stranger, wherever you are, you need to pick a different hobby cuz photography just ain’t your bag.

 

I dunno ... call me a contrarian, but I think it would be cool to have strangers take the pics at each stop ... something charming about the unique "framing" of that shot tongue.gifthumbsup.gif

 

 

Chris

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SageRider
I think half of my trips lately have resulted in one bike or another getting worked on for something by me and Shawn.

 

 

Un '02: busted speedo cable; replaced with spare provided by Eebie or T-Roe

 

Un '03: collapsed shock preload adjuster; removed rear wheel, lengthened shock manually

 

Un '04: loose fuel line in tank; pulled tank, reconnected line

 

Un '05: flat tire on Shawn's bike, dead HES on Rainy's bike, busted turn signal lever on Spike's loaner Ducati; helped w/flat, diagnosed HES, fixed Spike's turn signal lever

 

El Paseo fall '05: bad windshield relay; pulled front fairing, replaced relays

 

Torrey, Spring '07: 1000 miles on Shawn's head gasket, dead HES on Shawn's bike: retorqued head, replaced HES

 

 

What's next????

 

Well,

There's splines, input shaft bearings, final drive bearings.... Lots to look forward to! tongue.gifdopeslap.gif

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another David

121.

 

 

 

 

 

122.

 

 

 

 

 

123.

 

So, that's like, what,

 

83.

 

 

 

 

 

84.

 

 

 

 

 

85.

 

when adjusted for BMW speedos? grin.gif

 

I'm kidding. And envious, both of the ride and the writing. When's the next installment?

 

David

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Joe Frickin' Friday
What's next????

 

Well,

There's splines, input shaft bearings, final drive bearings.... Lots to look forward to! tongue.gifdopeslap.gif

 

Ha! Splines looked good when I greased 'em in January '04. Final drive? limped the last 400 miles home from Torrey in spring '04, then replaced it with a brand new one, so that ought to last the life of the bike now.

 

Input shaft bearing? Yeah, that one spooks me. We'll see...

 

Another David asks:

When's the next installment?

 

I'm falling behind a bit. If it's not up tomorrow, it should be up Thursday. thumbsup.gif

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Joe Frickin' Friday

Day 8: Saturday, May 19

Route: Torrey to Fish Lake, back

Distance: 150 miles

 

2007-05-my-torrey-odyssey-080.jpg

 

 

For the first time on this trip, I will not be dining on a continental breakfast. :clap: The Chuckwagon's General Store has a bakery with all manner of fine pastries available. In the display case, I spot one that looks like a bear claw, but with an unusual orange color to it. The orange turns out to be marmalade, and the whole thing is delicious; I've never had a pastry quite like it before. I return for a second one, but there are no more to be had. :(

 

As I wander around the parking lot after breakfast sipping my coffee, the bikes are gathering by the side of the road in anticipation of the ride to the top of SR72 to plant a memorial for Gleno:

 

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Eventually they are several dozen in number. I start browsing more closely among them, checking out the wide array of accessories and custom touches. Eebie's bike, with an auxiliary fuel cell mounted on the pillion, displays his irreverent sense of humor:

 

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As 9 AM approaches, more and more of the bikes are brought to life, headlights aglow and engines standing by. Eventually several dozen machines are idling and ready, and after the lead riders pull out onto the road and head west toward Sweeper Madness, the rest of the bikes all follow in rapid succession; the effect is like watching bees stampede out of a hive to form a massive swarm.

 

And then they're gone. Quite abruptly, the Chuckwagon parking lot falls silent. It's a bit of a lonely feeling, such a sudden end to all that activity. Only a few bikes remain, with their owners following their own agendas for the day. Shawn, Rainy and I will make it up to the Gleno memorial site, but we've decided to wait until after the main crowd has come and gone.

 

Half an hour later, we hit the road. Rainy has eschewed her red Malibu in favor of Shawn's pillion. She's been piloting her own bike for several years now, and I'm amazed that she can stand to be a passenger again; I don't think I could handle that (except maybe in an emergency, like a dead HES...:Wink:). Having been slapped by the long arm of the law only the day before, we keep our speeds modest. It's a different ride like this: there's less wind noise, and with reduced demand on my attention, I have more freedom to gaze at the scenery. Of course, it also helps that the road itself is mostly a series of long straight runs between towns:

 

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The hand on the hip isn't a sign of impatience; I'm just relaxing. :P

 

After cruising SR24 for fifteen minutes, we turn north onto SR72. The advance reports were right: Sweeper Madness is indeed heavily infested with tar snakes. It's still cool out, so the tar isn't very pliable yet, but on a hot afternoon it would be a real test of a rider's mettle to come through here at anything resembling a sporting pace.

 

Following the advice of riders who came this way yesterday, we turn off of SR72 to head toward the Fish Lake area. Again, the reports prove accurate as we encounter the same ultra-grippy tarmac as SR72, sans tar snakes. The road climbs and undulates northward on a steep hillside, treating us to an engaging mix of sweepers and switchbacks before delivering us to the north side of Johnson Lake. It's in idyllic mountain scene, the kind of thing that ends up on posters and in calendars: clear, glassy-smooth waters, laid out before a backdrop of tree-covered hills and valleys. Our plan is to continue to the south end of Fish Lake before turning around, and we resolve to stop at the turnout here if we don't find any other good photo ops.

 

At the south end of Johnson Lake, we stop at a trailhead for a bathroom break. It's quiet and secluded here. There's no traffic going by on the road, and only one other vehicle is in the parking lot here, with the owner somewhere out of sight. Shawn and I pose in the meadow for a shot:

 

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Overhead, a squawking line of white birds appears from the south, their slow wingbeats and smooth flight betraying their large size. Their shape is a bit strange though, and I can't tell what they are; I later learn that they are probably pelicans. Rainy captures them with her camera as they recede into the distance:

 

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We carry on to the south end of Fish Lake. It's not exactly crowded, but there's much more development here, with a marina, general store and restaurant, and numerous fishing boats. We don't see much in the way of photo ops though, so we U-turn and head back to the north. By now the memorial event at “Mount Gleno” has ended, and some of the riders are coming past us in the other direction. When we get to the north end of Johnson Lake, a few riders have stopped there for a break. We meet Tony_K and his wife Laurie (sp?), who have just come from the memorial themselves (for a complete report of the group ride with excellent pics, check out azkaisr's ride tale.). We want to visit the memorial, but we're unsure of the exact location. Tony is able to fill us in: just a few miles up SR72, at the crest of a hill with a scenic turnout and a large mapboard. :thumbsup:

 

As we talk, the sound of distant engines reaches our ears. It grows louder and louder, and finally a couple of sportbikes round the last bend and come down the straight past us, running wide-open. They've clearly been fitted with aftermarket exhausts, because they are LOUD. At the racetrack they'd fit right in, but having just enjoyed a long period of blissful silence at the water's edge, the jarring contrast offends my senses; the effect is a bit like having two people walk into a prayer service yelling and screaming at each other.

 

Pretty soon more riders come by. Unfortunately I'm too slow with my camera to catch them, and with all of their gear on I don't recognize most of them anyway. The only one I can spot for sure is Christine (Hoontang), in her black and purple riding leathers, on the back of her husband Mark's bike. She recognizes us, and waves her left leg waaaaay out in the air as they pass by. :wave:

 

Finally, I dig my camera out and try to capture a few memorable shots. First, the vista of the lake:

 

(click on image to open a full-size, scrollable panoramic in a new window)

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Just like yesterday, Rainy manages to catch me in the act (near the left of the shot, on the far side of the road):

 

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The iron horse, lakeside:

 

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In between the grassy meadows, groves of aspen and pine compete for sunlight and soil. Just like on Boulder Mountain the day before, this year's leaves have barely begun to grow on the aspens; in fact, they're barely out at all. I wander into the woods to stand among their barren white skeletons:

 

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Finally we gear up to go and visit the newly-christened Mount Gleno. As we start the engines, a pack of six Beemers glides by us on the road, led by a Harley, and then we give chase. Shawn and Rainy pick a modest pace, but I take advantage of the few passing opportunities that are available. It ends up being an exercise in frustration, since some of the bikes are taking it easy in the turns and then rocketing down the straights; I'm not able to pass the last of them until just before we reach SR72 again. I stop there to wait for Shawn and Rainy, and ironically, the 6-and-1 Beemer/Harley crew also stops there to regroup. :smirk:

 

Moving at a fairly conservative speed over the dense network of tar snakes (which have now warmed and softened somewhat), we make our way a few miles up SR72 to the overlook and park the bikes. The mood is very different now, and none of us is talking much: it's a very scenic overlook alright, but we're not here for the scenery. It wasn't feasible for any of us to get to Boulder City in February for Gleno's funeral, and once we had committed to a particular schedule for the whole Torrey trip, the logistics just didn't permit us to get to there for the BBQ a couple of days ago, either. In short, this was our first chance to visit any kind of memorial to Gleno.

 

At the overlook, there's a substantial kiosk and mapboard:

 

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Most visitors won't venture beyond the edge of the gravel lot, but around the backside of the kiosk, a special sign has been fitted:

 

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There's a small element of vandalism involved in affixing this sign here, but at the same time it matches the layout of Utah's official state highway signs so perfectly that it's not likely to result in anything but momentary confusion among the few uninvolved tourists who happen to find it.

 

Behind the mapboard, down the hill to the right a bit, a small sign is hidden behind a rock:

 

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Underfoot, small cacti appear as hemispheres with a cluster of flowers at their peak. The effect is as though larger, fully-formed cacti had been buried up to their necks:

 

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This is fitting place to establish a memorial (the Mount Gleno sign is visible toward the right):

 

(click on image to open a full-size, scrollable panoramic in a new window)

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Unfortunately my amateur photography skills can't quite capture the grandeur of the place. A couple of weeks later, Bob (Killer) does a much better job of it:

 

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Part of me regrets having missed the big gathering and ceremony, but at the same time it seems that having only a few of us results in a more intimate moment. The quiet grandeur of this place is like an outdoor cathedral, and the sheer, cosmic vastness of it inspires profound feelings that are all but impossible to put into words; when coupled with thoughts of Gleno, I can no longer contain my tears. The silence that augments those feelings is interrupted only by the occasional soft rumble of storm clouds around the summit of Mount Hilgard several miles to our northwest.

 

A last moment on the rock to mark the “Mount Gleno” waypoint on my GPS:

 

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Back on the bikes, we make our way down SR72 and west toward Fish Lake again, this time stopping for lunch at a restaurant near the south end of the lake. Afterward, we continue south. The road twists and turns gently as it descends for 7 miles toward SR24, providing us with long views to the south and west. We turn east on SR24, and it's the morning ride taken in reverse: long straight runs between towns.

 

At the west edge of Torrey, we stop for a close-up inspection of an amusing sight we'd been warned about. A police cruiser, conspicuously parked, with a rather poker-faced occupant:

 

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An uninformed tourist might be fooled by this ersatz display, but I suspect locals merely chuckle while they speed on by at their own pace. :grin: As the three of us gawk at the police decoy, a familiar but unexpected couple rolls up on us. Still recovering from a protracted bout of atrial fibrillation, Leslie had been sidelined in Cedar City the day before, too exhausted to complete the day's ride from Boulder City all the way to Torrey. But she and her husband Jamie had finally arrived, and we are happy to see them now puttering around town in a relaxed fashion:

 

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It's been a short day's ride, and after covering the last half-mile into town, we find ourselves back at the Chuckwagon in the middle of the afternoon. With the big dinner still a few hours away, we trade our riding gear for swimsuits, grab a few beers and head for the hot tub. :Cool: It's a slice of heaven – warm water, cold beer, good friends, motorcycles coming and going, and a clear view to the distant red cliffs standing guard over the north side of the town – but in spite of it all, I'm somewhat melancholy. The Torrey day trips are now over, and tomorrow's ride will take me far away from this place and these people.

 

After a sufficiently long soak, the three of us get tidied up and head over to the front of the General Store to hang out with the other riders relaxing there. Knappy has bought a box of Cheez-Its. The flavor overwhelms your taste buds, and the make a mess of your hands. Between Steve, Drew, Shawn, Rainy and me, nobody can resist them, but at the same time nobody seems to want them; everyone keeps trying to give the box away, and somehow I end up eating far more of them than I really want to.

 

Eventually word starts moving through the group about a GS that just barely made it into town with a failed final drive. We wander over for a look and find that a small crowd has gathered around it:

 

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The wheel is still attached, but the crown bearing is badly damaged; the wheel has been wobbling enough to scar the bolts on the brake rotor, and the seal has vomited gear oil down onto the rim. A new final drive is not just a cheap/small spare part you can tuck under the seat, so this bike will not be going anywhere under its own power. Fortunately the support network kicks in: some of the riders here have brought trailers and tow vehicles, and Jamie and Fernando are on the phone, working hard to coordinate with the nearest dealer. In fairly short order a solution is found that minimizes inconvenience and downtime for the GS rider.

 

As we stand and gawk at the hobbled GS, a blue Triumph comes quickly down Main Street toward the Chuckwagon. Sammy gets hard on the brakes, turns in, and crosses the gravel parking lot at a somewhat elevated pace, tucking his bike neatly out of view between Russell's truck and the hotel. Quickly shedding his riding gear, he runs to join the group, yelling out “if anyone asks, I've been here for a while!” :S Seems he and Russell were hooning it up in the last few curves of SR12 when a cop came by in the other direction. Sammy figured he could avoid a traffic stop if he hustled the rest of the way back to the hotel and parked before the cop turned around and caught up to him. Russell arrives a few minutes later, blissfully unaware of any of this, apparently not having seen the cop. Either they really did manage stay ahead of him, or the cop was in a very forgiving mood and decided not to pursue them. :grin:

 

I start wandering around the lot, checking out bikes, pausing for a long look at Greg's (Limecreek's) new R1200RT:

 

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Just next to it, Eric Foerster's FJR begs for attention. Eric starts giving me the full tour, describing all the features and qualities. Intrigued, I hop on board for a test fit:

 

2007-05-my-torrey-odyssey-104-L.jpg

 

 

Eric invites me to take it out for a test ride. I'm always taken aback, just a bit, when people offer their machines to me like this; it means a lot when someone trusts you enough to take the reins of a thing in which they have a heavy financial and emotional investment. I take a few moments to assess the situation: the beer in the hot tub was a couple of hours ago, dinner's not for another 45 minutes, and it'll take me about two minutes to change into my riding gear. Knowing I'm not likely to ever score a test ride from a Yamaha dealer – and if I do, it won't be in a place with roads like this – I retreat to my room, don my riding gear and walk back out to the FJR. :Cool:

 

After skittering across the gravel parking lot to the street, the test ride begins in earnest. Immediately I notice the acceleration: the FJR weighs the same as my RT, but it's got about 50 percent more power. I keep to a ‘polite' speed as I head a mile east through town, aiming for the turnoff onto SR12. After turning south, I start to play a bit, but I soon find that the bike is so different from my RT that I can't really do it justice. The engine is four cylinders instead of two, so at any given RPM it sounds like it's spinning twice as fast as what I'm used to. On top of that, redline is somewhere around 9000 RPM (compared to about 7500 on the RT). The result is that it takes very deliberate effort to keep myself from upshifting too soon. Compared to the boxer, the four cylinders on the FJR also make it smooth and quiet; I have to pay close attention to hear what the engine's doing.

 

The whole bike is narrower and lower than the RT's massive dashboard and mirror pods, and my legs are much less shielded from the slipstream. I feel much more like I'm on top of the bike, as opposed to having the bike wrapped around me, and I wonder what it would be like to run through a snowstorm on this machine. I've done it on the RT and was grateful for the extensive protection afforded by the full fairing and Tupperware in front of my legs, but it seems like the FJR would leave me uncomfortably exposed to the elements in a situation like that.

 

I run about 10 miles down SR12, exploring the bike's power and handling a little bit. I find that it takes a bit of effort to start and hold a turn, which Eric later tells me is because the tires are somewhat squared off from slab miles. OK, not a fair handling test of the bike. :smirk: Having spent nearly eight years riding my RT, the difference in power is intimidating, and I can't seem to find a comfortable combination of lean and acceleration as I complete each turn. We're at about 7,000 feet above sea level, too, so about a quarter of the rated power is missing; back home I might have fun with a bike like this at the 1/4-mile track, but I'd have to spend a long time on it before I'd feel comfortable taking it through a place like Deals Gap.

 

Twenty minutes after arriving back at the Chuckwagon with Eric's bike in one piece, Shawn, Rainy and I pile into the ever-useful red Malibu and head to the western edge of town, where the big catered BBQ dinner is being set up at the RV park. Predictably, the Malibu is rapidly outnumbered as bikes begin arriving by the dozen and forming ranks:

 

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There are riders milling around, checking out bikes and chattering about the day's ride. Some folks find comfortable seats on the veranda of the campground store:

 

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2007-05-my-torrey-odyssey-108-L.jpg

 

 

After a short wait, the catering crew is done setting up, and the word goes out for the crowd to queue up for dinner. :clap:

 

On the way to the dinner line, I meet Mikko Sannala (FlyingFinn). He rode up from Arizona on his V-Strom, and he eagerly tells of his experiences camping and riding at the north rim of the Grand Canyon on the way here:

 

2007-05-my-torrey-odyssey-109-L.jpg

 

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Eventually we make it up to the caterers, where each of us receives a plate full of good food. $15 would be expensive for it in a restaurant, but to be served in a fantastic outdoor setting like this, with 100+ fellow riders close around, makes it worth the price of admission. Some shots in the picnic shelter:

 

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And outside the shelter:

 

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After dinner, Rainy's Red Rental takes the three of us back to the Chuckwagon. I spend a few minutes packing up as much of my luggage as I can so I can make a quick departure in the morning, and then I grab a chair (and a couple of beers) to join Shawn and Rainy along with a small group that's collecting on the patio in front of our room. We talk about bikes, rides, the politics of water rights in the desert southwest, and a host of other topics. As time goes by the chat circle grows. Dennis and Eebie sit down. Before long Russell “Bounce” Bynum shows up, and soon afterward, “Ball-Bearing” Richard takes a seat. It's a good group, at least a dozen people strong, all sharing, laughing, and drinking together until long after the sun goes down.

 

Still, behind it all the melancholy from this afternoon lingers. Not only is this the end of my last full day in Torrey, but I've felt like something has been missing this evening – this whole weekend, in fact – and as I look and listen to all the activity across the gravel parking lot I finally realize what it is. My first two times at Torrey, Gleno was there. I never got to talk to him for very long, but he formed a huge part of the scene and feel of this place. His boisterous glee infected everyone around him, and even if he was clear across the parking lot, you could always hear his booming, husky baritone voice; and even if you couldn't quite make out the punch line of his joke from so far away, you always caught the peals of laughter afterwards, and it made you smile. :grin: But now, tonight, his absence has caught my attention, and I feel a twinge of sadness. I think of an old Dr. Seuss quote that Ron used to have in his sig line:

 

“Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.”

 

My sadness is finally tempered by thoughts of past Torreys and warm memories of Gleno's presence; and I head off to bed with a smile. :)

 

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Lone_RT_rider
My sadness is finally tempered by thoughts of past Torreys and warm memories of Gleno’s presence; and I head off to bed with a smile.

 

Amen Brother....

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SageRider
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Wish I'd thought of that......

 

Thank you.

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Bob Palin
Overhead, a squawking line of white birds appears from the south, their slow wingbeats and smooth flight betraying their large size. Their shape is a bit strange though, and I can’t tell what they are; I later learn that they are probably pelicans.
Yep, those are the high altitude pelicans, they arrive at the lake around April each year and stay until it starts to freeze. When it's warmer in the summer they actually float around on the thermals over Johnson Reservoir, it's quite a sight, groups of 20-30 large beaky birds lazily gliding around way up there. Both Johnson and Fish Lake are well stocked with fish making an easy life for the birds, I do wonder how they handled the late snow storm last week, it was cold enough that the new leaves on some exposed aspen turned black. Johnson Reservoir is the source of the Fremont River with the lake surface at 8819ft (Fish Lake is 8843).

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tallman

Mitch,

thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gif

It's not so much a feeling of "I was there" that you created, rather the experience of living through your heart and eyes.

Thanks.

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smiller

Not a radar detector among you?

 

Thus the rationale behind making the card user hand over the card: this gives the clerk an opportunity to confiscate the card in the event that it’s reported as stolen, or at the very least it may deter a thief from attempting to use a stolen credit card there. It seems like a good thing for reducing the consequences of credit card theft, but it ends up being a royal pain in the ass for touring motorcyclists.
Just fyi, if a particular credit card fraud usage flag is causing you problems you can usually call your credit card issuer and they can make a note in your account to ignore it. This has worked for me in the past.

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Bob Palin
Just fyi, if a particular credit card fraud usage flag is causing you problems you can usually call your credit card issuer and they can make a note in your account to ignore it. This has worked for me in the past.
In this case it is a Chevron policy not a CC thing, it can be changed but I've lost the number of the lady in the Chevron HQ that can do it, sorry.

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BFish
Mitch,

thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gif

It's not so much a feeling of "I was there" that you created, rather the experience of living through your heart and eyes.

Thanks.

 

very well put. most excellent "essay" on your trip/adventure.

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russell_bynum

As we talk, the sound of distant engines reaches our ears. It grows louder and louder, and finally a couple of sportbikes round the last bend and come down the straight past us, running wide-open. They’ve clearly been fitted with aftermarket exhausts, because they are LOUD. At the racetrack they’d fit right in, but having just enjoyed a long period of blissful silence at the water’s edge, the jarring contrast offends my senses; the effect is a bit like having two people walk into a prayer service yelling and screaming at each other.

 

That would have been me on the Tuono and Sammy on the S3.

 

Sorry for interrupting your prayer service with our version of WWF Smackdown. grin.gif

 

The other riders were:

Mark and Christine (R12GS), Tool (K12RS), Limecreek (R12RT), and Howard (R11RT).

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