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Our trip to Gunnison - Part 2 "Welcome Home"

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Home is that familiar place where everything is as it should be. Things are familiar and comfortable. People know you and are glad to see you. It's a haven away from the hustle of everyday life.


You can have more than one home. And Home doesn't have to be a house, or even a building. It can be a physical place, an emotional place, a painting, a song, and yes...even a motorcycle. For me, the area around Torrey, Utah is home. I like it there. The scenery is pretty, the roads are fantastic, and the people are just so warm and honestly happy to see you. Sure, there is great ZOOM to be had out here, but that's not what makes it magical. Some of the greatest sport riding roads in the world are in Southern California...all within a days ride...but they are not home.


After a quick breakfast, we headed towards Zion...and home.


I came through here on the way to Torrey last May in late afternoon. A good friend was kind enough to lead the way...stopping at the best gas stops, scenic overlooks, and leading us down the best roads at an appropriate pace. This time we would be crossing this part of Utah in the early morning...I was interested to see the difference.


When we passed through Hurricane, it was like passing into another dimension. No more interstate. No more fast food. No more big cities. Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.


Zion was as spectacular as before...but totally, completely different. I was seeing things that I KNOW I looked at before, but never SAW them. Colors on the rocks were different, shadows cast their dark in new and exciting places, rocks that appeared smooth in the afternoon now had the distinct appearance of being very rough. Wow...very different indeed.


We rolled out of Zion, through Mount Carmel Junction, then point the bike north towards Panguich. We took the turnoff to Bryce and went through Red Rock Canyon, picking up speed as we went. This canyon is a great example of what I think of when people say "Utah". Green trees...and I mean GREEN. Deep blue sky. RED RED RED rocks. The contrast is awesome.


We rolled through several small towns, then coasted into Escalante for fuel. There was a group of three riders pulling out as we pulled in. A K1200RS, VFR, and a CBR600F4i...all with dry bags lashed to the back seats. I laughed when I thought about the guy on the F4i...must be a pretty hardy fellow to sport tour on a Race Replica. smile.gif


Just outside of Escalante on Utah Route 12 is another sudden terrain change. I was expecting it this time. Over the rolling green hillside and SUPRISE!!!! We're on top of a tan and grey mountain, harshly carved by the wind. This amazing road snakes down the ridge...I can't imagine what it took to build this road. We arrive just as the three guys from the gas station are starting down, so we stop and snap a few pictures. They move at a brisk pace, but one appropriate for the road...there's no guardrail and a VERY steep drop on the edge of the road. The cost of a mistake here would be huge. They reduce speed, but I can still feel their ear-to-ear grins...even a mile away.


We mount up and start down the hill, taking it really easy at first...feeling out those tar snakes to see how slippery they are. Confident that they're still fairly firm, we up the pace a bit. Fast to feel the zoom out of the corners, but slow enough to still enjoy the scenery. At the bottom of the hill, we turn into the gas station/general store in Boulder. I'm thirsty and I know they have frozen lemonade. Lisa got an Ice Cream and we enjoyed our treats at the picnic tables beside the store. When it came time to leave, I discovered I'd carelessly parked the bike nose-down, and well into some fairly deep sand. It was a pain in the butt riding out of that, but I eventually got squared away and we set out to cross the 10,000 mountain pass that would lead us into Torrey.


Hmmm...those clouds look a little dark. Sure enough, about halfway up the mountain, the sky opened up. We stopped and quickly switched to our waterproof gear and stowed the Valentine One...the GPS doesn't mind a bit of water, but the V1 is real picky.


OUCH. oww..OUCH!! Those aren't raindrops! We got a bit of small (probably pea-sized) hail around the 9,500 foot mark. Even with our armored gear on, that stuff stings. Over the top and down the other side. At around 8,500 feet, the rain stopped.


We cruised down the hill and up to the intersection of UT-12 and UT-24. I resisted (just barely) the strong urge to make a right and go do the run through Capital Reef, which has become my favorite road. We hung a left and cruised slowly into Torrey. It was just a bit chilly and the rain appeared to be headed our way. The fields were wet and quite green. The drainage ditch (which I hesitate to call that since it's really more of a small creek) on the south side of the street is fairly full and flowing well. The Chuckwagon comes into view and we roll through the gravel lot and up to the office. Randy remembers me. Home. He sets us up with an upstairs room with a few of the red cliffs in the "old" building. We chat for a few minutes, then I move the bike over to the slab. We wait a few minutes for the room to be cleaned, then toss our stuff in, change into our microfiber pants from REI, grab the Gerbings jackets since it looks like rain, and head down the stairs.


WHOA!!! Cool bike! There's a weathered looking guy just suiting up standing next to a Hayabusa with New Mexico plates. He's loaded to the hilt with soft saddlebags, a tankbag, and a dry bag across the rear seat. He's contemplating heading back out on UT-12...I convince him the he needs to do UT-24 through Capital Reef. "You will ride your Hayabusa through Capital Reef. You will watch out for the right-hand turn with the schmutz on the outside. These aren't the droids you're looking for." My Jedi mind trick worked and he set out towards Capital Reef. I again resisted the urge to suit up and show him the way. smile.gif


As we walked down towards the hamburger/milkshake place (I can never remember...is it Binks, or Brinks?) we heard the familiar whine of a K-bike. Hmm...Pacific Blue K12RS being ridden by a guy at least 14 feet tall...must be Steve A. smile.gif We decided to let him park and get checked in, so we continued on down and ordered burgers. Ahhhh...tasty. Even better than I remembered. Home. The place was fairly crowded (3 other tables occupied)...mostly toursists. The two SUV's out front with Personal WaterCraft in tow suggested they were headed for Lake Powell. Eventually they filtered out. We finished up and headed back to the Chuckwagon.


After saying Hi to Steve and doing the obligatory "So, what new gadgets to YOU have.", I set about changing my final drive oil. Oh yeah...I forgot to mention. Due to a mechanic's screw-up, Irv Seaver had to replace my entire Final Drive under warranty just 1 day before we were supposed to leave. Since you're supposed to change the oil after the first 600 miles (then back to the normal 12,000 mile interval), Torrey was it. I brought oil, my tools, and even a torque wrench. I drained the oil into a 32oz Soda cup, then transferred it to an empty plastic water bottle. I had the unit refilled and sealed withing a few minutes.


Just then BBRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrCLUNKrrrrrrrrrr. Hmmm...a Boston green and an Aquamint. Well, the PIAA collection ID's the Bahston Green as Fernado, but I don't recognize the 1150. I soon find out it's Pepo, also from Southern Cal. He and Fernando hit State Line last night, then came on into Torrey via the same route we did. We exchange pleasantries, then make our way down to the Cafe Diablo. I order the ribs...they are Devine...even better than the fire roasted whateveritwas that I had last time. As I'm about 2/3 done, we see three bikes go past...a Macarena Red RT (only Gleno), a yellow-helmeted KRS rider (Kris, naturally), and an Opal Blue (??). Just as desert's showing up, they roll back in. OH...it's not Opal Blue...it's Glacier Green (Jim Shoop)! After the requisite hugs and lip-flappin, they realized they're hungry and we realize our desert has arrived. smile.gif We finish and they head off in search of other food.


That night, back at the Chuckwagon, Gleno convinces us (Ouch...stop twisting my arm!) to join them in Paonia instead of doing our planned route into Moab. OK...fine...twist my arm. See you in the morning.



A hot air Ballon over St. George in the morning.



On the way between Hurricane and Zion









A Utah Traffic Jam
































Red Rock Canyon










Between Red Rock and Escalante










K1200RS, VFR 800, and CBR600F4i playing on UT-12 outside of Escalante







Changing final drive oil in Torrey




The crappy view from Cafe Diablo. I don't know why we put up with it.




Jim Shoop, Kris, Gleno, Steve A, and me.







235 miles.



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Nice pictures ,enjoyed the read. thanks.

I gotta go to Utah now. Maybe I can get away after Labor Day.

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Wow. You are right, honey, the pix just don't do it justice! If any of you haven't been to Utah, and found our pictures pretty, you will be blown away by the actual thing! smile.gif There's just nothing like being there. I liked Torrey, as well. Nice people, pretty scenery, and I found the drivers were a little friendlier than in Colorado.


OK. With the risk of being thrown off this board, I will go ahead and share my thoughts on the Cafe Diablo. I thought it was pretty good. Yep, just pretty good. Here's why:


View: 10

Service: 7 - they were nice, but kind of slow

Food: 7 - what I had was pretty good, but there was a little too much fat on the steak for me to give it an excellent! Plus, I didn't like the side dish that came with mine so I ordered the garlic mashed potatos extra. They were DIVINE. I didn't like what I had for dessert, but Fernando did, so it worked out! wink.gif Should have stuck with my hunch to get the chocolate thing, but I ended up getting the nut thing instead. (official terms, btw! just kidding)

Price: 6 - Thought the food was a little overpriced, but you get that when you go to swanky places

Overall atmosphere: 10. Liked that the chef comes out and talks to you, like the swanky food, but casual atmosphere, lliked presentation of the food ("pretty food", as Laney calls it) and again, the view rocks. Great place to go with friends and enjoy a nice meal. YES, I will go again. I will order some new adventure, (I'm told I NEED to order the ribs) and who knows?


The Chuckwagon gets a huge thumbs up from me, btw. Great place, great people, great rooms. Just a nice comfortable place, and we happen to even get a great view.


I am planning on coming back to Torrey (hopefully, "paddling my own canoe") in the fall. I hope you all will join us at our "home".



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Throttlemeister: I've been so busy composing my own epic retelling of the Gathering that I've not kept up with your posts. Great start and I loved the pics. I see you're up to post three I'll try and catch up now. I love reading Ride Tales. See you on the road. smile.gif

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what great pictures and scenery ...



Chris (aka Tender Vittles),

Little '77 KZ400 in the Big Apple

Black '99 RT for Everywhere Else, such as...color=green>


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