Thursday, February 2, 2012

Colrado, Utah, Arizona.

Holy crap! We left Iowa a week ago! We've made it to Arizona sooner AND later than expected. Plans changed then changed again so people's expectations of when/where we'll be may have been shattered. Sorry. The trip gets to be more difficult as we go on because we are discovering new options as we go. Also it's very difficult to find time to write now that we're west of Denver. The scenery is too good to miss because I'm staring at a computer screen and I won't allow it. Wireless connections are becoming less frequent so here's a long update.

This is the part were we leave Colorado and burn some miles.

Yesterday and today combine into a big ol' blur. We woke up fairly early yesterday and had our stuff packed and on the road by 9. We drove around town a bit and stopped by a sporting goods store to check out the goods. I bought a new head lamp because the one I've been using for the past 10 years doesn't get as bright as it used to and we got some tips about Moab from the guy at the register.

Making it farther on 70 than we did the day before was our number one goal. The view of the mountains just got better and better. Here's the view from near the Broadway Ave. exit, the road I rode up and down several times the day before.

This neat-o pair of bridges was a little farther down the road.

We stopped a few times to geek out over the river flowing near the road. It's weird to see it flow in that direction. Check out the river and the first tunnel we passed through.

The ride through the mountains was the best time I've had on the rode so far. Those mountains are as overwhelming as Cody said the would be. I freaked out many times. Those tunnels really had me excited. You go speeding through that thing and it looks like Space Mountain at Disney World. The transition from the darkness and low ceilings into a limitless sky and snow covered mountains had me freaking out. See for yourself. I think I invented a few new words because of those tunnels and mountains.

Remember Randy's suggestion about taking the Cisco exit? It was worth it. Check out the bright red mountains in that area. The sun was setting on them and the colors were intensified by the low sun. Holding our hands out the window for even a few minutes was pretty rough. Worth it, indeed.

This is the part where we learn how clouds are made.

It was colder than tolerable for camping and there wasn't a lot of wood around so we decided to keep on the road. At some point in the night Cody decided to pull over and sleep in the bed of the truck. He passed my sleeping pad and bag up to me and I found a nice spot on the ground next to the truck. The traffic kept me up for a little while but I slept pretty well until the temperature dropped to around 30 degrees. Thirty minutes later we were back on the road and headed for Arizona. Maybe we were already in Arizona.

My view of my camp site for the night. Good thing I didn't set up my tent, right? I may have stayed warm enough to sleep longer and I would have been protected from poisonous snakes and insects. Those don't exist in the desert anyway, right?

We were probably up at 5 AM because of the cold and had a long drive before getting to the Grand Canyon. The sun was starting to rise so we didn't have enough time to get far into the park when we would have had the best lighting. It was also still fairly cold but the sun felt good. We found a huge whole in the ground before getting to the grand part of the Grand Canyon. My pictures of that part turned out pretty bad because I was running while taking them. Lesson learned: if you're going to run and want pictures then just get a video and grab screenshots out of that. Maybe Cody has better photos to share of that part?

It was cold and we wanted to get moving. 20 miles to go until getting to the biggest hole in the world so cruised to it as fast as legally possible and discussed how stupid it is that there's a $25 fee to get into the park. $2.50 seems more reasonable. But hey, they have to keep people employed there to make sure no one fills in the canyon with trash, right? It was our "lucky" day! The pay station was closed so we just continued to the top.

That is the biggest hole I've seen in my entire life.

Oops. Old habits die hard.

I won't post the video I recorded but sometime when I have nothing better to do I will include it in a video montage of acting unimpressed by really cool things.

That's such an awesome park and I really want to ride the motorcycle there sometime. I bet you all think we're just such lame dudes for not riding there. If they had dirt roads there then it would have been awesome but why get the bikes out just to ride a paved surface? We can do that somewhere else.

There was a guy working on some construction project for their tower at one of the viewing areas who talked to us for a while. He went from helpful and interesting to tin-foil hat sales man all in five minutes. He was replacing 55 windows on the tower and it's taken him a year and a half. Wow. That's why the charge $25 to get in? So they can waste it renovations that should take less than a month? Cool. We asked what time zone we were in and he didn't seem to confident about his answer and explained that Arizona doesn't celebrate daylight savings time. No biggie. When asked what time it was he also said he didn't wear a watch because they are obsolete. I suppose that's why his project is taking so long. He has no way to keep track of his hours and that's the least of his concerns.

He pointed at the clouds and started on about how the straight clouds are from airplanes. Yep. With you on that one, buddy.

"The other clouds in the sky look like real clouds but are actually emissions from planes."

Alright, maybe that's true. I don't know. I have better things to do than analyze clouds all day. Then he takes a step farther away from what I consider to be reality.

"They contain all kinds of chemicals to prevent global warming. They just tell you that it's vapor but it's not just water. There's barium and aluminum in there too".

Maybe that's true but I really wanted to twirl my finger around my ear while saying "cuckoo". The tower didn't open for an hour. Neither of us said much on the way to the truck but we both decided that hanging out with Alex Jones back there wouldn't be much fun.

We saw other stuff instead.

Wow.. Look at that view!

We pull over and I recognized the mountains on this can.

What's with beer cans and places of natural beauty?

Oh man! The first cactus I've seen in the wild!

I discovered a hole.

Cody thought it might be fun to fall down into it and have a rock land on my arm but I didn't have my knife on me so cutting my own arm off wasn't really an option. "127 Hours" reference there for you movie lovers.

A skateboard would have been about the coolest thing to have right here.

Then we left the Grand Canyon and never looked back.

This is the part where we find a place where we want to ride.

Cody has been wanting a picture in front of an elevation sign for a while. I like that idea and we decided it would be worth while to pull over for one.

Flagstaff was one part cool, one part trashy, and one part garbage. I'm really sorry if anyone is reading this is from Flagstaff but not because I'm worried you're offended. It's because the land there is BEAUTIFUL and how are people treating it? Thre are way too many spots on the road where we full bags off garbage emptied out right into the street. The place just seemed dumpy. Plus you got this jerk roaming around your town, getting photos of himself in front of your signs.

It's about 130 miles from Flagstaff to Phoenix so we hit the road after getting some gas and some coffee. COdy reports the coffee there is absolutely horrible. There was a Starbucks off of the next exist. Doh! The view between the two cities was spectacular. I'm pretty sure I was too busy gawking to get something recorded. Cody? Got something good for that area? The signs at a rest stop indicated the presense of poisonous snakes and insects. My favorites! Well, I suppose there's a video I could post but it's pretty stupid. I played spot the cactus along the way. There were cactii scattered all along the side of the road. Also, there was a lot more garbage too. Perfectly good trash was just thrown out into the road. Jeez, kids these days.

We talked about going to Sedona because of some good riding but we also had heard that the town has a reputation for being all new age and weird. Healing crystals and vortex nonsense is listed right on the front page of the city's website. Lol, wat?

One reason for stopping at the rest stop was to get some of that pretty WIFI (pronounced "wiffy") and look up the number for our hosts for the evening. Crap. No WIFI. So we mess with transferring photos and get back on the road. The rest of the ride into Phoenix became much cooler. The copper-colored moutains became visible again and the elevation dropped nearly a mile within 70 miles. That's a pretty nice slop, aye? Oh.. speaking of "aye"! We met some Canadians at the rest stop and they were very nice. They've never seen the movie, Canadian Bacon. Go figure. They don't like American movies about Canada. Gee, I wonder why?

Guess what started making a noise again? Yeah! That wheel on the front left? How'd you ever guess that. I'm impressed with Cody for not getting too visibly irritated by these occurances. Without knowing a whole hell of a lot about cars I probably would be furious.

The desert visible from I-17 was amazing. Cactii as far as the eye could see, GORGEOUS mountains and the coolest was Sunset...something. I can't remember the second word in the name but I could tell it was named for the obvious reason. Watching a sunset there would be worth the drive from anywhere in the country. We could also see dirt trails in the valley and spotted a few trucks with trailers attached. The ramps on the trailers were down so we could only assume some people were out there doing what we wanted to do. They sure as hell weren't mowing any lawns down there.

We continued on after deciding to locate an open wireless network closer to the city, to pick up some decent coffee and to locate a brake shop. The Starbucks drive-through window was infested with bees and the networks were not letting me connect for some reason. I really should have brought that hi-gain, 2 amp USB wireless card/antennae. With the decent cell reception I just used Cody's phone to check my email to get our hosts, Jon and Deb, number and address. We were parked only 3.5 miles away so we didn't have to go far. We hoped to park and then get out and ride but we immediately enjoyed meeting Jon and Deb who are my friends parents. Their daughter, Megan saw that I had posted on the ol' Facebook about needing a place to crash in Arizona so she recommended that I stay there and that she would be jealous of me for getting to eat her mom's cooking. Yep, start feeling Jealous, Megan. That spaghetti was AWESOME! Jon talked to Cody and I for a while and we heard some wild stories of some long trips he had taken on motorcycles. I now see why choppers are so cool. Jon also gave us motorcycle riding guide from last year that highlights recommended routes in each state. Why haven't I seen these guides before? It's chock-full of good information. Jon is going to hunt feral hogs with a spear. If it's okay with him I'll post a picture of him with the spear so you don't think I'm making this up. I'm much too tired to make that up.

Jon and Deb know a local mechanic and had apparently called him to ask if he could help with the tire. Just before dinner is ready he shows up and is ready to work on it! How awesome is that? Cody was outside helping for a while and we had called them in for dinner but they weren't interested at the time so we started without them. I felt guilty for starting without Cody because I knew he was probably pretty hungry. The delicious spaghetti and sauced loaded with meat had defeated the guilt and I snapped a few photos.

Half-way through my first bowl of blurry spaghetti.

Cody's empty chair and bowl.

What a sad sight.

After dinner I started writing this but I decided it would be more fun to sit in the man-cave with the other guys. More interesting conversation and talking about guns. Did you know there's a class you can take that's sponsored by the NRA and the army that upon completion gets you a FREE M1 Grand? I know a 12 year-old who would just love to do that. Maybe when I go back to Iowa we can both go take that class and get our free rifle!

We're staying in Megan's old room and I really like the paintings she has on her walls. The goat one is really nice. Tonight I get to sleep in a bed instead of on the snake-infested ground! Woooot! In other good news: the tire gets some more work done to fix it and we get to riiiiiiiide!!!!! Where's it going to be? Tomb Stone is highly recommended so don't be surprised if that's what we do. TOMBSTONE!

This is the part where I go to bed and try to sleep even though I'm really excited.

Nothing to report for this section. Good night.

This the part where it's 24 hours later after writing the rest of that stuff

Here's a short summary of the day: breakfast, chill, truck tire, F&*@, S#&$, D@)%, check out a mountain, get gawked at by girls who are too young to be gawking at grizzled old men like us, pizza.

Final result: Staying three more nights in Phoenix. Will explain later.

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