Rocky Mountains to Las Vegas

So when I posted last I was in Delta, CO. It is not at all where I wanted to be. To tell you the truth I wasn’t sure where I would end up, but I thought I’d be camping. It was Saturday and everything was filled up. Even the primitive sites in the National Forests were full. What pisses me off in retrospect is that I was so consumed with looking for a place to stay, I took very few photos. The clouds were blocking the sun when I got to some fine looking spots, but I thought I’d be able to backtrack once I plopped down for the evening. No such luck. It was all the way to Delta. I first pulled into a KFC. I asked the girl behind the counter if she knew of a motel in town. She gave be a dumb grin with her sparkly braces beaming and looked at me as if she wasn’t sure what a motel was. The she let out an “Ohhhhh, yeah, I think there is one down that road.” Then she turned to the dude at the drive through window and sad, “right?” He said, “Yeah, I think so.” After strapping my chicken down with a bungee, I looked up. Just behind the KFC was a Comfort Inn. Ohhhhh, yeah!

So I thought I may be done with the Rockies, but no. As I traveled south I saw a huge mountain range getting closer. I pulled off to the side of the road where a couple was just getting into their car. I stopped them and asked if they would take my picture.

They lit up when they heard I was from New York. They were from New Hampshire and had moved to Montrose Colorado when the man retired. He said I should visit Telluride. He told me Tom Cruise had a home there. He also mentioned that beyond the fence behind me was Ralph Lauren’s property. I can picture him telling his friends that he moved out to Colorado near Tom Cruise and Ralph Lauren’s place. Anyway, I took his advice and road in to Telluride.

Telluride is an old gold mining town. Now it is a quaint community filled with tourists. There is a nice old town just before I got to the spot above, but too touristy for my taste. I figured if Tom Cruise had a home here it may be this one up on the mountain top next to the waterfall.

Interestingly enough, just before I left NYC I was getting my camera cleaned on 13th street. There were a bunch of photographers standing outside the building next door. I asked the guy in the camera shop what gives? He told me Tom Cruise lives there. 

The road out of town wound through a canyon then up to flat farmland. Soon came these big red cliffs. I was getting close to Utah as I passed this last town in Colorado called Bedrock, twist, twist. And rock is gonna roll with all it’s might in…

Now that I entered Utah I knew exactly where I wanted to go. There is a place I camped out right along side the Colorado River in 2008. It is 2 miles south of Arches National Park. When I arrived I got the last spot on the river side. Yay!

I had skipped Arches when I was here in 08. I had bad memories from the last time I was there. My lady at the time had a meltdown there. Literally, I think it was the heat. Whatever, it was time to return.

There is a lot more to Arches than the arches. All sorts of interesting rock formations line the path that takes you through the park.

Of course there are arches as well.

As my Bonnie nears 20,000 miles on the odometer I must say how pleased I am with this fine machine. That starter glitch in Memphis passed somewhere in Arkansas. All I can figure is she is an Elvis fan and was enjoying the music blaring through the parking lot at Graceland. I’ll have to take her back there for an extended stay.

Me and Bonnie road off into the sunset. It was time for some supplies to wind down the night. I had another steak to burn.

A good thing about camping around Moab, Utah is the supplies. They have a large grocery store that stays open until midnight 7 days a week. So you can enjoy a good sunset and still have time to get your grub. Food can be an issue when traveling on a bike. You have no cooler. Even if you did there is no safe place to keep your food. There are hungry critters out there. You have to get it, eat it, and toss it. 

In the morning I bathed (with my biodegradable soap) in the Colorado River. It’s a great way to start the day.

I took one last look at this calm section of the Colorado and was on my way.

Onward to Capital Reef. I rode by there last year but it was one of those Saturdays and the campsite was full so I continued on. With that on my mind I got there early. I could have taken my time as the campsite never did fill, but it was good to be set up early and have a look around.

Capital Reef is another place for beautiful rock formations.

There are also petroglyphs on the sides of some of the cliffs here. Some are clearly marked with paths and fences for viewing. Some are obscure with no fences though it does take a little climbing to get to them.

When I went to get food in the nearest town the weather started looking gloomy. There were periodic thunder storms around, but amazingly I had still not been rained on for weeks. I noticed an open patch in the clouds where the sun was. And when you shine the light through the misty skies the result is always a colorful arch in the heavens above.

The next morning I wasn’t looking forward to the long haul along Interstate 15 to Vegas. But fortunately I stumbled upon some sites along the way. I passed more forgotten towns but at this point I was hoping someone remembered a gas station. Here is one that was only going to fuel my camera.

I stepped inside. It was creepy. What was once a fine looking gas station with a two car garage was now a giant bird cage. Having said that, you can guess what all those white specks are scattered along the walls.

And on the floor proof that it was once a full service station.

Across the street was another abandoned building of sorts. I am not sure what it’s purpose was. A place to store hay? Perhaps a shelter for farm animals?

Then I rode south toward Bryce Canyon. I saw this old GMC truck.

And more decaying farms of yesteryear along Route 89.

Now came the part I wasn’t looking forward to. I had ridden on Route 89 south of Bryce Canyon before. I don’t particularly want to travel the same roads. But something strange happened. As I rode along I saw a sign on the side of the road. It read “You are not on Route 89”. Excellent! I had somehow landed on a small road going up into the mountains toward a place called Cedar Breaks National Monument. I thought I was done with the big mountains for a while, but here I was at 10,000 feet again.

And there were stunning views similar to Bryce. You can still see snow down below.

From there the road followed a small river which steeply declined down the mountain. At one point the river flowed through a cave. I assume it’s man made.

The cool mountain road opened up and spilled into the desert as I had to get on Interstate 15. Imagine going into a bathroom with a blazing hot hand dryer. You know the kind that blows so hard you can see how your skin is just elastic wrapping around the bones and tendons. Now picture sticking your face in that for 2 1/12 hours. Plus there is no shade from the bathroom ceiling. You are exposed to the desert sun with cross winds whipping you around making you look as if you are having and epileptic seizure at 75 miles and hour. That’s Interstate 15 between Utah and Vegas. It also forced me to enter Arizona. I decided I would not set foot in Arizona this trip. Poor Bonnie had to roll through a bit, but my feet never touched the ground. It’s my own little protest for the recent laws there. This state although beautiful, has always rubbed me politically. They were the last state to begrudgingly accept to honor Dr. Martin Luther King with a holiday and now the immigration laws target Mexicans. Once it was the Italians, then the Irish, and so on. You may as well accept and enjoy the potpourri of a multicultural United States because that’s what this county is, was, and will be. I did meet some great people in Arizona last year and would have liked to pay them a visit. But it didn’t fit into this years plan. So I battled the harsh elements to Vegas.

Ah, Las Vegas. I have visited here during all my cross country adventures. It was time for some very necessary rest and relaxation.

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