Day 6
June 18th, 2005
Private Campground
Moab, Utah

I slept late this morning, only stirring out of my tent when the desert sun heated up the inside and stifled me.  It got so hot in there I couldn't breathe.  I'd been on the road 5 days, and was taking the day off.  I always build in several easy days when on a long tour, they recharge my batteries, and make riding more fun.  A day to wash clothes, enjoy where I'm at, visit friends, or just catch up on some sleep.  I would do most of those things on this day.

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich started my day.  I was in between the NY family and a young couple from Germany.  I went over to the latter with my 12 volt adapter, and asked if I could charge my phone in their rental car.  They didn't speak much English, but I had little trouble getting it across.  The NY folks were sorting through boxes, and eating cereal.
​The NY family's table.  They didn't lack for anything
My plans for today were to visit Arches National Park, the library, wash clothes, do some running, go to Mass, then supper and a movie.  Star Wars was out, and having watched the first 5 episodes, I might as well finish the deal. 

After securing my camp site I got on the 1300 and made the short ride over to Arches, and began one of the most memorable rides I'd ever been on.  Dennis Ryan loved the Utah canyons, and I can see why.  The red rocks, teetering boulder formations, and scenic vistas are some of the most unique images I've ever witnessed.
The ride into the park begins with a long climb.  I was early and well ahead of the RVs and other casual tourists.  The following pictures can tell the story of the rest of my visit.
One of the first vistas in the park is the lookout point known as Park Avenue, so named because the formations tower over the valley floor in the manner of New York skyscrapers

The 1300 looks at the "Courthouse."  From here, the park road winds up in elevation for the next 15 miles.  It was great riding.

These boulders are found in the "Blast Furnance."  Named because the temps often reach well over 100 degrees.  The rocks bake all day in the relentless desert sun.

A friendly tourist took this picture for me, I'm not sure of the location.  Even this early in the morning the day was getting warm.

​The Window.
​Delicate Arch.  Getting here entails a 1.5 mile hike down narrow canyon trails. Some of the best views in the park come after a little work.  Most tourists never see this formation because they have to get out of the car.  On this day few were able to handle the 100 degree heat and hike.  I had the place to myself. I  and saved y'all the trouble
When I returned to the entrance of the the trail, I noticed handicap spaces at the front.  The trail has a sizeable parking lot.  I found it amusing they felt it necessary to make handicap spaces near the entrance of a somewhat arduous 1.5 mile hiking trail.  I mean if a guy is going hike the trail, he should be able to handle the smooth, 300 foot stroll from the last parking spot to the entrance.  " I'm gonna hike the trail, but I need THAT parking space in the front."  Why you have to keep the government out of your business, they don't know what they're doing.  Kind of like my bank.  They have a Braille keypad on the drive up ATM, to fulfill government requirements.  Now COME ON.

After a couple of hours in the park, I started back to the campsite.  It was a great visit.  I now have ALL the Utah canyons in the book.

Back at the tent I ate a chicken sandwich, then made a few notes, I also checked my pictures and just relaxed.  I sorted some clothes and made a visit to the laundry.  I was enjoying my time off the road.  When I finished all that, I took a cruise downtown and stopped at the library to check email.  

When I left the library I went to McDonalds and bought 3 oatmeal cookies.  I ate one and packed the rest for later.  The movie theatre was across the street, and I went over there to see what time Star Wars started.  From there, I went searching for the Catholic Church. I found it without too much trouble, on the west end of town, less than a mile from the campground.  The sign outside read Mass started at 7pm.   One thing about being Catholic, you can go on Saturday evenings, and get checked off for the next day.  The Saturday Mass is usually a little shorter, and you're back on the streets in about 45 minutes. 

It was time to head back to the campground.  Temp gauge on the 1300 registered 101.

Time to go run.  I went the same course as yesterday.  Another nice run through the canyons and along side the Colorado River.  A small stream was coming out of the rocks and several folks were filling jugs, so I stopped for a drink.  I was 3 miles into a 4 mile run on a hundred degree day.  The sweetest and coolest water I ever had the pleasure of.

It was getting late so I jumped in the shower and got ready for church.  I'm not overly spiritual, but the last few years have changed me.  I've had some good things happen to me, and I just want to be thankful.  I'm truly blessed in this life, at 50 years I'm the healthiest I've EVER been, I go where I want, when I want, I don't have a single worry in this world.  I have a loving family, a little money in my pocket, a great motorcycle, and I never have to work again unless I want to.  

At one time I was kind of pissed off.  I had a talk with Uncle Phil, (a man in the know) and asked him if God sometimes does stuff to make you better.  "Yes, and you might not know it at the time. For example?"  "Well, 20 years ago I was a pretty good runner, but the last few years, tendonitis struck me down.  No matter what I did, I couldn't get rid of it.  Unable to run I gained 40 lbs.  Out of desperation I bought a bicycle, and got back in shape, the funny thing was the bike did something to balance out my legs, and the tendonitis went away.  Now, after factoring in age, I'm better than ever.  I use to kind of look down, at folks who were not like me, but now I know.  Reckon, He decided to take me down a notch?"

  "Yeah, he wanted let you know you only ran because he let ya, and you had no business judging anyone else." 

"Yeah, but that pissed me off." 

I'm sure it did, but He ain't gonna give ya test ya can't pass." 

But why did it take 5 years to find the bicycle?"

  " I dunno, probably how long it took you to realize you were not going to be able to run again till you changed your attitude, are ya goin around making comments about big folks?"


"Well, He made His point."

I don't take anything for granted.  I rejoice in each day, and I feel like I need to go to church, so I can say like in the old Negro spiritual psalm. "Thank ya Jesus, Thank ya Jesus, Thank ya Jesus."  And I ain't never forgot what I heard at funeral in a predominantly black church back home when the preacher said, "Have your house in order cuz the rent man is comin."

Saint Pius Church is a nice setting, and like most Catholic Churches on the informal side.  The Mass was half English and Spanish. 
I stepped out after Mass and could see sunset happening in about 2 hours.  I thought about how great it would be to head back to the park, and find a nice vantage point for the happening, but that means I miss the movie.  No brainer.  I can see Star Wars anytime, but how often does a guy get to see sunset in Arches National Park?
Going back to a sure thing, I returned to the Mexican place for supper.  Again, having the grilled chicken.  I enjoyed it just as much as the night before.  I called Don Cortez, Debbie, Chris, and PeterM who would now be of little help, because his mother board was fried. 

"Yeah, but keep calling, I like to know what's goin on." 

"You know I will bro."

When supper was over, I headed back to the campsite for my camera.  "Where ya goin in such a hurry?"  The German couple asked.  "Back to the park for the sunset, and if you wanna see something special, y'all should go to."  "Honey, lets go!"  They went out right behind me.

Sunset at Arches National Park is not to be missed.  It was spectacular.  The setting sun cast the rocks in a red tint, as the shadows stretched across the land.  I rode to all the vistas as best I could.  I wanted to see as much as possible, before finally settling on a high spot near the Blast Furnace.  A short walk found a seat on a rock, and I sat back to watch the show.  At peace with the world, I saw the sun slip below the horizon, perhaps 50 miles away.  The few clouds in the sky turned colors and the sky was red.  It was over way too quick.
A few photos:
Shadows grow long on the rocks at Park Avenue.

This teetering rock looks as if it could fall any second.  The formations turn a deep red this time of day.

One of life's great happenings.  Sunset at Arches National Park. 
One of life's great happenings.  Sunset at Arches National Park. 

 left the park in the darkness, and made the short ride back to the tent.  I was awestruck at the sights I had just witnessed.  I'll never forget them.  People will say, "well I did this, or I went there."  But the discussion will turn quiet when I say, " I saw the sunset in Arches National Park."

Back at the tent I made notes for tomorrows ride south.  I guess I better quit fooling around and make it to California soon.  I'll be coming into Southern California to meet up with Jerrol Olson.  Together we'll be riding north to the Bay Area.  Jerrol is going to outfit my 1300 with a few upgrades.  PIAA lights, heated grips, two 12 volt plugs, and new relay.  I don't trust anyone but Jerrol with my 1300.

I  was too sleepy to watch a movie so went on to sleep.  I enjoyed my day off, and got a lot done.  I looked forward to getting back on the road.