Day 7
June 19th, 2005
Private Campground
Moab, Utah

It was time for the folks around here to find out I was a SERIOUS Long Rider.  I was up and packed before the sun cleared the canyons.  The German couple was still racked out, and the NY family was yet to rise.  Their 2 dogs looked wishfully at me, as I prepared to ride out.  They spend most of their day chained up, resigned to the fact they are at the mercy of their master.  I wished to go over and release them from their bondage so they could run free.  I can think of no worse fate then denied freedom.

The NY family had a long packing process if they wanted to get all that stuff on the table loaded.  I'll take my method of traveling thank you very much.

The 1300 came to life, and I dropped into gear, leaving this place of RVs, and loaded down SUVs.  I jumped back on US 191 South and went back through town, and out to the open desert.  It was 6:30am, and already the temp was in the 80s.  

The next 2.5 days I'll be in the desert, so I decided to settle in and make the best of it.  I have some good routes picked out to help me enjoy it.

A few miles south of Moab I went past a tourist trip called, "Hole in the Rock."  Apparently people pay money to see such things.  A large parking lot was out to the side.  It was the kind of place we did our best to get my dad to stop.  We were successful about half the time.  These icons are almost always disappointing.  The only two I can remember living up to the billing is; Rock City in Chattanooga, and South of the Border in South Carolina, now those are TOURIST TRAPS, but this place in the desert?  Naaaaaaah.
​  The Hole in the Rock Tourist Trap
The mountain scenery was good as I moved on south.  By the crow flies, Moab is 50 miles from Hanksville and SR 24, the route I needed to get to southern Utah.  But mountains and desert are impassable that way, so the road builders swung around the canyons.  The route I'm taking is going to add 200 miles.  But that's ok, the riding is good and I have plenty of time.

The only thing of note on the ride to Blanding was a guy pulling a U Haul trailer.  I passed him like he was sitting still.  The small truck was way underpowered, and almost crawling up the steep inclines.  In the heat of the day, the unit was surely going to boil over.

Ranch houses were scattered about the landscape, but not much else.  It was desolate country, but I'd seen less.
I rolled into Blanding for gas and a sandwich.  A Chevron con store on the far side of town looked the best so I headed there.  I topped off the tank and munched down with the usual.  A Navajo girl pulled to the pump in a multi colored pick up, that had obviously been damaged in several crashes, and repaired with whatever parts that were handy.  A Patsy Cline CD played on a seat boom box.  She wore a tribal top, with turquoise jewelry around her neck, a faded pair of Levis, and moccasins.  She was strikingly attractive.  Her coal black hair fell to her waist.

I was in my usual spot near the paper rack when I spoke to her while she pumped gas.

"I didn't know Navajo were fond of Patsy Cline."

"Now who do you know doesn't like Patsy Cline?"

"No one where I come from"

"And where might that be?"

"ALABAMA!"  I don't think she even knew where it was. 
She asked my name and I said, "Stands Like a Fist,"  She cracked up.  "How ya say THAT in Navajo?"  She told me, but noway could I repeat it.  She said, she liked the movie the name came from.  

She went in to pay for 5 bucks worth of gas.  "I'll be right back."

"So where ya gonna go out HERE on 5 dollars worth a gas?"

"Well, not far that's for sure."

I found out she worked for the Federal government.  "Indian affairs office?"

"No Social Security.  I mostly interpret.  You know, I'd like to go east someday."

"Well you should, it will be a fascinating trip for you to take."  She said good bye, and sped off.

After riding south for 100 miles I now had to ride north.  Whole thing didn't seem to make sense, but like I often say, "play the hand you"re dealt."

I took SR 95 and began a great ride into the canyons and desert.  The road was good, and the scenery outstanding.  I tooled along minding my own business, and really didn't much care what was going with the rest of the world.
​ " The road was good, and the scenery outstanding. "
Today was another day I didn't have to worry about rain.  
​SR 95 bending hard into a high mountain canyon.  Awesome
Sweeping curves came at me, but I've been leaning so much on this trip it was getting routine.  The 1300 drifted over the roadway soaking up the few bumps long before they got to me.  I can't get over how much I love this bike.  I sang all the country western songs I knew riding into Hanksville.  I tried to sing a few other genres, but just didn't fit riding in this splendid territory.
​I sang songs on the road to Hanksville.  SR 95 comes down
out of the hills, and across the desert floor.

A sign said next services 53 miles.  I checked the gauge, I should be good for at least 150.

Temps were well into the 90s now, but that really didn't bother me.  I stopped a few times and took some pictures, and passed a guy in convertible doing the same.  He had a fancy camera and a tripod.  

The miles went by quickly, and soon I was in Fry Canyon looking at the services referred to back when.  The jokers that put their stock on that sign are surely going to be pissed off I thought, because the picture below is all they are going to find, a closed down lodge and restaurant, and a gas pump that has been down for months.
All you will find  it at Fry Canyon
The man in the convertible thought I had a good idea, and came in behind me just as I was leaving. 
Brakes always have a distinct smell, so when I caught a whiff I took notice.  First, to make sure something wasn't wrong with the 1300, then to check around.  When I finished I saw a car in the distance, a lady standing outside, with 2 guys helping her.  It looked they had things under control, so I only slowed and kept moving.
I was getting close to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and began to see a few cars.  The highway came down to a long bridge, and crossed the river bending up.  I met a Gold Wing and at first sighting thought it was a 1300 because of matching colors, and bug eye headlight.
 Approaching Glen Canyon.  One of the great rides.
The last 15 miles into Hanksville were taken care of at 95 mph.

In Hanksville, I topped off the tank and came inside the con store.  A video game from the 80s, sat inside.  It was hilarious.  I rested my butt and hung out, used the ATM, then got back on the road.  I came through Hanksville in 2002, on my way to Green River, and remembered the old building west of the town.  Paul Narrmore spent the night here? (one of my Brit friends)  I wondered why he did that?

Out of Hanksville I went west on SR 24, and began looking for the place in question.  It was windy, much more so then my first trip through here.  I found it and stopped for this picture.  Why, I don't know.  It is still a mystery to me what this place use to be.  But after looking at it closer, I think it was a house.  This time I noticed the old fire place.  It was still quiet here, and still lonely feeling.
​Images from 2002.  Many times on this tour my route
brought me to a place I'd been through prior.  Five cross
Country tours later, America is not that big to me anymore

The old school house in Fruita was fascinating, and informative.  I took a few pictures and strolled the area.  Look at a school book from this era and see what kind of education these kids received, and you will wonder why we are going backwards in this country despite billions of dollars spent on education.  Nothing like finding a good teacher from the community, giving her students, when not in school are working the fields, and come here with good values and motivated to learn.  The 4th grade English book I saw at Fruita could easily pass for a 10th grade book now days.  

 SR 24 into Capital Reef  National Park
 ​The one room school house in Fruita.
The wind was blowing like a big fan when I arrived in Torrey.  I stopped at Brinks, a drive in kind of place and debated a hamburger or chicken sandwich.  Even I get tired of chicken now and then.   Wanting to stay true to my training, I ordered the chicken. While I was waiting 3 bikes dropped of the highway.  Two Harleys and a BMW LT.  Florida, Virginia, and New York plates.

The 3 riders ordered and I invited them to sit at my outside table.  We shared stories of the road, and related the good and bad we'd come across so far.  These guys were all old friends, and had just left Vegas.  They were having the time of their lives.  I was happy for them.  They were good people.  Even though I ride alone most of the time, I am seldom lonely.

The chicken was fried.  I would have been better off getting the hamburger.
​The brotherhood of the road.  I enjoy meeting my fellow
riders along the way.  We share a common bond, no matter
bike we ride.

They were heading for SR 12 and Escalante.  I'd been on that road before.  "Watch out for tar snakes, and the summits in this wind."  I warned.

When I left Torrey the road became less interesting.  I went to SR 62 and followed it to US 89 South.  I made a brief stop to check my atlas, for some reason I doubted my notes, but I was correct.  I wanted to hook up briefly with I-15, and start my way to Phoenix and Southern California, but in these mountains that's easier said then done.

I left US 89 for SR 20, and eventually landed on the shores of I-15.  I wanted to top off the tank, but the station I pulled to had no pay at the pump, so I scooted down I-15, anxious to put some miles down.

It was hot now, over 100 degrees, and I trimmed the screen all the way down.  The desert wind kicked me about, and the riding was not much fun.

I took the Parawon exit to refresh the gas tank and myself.  I went inside and wanted a muffin, but the only type they had boasted 500 plus calories, so skipped it.  I thought things over.  "I'll go as far as St. George today, get off the road so I can run, and get ready for Phoenix tomorrow."  It was my feeling the ride would be kind of bland from here to Southern California, but the alternative is working, so I gave it little thought.

The last 100 miles into St. George was anti climatic.  They were interstate miles, they had to be.  No campgrounds could be found, and if I did find one, I really didn't want to pitch my tent in the broiling desert sun.  The gauge on the 13 was reading 102, as the temp eased up because I was moving south.  After 6 nights in a tent, I splurged on a 35 dollar Motel 6 room.

My mileage for the day was 470.  I find 4 something to be a good number.  Far enough to get you somewhere, but not drudgery.  I liked the tone of this tour.

After checking in, I took a 4 mile run in the sun, that once out of the Roadcrafter didn't seem all that hot.  People looked at me strange as I ran up the back streets and on hill overlooking the city.

A nice shower followed and then it was time for something to eat.  A major fast food row lay across I-15 so I took a walk to find something to eat.  When I park at the end of the day, I like to leave the 1300.  I'm like Don Cortez in that regard.  Once I get there, I want a break.  I didn't mind the half mile walk.  I found a Favollis Italian place and dove in.  It reminded me of the unit I stop at in Salem, Virginia every time I pass through there.  I love pasta, high in carb and low in fat.  Good fuel.  Too bad we don't have Favolli's in Alabama.
I made my usual phone calls, and left Jerrol a voice mail.  I had a long chat with Debbie and Chris.  The pasta and bread were excellent, and the walk back to the motel was good.  I made  notes for tomorrows ride, and tried to watch a little TV but grew sleepy quickly.   I set my watch for a early start to beat the worst of the desert heat.
Sleep hit me about 11pm.
 Next: A hot ride to Phoenix
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