Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day ?: Moab to South Fork

I've got alot of catching up to do! Where to begin....

My parts were finally delivered today and installed by the mechanic that called in sick but was guilted out of bed to come fix my bike. The shop name is MadBros and they're some of the nicest people. Over the course of my time in Moab I got rides from 3 family members and eventually they fixed my bike. Oh, one more sidebar: I got an introduction to the reality of Moab and how it differs from the legend. Moab is a tourist trap with a 9 block street. I can't knock it as a launching point for adventure and the surrounding area is stunning. But when you're trapped in town it gets old in a hurry. My "Next Day Air" parts cost $78 to arrive 2 days later. Moab is so remote that "Next Day" isn't possible. So the "Next Day" parts go to Denver or Salt Lake City where they are then sent to Moab. So the breakdown for my parts was $70 from Tennessee to SLC and then $8 to Moab. Those parts were priceless to me so I'm not complaining but I hate it when shipping fees cost this much and I still don't get the convenience I'm supposedly purchasing. And let me get this nugget out there while I'm ranting: Just Say No To Fanny Pack's! I saw way too many of them in Moab. Alot of them were on Euro-Tourist's but they don't get a free pass. Those have been out of style just long enough for everyone to have gotten the message but not long enough to be coming back in fashion. Okay, I think I'm really done ranting this time.

I picked my bike up at 1 pm and had my maps and GPS ready to route me to South Fork,
CO to rendezvous with the rest of the group. I had a neat route chosen which would include some easy dirt roads, one pass, and some nice pavement sections. But the weather report changed my mind. Rain has moved into the area and temps have also gone down. So I took a northern route through Grand Junction, CO and then on backroads as I made a diagonal line across the state in hopes of missing the storm front moving across the area. The GPS was sending me on all sorts of funky side roads and I was getting annoyed so I got the map out and made my own way until the GPS picked up on my route and gave me distance and direction help. I ended up going past Blue Mesa Canyon/Reservoir and this was the real highlight of my day. The canyon is stunning and the road hugs the edge for miles giving you stunning views. The road itself would make a great racetrack but I couldn't take my eyes off the scenery. Eventually you reach an earthen dam and the reservoir begins. The water is such an inviting shade of blue as the waterway twists and turns with the road for miles.

I was lost in the scenery for miles and hated to leave the Blue Mesa area. But by now I was racing the sun as I headed for Lake City. We stayed in Lake City on our way to Moab and I was never warm for a moment of my stay there. The return trip was just as chilly! The weather was hot enough leaving Moab that I had my cool vest on which eventually saturated my pants and jacket with water. That made things worse for me and I had to stop a couple times to add layers. If it's like this in August then what must the winters be like!? As I stopped in Lake City for fuel I could smell the fires burning which is one of my favorite smells. It almost took my mind off how much I was hurting at this point. I'm a walking collection of small injuries just like everyone else on this trip and sitting on a 3" wide motorcycle seat for 8 hours and 370 miles just adds to the misery. But this is what I do for fun!

The sun set on me halfway between Lake City and South Fork. Even before that point I had to slow down considerably as my headlight just isn't that effective. So the last 30 miles were slow and painful but what can you do!? I arrived in South Fork and met the group at a restaurant they were closing down. The staff was very nice and accommodating to me as the late arrival but the kitchen staff had gone home. I had some still-warm leftovers from Lloyd that I'm pretty sure he saved for me all along. I was happy to have a dinner after my day. Ryan even gave me half his beer. Man I sure have good friends!

The talk at dinner was about the ride Ryan, Jeff, and Dan had to reach South Fork. They'd taken the dirt route that Ryan made up on his own from books, internet, and experienced riders in this area. But they did it in the rain. There was no avoiding the rain for them and from the sounds of it the rain made some of their sections treacherous. But they were all smiling about it so I guess the experience just adds to this whole adventure. Still, they were as chilly as I was so everyone came back to the hotel hot tub to get warmed up.

Tomorrow we will lose Gregg, Lloyd, Bob, and Beth as they head back to Birmingham. They'll be going as far as Conway, Arkansas tomorrow. I miss them already. The group dynamic that has formed over the course of this trip has really been fun and I don't want it to end. But we've all got lives to get back to and I think everyone is starting to think about that as the trip is nearing an end. If things like this lasted forever then they wouldn't be special. Wait, that's really corny! I'm too tired to think of any more eloquent prose so please forgive me. I'm off to bed now.

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