I somehow always considered seeing, looking, as from inside my own window as I think we all do. I have to say "we" however, as with time moving right along and different spaces we fall into, I distinctly see Spirit also radiating different vibes according to where we are. We are in Bluff right now, the weather here has warmed up nicely and for the first time I have packed away, off the bike, all our electric heated gear. I don’t think it is a mistake, I don’t think I will regret it… we are done with the cold… I say so!!! The pictures today are from our last ride a couple days ago in, again, the Arches National Park. Another vast land I have a hard time staying away from even if it is full blown tourist season. They have as much right as we have to be there.
So yes… we are in Bluff, and so ready to get on with areas we have not seen and experienced yet, using this little town as a home base. It has been spring cleaning time, meaning real cleaning and yet, have not even scratched the surface. Amazing how red sand, actually red dust, can get into places one could not even imagine. All my bags on the bike, panniers, you name it, are waterproof, water will not get in but the red dust did! Either thinner bags from Exped or thicker ones from Ortlieb. Trust me that I have tried them all. Sure, some other brands… some even favorites amongst riders and heavily advertised at Rallies and Magazines have also done the job, but with a short life span… meaning that within a couple of years having to turn them inside out and adding a layer or two of liquid tape at the seams has been a must. Don’t let anyone fool you… those bags cost too much to be replaced often. While we are on the subject… there is no better than ROK Straps… car, bike, bicycle, backpacking, rafting, 4 wheel drive expeditions… you name it. I have left mine out, exposed to the elements, 4 years now, 24/7/365, finally one straps dried out and broke, my fault there. I do put them away now when not in use. How often have I fumbled with some other straps and their rings, specially in darkness arriving at a campsite even with the help of a flashlight!
I am not advertising!… I just don’t like bad "equipment". It is hard enough to deal wit the elements sometimes, no need to add leaky bags or anything that is going to make unpacking and packing even more difficult. I was a "beta tester" by the way for a while for certain products… one particular Manufacture, no need for names. I am not and was never a weekend rider… as the products flew away or mainly leaked… they fired me! Their excuse?… well, no one rides under as much rain as you do and put so much stress on the products! The positive aspect of it was that years ago I learned to use waterproof bags in bags… and don’t let anyone tell you that some zippers are waterproof… even within my riding suit, there is not such thing!
But, anyhow, always a tangent to my thoughts… I was thinking about my "windows" today. What is inside?… how clear is my window?… what is outside? Are there any time when the view is clear from inside out? Where we are, what we do, has always been a determination point of it all. Spoiled most likely with the freedom of spending days in and days out on magnificent lands, where and when all the senses suddenly reach a flat zone for the mind to absorb it all. I am reshuffling it all however right now, all might not be quite as clear as I would wanted to be, but the reasons are and the ideas makes sense and have been born out of necessity and curiosity.
The curiosity has been to get to know this area better. The "White Elephant" is parked now in a Friend’s Alley, we call it "The Chef Alley"! The weather has changed, the lack of rain will keep the back roads dry and it is "grand" time to switch back again to my favorite "mod" of traveling and setting up camp wherever we feel like, this spot or that spot, the real path back to "Life Under the Stars". We are actually just about all packed here, even did a dry run setting up the tent as I do believe it was designed by some man or woman with multiple PHD degrees and has always been when not used a while a puzzle to me. I got it now… All I have to remember is corner pole to middle hole on the opposite side and we will be up in no time at all… My MSR Dragon Fly stove has been nicely throwing its flames with its throaty sound so familiar to many… a sound loud enough to wake up the still sleepy crowd in a campground! Of course we are not going to any campground… Water is the big weight of it all as I am counting one gallon per day for myself, Spirit has his own… will see how all this goes.
So we will be away 3 days at the time… sometimes 4, with no Internet connection… no cell phone connection… but a greater "connection" with Mother Nature… till winter calls us back again into our mobile home base. You might wonder why Bluff? One reason is that I find it being such a great central location, the center of a hub… 100 miles from Moab, a bit more to the Green River, west is Page and the Slot Antelope Canyons that I am so eager to visit, the Vermillion Cliff Monument, Grand Stair-Escalante National Monument, Capitol Reef, the Bridges… even Zion, the Maze, another part of Canyonland, Bryce Canyon which we visited last year but too fast because of much snow. Colorado east of us… with so many destinations! All we will need are some tires, some fuel, oil… and probably more tires…
The other reason we are in Bluff, as we did in Terlingua, Texas, is cooking! My Friend Leah, remember the colorful Taco Stand?… originally the only reason I stopped in town as its colors attracted me, well, Leah is opening a brand new Restaurant called "San Juan River Kitchen". I have even made her buy the domain name, no need to go there yet, that part has not even been started. I will be helping her 3 days a week to get it off the ground and that to me is exciting news as it will also fill the void I have had toward my lack of cooking. I love to play in a Kitchen and this will be my opportunity to do so, a challenge I am sure it will be at times, but we are both on the same path on so many different aspects of it and complement each other… mainly a changing Menu offering Regional Dishes utilizing local gardens and meat supplier. Yes, it will be open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner… With many RV Parks and Motels and I have to say as I noticed it quickly, much motorcycle traffic. Of course great food… I know we will do well, and I am counting on you to stop by to at least say "hello"… Did I mention great Desserts?… Opening date? a bit less than a month!
This will be the culmination of 40 years of experience, passing on the hat, everything that I know, recipes, systems… all the intricacies of a Restaurant’s heart that I have accumulated over all these years. It will be and it is for now the best of both worlds, allowing us yet to roam these areas which I knew had so much to offer, wether it is riding or photography. How long will we stay here?… I have no clue! We lasted 3 months in Terlingua… my expression of Life in Jell-O stands! ~ Have not decided yet where we will go tomorrow. I have been wanting to camp at the Monuments Valley for so long now, to be there for the full moon, sunsets and sunrises. Their area of camping is a bit crowded at times, it is really not a campground but sort of, might be worth the try if only for the pictures I would like to capture. This will be a trial run, making sure that all is well in the equipment department as I have a bad habit of taking much with us including sometimes the kitchen sink!
There will be plenty of pictures and much to talk about how all went down with the set up, the same set up I have basically used for years… luckily one can carry a bit more on a sidecar rig! The "window" is pretty clear now, another phase in this Journey is just about ready to start, the thrill of the unknown is always around the corner!
"Happiness resides not in possessions and not in gold, the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul" [Democritus]
Till next time… have a great day, come and visit! Utah is beautiful…
You be well and stay well… Ara & Spirit
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Ara Gureghian 853 Vanderbilt Beach Rd #245 Naples, Fl 34108